Blog: New bills go against citizens’ rights

By Hannah Martin
staff writer

America is known around the world as the land of the free. We have a free market, freedom to practice any religion, freedom of speech and specific amendments that protect our rights when arrested. Right?

Well, not so much anymore. The US government recently passed the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2012, Indefinite Detention Act (IDA) and is trying to pass Stop Online Pirating Act (SOPA).

The NDAA and IDA in Title X, Section 1021 specifically affirms the President’s authority to detain, via the Armed Forces, any person “who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners,” and anyone who commits a “belligerent act” against the U.S. or its coalition allies, under the law of war “without trial, until the end of the hostilities authorized by the AUMF.” Any person who is detained under section 1021, according to 1022, is to be held by the United States Armed Forces. What this bill is stating is that our government is allowed to arrest any person suspected of terrorism and that they can be detained indefinitely without trial.

This act completely goes against any US citizen’s sixth amendment right to have a speedy and public trail.

SOPA is a threat to citizens’ first amendment right, free speech. SOPA expands Protect IP, a similar bill from the Senate, by giving copyright holders and US law enforcement the right to battle infringed – or allegedly infringed – intellectual property (IP) and counterfeit products. This act states that any website that caters to illegal online media can be subject to termination by the government. These websites include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit and Tumblr, among others. How this affects our first amendment right is that it is targeting sites that allow internet users to share ideas, thoughts and beliefs. By shutting these sites down, the government is also shutting our rights down.

It is crazy and unreal that the government is doing this. While I understand that they think they’re helping and protecting their citizens, what they’re really doing is harming them. America is supposed to be free and against communism, but what these new acts remind me of is 1984. Citizens held with trial and complete censorship to everything. While it’s definitely not that extreme, it’s still something.

NDAA and IDA are supposedly protecting the people from terrorists and potential terrorists. While the government will catch terrorists, it will also put innocent people in indefinite detention. There are thousands of innocent people in jail who have had trials, so it’s in evident that many more innocent people will be detained who are denied their right to a speedy trial.

All of these three laws are really over stepping boundaries, blatantly going against the Constitution and it’s not okay.

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