By Nadin Abbott / December 19th, 2011
Members of a coalition of Democrats, Occupy San Diego, Move-On and other liberal groups, took over Congresswoman Susan Davis’ (D) office today to protest of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. They first drove to the Clairemont Mesa Office of the Democratic Party, where they intended to stage a sit-in, but the office was locked and a sign on the door indicated they would be holding limited hours during the holidays. Before they left the Clairemont Mesa area several people spoke, while the protesters held signs that were received well by drivers. Among them was Mr. Dick Eiden, running as an Independent against Congressman Darrell Issa (R-49th District.) He invited protesters to get involved in his campaign, since his intention is to “Occupy Congress.”
Mr. Joe Howard Crews from Fallbrook, brought his voter registration form, he is ready to switch party affiliation from Democrat to Decline to State, given this Bill and its attack on civil rights. Another Fallbrook resident has been a registered Democrat all his voting life and a party activist, and he is ready to do the same. Both were members of Veterans for Peace.
Frank Gormlie explained to all why they called for the sit in. The National Defense Authorization Act has two provisions, these are 1031 and 1032. According to him they will lead to a “police state,” since they will allow for the indefinite detainment of US Citizens on US soil. He emphasized that this could happen “just for lying to a Federal Officer.” He also emphasized that according to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) Provision 1031 designates the United States as part of the territory under jurisdiction for the Global War on Terror. He also mentioned that these provisions are problematic for the American Civil Liberties Union, for the reasons he stated.
According to Mr. Gormlie these two sections “will destroy the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment and the Sixth Amendment. They will remove the rights to trial, to avoid self incrimination, and could lead to troops arresting people in the Continental United States. They will also remove “the right to public trial and reasonable bails.” It is also an indirect attack on the First Amendment, and a direct attack on the right of Habeas Corpus. This right, translating to bringing or presenting the body, goes all the way back to the Magna Carta in Medieval England, and guarantees the right of the accused to be presented with his accusers and the court. If this Bill is signed, according to Mr. Gormlie, we will lose these fundamental citizen rights.
Several other speakers spoke to the crowd of about twenty people, including long time party activist, Gregg Robinson, that wants the party to get a backbone and start saying no to these disastrous laws. Among those present was John Kenney, who has now stopped his hunger strike. He also emphasized how disastrous this bill is to US Citizens. He emphasized that this would be damaging to the People of the United States in ways that continue the war on our civil rights started with the United States Patriot Act.
After arriving at Susan Davis’ San Diego headquarters, the group crowded into the small office. The staff seemed surprised that they came, but once the protesters sat down they were admonished to leave the passageway clear due to Fire Regulations. Mr. Kenney reminded the staff that “we are traditionally aligned with the democratic party, like Move On. Progressives for America and Occupy San Diego.” That “we are Susan Davis’ people.” They also emphasized that this was a peaceful protest.
Moreover, one of the Occupiers suggested that the timing of this was extraordinary and that he wondered if this was related to the rise of the Occupy movement. Another said “when I voted for Obama I thought he’d follow the example of Martin Luther King. I’d like Obama to explain himself to California Students,” after the pepper spraying of students at UC Davis. Most of those present were very disappointed with the President and the Congresswoman for the course they have taken.
The staff promised to give them an official statement. This was done by the office of the Congresswoman, after consultations with the Washington Office. There were no arrests.
All photos by Nadin Abbott
EDITOR: The following is this statement by Congresswoman Davis that was sent to us late yesterday.
Congresswoman Susan A. Davis
Representing the 53rd District in San Diego, California
For Immediate Release
December 19, 2011
Contact: Aaron Hunter
Statement for National Defense Authorization Act Demonstration
“Thank you for visiting my office today and bringing your concerns to my attention. I am currently working in Washington DC and therefore cannot speak to you personally.
“The National Defense Authorization Act passed both chambers under the regular legislative process. Included in this bill were provisions dealing with military custody of terrorist suspects. These provisions are not in any way intended to restrict the habeas rights of American citizens or limit the ability of Americans to exercise their constitutional rights.
“In fact, this bill explicitly exempts U.S. citizens from any changes to current law. Section 1022 states that, “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.”
“I share your concerns and would not have voted for this bill if I felt the basic rights and freedoms of Americans were being limited or removed. I supported the defense bill because of the positive impact it will have on our national defense, our local economy, and on our men and women in uniform.”
“I appreciate you being here today and making your voices heard. My staff has related your concerns to me and I will continue to keep them in mind in my work in Washington. “