A resolution was introduced at today’s meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors opposing provisions of a federal law that allows the indefinite detention of American citizens on U.S. soil without due process.
The National Defense Authorization Act for 2013, signed by President Barack Obama in January after its approval by Congress, includes provisions that would permit indefinite military detentions without trial.
Board of Supervisors president David Chiu, who authored the resolution against the NDAA, joined a few dozen people who gathered for a rally about the legislation outside City Hall prior to this afternoon’s board meeting.
“I thought we had left behind the dark days of World War II,” Chiu said, citing the forced incarceration of 120,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese immigrants during the 1940s.
The federal law “violates our fundamental American ideal of the presumption of innocence,” he said.
Joseph Nicholson from the San Francisco 99% Coalition, one of the groups that joined Chiu at today’s rally, said the NDAA “crosses an important line.”
Nicholson said, “It takes the rules of war and applies them here at home.”
The resolution has been co-sponsored by five other supervisors, giving it the likely approval of a majority of the 11-member board when it comes for a vote at a later date.
While non-binding, the resolution instructs San Francisco agencies to decline federal requests for detention powers granted by the NDAA, asks state and federal agencies to work in accordance with local laws and urges Congress to repeal those provisions of the law.
Obama wrote in a statement after signing the 2012 NDAA that he would “not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.”
He wrote, “I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation.”
Obama did not mention the indefinite detention provisions in his signing statement for the 2013 legislation but wrote, “I continue to oppose certain sections of the act.”
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News