From the Bill of Rights Defense Committee
February 26, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution opposing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provisions on indefinite military detention. The resolution was endorsed by 27 community organizations, including, but not limited to, Japanese-American community groups, faith leaders, anti-war activists, labor unions, and Arab and Muslim organizations.
The “Resolution expressing opposition to the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act” protects the civil liberties of all San Francisco residents by emphasizing that the Constitution and Bill of Rights:
reflect the essential nature of presumed innocence, the right to a speedy public trial before an impartial jury, and other elements of effective due process, reflect our shared commitment that no person will be exposed to cruel and unusual punishment.
It also creates a policy that all San Francisco public agencies will uphold civil liberties by:
instruct[ing] all our public agencies to decline requests by federal agencies acting under detention powers granted by the NDAA or any authorization of force, that could infringe upon residents’ freedom of speech, religion, assembly, privacy, or rights to counsel…
The introduction of the resolution against NDAA on February 19 was timed to honor the anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which is also a Day of Remembrance in the State of California. Executive Order 9066 authorized the U.S. military to remove Japanese-Americans from areas on the West Coast considered to be “military areas.” Over 120,000 Japanese-Americans, as well as some Italian and German-Americans, were forced to internment camps.
Supervisor David Chiu, who introduced the bill, commented following last night’s vote:
I am proud that the Board of Supervisors has passed my resolution calling on Congress to repeal the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA. Indefinite detention violates our civil liberties, repeats the injustices of the past and undermines the very foundation of our democracy. I hope Congress will heed this call and take immediate action.
BORDC’s Nadia Kayyali also commented on the victory:
With this vote, San Francisco has confirmed its place as a leader in the national effort to preserve the constitutional rights threatened by over broad national security policy. As the proliferation of state and local bills continues, it is becoming clear that local governments will not be complicit in the erosion of our rights.