This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
The LAPD, Obama, and the National Defense Authorization Act: WTF?
"Shut your fucking mouth! We can lose you in here." That's what "Officer K" of the Los Angeles Police Department's Metro Detention facility said to me as I was lining up to be bailed out with 8 other arrestees forty hours after my own arrest at the raid of the Occupy LA encampment. It seems "Officer K" wanted me not to discuss legal instructions from the glass of the neighboring pod, D block, from a few of the occupiers who had not been able to contact their lawyers two days into their arrest.
Not having planned to be arrested nor memorized my attorney's landline phone number (have you?) I'd asked Family Guy writer Patrick Meighan, my bunkmate who got out four hours earlier, to get in touch with my lawyer on my behalf. Though it was someone else who bonded me out, I was surprised but glad that I had been sprung and could say goodbye to the prison catering done by the same company used by the Los Angeles Unified School District. "Officer K" may been merely trying to provoke a response out of me, but the behavior was unacceptable of someone sworn to "Serve and Protect."
So how does a tale of civilian police and how they handle arrested protesters connect to national politics and policy?
"Shut your fucking mouth! We can lose you in here" becomes even more poignant as the constitutionally challenged National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 sits on President Obama's desk. As it currently stands, spokespeople for Obama have stated he would not veto it.
"Human rights groups are disappointed with the president’s decision to walk away from his veto threat," according to ABC News, who report the White House supports the bill now that "the authors of the bill removed language that would have restricted the administration’s handling of terrorist detainees."
As Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks explains, the NDAA declares the whole world a battlefield as we engage the whole world, presumably, on the "war on terror." In it are suspensions on the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which includes the prohibition of arrest of Americans by our own military... indefinitely without habeas corpus for any reasons it wants. Senators McCain and Levin have cooked up a foul menu of the corruption of the Bill of Rights: secret arrests, secret detentions without trial, suspension of civil rights and torture a la Guantanamo. While the bill passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support, opposition is equally diverse from both Senators Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders. Amnesty International, yes the Free Biko/Apartheid NGO, are rallying support for the blockage of the NDAA. Similarily on the Right, the Roanoke Tea Party, a group that is what it sounds like has published photos of the constitution going up in flames on its website.
Or, you can, as per LAPD "Officer K's" advice, "Shut your fucking mouth." if you are okay with this sort of editing of your civil liberties.