Representatives from People Against the National Defense Authorization Act went before the Kodiak City Council at Tuesday’s work session to provide information in hopes the council will pass a resolution against the act.
Members of PANDA have testified in the past, showing up to council meetings and work sessions to speak during the public comment time in which they are limited to three minutes apiece.
On Tuesday, the organizer for the Kodiak branch of PANDA, Jamie Fagan, along with Dana Carros, gave a 10-minute presentation, which council members Richard Walker and Randall Bishop had requested.
At the beginning, Fagan asked attendees there in support of PANDA to stand up, and more than 15 people — most of the audience — stood.
PANDA believes that the language in sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA is vague and applies to U.S. citizens, and believes it is unconstitutional for those reasons.
Section 1021 says, “Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force … includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons … pending disposition under the law of war.”
“Covered persons” is defined as people who helped with the 9/11 terrorist attacks and “a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States … including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.”
“‘Substanially supported’ is a very vague term,” Fagan said, and added that “belligerent act” and “directly supported” are too vague as well.
“And where it says, ‘The requirements to detain,’ that’s the other part that people get stumped on because they think that it says that it does not apply to U.S. citizens,” Fagan said. “If you read it closely, the requirement to detain persons, it removes the requirement, but it doesn’t remove the option (to detain).”
PANDA wants the council to pass legislation that would keep Kodiakans from being detained under the NDAA.
The legislation proposed by PANDA states, in part, “It is unconstitutional, and therefore unlawful for any person to: a. arrest or capture any person in Kodiak Alaska, or citizen of Kodiak, Alaska within the United States with the intent of ‘detention under the law of war, …’”
The legislation also requests that Alaska’s congressional delegation make an effort to repeal sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA.
So far, seven communities have passed similar legislation, the largest being Albany, New York.
Walker was the only council member who commented after the presentation.
“I believe in what you’re trying to do, but they’re going to ask, what is a small resolution by a small community like us going to do to help the effort?” Walker asked.
“There’s already eight of us. If we get 30, 40 little towns, I think it’s just going to take off,” Fagan said. “It’s actually raising awareness of the people in this town. If we pass this, it will send signals around the state.”
The council has not taken up the proposed legislation.
Contact Julie Herrmann at firstname.lastname@example.org.