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County Action Coming On NDAA Detention?

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and its use of indefinite detention of U.S. citizens has brought liberals and conservatives together across the country. Lane County commissioners Faye Stewart, a conservative, and Pete Sorenson, a progressive, were able to agree on the issue at a recent meeting.

At the Lane County Commission’s Nov. 5 meeting, Stewart said, “We’re trying to encourage the state and the federal government to make some changes,” and agreed that public input would make “a stronger message.” He said there are elements of the NDAA that are “disturbing.”

“I’ve got emails from former law enforcement saying they don’t want this,” Sorenson said at the meeting. “I don’t think we should be shy about this. I think we have to be assertive.”

Shane Ozbun, People Against the NDAA (PANDA) Oregon state coordinator, said the issue is “very bi-partisan.”

Concerns with the act hinge on two sections affirming the use of force against terrorists or suspected terrorist activities. PANDA supporters, along with Sorenson and Stewart, feel the sections are too vague and infringe on American rights. 

Stewart suggested a county work session, and the idea was put in motion by a number of both liberal and conservative groups, such as Oathkeepers Oregon, 912 Project Lane County, Cottage Grove 912 Project, Cottage Grove Blackberry Pie Society and We the People Eugene.

“There’s an even balance of left and right coming together,” Ozbun said.

The main concern is about vagueness in two sections that were created around the idea of an immediate threat of terrorist action after 9/11 but now could apply to anyone. The suggested work session is to inform the other Lane County commissioners on the issue and create a public input platform off of which a resolution against the NDAA could be crafted.

“More ominously, Section 1021 (b)(2) and Section 1021 (c)(1) provide that any person who commits a ‘belligerent act’ against the country can be imprisoned indefinitely ‘without trial’ until the vaguely worded period of hostilities has come to an end,” Sorenson said in a June 19 letter to Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Rep. Peter DeFazio.

Although there is no set timeline for when any action will take place on the side of these Oregon lawmakers, Ozbun suspects that a statement will be solidified by early December.