The hunger strike of the human rights and civil liberties activist known as IronBoltBruce entered Day 15 at 6:00am ET on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. The record-holding long-distance motorcycle rider has eaten nothing since his fast began on March 27, and declares "I have lost 23 pounds and some of my strength but none of my resolve to see AUMF 2001 repealed and my grandchildren saved."
His seminal act has initiated the "AUMF Hunger Strike" Twitter hashtag #AumfHungerStrike, which demands the repeal of Public Law 107-40, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Act signed into law by George W. Bush on September 18, 2001. Enacted just seven days after the attacks of 9/11, "AUMF 2001" gave the President sweeping and essentially unchecked powers to wage a global war of vengeance against the alleged perpetrators. Specifically, the President was and is "...authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."
Over the ensuing 11 years, the AUMF 2001 has served as the carte blanche legal justification for a number of controversial military and government actions both abroad and at home, as ordered by both President Bush and President Obama. Both administrations asserted AUMF as their authority to violate the sovereignty and conduct drone strikes on nations with which we are not at war. In one such nation, Pakistan, the strikes are reportedly killing 49 innocent civilians--including children--for every one "known terrorist" taken out. Bad as that is, Americans themselves may now also be at risk. When on Valentine's Day, 2012, President Obama signed H.R. 658, the "FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Modernization and Reform Act of 2012" into law as Public Law 112-95, he authorized the use of drones in American airspace. The question of whether this new authority allows the government to execute domestic airstrikes against American citizens later became the focus of Senator Rand Paul's widely publicized 12-hour filibuster in March of this year.
Also here at home, AUMF 2001 serves as the statutory basis for Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2012, or "NDAA 2012," signed into law by President Obama on New Year's Eve 2011 as Public Law 112-81. Known also as the "Homeland Battlefield," or "Indefinite Detention," provision, it gives the federal government "police state" authority to detain without charge and hold without trial American citizens on American soil. The act effectively nullifies the protection of habeas corpus and overrides the Bill of Rights. NDAA 2012 Section 1021 is being contested as unconstitutional in federal court by a group of activists headed by Pultizer Prize winner Chris Hedges, but for now it remains law.
An American citizen and grandfather concerned about the future and freedom of his grandchildren, IronBoltBruce committed to the AUMF Hunger Strike in hopes of raising public awareness of the threats to life and liberty posed by AUMF 2001 and NDAA 2012. The repeal of AUMF will undo NDAA, and that is what the AUMF Hunger Strike demands.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee--the only U.S. Representative to vote against the 2001 AUMF--has recently taken action to repeal AUMF 2001, with her sponsorship of H.R. 198: Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force. If passed and enacted, the legislation would satisfy the demands of AUMF hunger strikers like IronBoltBruce.
Enactment of the bill, however, will take a hard uphill battle. GovTrack.us gives H.R. 198 only "a 2% chance of getting past committee" and "a 0% chance of being enacted." It's quite obvious that, despite the moral urgency to repeal AUMF, it cannot happen unless more concerned citizens participate in the hunger strike and support RepealAUMF.org (@RepealAUMFNow). Only that can inspire the necessary groundswell of grassroots political and direct action .
"The United States Government has 'aligned itself with Al Qaeda' in Syria and elsewhere, Senator Graham (bit.ly/16SnYxF). So as per your guidance, who do we detain without charge under NDAA 2012, and who do we execute without trial under AUMF 2001? Should we start with President Obama, or you?"RepealAUMF.org