The geeks at Anonymous probably think they are having more fun publishing the Twitter handles of the 83 senators who approved the NDAA, National Defense Authorization Act, last Thursday, on Bill of Rights Day, which okays indefinite military detention of American citizens without charge or trial. But buried in the information dump is truly amazing information, which could have been put together from public records, but which Anonymous actually brought to the fore.
First, Anonymous singles out Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) for receiving a particularly large sum from companies and PACs lobbying for the NDAA. From the RT report:
Robert J. Portman...we are truly disturbed by the ludicrous $272,853 he received from special interest groups supporting the NDAA bill that authorizes the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.
Even in Washington terms, over a quarter million is a ridiculous amount of money from special interest groups supporting an issue to any single legislator. Congressmen have been bought for far less, with around $50,000 considered a serious ante at anyone's table, and much less merely keeping you in the game.
"Among the supporters of NDAA are California-based manufacturer Surefire, L.L.C., who won a $23 million contract from the Department of Defense three months ago.
shows Surefire lobbying for HR 1540 which is the House counterpart to
the Senate bill, S. 1867, which was passed on Bill of Rights Day and
which two retired Marine generals affirm, in a New York Times op-ed,
abolishes the Bill of Rights.
Retired four-star Generals Charles Krulak and Joseph Hoar write in opposition to the new law:
One provision would authorize the military to indefinitely detain without charge people suspected of involvement with terrorism, including United States citizens apprehended on American soil. Due process would be a thing of the past.
Image from the guardian of democracy OpenSecrets.org:
Surefire retains DC lobbyists Upstream Consulting to do its lobbying on Capitol Hill.
So what does Surefire make? In a word, night-raid equipment, with a fresh new $23 million contract from the DoD even as we saw troops pulling out of Iraq, and as they are about to pull out of Afghanistan. The product catalog main categories read things like "weapon lights, helmet lights, sound suppressors, high capacity magazines." The equipment is relatively cheap, not big ticket items in Defense Department terms. These are accessories which attach to standard weapons. That means this is a big contract. A $23 million contract would buy enough of these things to outfit maybe 50,000 soldiers.
If we are pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan, what is all this stuff for? Night-raid gear? These are basically made to blind people as they awake from you busting down their door, not for open combat. In a night firefight you don't want any lights near you whatsoever. That gives the other guy an easy target.
This is as Obama is about to sign NDAA into law, if he hasn't already
at the time of this writing, the unconstitutional detention provisions
of which we now know he specifically requested. We know because some
sharp-eyed CSPAN junkie flicked on the record switch when she heard Sen.
Carl Levin (D-MI) saying these words.
Levin on the Senate floor during debate: