NDAA Ruling: One Foot Off the Slippery Slope

Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges. Photo: Chris Hedges

Travis Kelly writes on AntiWar.com:

If the founding fathers were spinning in their graves like centrifuges over recent assaults on the Constitution, their RPMs slowed down a bit last Wednesday when U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled that Section 1021 in the latest National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), allowing military detention of American citizens without due process, is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was brought by veteran journalist Chris Hedges, with attorneys Carl Mayer and Bruce Afran doing the heavy lifting without compensation. None thought they had a chance to win, given the juggernaut of military and police-state abuses that have rolled over us in the decade since 9/11. But as Hedges said after the verdict, “A stunning and monumental victory … every once in a while the gods smile on the damned.”

The defendants, President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, had argued that this new NDAA merely codified what the panicked 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) had spawned over the last decade: indefinite military detention, unwarranted searches and seizures, assassination, torture — only now it all could be employed on American soil, against American citizens, however or whenever the president and Pentagon saw fit…

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    Great news.

    Yet I can’t help but notice how underwhelming this reprieve feels in contrast to the adrenaline rush of the threat that preceded it.  Given the depressing centrality of these low-order mental processes to political decision making, I can’t help but wonder if there is a useful insight in there waiting to be discovered.

  • NoahWay

    This happened 2 weeks ago and there is only one (Bloomberg) corp. media news story about it?!

  • ThinkHarder

    Dear Chris Hedges: You fucking rock! Fingers crossed that Obummer will not attempt to appeal this but – if he does – I hope/pray (and I am not one to use the p-word lightly) that you will continue fighting the good fight, right up to the Supreme Court if need be! 

  • Rwolf

     

    Next Stop:
    NDAA Hell for Americans’ Civil Liberties?

    Americans
    deemed by President Obama as Belligerent are vulnerable to Arrest and
    Indefinite Detention under the passed NDAA, National Defense Authorization Act.

    Recently
    the Obama Administration asked a NYC Federal judge to (stay) suspend a ruling
    by a U.S. District Judge (Katherine Forrest) that permanently blocked
    enforcement of vague provisions of NDAA that give the President authorization
    to lock up belligerents indefinitely. According to the Obama
    Administration—they (were justified) to lock belligerents up
    indefinitely—because cases involving belligerents directly-aligned with
    militants against the good of America—warrants such punishment.) Obama could
    use NDAA provisions blocked by U.S. District Judge (Katherine Forrest) to order
    the U.S. Military Forces to round up without evidence millions of Americans
    alleging they are belligerents or threat to National Security. Hitler included
    similar provisions in his fascist (Discriminatory Decrees signed February 28,
    1933). Immediately after German Parliament passed Hitler’s laws, the Reich
    Government ordered the arrest of German Citizens without probable cause or
    evidence; delegated power to German Police and other authorities to arrest
    anyone Nazi authorities claimed attempted or incited public unrest: arrested
    among others were outspoken Germans, writers, journalists, peaceful protestors
    and artists. After World War II the East German Secret Police (Stasi) used the
    threat of Indefinite Detention to forcibly recruit thousands of informants.

    The
    U.S. 2012 NDAA legislation Obama signed 12-31-11 is similar to Hitler’s 1933
    fascist laws the SS and Gestapo used to target persons in Germany for arrest,
    imprisonment and execution without probable cause; and confiscate millions of
    dollars of property. Hitler used his laws to suspend Parliament insuring his
    laws could not be rescinded.

    During the Obama Administration’s recent request for a (stay) to stop U.S.
    District Judge Katherine Forrest blocking enforcement of vague NDAA provisions,
    the Federal Government—never clarified what constitutes a (belligerent); or
    militant; or what belligerent activities (directly aligned with a militant) to
    order a belligerent’s arrest or indefinite detention; or what is against the
    good of America. Under NDAA, the U.S. Government or President could claim
    anyone was (directly aligned with militants) e.g. any political or other
    association; charge any activity, statement, writing or communication was
    (directly aligned) with an individual or group the government deemed (militant)
    to arrest and indefinitely detain Americans. Writers, journalists, Americans
    that disagree with or question U.S. Government or its allies—may under NDAA be
    subject to arrest and indefinite detention.

    The
    2012 and not yet passed 2013 NDAA, like Hitler’s 1933 Discriminatory Decrees
    allow forced government censorship; warrant-less searches of private property
    and forfeiture of property from persons not charged with crime. Provisions in
    2012 NDAA keep the door open for corrupt U.S. police; government agents and
    provocateurs which there are many, to falsify reports and statements to target
    any American, group or organization for arrest, indefinite detention, complete
    disappearance; civil asset forfeiture of their property.

    You
    may have noted NDAA referred to the USA Patriot Act. Under the Patriot Act,
    lending itself to Government / police corruption, the Federal Government may
    use secret witnesses and informants to cause arrests and civil asset forfeiture
    of Americans’ property. Witness(s) and informants may be paid up to 50% of
    assets forfeited. Federal Government under 18USC may use a preponderance of
    civil evidence, little more than hearsay to Civilly Forfeit Private Property.
    Under the Patriot Act innocent property owners may be barred by government
    knowing the evidence federal government uses to forfeit their property.

    Sections of 2013 NDAA are so broad, it appears U.S. Government or the President
    could (retroactively) deem an American’s past 1st Amendment activities prior to
    passage of 2012 NDAA—supported hostilities, terrorism or (Belligerents) to
    order the arrest and Indefinite Detention of any U.S. Citizen, writer, group or
    organization.

    Under
    NDAA It should be expected that indefinitely detained U.S. Citizens not
    involved in terrorism or hostile activities, not given Miranda Warnings when
    interrogated, not allowed legal counsel or habeas corpus may be prosecuted for
    non-terrorist (ordinary crimes) because of their (alleged admissions) while
    held in Indefinite Detention.