If you’ve been following the progress(!?) of the NDAA through the tangled tendrils of our court system, you’ll remember that a group of plaintiffs including journalist Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky and Naomi Wolf have filed suit to ban the Obama White House from indefinitely imprisoning American citizens without trial or due process. They even took to Reddit to voice their concerns, not long after the President himself had appeared and crashed the site so users could “Ask Anything”. President Obama ignored any questioning of this controversial and legally dubious issue, which, along with his mysterious drone strikes, will remain a shameful stain on his historical presidency.
According to Hedges and others, the unusual maneuvering taken by the administration during this procedural are suspicious in-and-of themselves.
US Federal Judge Katherine Forrest in turn agreed (Section 1021) was unconstitutional. Last month Judge Forrest decided that an earlier, temporary injunction on the clause should be made permanent, but the Obama Justice Department pleaded for an emergency stay only hours later. A lone federal appeals judge has since heard that plea and has momentarily blocked Judge Forrest’s injunction. Now pending the results of an appeals panel’s formal investigation, the NDAA’s indefinite detention provision remains on the books.
On Thursday, the plaintiffs in the case — journalist Chris Hedges, activist Tangerine Bolen, Pentagon Papers leaker Dan Ellsberg, their attorneys and others — told users of Reddit to ask them anything.
“The Obama DOJ has vigorously opposed these efforts, and immediately appealed her ruling and requested an emergency stay on the injunction – claiming the US would incur ‘irreparable harm’ if the president lost the power to use Section 1021 – and detain anyone, anywhere until the end of hostilities on a whim. This case will probably make its way to the Supreme Court,” the plaintiffs acknowledged in their introduction.
Offering his take on the case, Hedges said that he even believes the NDAA’s indefinite detention clause is already being used to imprison Americans, “because they filed an emergency appeal.”
“If the Obama administration simply appealed it, as we expected, it would have raised this red flag,” Hedges added.“But since they were so aggressive it means that once Judge Forrest declared the law invalid, if they were using it, as we expect, they could be held in contempt of court. This was quite disturbing, for it means, I suspect, that US citizens, probably dual nationals, are being held in military detention facilities almost certainly overseas and maybe at home.”
“The signing statement is the most ridiculous part to this for me. He writes this statement saying he’s not happy about the power existing, but then his administration fights so hard to keep that specific power in place,” Reddit user devilrobotjesus responded.
“If Obama didn’t want it to happen, he would not have signed it, especially after stating that he would veto it,” co-counsel Carl Mayer explained. Mayer has represented the plaintiffs in the case of Hedges v. Obama and said that he plans on continuing his pursuit to take indefinite detention off the books.
“We will do whatever it takes,” Mayers added. “We are prepared for a Supreme Court battle.”
The plaintifs went on to discuss how the provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act may be intended to silence dissenting journalists, whistleblowers, leakers, hackers, and other ‘enemies of the State‘ such as Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, and the horrible coverage this issue has gotten in corporate-state-owned mainstream media. Regardless of the veracity of those more conspiratorial claims, this heavily frightening fact remains: right now, indefinite detention without trial (and all the extremities of rendition that that implies) is applicable to every American.
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