Court Hears Arguments In Lawsuit Against Obama Indefinite Detention LawSubmitted by shifty1032231 on Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:52
By Steve Watson
A Federal court in New York heard arguments Thursday for a preliminary injunction against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the bill signed by Obama that legislates for the ‘indefinite detention’ of American citizens without trial.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest heard testimony from seven witnesses including MIT professor Noam Chomsky, Pentagon Papers source Daniel Ellsberg and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, author and Middle East expert Chris Hedges.
Hedges himself filed the class action lawsuit claiming that the ‘indefinite detention’ provision of the legislation, otherwise known as the ‘Homeland Battlefield Bill’, could see him sent to Guantanamo Bay simply for doing his job, and at the very least would have a “chilling effect” on the work of journalists and activists.
The controversial legislation, signed into law by Obama on New Years Eve, allows American citizens to be abducted and held in a detention camp anywhere in the world without trial under section 1031. Although Obama indicated in a signing statement attached to the bill that he would not use it to indefinitely detain American citizens, it was the Obama administration itself that requested the provision be worded so it would apply to US citizens.
“If there is no rolling back of the NDAA law, we cease to be a constitutional democracy. Totalitarian systems always begin by rewriting the law,” Hedges said. “They make legal what was once illegal… Foreign and domestic subjugation merges into the same brutal mechanism. Citizens are colonized. And it is always done in the name of national security.”
Reuters reports that during the court session Thursday, the judge said she was skeptical that the plaintiffs would win a constitutional challenge to the act, but also said she wanted to “understand the meaning to the ordinary citizen.”
The legislation specifically says that any persons deemed to have “substantially supported” al-Qaida and the Taliban and “associated forces” may be incarcerated without trial.
Hedges told the court that “I don’t think we know what ‘associated forces’ are. That’s why I’m here.”
“I could be detained by the US military, held in a military facility – including offshore – denied due process and incarcerated until ‘the end of hostilities’ whenever that is,” Hedges said, adding that his work was already being hindered, because of fears that in speaking to sources that the government could deem hostile, he could be held accountable.
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