Judge asks government lawyers if NDAA can be used on ordinary citizens
March 30, 2012
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.”