Obama was against indefinite detention of terrorist until he approved it for American citizens.
When it comes to national security and steps towards a less dystopian United States, there was about five minutes of good news Wednesday when Federal Judge Katherine Forrest permanently blockedsection 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which — arguably, but it definitely doesn’t not — allows for indefinite military detainment of American citizens connected to terrorism, even those captured on U.S. soil.
Sadly less than 24 hours after Forrest blocked section 1021, the Obama administration appealed the decision. They are continuing the argument that the NDAA is simply redundant with powers already granted in the 2001 Authorization for Military Force Act. Forrest disagrees, and maintains that her ruling would not conflict with those powers, but that the NDAA unconstitutionally expands the category of people who can be legally detained.
Under Judge Forrest’s oddly unreported ruling, which came after her May temporary injunction in response to a lawsuit filed by seven civil liberties activists, the NDAA was dubbed to be a violation of the Fifth Amendment’s right to due process, as well as having a distinct chilling effect on First Amendment rights. The latter argument was underlined by the fact that one of the plaintiffs, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges has interviewed members of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda nearly a score of times. This made the NDAA’s vague threat that someone who can be detained by the military is an individual “who was a part of or substantially supported Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces” seem more serious, and led to Forrest ruling that the plaintiffs indeed had standing to challenge NDAA.
The real threat of the NDAA, if not in practice for now, then definitely in precedent, was further strengthened by the fact that the government repeatedly refused to address Forrest’s concerns and confirm that the NDAA can or cannot be used against journalists like Hedges. Hedges was joined in his lawsuit by rabble-rousers Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, and other opponents of excessive government security state madness.
Today, under the shadow of massive riots throughout the Middle East, mostly directed toward America and its allies’ embassies, the Obama administration would like to remind us all that the power to indefinitely detain people is vital to national security,