People may recall that lower court judge Katherine Forrest ruled against the Obama administration in the lawsuit Hedges vs Barrack Obama, which claimed that the indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) violates important protections guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. In addition to Hedges, the plaintiffs consist of  six other journalists, activists and whistleblowers, including Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg and Icelandic Member of Parliament Brigitta Jonsdottir (who had her Twitter account details seized by the FBI a few months ago).

The Obama administration appealed the ruling, and hearings were held last week in a Manhattan appeals court. The court has indicated they are unlikely to rule until the Supreme Court rules on a similar case involving warrantless wiretapping - Clapper vs. Amnesty International - in which Hedges is also a plaintiff.

The provision at the heart of the lawsuit is 1021(b)(2), which allows the military to detain people who have “substantially supported al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces . . . without trial until the end of hostilities.” This could mean indefinitely as Obama clearly views the war on terror as an open-ended war to protect US interests in the Middle East and Africa.

A recent article in Business Insider by Michael Kelley reports on a panel discussion the plaintiffs held after the hearings ended last Wednesday:

During the discussion, attorney Carl Meyer states

“In broad terms, the stakes are very high because what our case comes do to is: Are we going to have a civil justice system in the United States or a military justice system? The civil justice system is something that’s ingrained in the Constitution and was always very important in combating tyranny and building a democratic society.”

He leaves no doubt that by allowing the military to detain US residents in military prisons, the NDAA totally negates fundamental provisions of the US Constitution.

Read more: here



photo credit: Shrieking Tree via photopin cc