NDAA plaintiffs fear US citizens already in military detention

A group of journalists and activists took to content sharing site Reddit on Friday to answer questions on their lawsuit against President Obama’s indefinite detention act. In his responses, one of the plaintiffs, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, said he believed that there are already U.S. citizens held in military detention by the U.S. at home and abroad.

Chris Hedges and Daniel Ellsberg are among the six plaintiffs (others include Noam Chomsky and Naomi Wolf) who recently won a permanent block from a federal judge against the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) and its provision to allow the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens. The Obama administration’s attorneys immediately filed an appeal to overturn the judge’s decision.

Responding to a Reddit questioner who asked why the plaintiffs thought Obama was so swift to challenge the injunction, Hedges responded that it raised a “red flag” – suggesting that the administration was already in violation of the injunction. Hedges wrote:

Since they [the Obama administration] 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 U.S. citizens, probably dual nationals, are being held in military detention facilities almost certainly overseas and maybe at home.

Last December, President Barack Obama signed the NDAA into law, though explained his hesitation to support the bill due to the indefinite detention provision allowing the U.S. government the ability to detain suspected terrorists (including American citizens) without charge, trial, or basic human rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Salon

FACTS & FIGURES

A federal appeals judge gave the Obama administration the OK to keep enforcing its indefinite detention policy Tuesday, September 18, issuing a temporary stay of a ruling that had found the practice unconstitutional.

The stay, issued by Judge Raymond Lohier of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, lasts until Sept. 28, when a three-judge appellate panel will hear the case.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, who sits in the Southern District of New York, had ruled against the administration, issuing a permanent injunction against section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 on the grounds that it violates the First and Fifth Amendments.

The law allows the executive branch to hold without trial any person, including Americans, “who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces.”

President Obama and the federal government were sued by a group of activists and journalists, including former New York Times writer Chris Hedges, academic Noam Chomsky and activist reporter Tangerine Bolen. The Huffington Post

Speaking about his lawsuit against the U.S. government over its claim that it may indefinitely imprison anyone it believes to be involved in terrorism, Chris Hedges warned that the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is already having a “chilling” effect on the serious practice of journalism. Raw Story

That’s because under the NDAA, anyone connected to al-Qaeda or “associated forces” can be captured and spirited away without charge or trial — which Hedges said poses a problem for conflict zone journalists in the event that they attempt to do their job and communicate with individuals on both sides of the fighting. (RawStory.com)

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