It was bound to happen. It seemed as though it just had to happen. It can now be reported that President Barack Obama has been sued by Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges over the unconstitutional National Defense Authorization Act.
On December 31, Obama signed the NDAA, a piece of legislation that allows the U.S. military to detain American citizens indefinitely and without trial at off-site prisons.
Obama seemed hesitant to sign the act, and included a signing statement insisting that, while the NDAA does grant him the power to detain U.S. citizens, that doesn’t mean he will actually do so…because, well, you can just take his word for it.
The President wrote that his administration “will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.”
That statement wasn’t enough to satisfy Hedges.
In a blog post published today, Hedges announces that he’s taking Obama to court, and adds that his team of attorneys will challenge the president over the legality of the Authorization for Use of Military Force, a provision found within the confines of the NDAA.
In his post, Hedges says the signing deals “a catastrophic blow to civil liberties.”
“I spent many years in countries where the military had the power to arrest and detain citizens without charge,” writes Hedges. “I have been in some of these jails. I have friends and colleagues who have ‘disappeared’ into military gulags. I know the consequences of granting sweeping and unrestricted policing power to the armed forces of any nation. And while my battle may be quixotic, it is one that has to be fought if we are to have any hope of pulling this country back from corporate fascism.”
Hedges goes on to mention that the vague wording throughout the NDAA makes for an almost open-ended scenario for the government to snatch up anyone put them behind bars.
Under the statutes of the NDAA, the military can enforce indefinite detention upon any citizen “who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States.”
As Hedges points out, groups such as “associated forces” are never defined, nor are statements such as “substantially supported.”
“I have had dinner more times than I can count with people whom this country brands as terrorists,” writes Hedges. “But that does not make me one.” Still, any association with a group branded as such could lead authorities to indefinitely detain someone without trial.
“I suspect the real purpose of this bill is to thwart internal, domestic movements that threaten the corporate state,” says Hedges. “The definition of a terrorist is already so amorphous under the Patriot Act that there are probably a few million Americans who qualify to be investigated if not locked up.” Taken together, those two pieces of legislation could spell disaster.
“I suspect it passed because the corporations, seeing the unrest in the streets, knowing that things are about to get much worse, worrying that the Occupy movement will expand, do not trust the police to protect them,” concludes Hedges.
“They want to be able to call in the Army. And now they can.”
What do you think? Will Hedges lawsuit be successful?
- Obama Signs NDAA ‘with Reservations’ (blippitt.com)
- Obama sued over NDAA (occupyblogosphere.wordpress.com)
- Obama Demanded NDAA Include Americans for Indefinite Detainment (usapartisan.com)
- Chris Hedges: Why I’m suing Barack Obama over NDAA (americablog.com)