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Chris Hedges: Why I’m suing Barack Obama over NDAA

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The counter-assault continues.

NDAA, if you recall, is the National Defense Authorization Act, the bill that Barack Obama signed as his personal gift to a sleeping nation on New Years Eve. It authorized indefinite detention of U.S. citizens by the military — since the battlefield is everywhere, you can be arrested anywhere. You read that right.

There has been quite the groundswell of reaction, including at our site. Here's the latest, from Chris Hedges (my emphasis and some reparagraphing):

Why I’m Suing Barack Obama

Attorneys Carl J. Mayer and Bruce I. Afran filed a complaint Friday in the Southern U.S. District Court in New York City on my behalf as a plaintiff against Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the Authorization for Use of Military Force as embedded in the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by the president Dec. 31.

The act authorizes the military in Title X, Subtitle D, entitled “Counter-Terrorism,” for the first time in more than 200 years, to carry out domestic policing.

With this bill, which will take effect March 3, the military can indefinitely detain without trial any U.S. citizen deemed to be a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism. And suspects can be shipped by the military to our offshore penal colony in Guantanamo Bay and kept there until “the end of hostilities.” It is a catastrophic blow to civil liberties.
Hedges, a veteran war reporter (and one of the best before he stopped), then talks about his experience in countries with "military gulags":
I spent many years in countries where the military had the power to arrest and detain citizens without charge. 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. ...

I met regularly with leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. I used to visit Palestine Liberation Organization leaders, including Yasser Arafat and Abu Jihad, in Tunis when they were branded international terrorists. I have spent time with the Revolutionary Guard in Iran and was in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey with fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. All these entities were or are labeled as terrorist organizations by the U.S. government. What would this bill have meant if it had been in place when I and other Americans traveled in the 1980s with armed units of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua or the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front guerrillas in El Salvador?

What would it have meant for those of us who were with the southern insurgents during the civil war in Yemen or the rebels in the southern Sudan? I have had dinner more times than I can count with people whom this country brands as terrorists. But that does not make me one.
To that last question, I can answer the implied answer ("Well, we would not have arrested you") with two words — selective enforcement. What better way than selective enforcement to achieve this goal:
But I suspect the real purpose of this bill is to thwart internal, domestic movements that threaten the corporate state. ...
Please do read the whole thing.

As he says, the gesture may be quixotic; but if you don't push back, you lose for sure. Thank you for your service.

[Update: Fixed bad link.]


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