Pentagon papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, attorney for CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou, Jesslyn Radack, filmmaker Michael Moore, RevolutionTruth Executive Director and NDAA Case Coordinator Tangerine Bolen and journalist Alexa O’Brien, each supporters or plaintiffs in the Hedges v. Obama lawsuit challenging the controversial indefinite detention provision set forth in § 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), will address the U.S. government’s assault on civil liberties under the NDAA in a discussion at 5pm this Wednesday, February 6th at The Culture Project, 45 Bleecker St, NYC.
Seeking to create mainstream dialog about this landmark court battle the NDAA plaintiffs and supporters will present this once-in-a-lifetime panel discussion moderated by Matt Sledge of The Huffington Post and people’s champ Natasha Lennard of Salon.com. Attendees will be offered an up-close look at this transformative year-long court battle and what is driving the Obama administration as they continue to appeal Judge Katherine Forrest’s historic September 15th, 2012 ruling in favor of the plaintiffs.
On Wednesday morning at 10am the plaintiffs are due back in Federal Appeals Court to present oral arguments against the suspension of constitutional protections under the indefinite detention provision. They will be challenged by President Barack Obama’s lawyers who will advocate for the provision, and in a bizarre twist, will also be challenged by Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Kelly Ayotte who collectively have been granted a 5-minute oral argument by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. This panel will serve in-part as a debrief to the media and public of what transpired in the 2nd Circuit earlier that morning.
[New York, NY] A lawsuit over a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will be back in federal court at 10am on February 6, 2013, awaiting decision on an injunction prohibiting indefinite detention of civilians without charge or trial. A group of academics, journalists, and activists filed suit last year over § 1021(b)(2) of the NDAA alleging that the provision suspended due process rights and threatened first amendment protections.
In a landmark ruling last September the plaintiffs —former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges, RevolutionTruth founder Jennifer “Tangerine” Bolen, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, linguist and author Noam Chomsky, Icelandic Parliamentarian Brigitta Jonsdottir, US Day of Rage founder Alexa O’Brien, and Occupy London activist Kai Wargalla— were awarded a permanent, worldwide injunction against the provision by Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of NY (2nd Circuit). In her ruling Judge Forrest, an Obama appointee, challenged the Justice Department attorneys for refusing to provide assurances that journalists and activists would not be indefinitely detained under the provision for exercising first amendment rights:
“Not once in any of its submissions in this action or at either the March or August hearings has the Government said, ‘First Amendment activities are not covered and could never be encompassed by § 1021(b)(2). This Court rejects the Government’s suggestion that American citizens can be placed in military detention indefinitely, for acts they could not predict might subject them to detention, and have as their sole remedy a habeas petition…That scenario dispenses with a number of guaranteed rights.”
Despite including a signing statement expressing deep reservations over the “indefinite detention provision” and promising not to use such powers against American citizens, President Obama immediately appealed Judge Forrest’s ruling, and sought an emergency stay on the injunction, claiming “irreparable harm” would be incurred by the US if the government lacked the ability to indefinitely detain civilians under section 1021.
[New York, NY] Judge Katherine Forrest ruled yesterday that the so-called “indefinite detention” provision (subsection 1021) of the fiscal 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) violates the Constitution and issued a permanent injunction against its application.
The law would have allowed the military to indefinitely detain civilians without charge or trial if they are accused of certain crimes, or even accused of associations with certain listed forces. Judge Forrest in her ruling reaffirmed that to criminalize one’s associative conduct in this manner could chill the first amendment protections of journalists who may want to conduct interviews with individuals listed by the government as extremists.
The lead plaintiff in this lawsuit is former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges. He is joined by six others, including Noam Chomsky and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg.
“This is a tremendous victory for the rule of law and the right of all U.S. citizens, regardless of their ideological persuasions, to be afforded due process. It restores the two century ban on the use of the military by the state for domestic policing. Judge Katherine Forrest, in an era when federal judges often seem to issue rulings about why they cannot implement the law, has with this injunction restored one of our most cherished Constitutional rights. The Obama administration will no doubt appeal this decision. We will continue to fight back. It is not over yet. But I, and I hope all Americans, can sleep a little more easily tonight,” said Chris Hedges this morning when asked about Judge Forrest’s ruling.