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Fri May 18, 2012, 09:02 PM

Naomi Wolf in The Guardian: The NDAA's section 1021 coup d'etat foiled

One brave judge is all that lay between us and a law that would have given the president power to detain US citizens indefinitely

On Wednesday 16 May, at about 4pm, the republic of the United States of America was drawn back – at least for now – from a precipice that would have plunged our country into moral darkness. One brave and principled newly-appointed judge ruled against a law that would have brought the legal powers of the authorities of Guantánamo home to our own courthouses, streets and backyards.

US district judge Katherine Forrest, in New York City's eastern district, found that section 1021 – the key section of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – which had been rushed into law amid secrecy and in haste on New Year's Eve 2011, bestowing on any president the power to detain US citizens indefinitely, without charge or trial, "facially unconstitutional". Forrest concluded that the law does indeed have, as the journalists and peaceful activists who brought the lawsuit against the president and Leon Panetta have argued, a "chilling impact on first amendment rights". Her ruling enjoins that section of the NDAA from becoming law.

In her written opinion, the judge noted that she had been persuaded by what the lead plaintiffs – who include Pulitzer prize-winner Chris Hedges of the Nation Institute, editor Jennifer Bolen of RevolutionTruth, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, co-founder of Occupy London Kai Wargalla, Days of Rage editor Alexa O'Brien, and the Icelandic parliamentarian and WikiLeaks activist Birgitta Jónsdóttir – had argued. In their testimonies (in court and by affidavit), these plaintiffs compiled a persuasive case that they had "standing" to sue because it was reasonable for them to worry that they could conceivably could be detained indefinitely under the section 1021 law because their work requires them to have contact with sources the US government might assert were "terrorists" or "associated forces" of al-Qaida.

snip

This upholding of the US constitution and the rule of law is a triumphant moment, but a fragile one: Judge Forrest has asked Congress to clarify the language protecting America's right to trial and the first amendment's protections on speech and assembly. And now, Thursday, Representatives Adam Smith (Democrat, Washington) and Justin Amash (Republican, Michigan) have presented an amendment to Congress an amendment that does just that. Those who vote against it therefore will be voting clearly, and without any ambiguity, for stripping Americans of their constitutional rights and reducing them to the same potential status as "enemy combatants" and Guantánamo prisoners. The House thus votes for or against the power handed to the executive by the NDAA to hold any of us, anywhere, forever, for no reason. There can be no hiding from this; the lawyers defending the administration's position made that perfectly clear.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/may/17/ndaa-section-1021-coup-detat-foiled

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Response to JohnyCanuck (Original post)

Fri May 18, 2012, 09:08 PM

1. As ever, we must root for the few remaining valiant judges to rein in an out-of-control Executive

n/t

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Response to villager (Reply #1)

Fri May 18, 2012, 11:28 PM

12. And a Congress too busy counting its money to do its job. n/t

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Response to JohnyCanuck (Original post)

Fri May 18, 2012, 09:34 PM

2. New 2013 NDAA has the same provision for indefinite detention, but......

Attorney Carl Mayer, one of the lawyers acting for the plaintiffs, says that because the judge ruled that this provision in the 2012 NDAA was unconstitutional, it cannot be legally valid under the new, 2013 NDAA law either.

#!

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Response to JohnyCanuck (Reply #2)

Fri May 18, 2012, 09:56 PM

5. That lawyer is a hero also. There really are people out there every day, standing up for our

rights. Too bad our elected representatives are not among them most of the time.

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Response to JohnyCanuck (Original post)

Fri May 18, 2012, 09:41 PM

3. Woo-hoo! Thank you, Chris Hedges, Jennifer Bolen, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg,

Kai Wargalla, Alexa O'Brien, Birgitta Jónsdóttir!!!

You are heroes!

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Response to JohnyCanuck (Original post)

Fri May 18, 2012, 09:53 PM

4. Saw that on RT earlier. We owe this judge a debt of gratitude. However, despite his ruling

or maybe TO spite his ruling, Congress passed that vile piece of legislation anyhow.

The President promised to veto it, but apparently has since changed his mind. He has also stated, in an admission of how vile it is, that he will issue a signing statement to the effect that his administration will not use it. I don't get this. What protection for US Citizens is a signing statement, when he has the power to stop this with a veto??

This is one of the worst attacks on Civil Liberties ever. Kiss Habeas Corpus goodbye.

But thank you to this judge for his ruling and shame on Congress for what they did today.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #4)

Fri May 18, 2012, 09:59 PM

7. Ah, but...

the judge is of the female persuasion.

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Response to Oilwellian (Reply #7)

Fri May 18, 2012, 10:16 PM

8. Thanks, I just heard a report on the ruling and realized it was a woman. Kudos to her

for standing up for the Constitution.

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Response to JohnyCanuck (Original post)

Fri May 18, 2012, 09:57 PM

6. This is the best news...

I've read all week.

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Response to JohnyCanuck (Original post)

Fri May 18, 2012, 10:32 PM

9. God, not this shit again. But then it's Naomi Wolf.

The woman who's openly gotten caught fabricating stuff when facts didn't suit her op-ed.

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Response to JohnyCanuck (Original post)

Fri May 18, 2012, 11:23 PM

10. K & R!

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Response to JohnyCanuck (Original post)

Fri May 18, 2012, 11:27 PM

11. Imho, it's too soon to say it failed. n/t

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Response to JohnyCanuck (Original post)

Fri May 18, 2012, 11:36 PM

13. Why the Guardian? why not the NYT or WaPo? nt

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Response to JohnyCanuck (Original post)

Fri May 18, 2012, 11:53 PM

14. K&R. nt

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Response to JohnyCanuck (Original post)

Fri May 18, 2012, 11:55 PM

15. HUGE K & R !!! - Thank You !!!




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Response to JohnyCanuck (Original post)

Sat May 19, 2012, 12:23 AM

16. Color me surprised

I didn't think there was a judge left on the federal bench who would find a citizen had standing to bring suit against one of these repressive, unconstitutional laws. Of course, it took nearly 10 years last time to overturn some of the worst excesses of HUAC and SISS. By that time thousands of people had had their lives ended or ruined, and tens of thousands more were affected. All the while, there was no shortage of good, sensible liberals merely tut-tutting or outright cheering the motherfuckers on.

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Response to JohnyCanuck (Original post)

Sat May 19, 2012, 12:48 AM

17. What are the chances the government will appeal this decision? They have 60 days to show their

hand. If they do, it gives us a good clue as to what our government plans to do with domestic dissenters.

edited to add the following from NDAA: Indefinite detention stopped? Not so fast:

snip

For now, more than 6 billion citizens of foreign nations can still be handcuffed and hauled away to a military prison without ever being brought to trial. This week’s decision may protect Americans from that provision, but unfortunately does nothing to spare both foreign reporters and civilians from a life of imprisonment.

The judge’s ruling comes, coincidentally, at the same time that the US House Armed Services Committee has passed next year’s National Defense Authorization Act. Congress is expected to begin voting on amendments for next year’s NDAA as early as this this week, but during Wednesday’s opening debates it was revealed that indefinite detention is already included once again in the bill.

http://rt.com/usa/news/ndaa-indefinite-detention-judge-500/

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