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Military Detention Law Blocked by New York Judge

Opponents of a U.S. law they claim may subject them to indefinite military detention for activities including news reporting and political activism persuaded a federal judge to temporarily block the measure.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan yesterday ruled in favor of a group of writers and activists who sued President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Defense Department, claiming a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law Dec. 31, puts them in fear that they could be arrested and held by U.S. armed forces.

The complaint was filed Jan. 13 by a group including former New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges. The plaintiffs contend a section of the law allows for detention of citizens and permanent residents taken into custody in the U.S. on “suspicion of providing substantial support” to people engaged in hostilities against the U.S., such as al-Qaeda.

“The statute at issue places the public at undue risk of having their speech chilled for the purported protection from al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ‘associated forces’ - i.e., ‘foreign terrorist organizations,’” Forrest said in an opinion yesterday. “The vagueness of Section 1021 does not allow the average citizen, or even the government itself, to understand with the type of definiteness to which our citizens are entitled, or what conduct comes within its scope.”

Enforcement Blocked

Forrest’s order prevents enforcement of the provision of the statute pending further order of the court or an amendment to the statute by Congress.

Ellen Davis, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan, declined to comment on the ruling.

The plaintiffs claim Section 1021 is vague and can be read to authorize their detention based on speech and associations that are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Hedges and two other plaintiffs testified in a hearing before Forrest in March, the judge said. A fourth plaintiff submitted a sworn declaration. The government put on no evidence, Forrest said.

Forrest, an Obama appointee who has served on the Manhattan federal court since October, rejected the government’s arguments that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue over the law and that it merely reaffirmed provisions in an earlier law, the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which was passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Plaintiffs’ Activities

In her opinion, Forrest said the government declined to say that the activities of Hedges and the other defendants don’t fall under the provision. Forrest held a hearing in March at which government lawyers didn’t call any witnesses or present evidence, according to the judge. The government did cross- examine the plaintiffs who testified and submitted legal arguments.

“The government was given a number of opportunities at the hearing and in its briefs to state unambiguously that the type of expressive and associational activities engaged in by plaintiffs -- or others -- are not within Section 1021,” Forrest said. “It did not. This court therefore must credit the chilling impact on First Amendment rights as reasonable -- and real.”

Hedges, who testified he has been a foreign news correspondent for 20 years, said he has reported on 17 groups that are on a State Department list of terrorist groups. Hedges testified that after the law was passed, he changed his dealings with groups he had reported on, Forrest said.

“I think the ruling was not only correct, but courageous and important,” Hedges said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The case is Hedges v. Obama, 12-cv-00331, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporters on this story: Bob Van Voris in Manhattan federal court at; Patricia Hurtado in Manhattan federal court at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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Best news I've heard all year, even if it is probably temporary.

Bravi to Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, and everyone who signed onto the lawsuit. And to Judge Forrest, who actually did her duty and upheld the Constitution, something that's considered a radical act these days.

Now we just have to wait for Mr. Hopey Changey to fight it.

It is a great day for Human rights.   Glad to see some judges remember the Constitution, international human rights as taught in civics classes.  It s outrageous that citizens have sue the FASCIST CONGRESS, FASCIST PRESIDENTS, FASCIST JUDGES, to smack these Nazis in their place, to point out  that the whole of the Western Enlightenment, was the re affirmation that human rights are INHERENT, INDIVISIBLE, INDEPENDENT of fascist class systems, totalitarian systems, which Amerika and the world have morped into.

Still I am sure these FASCIST PROSECUTORS, arrogant Nazi thugs that think they don't even have to explain their fascist laws, will GO SHOPPING FOR FASCIST JUDGES, as they did in Sibel Edmonds's case, to cover up the criminality of Congressmen/women. (Read Classified Woman)   It is a temporary victory, against Western Fascism, as Obama continues to use the STATES SECRET ACT TO ENABLE HIS FASCISM.  His most recent ruling on Yemen, and demand that citizens do not obstruct support for a U.S. sponsored, Yemeni dictator and pronounced by the Fascist class whore, Hillary, a democratic outcome, is further proof that all class parties have slipped into totalitarianism


Obama’s New Free Speech Threat

An Executive order seeks to punish U.S. citizens even for "indirectly" obstructing dictatorial rule in Yemen

 Liberalism was born as a betraying class party corrupting  the Enlightenment and like all other class parties, have degenerated through endless class/Empire compromises into Western Fascism.   This round went to the reclamation of the Enlightenment principle, and gave BLACK EYES TO THE FASCIST OBAMA AND HIS FASCIST UNDERLINGS.   For this reason, African Amerikans need to get over Obama as a black President, and realize  as well that liberals have morphed into Fascists.  They fail to see that  ALL class whores/shills ARE ALL TROJAN HORSES, enabling Fascism.  Class parties pretending Social outcomes is Betrayal.    A  vote for Obama, any class party, anywhere in the world, is a vote for global fascist austerity, fascist capitalism, fascist Empire, fascist military alliances of the West.  Take down both class parties,  Liberalism and conservatism as they have become fascist class parties, through extreme degeneration.  VOTE ONLY FOR SOCIAL, GREEN, INDEPENDENT PARTIES AGAINST CAPITALISM AND FASCISM.   Talk about degeneration, we have a Congress of REPUBLICAN, FASCIST DUMBASSES, and duplicitous Fascist Democrats.   ALL FALSE CHOICES:

So A Comatose Guy and A Dead Guy Walk Into A Bar....


"Why We Need To Replace Much of Congress Dept: Rep. Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican up for re-election who has served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote a constituent a letter suggesting that peace in the Middle East depends on restarting negotiations between Yasir Arafat (who died in 2004) and Ariel Sharon (who has been in a coma since 2006) - or, as one observer noted, "between a vegetable and a dead man." A spokesman explained that responding to so many letters a year is "a complicated process."....."





While legal victories are important to fight totalitarianism, Fascism, it was the degeneration of class laws, already corrupted by designating support for the Orwellian, class/totalitarian principle born with class history/Patriarchy, that allowed Fascist Judges to uphold the legality of Fascism and its degenerating totalitarian laws.    Only constructing the complete independence, indivisible social principles, social justice, conditions for social forces accomplishes the critical mass, at the same time it dismantles the class hierarchies.  This deconstructs  the Historical class mechanism, Patriarchy,  by reclaiming the social historical mechanism that gives social forces, automatic, de facto control of social labor, hence social wealth, and the social means of production i.e. social control.

Within a class deformed system, class degeneration is inevitable, degrading already corrupt class laws into Fascist laws.  Both Glenn Greenwald and Democracy Now hosts, like Amy Goodman and others have pointed out the degradation of Congress , the Presidency, who have embraced totalitarian laws, Fascism itself.    While the fascist NDAA section of the law was swept aside, there are many other Fascist laws that have been put on the books, degrading Humanity into enslavement and totatliarianism/Fascism:

Journalist, Plaintiff Chris Hedges Hails "Monumental" Ruling Blocking NDAA Indefinite Detention (video)


"......AMY GOODMAN: Earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was booed at a Republican debate when he defended Obama’s approval of the NDAA bill.

KELLY EVANS: Governor Romney, as president, would you have signed the National Defense Act, as written?

MITT ROMNEY: Yes, I would have. And I do believe that it’s appropriate to have in our nation the capacity to detain people who are threats to this country, who are members of al-Qaeda. Look, you have every right in this country to protest and to express your views on a wide range of issues, but you don’t have a right to join a group that has challenged America and has threatened killing Americans, has killed Americans and has declared war against America. That’s treason. And in this country, we have a right to take those people and put them in jail.

AMY GOODMAN: So that’s Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. And, of course, President Obama signed this bill. So, Chris Hedges, talk about the response even behind the scenes that you heard, the booing, that came from probably supporters of several of the presidential candidates.

CHRIS HEDGES: Well, at least two. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul were quite outspoken against the National Defense Authorization Act or this section, Section 1021. And, you know, what’s interesting is, when you look at the polls, there’s almost no support for this piece of legislation at all. I think it’s about 70 percent oppose it. And yet, of course, once again, it passes with bipartisan support. The bill was sponsored by Carl Levin, a Democrat, and John McCain, a Republican. When Dianne Feinstein tried to insert language into the bill that would have exempted U.S. citizens from this process, it was rejected by both the Democratic Party and the Obama White House. And so, I think this is another window into not only the sort of steady assault against civil liberties, whether that’s the use of the Espionage Act, the FISA Amendment Act, the Authorization to Use Military Force Act itself, the PATRIOT Act. And what makes what happened yesterday so monumental is that, finally, we have a federal judge who stands up for the rule of law.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, President Obama signed it......

AMY GOODMAN: Chris Hedges, where do you go from here?

CHRIS HEDGES: I think that, you know, this is a never-ending battle. The security and surveillance state has already boxed us in, those of us who don’t conform to the official narrative. And this was a tremendous victory, but there are still important issues to be fought. The Espionage Act is a good one, the Authorization to Use Military Force Act itself, the PATRIOT Act, the refusal to restore habeas corpus, of course the FISA Amendment Act, the warrantless wiretapping. There are still other issues that those of us who care about an open democracy have to go out and fight for...."


Glenn Greewald had this to say:

Federal court enjoins NDAA

An Obama-appointed judge rules its indefinite detention provisions likely violate the 1st and 5th Amendments


"The court concluded by taking note of what is indeed the extraordinary nature of her ruling, but explained it this way:

This Court is acutely aware that preliminarily enjoining an act of Congress must be done with great caution. However, it is the responsibility of our judicial system to protect the public from acts of Congress which infringe upon constitutional rights.

I’ve been very hard on the federal judiciary in the past year due to its shameful, craven deference in the post-9/11 world to executive power and, especially, attempts to prosecute Muslims on Terrorism charges. But this is definitely an exception to that trend. This is an extraordinary and encouraging decision. All the usual caveats apply: this is only a preliminary injunction (though the court made it clear that she believes plaintiffs will ultimately prevail). It will certainly be appealed and can be reversed. There are still other authorities (including the AUMF) which the DOJ can use to assert the power of indefinite detention. Nonetheless, this is a rare and significant limit placed on the U.S. Government’s ability to seize ever-greater powers of detention-without-charges, and it is grounded in exactly the right constitutional principles: ones that federal courts and the Executive Branch have been willfully ignoring for the past decade...."



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