In the alphabet soup of tyranny, the letters “N.D.A.A” have become infamous as one of the disturbing pieces of legislation passed in recent times. We’ve covered this bill, the provisions of which allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens without charge for the mere suspicion of “supporting terrorists”, and the attempts to combat it quite extensively here. While several states have attempted to nullify the NDAA at the local level, today a major development occurred in the battle against the indefinite detention at the federal level.
Earlier this afternoon a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against the indefinite detention provisions of the recently passed law. This was part of a lawsuit filed in a NY Federal Court by, amongst others, journalist Christopher Hedges and famous whistleblower (“The Pentagon Papers”) Daniel Ellsburg. In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest correctly pointed out that the law doesn’t pass “constitutional muster” , and cited concerns for not only the Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights – which guarantee due process for citizens – but also the First Amendment.
“There is a strong public interest in protecting rights guaranteed by the First Amendment…”Tthere is also a strong public interest in ensuring that due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment are protected by ensuring that ordinary citizens are able to understand the scope of conduct that could subject them to indefinite military detention.”
The main crux of her argument is that is impossible for someone to know when they would be violating the law and therefore be subject to indefinite detention. For example, a journalist such as Hedges could interview a suspected Al Qaeda leader and publish it. The government could then interpret this as giving this terrorist “support”, and whisk Hedges off under the cover of night, never to be seen again. According to the NDAA, Hedges would have no recourse, no ability to see a lawyer or hear any charges against him, and even be tortured!
The fight against the NDAA and indefinite detention is surely not over. There is no doubt the Obama Administration will fight this ruling and it may very well end up in the Supreme Court eventually. It is important to keep our guard up and continue to press for the full repeal of these provisions. Luckily Congressman Adam Smith (D) is trying to do just that and has introduced an Amendment that would do just that and require that any suspected terrorists by tried in civilian court. A certain Texas Congressman running for President even joined him in support.
The encroaching police state is certainly not going away overnight, but small victories like this show us that it is not an inevitability. French politician and philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville once said “In democracy we get the government we deserve”. And if we keep fighting for our freedom, we will get a government that must respect it.