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Obama Fights to Continue Indefinite Detentions, NDAA

- Common Dreams staff

The US government filed an "emergency stay" with the US Second District Court on Monday, in a bid to maintain its ability to indefinitely detain any person without charge or trial.

US President Barack Obama speaks before signing the National Defense Authorization Act (Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images) The move comes as a desperate attempt to lift last week's federal court ruling in which Judge Katherine Forrest ruled against a provision of the US National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which allows the military to apprehend anyone, including US citizens, who may be assumed to be a terrorist, or affiliated with terrorists, and in turn detain them indefinitely.

The law, signed by Obama, lead to a lawsuit, which was filed by a large group of journalists and activists, spearheaded by journalist Chris Hedges, who argued that the law was unconstitutional and a threat to free speech.

Forrest's ruling maintained that the indefinite detention provision was unconstitutional; however, the ruling was immediately appealed by the Obama administration.

On Monday, the Justice Department filed an emergency "immediate administrative stay" to allow the US government to immediately retain the ability to indefinitely detain until an appeal on the ruling is heard.

Forrest said she would not rule on the "immediate administrative stay" until Wednesday.

"The request by the government to keep the law on the books during the appeal process raises a disturbing question. If the administration is this anxious to restore this section of the NDAA, is it because the Obama government has already used it? Or does it have plans to use the section in the immediate future?" states Chris Hedges in a recent article for Truthdig.com.

He continues:

The decision to vigorously fight Forrest’s ruling is a further example of the Obama White House’s steady and relentless assault against civil liberties, an assault that is more severe than that carried out by George W. Bush. Obama has refused to restore habeas corpus. He supports the FISA Amendment Act, which retroactively makes legal what under our Constitution has traditionally been illegal—warrantless wire tapping, eavesdropping and monitoring directed against U.S. citizens. He has used the Espionage Act six times against whistle-blowers who have exposed government crimes, including war crimes, to the public. He interprets the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act as giving him the authority to assassinate U.S. citizens, as he did the cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. And now he wants the right to use the armed forces to throw U.S. citizens into military prisons, where they will have no right to a trial and no defined length of detention.

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