The ability of the U.S. government to jail people without charge or trial is back in court. A group of reporters, scholars and activists — including Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges — are suing the Obama administration over the controversial provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, saying it could allow for the indefinite detention of journalists and others who interact with certain groups.
On Wednesday, the Justice Department asked an appeals court to reverse a judge’s earlier decision blocking indefinite detention, saying the ruling would hamper its ability to fight terrorism. The Obama administration has already won an emergency freeze of the ruling while the case is appealed. Plaintiffs Tangerine Bolen and Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon whistleblower, spoke outside the courthouse on Wednesday.
Tangerine Bolen: "We’re trying to get people across the country to stand with us because this is the thin line between the last of our fundamental civil liberties. The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) rolls back our rights to pre-Magna Carta days. Due process, we’ve had that for the last 800 years. It’s really basic. If you are for the U.S. Constitution, you should support our case."
Daniel Ellsberg: "I think that our Constitution has been under assault for 10 years now — mostly covertly. At first, they simply lied they were doing it, that they weren’t torturing anybody; weren’t sending anybody to rendition. Now, they’re openly proclaiming it. I think they’ve laid down the gauge here, laid down the challenge to the American public as a whole."