(Reuters) - A judge on Wednesday blocked enforcement of a recently
enacted law's provision that authorizes indefinite military detention
for those deemed to have "substantially supported" al Qaeda, the Taliban
or "associated forces."
District Judge Katherine
Forrest in Manhattan ruled in favor of a group of civilian activists and
journalists who said they feared being detained under a section of the
law, which was signed by President Barack Obama in December 2011.
"In the face of what could be indeterminate military detention, due process requires more," the judge said.
added that it was in the public interest to reconsider the law so that
"ordinary citizens are able to understand the scope of conduct that
could subject them to indefinite military detention."
issuing a preliminary injunction, the judge prevents the U.S.
government from enforcing section 1021 of the National Defense
Authorization Act's "Homeland Battlefield" provisions.
spokeswoman for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office, which represents
the government in this case, declined to comment on the ruling.
day-long oral arguments in March, Forrest heard lawyers for former New
York Times war correspondent and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges and
others argue that the law would have a "chilling effect" on their work.
Hedges and others be detained for contacting al Qaeda or the Taliban as
reporters?" Forrest asked the government at the hearing.
judge said she worried at the government's reluctance at the March
hearing to specify whether examples of the plaintiffs' activities - such
as aiding the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in the case of Brigitta
Jonsdottir, a member of parliament in Iceland - would fall under the
scope of the provision.
be able to make such a representation... requires the court to assume
that, in fact, the government takes the position that a wide swath of
expressive and associational conduct is in fact encompassed by 1021,"
the judge wrote.
Hedges called the
ruling "courageous" but said the judge "did what she was supposed to
do" given that "the law is so clearly unconstitutional."
government bullshited that section 1021 could not be singled out as being a
new part of the 2011 law. Section 1021 should instead be considered "an
affirmation" of the resolution passed in 2001 authorizing the use of
force following the September 11, 2001 attacks. ???????????????