News Release

Indefinite Detention and “Why I’m Suing Barack Obama”

At last night’s GOP debate, moderator Kelly Evans asked: “Governor Romney, when President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, he enacted a provision allowing him to indefinitely detain American citizens in U.S. military custody, many, including Congressman Paul, have called it unconstitutional. At the same time the bill did provide money to continue funding U.S. troops. Governor Romney, as president, would you have signed the National Defense Act as written?”

Governor Romney: “Yes, I would have. And I do believe that it is appropriate to have in our nation the capacity to detain people who are threats to this country…”

Rick Santorum took issue with Romney’s statement: “…If you are a citizen and you are being held indefinitely, then you have the right to go to a federal court … That is a standard that should be maintained and I would maintain that standard as president…”

Ron Paul added: “Now with the military appropriations defense act, this — this is — this is major. This says that the military can arrest an American citizen for [being] under suspicion, and he can be held indefinitely, without habeas corpus, and be denied a lawyer indefinitely even in a prison here.” Transcript:  and video at 1:31:

CHRIS HEDGES,  hedgesscoop at aol.com,
Available for a limited number of interviews, Hedges recently wrote the piece “Why I’m Suing Barack Obama,” which states: “Attorneys Carl J. Mayer and Bruce I. Afran filed a complaint Friday in the Southern U.S. District Court in New York City on my behalf as a plaintiff against Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the Authorization for Use of Military Force as embedded in the latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by the president Dec. 31.

“The act authorizes the military in Title X, Subtitle D, entitled ‘Counter-Terrorism,’ for the first time in more than 200 years, to carry out domestic policing. With this bill, which will take effect March 3, the military can indefinitely detain without trial any U.S. citizen deemed to be a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism. And suspects can be shipped by the military to our offshore penal colony in Guantanamo Bay and kept there until ‘the end of hostilities.’ It is a catastrophic blow to civil liberties.

“I spent many years in countries where the military had the power to arrest and detain citizens without charge. I have been in some of these jails. I have friends and colleagues who have ‘disappeared’ into military gulags. I know the consequences of granting sweeping and unrestricted policing power to the armed forces of any nation.”

Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded a Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism in 2002.  His books include Death of the Liberal Class and Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.