The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a United States federal law that is passed each year by Congress. Basically, the NDAA specifies the budget and expenditures of the US military in the coming year. President Obama signed the NDAA 2012 into law on New Year’s Eve, hoping that it would get lost in the celebrations. This was because the NDAA 2012 contains a controversial clause, section 1021, that allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial (you can find one of my posts about it here). Obama needn’t have worried, because the largely corporate controlled media don’t report much news anymore, even a story as big as American citizens having their civil liberties removed. Incidentally, it should be noted that both Republicans and Democrats in Congress voted overwhealmingly for the NDAA 2012. Also, Obama threatened to veto the Act, not because of any qualms about human rights or civil liberties, but because he wanted the power to detain America citizens without trial to be held by the office of the President, and not Congress.
Fortunately, some Americans are still awake: journalist Christopher Hedges, activist and author Naomi Wolf, Noam Chomsky and others filed a lawsuit against President Obama, and on Wednesday, Katherine Forrest, a New York District judge, ruled that section 1021 was unlawful, adding that it could have a “chilling impact on First Amendment rights” (see here). I’m afraid it’s still not the time to open champagne and toast democracy and freedom, because it’s taken the best part of five months to get this lawsuit through, and the US Government still has two months in which to appeal against it (and by appointing the right judges they have every chance of being successful). In the meantime, on Thursday the lunatics on Capitol Hill voted through the NDAA 2013, which has exactly the same provision that allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial. Once again, both Republicans and Democrats voted for it. The NDAA 2013 is even worse than the 2012 one, because it also paves the way for a war with Iran (see here).
Us lot in the rest of the world can only watch in horror as events unfold in America. The land of the free is not so slowly turning into a corporate police state that thrives on endless war.