by Scott Creighton
In a developing story, a U.S. District Judge, Katherine Forrest, has declared unconstitutional an extremely controversial part of the 2012 NDAA which declared that the entire world was part of the global battlefield in the still ongoing “Global War on Terror” which Barack Obama signed into law on Dec. 31st, 2011.
This is part of an ongoing lawsuit brought by Chris Hedges and other journalists and scholars who worried that the language of the Homeland Battlefield Act was purposefully vague and could ensnare journalists and activists in a military crackdown on terrorist organizations or those who support them (MeK anyone?) without them even knowing it was happening of that they were considered to be aiding the organizations simply by writing about them.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan said in a written ruling that a single page of the law has a “chilling impact on First Amendment rights” for journalists and others. She cited testimony by journalists that they feared their association with certain individuals overseas could result in their arrest because a provision of the law subjects anyone who “substantially” or “directly” provides “support” to forces such as al-Qaida or the Taliban can be detained indefinitely. She said the wording was too vague and encouraged Congress to change it.
“An individual could run the risk of substantially supporting or directly supporting an associated force without even being aware that he or she was doing so,” the judge said.
She called the fears of journalists in particular real and reasonable.” Associated Press
The judge then put a finer point on it…
“She said the law also gave the government authority to move against individuals who engage in political speech with views that “may be extreme and unpopular as measured against views of an average individual.
“That, however, is precisely what the First Amendment protects,” Forrest wrote.” ABC news
This ruling is going to have massive ramifications in a very short period of time. First of all as Bloomberg News points out, there are still several ways this small victory can be stolen from us.
“Forrest’s order prevents enforcement of the provision of the statute pending further order of the court or an amendment to the statute by Congress.” Bloomberg News
There can and probably will be a ruling in a higher court that overturns her ruling or congress, that backstabbing slab of ingrates, could provide some kind of addendum to the statute which effectively does the same thing (till it goes to court again and loses)
Obviously, as a dissident writer who champions the cause of Palestinians, Libyans, Syrians alike, I am relieved to some degree to see this development take place. Not just because it protects our rights which have been under constant assault over the last decade and a half, but because it also is going to harm another aspect of the fraudulent GWOT: the internal destabilization campaign taking place inside this country.
Part of what these criminals have been doing over the past 100 years or so is to destabilize unfavorable political systems so that they can remake them in the fashion which they prefer, namely “free-market” neoliberal oligarchies run by puppet regimes for the direct advantage of various Western corporations. In order to do this they have an entire arm of the military involved in what they call “unconventional warfare” which consists of everything from running white propaganda campaigns (election fixing or undermining actual, legitimate elections (Iran, Russia)) to terrorist destabilization campaigns (using mercenaries to spread fear and chaos in targeted countries (Nicaragua, Libya, Syria))
Yes, you know all of that, but what you don’t understand is that these NGOs and CIA contractors who runs these kinds of operations are forbidden by law to operate these kinds of actions inside the United States. That is, they WERE prohibited from doing so, until Obama signed the NDAA 2012 act in the dead of night on New Years Eve.
It’s not just the fact that they could round up dissidents and lock them up because they didn’t like what they were writing that bothered me, but rather, I know that since the law declared all the world a battlefield including the United States, that opened the doors for them to operated inside the country.
This ruling blocks those companies and contractors from running either White Ops or Black Ops inside the country. I don’t know what other ramifications it will have, but when the president signed a law declaring the U.S. was part of the battlefield, and knowing what they do on other country’s battlefields (renditions, drone strikes, midnight raids, torture, ect.) I breath a sigh of relief over this if only just a bit and if only for just a short while.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest needs to be commended as well as the plaintiffs who brought the case to the courts in the first place including Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky (I think).