A federal judge has ruled unconstitutional portions of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which provided for indefinite imprisonment for journalists and activists who reported on organizations deemed ‘terrorist’ by the US government.
Judge Katherine Forrest ruled,
“The statute at issue places the public at undue risk of having their speech chilled for the purported protection from al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ‘associated forces’ – i.e., ‘foreign terrorist organizations.’ The vagueness of Section 1021 does not allow the average citizen, or even the government itself, to understand with the type of definiteness to which our citizens are entitled, or what conduct comes within its scope.”
The vagueness is such that prominent figures such as Rudy Giuliani have palled around with the MEK (Mojahedin-e Khalq or People’s Holy Jihadis) of Iran, which was on the terrorism watch list for years, with no adverse reaction from the government. But now the Israel lobbies have succeeded in getting the MEK, which has a secret alliance with Israeli intelligence, removed from the list! So could you meet them before? Report on their views? Now? Note that remaining on the list is Lebanon’s Hizbullah, a national liberation organization that got back Lebanese territory from an illegal Israeli invasion and occupation that killed tens of thousands of people.
If we let the US government determine to whom we can speak and what we can say, assuming our words represent no clear and present danger of provoking violence, we may as well just trade in our US passports for an Iranian one.
You know, the Right Wing in Congress has been pulling this stuff for decades, and it only stops when the real Americans put their feet down. Ted Kennedy used to just rule this kind of bullcrap out of bounds in the Senate. But apparently Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi just don’t care, and neither does Barack Obama. There are a whole series of bad decisions that the three of them could have stopped if they had bothered.
Cenk Uygur interviews journalist Tangerine Bolen on the implications: