tv Breaking the Set RT August 21, 2013 12:29am-1:01am EDT
in the old story so. that's. the worst you're going to go right out of the. radio guy a minute. what you're about to give you never seen anything like that i'm told. so long guys yesterday i had the amazing opportunity to take a break in the set on the road to new york city and we set up shop right outside of the thurgood marshall courthouse downtown where groundbreaking trial was taking place and what might be one of the most historic civil liberties pieces of our generation and group of activists and journalists are seeking justice in a lawsuit against the federal government it's called hedges versus obama and it's a lawsuit that was filed last year over section ten twenty one b.
of the national defense authorization act one that authorizes the military to indefinitely detain american citizens without due process while the lawyer lawsuits main plaintiff is journalist chris hedges the case is also being fought by revolution through founder pandering bolen pentagon papers whistleblower daniel ellsberg author noam chomsky and many others yesterday i heard the second round of oral arguments against the white house and that healed to a decree made by a judge who agreed with the plaintiffs on the n.b.a. is on constitutionality so today you'll see my exclusive interviews with the plaintiffs and more so stay tuned for a very important break in the set of. the to. do you ever seen anything like. the indefinite detention of americans that. since is
a very serious and disturbing notion so surely americans have heard about one of the greatest threats facing our first and fifth amendment rights well breaking the separatists or manhole rob lowe hit the streets of new york to find out just how much people really know about the n.b.a. take a look. what is the n.b.a. it sounds innocuous enough i mean it's a budget act but it's a budget with a very important clause one that has tremendous implications for the civil liberties of american citizens. outside the second circuit court of appeals in new york demonstrators arrived to lend their support point to this in a case against the n.b.a. plaintiffs that ultimately represent the first ration of countless civil liberties activists and their message is clear that any military detention of american citizens without due process is both illegal and unconstitutional so i'm outside the thurgood marshall courthouse where supporters for the plaintiffs against the
n.b.a. case are right there behind me but we're going to ask them passers by to see how many people actually know what the n.b.a. is and. have you ever heard of the national defense authorization act now. i have not no no no i have not heard about that with us is no i never heard of it have you ever heard of the national defense authorization act no or the n.d.a. no it's a law that gives the government the right to indefinitely detain u.s. citizens without due process without a trial if they're suspected of being associated with terrorists have you heard about that yes that's ridiculous i usually follow the news i haven't heard anything about this so i was wondering what i was when i was looking at it i know phil is right you know i mean because he's black and by now you know i mean if every anything. that's never a different in that way you should be giving a right to an attorney so to present your case in good stead of all it's like are the type of for just. measuring the rich neighborhoods back in the thirty's and
nazis to go like you know downhill all the way from their government and that's what's happening here lessons terrifying thank you so much for time but it's the vague language and it portion of the n.b.a. section ten twenty one b. that has critics riled up phrases like substantially supported and associated forces set a dangerous precedent for how the word terrorist can be interpreted and while support and awareness of the indefinite detention clause is growing the issue has yet to be picked up by the corporate media networks journalists and activists agree over the larger implications this has over first and fifth amendment rights making this case one of the most important civil liberties lawsuits since nine eleven and that's a point that deserves more visibility one of the reporting from the thurgood marshall courthouse in new york r.t. . after attending the second round of oral arguments and what's shaping up to be
a landmark case against indefinite detention at an opportunity to meet with a powerhouse of plaintiff's lawyers and activists who are directly working on the case against the national defense authorization act i spoke with one of the plaintiffs who spearheaded the lawsuit tangerine bowl and i asked her why she felt personally compelled to take it on. i have the funding wiki leaks i have an international team i have an organization called revolution truth and we started a campaign for them we got twelve thousand signatures in a letter to the government and quite extensively directly with wiki leaks stuff a couple of my staff members had as well some less than i had and you know i found myself in an arena. hearing things and just you know being close to things that the government is very worried about and the government has engaged in a secret grand jury investigation against wiki leaks so i don't even have the right to know whether i'm being investigated until i get subpoenaed and i just felt like between that and the fact that we were about to host
a panel discussions with members of hamas or you know middle eastern revolutionaries i was inadvertently providing a platform that under the language of ten twenty one would make me possibly an associated force so i was terrified and i was worried out on behalf of my team as well. and rightly so but i was also curious how the other plaintiffs decided to come on board and tackle such a complex and daunting lawsuit against the federal government here's what she had to say. so essentially chris had just filed suit with her attorneys and i approached chris have to because i was worried and i started over this i really wanted a judge to see the forest for the trees and sorry no pun intended on catherine the forest but that's that is the case this was very strategic i pick people who together with all tell a piece of the story has started occupy london and occupy london was designated a terrorist group officially alexy o'brien being targeted by the cyber security
firm which is contracted with the dia indeed trying to link her organization to muslim extremists myself of my work with wiki leaks and this other stuff dan ellsberg our whistleblower and who who have dealt very closely with bradley manning together we kind of make up this evolving tribe of people who were you know were civil liberties advocates were independent journalists were hacktivists and computer prodigies you know aaron swartz was part of our case. and together we are all standing witness to what the what the u.s. government has done and become since nine eleven and because we're standing witness and we're doing so diligently and we were fused to back down we're being harassed and intimidated and you see this prosecutorial overreach and spin and we're all trying to stop. the fact that an annual federal budget law could include language that would limit both the journalist right to freely uncover information and rebut americans right to due process is unheard of so when outrage against the law
started to grow the question became how to challenge it plaintiffs had their first success in the case after an injunction was filed against indefinite detention by district judge katherine forest who ruled that the vague language in the bill did not meet the requirements of due process. while there were hundreds present protesting at the courthouse i was truly saddened at the lack of media groups attending what could very well be the most important civil liberties lawsuit in over a decade other than a few reporters from one or two alternative media organizations we were the only media outlet there i asked tangerine why she thinks there's a complete media blackout about the issue. i think unfortunately the mainstream media hasn't been paying attention to the most critical and that's obviously to the great detriment of this nation deliberately. i think it's complex i think it's our systems are really compromised right now or our media is sanitized and corporate and i've talked personally talked to
a lot of reporters who work for mainstream media who feel just as frustrated as we do so i don't want to put the onus entirely on them but but but but partially you know the new york times should have been here today. and i mean everyone should be here today if this this is a landmark case indeed this case does have all the potential to set a new legal precedent we're talking about our most fundamental rights as human beings our right to free speech our right to a fair trial that's all being threatened by a few lines a vague language that's entirely up to interpretation interpretation that could make the difference between being a journalist and being labeled a dangerous terrorist that could be indefinitely detained in a military prison without charge or trial i sat down a former whistleblower just one radek and asked her about how far this interpretation can really go. and i heard the boy are talking about that it doesn't affect independent journalists what they're trying to argue i mean is there any sort of definition of. you know the barometer of what is independent what's not
that's an excellent question and soon as they said that unlike julian assange to be protected and when the judges kind of hammer down on that they said an independent journalist would be one approved by the armed forces. so i had that rules out bloggers that rules out in even members of the mainstream media who have not gotten government approval which again goes right into the unholy relationship between a lot of the mainstream media and the government so it's very interesting the question of independent journalism especially because there has been such a big deal made about whether or not bloggers are really journalists and whether or not an outlet like wiki leaks is really a journalistic output so for them to make that argument oh don't worry we're not going after independent journalists or activists it was really slick
and dangerous because of the way they defined it it's also very slick and dangerous the language of terrorism aiding and abetting terrorism in very broad language in a very dangerous and we've talked about this before about the chilling effect obviously you representing multiple whistleblowers you've been a whistleblower yourself i mean what are the greater implications of this case if we do not shed light and prevent this from moving forward just on the greater implications i mean i really thought the worst possible thing that could happen now is to a whistleblower is that they could go to jail after a trial and a judicial process the worst case scenario now is that they could be scooped up and detained indefinitely without charge counsel judicial review or their families even knowing where they are they could be detained by our military again without charge counsel or judicial review indefinitely as long as the government wanted to so it
really would have been even more chilling effect on what is already a freezing cold environment for people to come forward and speak truth to power wow what a daunting metaphor for what we're up against in this country our constitutional rights. being replaced by a systematic rewiring of who truly holds the power in this country i'm sorry but the constitution begins with we the people and we can't forget that our freedom depends on our willingness to protect it and when it comes to speaking truth to power i think it's time room and the power structure who's really in charge. now the legacy so far and go to our facebook page at facebook dot com slash breaking the set and be sure to do what thousands of already done and give us a like we'll be updating our status daily with links to past segments as well as reaching out to you for ideas of what you want to see covered on breaking the set
and also check out behind the scenes photos we take our studios all in breaking the set and report on the road and this one we took yesterday so how do our facebook page and check out all of that and more now allay take a break from my preaching but stay tuned to hear from the main plaint that behind the case and head is versus obama mr chris hedges himself next. to find that country's success. faceless figures of economic growth. or a structural standard of living.
a former new york times war correspondent pulitzer prize winner who spent nearly two decades reporting in central america the middle east africa and the balkans spies prolific resume about standing in journalism hedges is precisely the kind of person that could fall subject to an days indefinite detention clause is it chris represents one of many journalists who often have to embed themselves with groups that the government has deemed terrorists to get the full story so take a look at my exclusive interview with journalist chris hedges where he talks about the lawsuit and why every american should care about it. chris thanks so much for sitting down with me you know why why is the government holding this line that the n.b.a. is no different than they were that and that one it's obviously much more broad in its language. well that was the central argument the government lawyers made in the southern district court of new york that this was essentially not
extending the powers of the government but. reinforcing existing powers and now you know i've read you m.-f. several times it's very clear that this is a vast extension extension of government authority allowing government to detain u.s. citizens or use the military to detain u.s. citizens strip them of due process hold them in military facilities indefinitely that is just not in the. and i think that we're seeing and we just saw the release . of a memo sixteen page white paper on drone attacks which looks like it was written by a first year law student i mean it you know i can't stand john yoo a bit at least he could write a coherent legal brief for the bush administration justifying torture is wrong of course but. the amateur nish of this you know it's an amateur effort and i think what we're seeing in this case in this memo is an attempt by the obama
administration to justify activities that they've already carried out which include the assassination of american citizens the yemeni cleric anwar al a walkie his sixteen year old son two weeks later it was not on anybody's terrorism list and i think there is strong. i have a strong suspicion the lawyers have a strong suspicion that they already using section ten twenty one of the n d a because when judge forrest issued her ruling in september the government attorneys the day of the ruling went to judge forrest and asked for a temporary stay meaning put this law back on the books in til it is heard in the second circuit or the appellate court now judge forrest refused they then demanded an emergency hearing this was a friday at nine am the next monday morning at the second circuit which they got and they asked the judges on the second circuit in the name of national security to
put this law back into effect to override a judge for us injunction now the second circuit agreed we always knew the obama administration would appeal that was not an issue they lost we did not expect them to respond so aggressively and i i think that it's fair to conclude that they spawn x. in order spotted with that kind of address city because they're already using the law . probably against us pakistani dual nationals in places like bob graham if. judge force injunction was allowed to stand evil law was invalid and they were holding american citizens and denying them due process then of course they would be in contempt of court so. this is a steady march forward in terms of stripping away our most basic civil liberties i would say the n.d.a. this case is the last thin line of defense between what's left of our
democracy and our transformation into a military state. speaking of military states i mean i thought policy common taught us prevented the military from doing this kind of this is the law overturning. it was put into effect at the end of the civil war and this is the other overturning a chris how far are you willing to take this whoa whoa we're going to take it look if the appellate court overturns judge for us ruling we will appeal it to the supreme court which is the next level the supreme court could decide not to take the case in which case unfortunately the law stands if the appellate court upholds judge for its ruling given the response of the government so far i think it's very safe to say that this will be within the supreme court within a matter of weeks and just taking in the broader picture here you know obama closing the office that they were going to shut down guantanamo bay within days of his reelection why don't we care more about the indefinite detention of human
beings in general. well what happens in these kinds of scenarios is that you create the legal mechanism to carry out these activities. while assuring the citizenry that. they won't be affected. and then once you have the legal mechanism to engage in this kind of behavior it's too late and that's that's i mean history has just borne that out that's how it works i think the other thing is that we have especially a commercial electronic media that really doesn't do journalism anymore it is either obsessed with celebrity gossip and trivia and info entertainment or if it purports to do news the way fox news does or m s n b c and so partisan in his coverage that it will harm the power interests that it serves so the n.d.a.
case was never mentioned. because the primary purpose of m s n b c was to reelect barack obama and the n.b.a. case would not make obama look good it wasn't mentioned on fox because fox. you know this section of the n.b.a. has bipartisan support and it's interesting i worked for the new york times for fifteen years that the only established news organization that responsibly covered the case was the new york times and when judge forrest issued a ruling the new york times ran an editorial supporting our decision because the times still i mean it's an elitist organizations and i have my critiques of the times but nevertheless it still understands what is news and what is not. but that for me was a kind of frightening moment because i realized how deteriorated our systems of information become absolutely yeah i love how people say oh there is there's no bipartisan support well look at things like the end of the erosion of civil
liberties it seems like it's all the uniform across the board but speaking in storage you mentioned this is the way it's kind of been of except in these illegalities in terms of. looking at when civil liberties have been repealed and in the historical narrative of america in the short brief history of our nation lincoln f.d.r. you know when he authorized. brief internment of japanese people i mean all these things were very brief periods and they were reinstated it seems like to have the n.d.a. ten plus years after an event where there's really no threat i mean and now it's coupled with the surveillance state profiting off their version of our society women how are we in some way too far gone you're right you're talking about. periods of emergency in which our basic civil liberties were taken from us. during wartime. which is not defensible. what we're talking about here is something else we're talking about a long contiguous process over
a decade this isn't the first assault against our civil liberties the corporate state has used nine eleven in the same way that the nazi party use the reichstag fire as a justification to strip away all of our most important constitutional rights whether that is the right or the you know the need of a court to issue a warrant before surveillance whether that is the right of a whistleblower to expose government crimes including torture and let's we just saw the cia official carioca go to prison for thirty months what he reportedly leaked to the new york times or will work crimes war crimes and. the. interpretation of the authorization to use military force act is giving the government the right this is what this white paper that was leaked to
n.b.c. news was about giving the right of the executive branch to draw up kill lists even if u.s. citizens are on those killis i mean so we're talking about a process not a moment and the. examples that you cited lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the civil war in f.d.r.'s internment of one hundred ten thousand japanese americans were moments this is something far more dire far more serious and far more frightening you mentioned in and hearing about how this could affect journalists abroad who are embedded trying to get stories talk about just how this can be a chilling effect for people who are trying to get truth and expose there is a broad well i bruce and car all the lawyers approach me to be the plaintiff because as a foreign correspondent for twenty years i spent time we counted him up with either seven. individuals or groups that are on the state department terrorism list including al qaeda and there's no exemption in this provision for journalists so i
have literally sat in vehicles with members who are now spending the rest of their lives in prison. number one of course that means given the current state of drone attacks i could have been incinerated. number two. if i am printing as i was articles that present the viewpoint of groups that are deeply hostile to the united states have i substantially supported this is the language of ten twenty one . of the taliban or what they call associated forces that's completely open to interpretation and people who have kind of hostility to the role of a free press which is to prevent or present viewpoints that are nickel to our old certainly would not shrink from branding me as a fifth columnists or a closet supporter of al qaeda and i speak from experience i covered the civil war
in the door and nicaragua for five years during the reagan administration and because we were traveling frequently with the f m l n rebels in el salvador or the sandinistas in the battle against the contras in nicaragua we had numerous officials within washington denouncing us as fifth columnists supporters of terrorists so i've already heard the rhetoric already know how it goes down but this essentially goes beyond rhetoric and empowers the state not only to brand you linguistically a terrorist but treats you legally as a terrorist. this is an issue that we felt important enough to cover and dedicate the entire show to but there's a fork in the road right now and there's a choice we all have to make we're going to there relinquish our rights or we can stand for them for the time to act is now also one. say thank you to many great people for making today's show happen sparrow projects and it's the pani and the
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