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. And while
my battle may be quixotic, it is one that has to be fought if we are to
have any hope of pulling this country back from corporate fascism.