As It Happens (17/02/12)
For decades, the U.S. has been wielding the world's most powerful military force. But a recent law passed by the government has given the military unprecedented power to detain citizens suspected of engaging in or supporting terrorist activities. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges is fighting back in true American fashion --
by suing U.S. President Barack Obama.
"I think that every measure, including a redress within the courts, is at this point what any citizen who cares about civil liberties and the rule of law must do," Hedges told As It Happens host Carol Off in a recent interview.
On Dec. 31, while most Americans were enjoying their holidays, Obama signed off on the National Defense Authorization Act. In a statement, the president conceded he had concerns over certain language in the bill and "provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists." However, he signed off on it primarily because "it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad."
Hedges, author of several books including The World As It Is
and Death of the Liberal Class
, argues that the U.S. is taking "a huge step backwards."
"This is an utterly terrifying piece of legislation. It permits the U.S. military to strip American citizens of due process, [to] arrest them, overturning over 200 years of legal precedent.
The military has not been allowed to carry out domestic policing in the United States."