So there we were Thursday night on WBCR, our second segment of 2013. And things were jumpin’. We had discussion about the Barghouti lecture at Brooklyn College about the BDS movement to sanction Israel for its continued ‘Palestinian Apartheid’. The lecture was going on as we broadcast, so getting into the station involved getting past a wall of NYPD. But the protesters were largely well-behaved, nothing bad happened, and the speaker was allowed to speak despite vitriolic attempts by various politicians to sanction Brooklyn College for inviting him.
And then we argued gun rights for awhile with Mark Walters and Rob Pincus, two pro-Second Amendment representatives. It wasn’t a bad debate–I got in a few points–But I leave it to you to download the podcast and keep score.
(you’ll find it here once it’s been put on podcast)
So here’s what I was about to tell you during my Occupy segment. It’s news you need regardless of whether you support Occupy or not.
First story: there was a protest Wednesday at a hearing at the court of Appeals, second Circuit. The hearing was part of a case called Hedges V Obama. The journalist Christopher Hedges (among others) are fighting to block implementation of the NDAA (National defense Authorization Act). The hearing was an attempt by the Obama administration to lift an injunction that has been placed on section 1020 of the NDAA. Section 1020 allows the government to put journalists and protesters in military detention without charges. The Stop NDAA group has a website that explains the issues better than I can. What you need to know is that last May, Judge Katherine Forrest issued an injunction blocking implementation of 1020. And last September, when attorneys for the administration appealed for a lift of the injunction, they would not tell Judge Forrest whether there were ALREADY people being detained under NDAA. The Second circuit judge will look at the evidence and issue a ruling, but the next stop regardless of the ruling is the Supreme Court. People who like the First Amendment should keep posted on this.
And that dovetails with my second story–the white paper about Obama’s latitude in using drones to assassinate Americans abroad thought to be part of Al Qaeda or organizations working with Al Qaeda leaked to NBC’s Michael Isikoff . Apparently the President has complete discretion to rain Hellfire missiles down on disloyal Americans in Yemen, and while the language seems to specify senior Al Qaeda officials or senior personnel in affiliated groups, since these raids aren’t exactly publicized, how would anybody know if President Obama (or since this is precedent, a future President Santorum) decides you’re pesky enough to drop a missile on? Now if you’re part of the protest community–ANY protest community–and you’re paranoid enough, don’t these two events seem to converge? If you’re a protester and you go to Yemen to give speeches on American imperialism, does that qualify you for a drone strike? Or will the government wait until you hit these shores to use section 1020 of the NDAA to permanently detain you?
Long story short–if this administration has given itself permission to kill Americans (on foreign soil) suspected of terrorist involvement, and has given itself permission to imprison Americans (regardless of where they are) for the act of protesting or creating inconvenient journalism, who exactly won the Cold War? Because it wasn’t Jeffersonian democracy.