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Dereliction of Duty: Obama Did Nothing to Save American Lives in Benghazi–and Lied About It

by Joel B. Pollak

Nothing. That is what President Barack Obama did on the night of September 11, 2012, as terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and killed four Americans, among them Ambassador Christopher Stevens. President Obama’s inaction was revealed in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday by outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey.

Under direct questioning by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Panetta admitted that he had no communication with President Obama after their “pre-scheduled” meeting at 5:00 p.m. EDT. The attack on the consulate had already been under way for 90 minutes at that time. Neither the president nor anyone else from the White House called afterwards to check what was happening; the Commander-in-Chief had left it “up to us,” said Panetta.

Panetta’s testimony directly contradicts President Obama’s own claim to have issued “three directives” as soon as he learned “what was going on” in Benghazi. As he told a Denver reporter in October:

I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure we are securing our personnel and that we are doing whatever we need to. Number two, we are going to investigate exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice.

That same claim was subsequently repeated by other Democrats, including Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who came to the president’s defense. But if those directives were indeed given–and proof has never been produced–they were given long after the attack, not while the attack was going on, during which time the president did nothing.

Panetta and Dempsey also admitted, under questioning by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), that they were not in touch with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the attacks, and did not receive a request for help from the State Department. Dempsey also testified that he had been “surprised” at Clinton’s testimony last month that she did not know of an urgent cable from Ambassador Stevens last August about the dire security situation.

To borrow a metaphor from the 2008 Democratic primary campaign: when the 3 a.m. call came (at 5 p.m. in the afternoon), neither Clinton nor Obama were there to respond.

Panetta was also forced to admit, in the face of vigorous questioning by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), that no military action at all had been taken to intervene in Benghazi after the attack had begun, promising only that a similar lapse would not happen again.

Later, on Thursday afternoon, during Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan’s confirmation hearing to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) demanded to know why the administration failed to interview a suspect in the attack.

Brennan’s response was merely that the Tunisian authorities who had arrested him “did not have a basis in their law” for allowing the U.S. to question him about the attack.

In sum: President Obama did nothing to save Americans under attack from terrorists. His Secretary of Defense did nothing. His Secretary of State did nothing. The Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff did nothing. His Deputy National Security Adviser defended doing “nothing” to help bring the perpetrators to justice. And the entire administration participated in an effort to cover up the truth. Because there was an election to be won.

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Obama vs. the Brass: Benghazi Cover-up, Agenda to Gut Military?

Written by  William F. Jasper

An awful lot of America’s top military brass have been taking hits lately. Is it just a coincidence that several four-star generals and a two-star admiral get the axe or resign in disgrace within the space of less than a month? Do any of these have anything to do with the administration’s Benghazigate scandal? Or are they, as some military observers suspect, only the first installment of the Obama agenda to decimate the military services?

General David Petraeus, of course, has been at the center of a media storm since his resignation as CIA director on November 9, amid revelations of an extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell, his biographer.

Here is a timeline of recent casualties in the highest echelons of the U.S. military services:

  1. • General Carter Ham — On October 18, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that Gen. Ham was being replaced as the commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). Panetta gave no explanation for Gen. Ham’s removal.
  2. • Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette — On October 28, the commander of the John C. Stennis carrier strike group in the Middle East, was abruptly removed from command and returned to the U.S.
  3. • General David Petraeus — On November 9, General Petraeus, former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, resigned as head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
  4. • General John Allen — On November 13, news stories reported that Gen. Allen, who was Gen. Petraeus’s successor in Afghanistan and a top nominee for NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, was embroiled in a potential scandal involving emails with Jill Kelley, a socialite at McDill Air Force base. Allen has insisted that there was no improper relationship between himself and Mrs. Kelley, but his career path to the top NATO post has been scotched, and the ongoing investigation could potentially lead to his resignation.
  5. • General William “Kip” Ward — On November 13, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta demoted Gen. Ward, the former head of U.S. AFRICOM, stripping him of his fourth star, following a lengthy DOD Inspector General probe that found Ward guilty of lavish spending and extravagant travel.

The removal of General Ham and the resignation of General Petraeus have particularly stirred widespread concern that both cases may be driven by White House efforts to smother exposure of the administration’s handling of the deadly September 11, 2012 “consulate” debacle in Benghazi, Libya, in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed (see here and here).

The timing of the resignations, removals, revelations and demotions were bound to spark suspicions of a Benghazi connection, particularly in the case of Gen. Petraeus, who was scheduled to testify this week in congressional inquiries into the deadly Libyan attacks. His resignation put his appearance before the committees in doubt. However, members of Congress have let it be known they expect him to testify.

In a November 12 interview with NBC News, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the Obama administration is behaving in an “unacceptable” manner and she is ready to subpoena information it is denying her committee.

“I believe that Director Petraeus made a trip to [Libya] shortly before this became public,” Feinstein said. “I believe that there is a trip report. We have asked to see the trip report. One person tells me has read it. And then we try to get it, and they tell me it hasn’t been done. That’s unacceptable. We are entitled to this trip report, and if we have to go to the floor of the Senate on a subpoena, we will do just that.”

Director Petraeus went to Capitol Hill on September 14 for a closed-door, classified briefing of legislators. During that briefing, it has been reported, he upheld the now-debunked false story that the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi had resulted in response to popular outrage over an anti-muslim Internet video.

However, it has also been reported that Petraeus privately stated to one member of Congress, “Do you want the official line or do you want the real truth?”

Today Senator Feinstein announced that Petraeus will be “talking to the committee,” but was unclear as to whether that meant he would be testifying publicly and under oath or just briefing committee members in closed session. “He is very willing and interested in talking to the committee,” Feinstein told reporters today. “It’s just on Benghazi. Our hearings are on Benghazi and the intelligence that preceded Benghazi and the intelligence that determined the security.”

Another big question that has not yet been answered is whether Gen. Carter Ham will be testifying. In defending the administration’s decision not to send aid to the besieged “consulate,” Secretary Panetta claimed that Ham had “very strongly” backed Panetta’s assessment that since the situation on the ground in Benghazi was so uncertain, no attempt should be made to send military assistance to the American personnel who were under attack. However, according to unconfirmed reports, Ham, instead of backing the Obama/Panetta order to “stand down” and let Americans die, had decided to go ahead and launch a rescue effort. Reportedly, he was immediately arrested by his second in command and prevented from initiating the rescue.

If this account is true, then obviously that would be a huge story, with enormous ramifications. Gen. Ham should definitely be called to testify publicly and placed under oath to determine precisely what did transpire the night of September 11-12.

Spiking Benghazi: The Media Fix

There is little doubt that Team Obama was fully aware that the Benghazi disaster could blow up in their faces just as the neck-and-neck presidential was headed into the closing stretch. A CBS News national telephone poll of likely voters conducted October 25-28 did not portend well for Obama. Locked in a dead heat with Mitt Romney, and with the economy in shambles and sliding toward a fiscal cliff, the Obama White House could ill afford a late-inning foreign policy disaster, especially when Obama propagandists were touting foreign policy and national security as their candidate’s great strength.

According to the CBS poll, only 38 percent of voters approved of President Obama’s handling of the September 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. Over half of all voters (51 percent) disapproved. And an even higher 57 percent of the crucial independent voters disapproved of his handling of Benghazi. And those negatives had developed with all of the major media faithfully retailing the White House talking points on Benghazi and steadfastly censoring any reports that challenged the crumbling administration narrative. Genuine journalistic digging and real news reporting would have been a game changer in the tight presidential race.

The Media Research Center (MRC) reported on November 1:

  • For the sixth night in a row, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News refused to give one single second of coverage to a Fox News report that the Obama Administration denied help to those attacked and killed by terrorists at the US consulate in Benghazi on September 11. According to a Media Research Center analysis, ABC, CBS, and NBC have failed to cover this devastating story — not to confirm it, not to knock it down, and never mind do their own investigation. The story broke last Friday, long before Hurricane Sandy swamped the news cycle.
  • Further, neither The Washington Post nor The New York Times has committed a single inch of their newspapers to a news story about this report.
  • According to Fox News, “sources claim officers at the nearby CIA annex in Benghazi were twice told to stand down when they requested to help those at the consulate. They later ignored those orders. Fox News was also told that a subsequent request for back-up when the annex came under attack was denied as well.”

“The liberal ‘news’ media’s refusal to cover this story exposes how corrupt they have become,” declared Media Research Center President Brent Bozell. “Four Americans died in Libya in a coordinated terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11. The Obama Administration has been caught in a maze of falsehoods. This reeks of a cover-up. This scandal could and would derail the Obama re-election efforts. ABC, CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and the New York Times are so vested in the re-election of Barack Obama that they are deliberately spiking this huge story. It’s sickening.”

Mr. Bozell continued:

  • The Obama administration’s cover-up of their deceitful response to the Benghazi terrorist attack is without a doubt the biggest political news story of 2012. The American people have a right to know what really happened before they cast their ballots on Election Day.
  • If ABC, CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and the New York Times refuse to ask the tough questions, then they no longer serve any purpose. And if they’re sitting on evidence to help Obama win re-election, they’re as guilty in this cover-up as is the administration.

As the Media Research Center pointed out in a previous analysis, while the major media were spiking the Benghazi story, they were lavishing friendly coverage on President Obama and swamping viewers with celebrity gossip and buzz on the latest consumer gizmos and Hollywood releases.
And, of course, one of the most blatant examples of the media covering for Obama was the spectacle put on by CNN’s Candy Crowley in the second Presidential debate, where she shamelessly dropped her supposedly neutral role as moderator to take over and respond to Mitt Romney’s challenges to Obama regarding Benghazi.

Decimating the Military: Obama’s “Night of the Long Knives”?

While the cashiering of CIA Director General Petraeus and AFRICOM commander General Ham certainly suggest a connection to the administration’s ongoing heavy-handed effort to keep the Benghazi disaster from developing into a post-election crisis for the White House, the other aforementioned military resignations and demotions may be signaling something even bigger.

A number of political and military analysts interviewed by The New American believe the Obama administration is in the process of “purging” the U.S. Armed Services, and that we will see a much larger number of line officers removed for various scandals, especially those deemed “politically incorrect,” or those who may be occupying a post that the Obama administration wants to open up for a more “progressive” candidate.

Some are predicting that the bloodletting in the ranks thus far is but the opening salvo in Obama’s “Night of the Long Knives,” a reference to Adolph Hitler’s murderous purge of Ernst Rohm and other Nazis, as well as non-Nazi political opponents whom he saw as obstacles to his consolidation of dictatorial power.

New Zealand researcher Trevor Loudon, author of Barack Obama and the Enemies Within, and editor of the highly acclaimed New Zeal blog at TrevorLoudon.com, told this writer during an interview two weeks before the election:

  • It’s very clear that President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and many of those around them absolutely “loathe the military,” as Hillary once put it. [Defense Secretary] Panetta, while he was a congressman, was very heavily involved with the Institute for Policy  Studies, a very radical Marxist think tank, which supported the Soviet objective of subverting and eviscerating the U.S. military services. Panetta, together with David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice, and others in the administration, really do see the U.S. military, as it currently is, as the enemy.

Former Navy SEAL Steve Elson echoes that assessment. “President Obama and the people running his administration really do hate the military,” Elson told The New American. “It’s not just that they ‘don’t understand the military culture,’ [as some critics claim]; they really just don’t like us. In fact they hate us.” Elson continued:

They’re fine with using us, sending us all over the world whenever it works to score political points for them. They don’t mind getting us killed, sending us out with treasonous ROEs [rules of engagement], as in Iraq and Afghanistan, where soldiers and marines were ordered stand guard, go into hostile zones without loaded weapons. Or, as in Benghazi, they cowardly sit in the Pentagon and the White House watching and doing nothing while brave men die.

  • Too many of the top brass are playing the political correctness game when they should be refusing to carry out these immoral and traitorous orders. In the end, it didn’t help Petraeus either. He played their games and went along with their political correctness, and look where it got him. Fine, he deserved it, as far as I’m concerned. But the guys that are out there with their lives on the line don’t [deserve it]. As you can see, I’m anything but politically correct, but I’m only saying out loud what most active duty soldiers will tell you privately. Obama and those running his administration will destroy the U.S. military, if the American people let him, if they don’t wake up to what he is doing.

Related articles:

Petraeus Resignation Suggests Possible White House Cover-Up
The Other Petraeus Scandal: Accelerated Militarization of the CIA
Benghazi Backfire: Was Obama Arming Jihadists?
Did Obama Watch in “Real Time” as Benghazi Attack Unfolded?
The Trouble With Leon Panetta
Leon Panetta and the Institute for Policy Studies

Book Review: Barack Obama and the Enemies Within

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The hidden real truth about Benghazi

by – Doug Hagmann

Most people know that we’ve been lied to about the attacks in Benghazi, but few realize the extent of those lies or the hidden secrets they cover. After all, the lie is different at every level. Thanks to a well placed source with extensive knowledge about the attack, the disturbing truth is slowly beginning to emerge and is lining up with information contained in my previous articles published here weeks ago (Here, Here and Here). The truth reveals the most serious situation in the world today as it involves the interests and destinies of us all.

A mosaic of lies

According to the U.S. government, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed during a spontaneous protest at the consulate office in Benghazi by a frenzied crowd of Muslims outraged over an obscure internet video. Recently released “sensitive but not classified e-mails” from Stevens to the U.S. Department of State painted a picture of poor security for U.S. personnel and the embassy, which was obviously true but had little to do with the events of September 11, 2012. The failure to dispatch an extraction team or otherwise rescue the men during a firefight that lasted upwards of nine grueling and tortuous hours was not the result of any intelligence failure, but caused by our unwillingness to widen the conflict and expose the nature and scale of our true mission in Benghazi.

Based on information provided by my source and corroborated elsewhere, the official account by administration officials is a mosaic of lies that were necessary to cover the unpalatable truth of covert actions taking place in Libya, Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. The primary objective of our covert actions was to secretly arm anti-Assad “rebels” in Syria by funneling arms from Libya to Syria via Turkey, with other destinations that included Jordan and Lebanon.  Regarding the threat to Stevens and the other murdered Americans, the truth will reformat the persistent question posed to government officials, from UN Ambassador Susan Rice to White House Spokesman Jay Carney and others from “how could you not have known” to “how could you have done these things?”

First, it is important to understand that Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Dougherty and Tyrone Woods were not killed at a consulate office in Benghazi—as there is not such office there. They died at one of the largest CIA operations centers in the Middle East, which was located in Benghazi and served as the logistics headquarters for arms and weapons being shipped out of the post-Qaddafi Libya.

Although the U.S. government insisted that Stevens was involved in securing and destroying the numerous caches of arms and weapons once under the control of Qaddafi, the operation was more complex than that. The visual accounts of weapons being destroyed were indeed real, but those weapons were not operational. The working weapons were actually separated and transported to holding facilities for their eventual use in Syria. Russia was fully aware of this operation and warned the U.S. not to engage in the destabilization of Syria, as doing so would endanger their national security interests. Deposing Assad, as despotic as he might be, and replacing him with a Muslim Brotherhood-led regime would likely lead to unrestrained Islamic chaos across the region.

The Turkish warning

According to my source, Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 to meet with his Turkish counterpart, who reportedly warned Stevens that the operation was compromised. They met in person so that Stevens could be shown overhead satellite images, taken by the Russians, of nefarious activities taking place in Turkey. But just what were these nefarious activities?

It is reasonable to suspect that these activities were more dire than just your average “gun running” operation. Since the overthrow of Qaddafi, it is estimated that upwards of 40 million tons of weapons and arms were shipped out of Libya to Syria. But it was also known inside intelligence circles that Qaddafi possessed chemical weapons in addition to numerous surface-to-air missiles. Could it be that Russia obtained unmistakable surveillance footage of the anti-Assad “rebels” being shown how to load chemical payloads onto missiles inside Turkey near the border of Syria? Weapons, of course, that were shipped from Libya by the CIA in conjunction with various Muslim Brotherhood rebel groups.  If so, such weapons could be used as a “false flag” type of operation—one that would be implemented to “set-up” Assad by making it appear that he was using these weapons on forces dedicated to his overthrow.

The blowback by the international community would be swift and punishing, and the entirety of the civilized world would be demanding his overthrow. NATO would then be used to expedite his ouster, and Russia’s moral position within the international community would be weakened. Was the meeting held to show Stevens that the operation was compromised and that they had to stop?

A Nation/State sponsored attack?

While the administration asserts that the attack in Benghazi was conducted by a group of rebels acting alone, the facts seem to indicate otherwise. The level of coordination was such that we did not deploy military assets, located just an hour or two away by air, to rescue Stevens and the others at the CIA operations center in their time of need. If, as the administration contends, that the attack was perpetuated by a group of frenzied rebels, our military could have easily handled them in short order. So why was there no rescue operation?

Perhaps the statements made yesterday by Leon Panetta, U.S. Secretary of Defense provides some insight if one analyzes the essence of those statements. Among other things, Panetta said that “…the basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on…” Well, it has been confirmed we did know what was taking place on the ground in Benghazi, so exactly what did Panetta mean by this statement?

Against the backdrop of the official story, it makes little sense. If, however, one considers the alternative, that the attack was coordinated and was a nation/state sponsored attack, then it becomes clearer. Panetta and the highest levels of this administration likely knew exactly what we were doing, and knew that the operation was compromised. They knew, or had reason to believe, that the attack was being conducted at a nation/state level in response to our covert operation in Libya and arming the anti-Assad Syrian opposition.

Although Russia figures prominently here, Iran now comes into focus as Russia is not likely to directly engage U.S. forces. They must, however, protect their interests. Much like we were using anti-Assad forces to advance our objectives in Syria, Russia was using Iranian-backed forces to protect theirs. It appears that the attacks were conducted or facilitated by Iranian assets—perhaps as many as three teams of assets in Benghazi.

As the White House and other agencies monitored intelligence in real-time, they faced a dilemma. They knew that the nation/state sponsored attack teams were lying in wait for U.S. rescue forces to arrive, which is the reason the fight did not conclusively end sooner. They did not know exactly where all of the attack teams were, but knew they were present based on signal communication intercepts. Could they risk such exposure by deploying a rescue team to Benghazi, only to end up with another Black Hawk down type scenario? In addition to that scenario, the entire operation now becomes exposed for what it is. Take another look at Panetta’s statement in that context. Does it now make more sense? Bad PR in an election year, no?

As daylight approached with no response from the U.S. and no aid to the Americans under fire, the attack teams had to disperse into the cover of the remaining darkness, but not before their mission was accomplished. And sadly, it was.

Fallout

From the day of attack in Benghazi, Iran has been engaged in a full spectrum attack on the U.S. and NATO across the board involving embassies, bombing and even cyber attacks. All of this is the fallout from the arms and weapons smuggling operation, which was far greater than understood by the Western media.
Russia has now moved their contingent of S-400 missiles into much of Syria in anticipation of NATO establishing an “air cap” over Syria. A ten-mile “buffer zone” along Syria’s border has been created for Syrian refugees, but it also acts as a catalyst for the encroachment into Syrian territory. It sets the stage for further advancement and erosion of Syrian land, incrementally, of course.
It is also of critical importance to note that last weekend, Russia completed large-scale exercises of their Strategic Nuclear Forces under the watchful command of President Vladimir Putin. These were the first such nuclear exercises conducted since the fall of the Soviet Union.
To those with discernment, it is obvious that we are at the precipice of World War III. Putin himself stated as much, noting that WW III will not start in Iran but Syria, his own “red line in the sand.”


Copyright © Douglas Hagmann
Douglas J. Hagmann and his son, Joe Hagmann host The Hagmann & Hagmann Report, a live Internet radio program broadcast each weeknight from 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET.

Douglas Hagmann, founder & director of the Northeast Intelligence Network, and a multi-state licensed private investigative agency. Doug began using his investigative skills and training to fight terrorism and increase public awareness through his website.

Doug can be reached at: director@homelandsecurityus.com

Older articles by Doug Hagmann


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Sink the Law of the Sea Treaty

By Ed Feulner
The Washington Times
Monday, May 21, 2012

Want the United States to gain legal access to the vast amount of oil and natural gas in the underwater extended continental shelf? Get LOST – specifically, the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST).

The Obama administration wants the Senate to act on the treaty, which has been around since 1982. Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, will be holding a series of hearings, beginning Wednesday, to make the case for LOST.

According to its advocates, we need LOST for a variety of reasons. One of them concerns the oil and gas resources located in the outer limits of our continental shelf. The treaty’s proponents say we can obtain legal title to it only by signing on to the treaty.

“If the United States does not ratify this treaty, our ability to claim the vast extended continental shelf off Alaska will be seriously impeded,” said Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Indiana Republican.

Without LOST, we are told, we will not be able to develop the hydrocarbon resources beneath the extended continental shelf in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean.

Sounds pretty dire and, at a time of fluctuating prices for gasoline and other forms of energy, alarming. Fortunately, it’s not true.

Under international law and long-standing U.S. policy, we already have access to these areas. Presidents dating back to Harry Truman have issued proclamations – and Congress has passed laws – establishing America’s maritime laws and boundaries. And no one has challenged them.

Perhaps LOST’s proponents would like this to change. They tend to be fans of superfluous international agreements and frequently back policies that would tie the hands of the U.S. and prevent us from acting in our own interests. But the fact remains that their claim about LOST being necessary to obtain legal title to the oil and gas under the extended continental shelf is pure fiction.

A big part of the reason this matters is that a lot of money is at stake. It is hard to say exactly how much hydrocarbon deposits there are beneath the extended continental shelf, but according to the ECS Task Force, “Given the size of the U.S. continental shelf, the resources we find there may be worth many billions, if not trillions, of dollars.”

Forgoing such a treasure is not the only way that the United States could lose out financially under LOST. Environmental activists are high on the treaty, too. That is because they anticipate suing the U.S., if it joins LOST, to force America to adopt the radical climate-change agenda they have been unsuccessful at imposing. So far, at least.

Climate-change alarmists have tried again and again in recent years to secure an international agreement. In Denmark, Mexico and South Africa, they have tried to come up with a legally binding climate-change pact. Considering what an economic wrecking ball such an agreement would represent to the U.S. and its allies, we can be glad they failed. But now they think they have found a solution: LOST.

Groups such as Greenpeace would love a chance to make the U.S. pay in international court. And that is just what we would do under the U.S. Convention on the Law of the Sea – pay.

“In addition to needlessly exposing itself to baseless environmental lawsuits,” writes The Heritage Foundation’s Steve Groves, an expert on LOST, “the United States would be required to transfer billions of dollars in oil and gas royalties … to the International Seabed Authority for redistribution to the developing world.”

What does this mean? In short, it means that the United Nations will have an independent source of income, courtesy of the United States.

So who has Sen. Kerry invited to testify at his hearings? Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. All of them are proponents of the treaty. So do not expect to hear a word about any of its many drawbacks.

LOST amounts to little more than an expensive power grab by America’s detractors worldwide. President Reagan was right to reject it 30 years ago. The U.S. Senate should do the same thing today.

Ed Feulner is president of the Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org).

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FEULNER: Sink the Law of the Sea Treaty – Washington Times.

Chris Hedges: A Victory for All of Us

Iraq War veteran Sgt. Shamar Thomas leads a demonstration in New York’s Grand Central Station to call attention to a law signed by President Barack Obama that granted extraordinary powers to the military.

Posted on May 18, 2012
By Chris Hedges

In January, attorneys Carl Mayer and Bruce Afran asked me to be the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that challenged the harsh provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We filed the lawsuit, worked for hours on the affidavits, carried out the tedious depositions, prepared the case and went to trial because we did not want to be passive in the face of another egregious assault on basic civil liberties, because resistance is a moral imperative, and because, at the very least, we hoped we could draw attention to the injustice of the law. None of us thought we would win. But every once in a while the gods smile on the damned.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, in a 68-page opinion, ruled Wednesday that Section 1021 of the NDAA was unconstitutional. It was a stunning and monumental victory. With her ruling she returned us to a country where—as it was before Obama signed this act into law Dec. 31—the government cannot strip a U.S. citizen of due process or use the military to arrest him or her and then hold him or her in military prison indefinitely. She categorically rejected the government’s claims that the plaintiffs did not have the standing to bring the case to trial because none of us had been indefinitely detained, that lack of imminent enforcement against us meant there was no need for an injunction and that the NDAA simply codified what had previously been set down in the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act. The ruling was a huge victory for the protection of free speech. Judge Forrest struck down language in the law that she said gave the government the ability to incarcerate people based on what they said or wrote. Maybe the ruling won’t last. Maybe it will be overturned. But we and other Americans are freer today than we were a week ago. And there is something in this.

The government lawyers, despite being asked five times by the judge to guarantee that we plaintiffs would not be charged under the law for our activities, refused to give any assurances. They did not provide assurances because under the law there were none. We could, even they tacitly admitted, be subject to these coercive measures. We too could be swept away into a black hole. And this, I think, decided the case.

“At the hearing on this motion, the government was unwilling or unable to state that these plaintiffs would not be subject to indefinite detention under [Section] 1021,” Judge Forrest noted. “Plaintiffs are therefore at risk of detention, of losing their liberty, potentially for many years.”

The government has 60 days to appeal. It can also, as Mayer and Afran have urged, accept the injunction that nullifies the law. If the government appeals, the case will go to a federal appellate court. The ruling, even if an appellate court upholds it, could be vanquished in the Supreme Court, especially given the composition of that court.

Read more: Chris Hedges: A Victory for All of Us – Chris Hedges’ Columns – Truthdig.

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