NDAA Lawsuit Panel Tonight

2.8.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
The plaintiffs filing a lawsuit against the US government over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir, will be hosting an open panel tonight, taking questions from the general public.

As reported, the legal challenge, being made in a Manhattan court, is being filed by numerous journalists and activists who contend that the language of the bill is too vague. While the bill itself is supposedly aimed at terrorists and their supporters, the plaintiffs contend that the definition of "supporters of terrorism" is broad enough to include peaceful activist groups, and could intimidate journalists into not getting anywhere near someone the NDAA could define as a terrorist or terrorist supporter.

Birgitta is among the plaintiffs in the case, and has been an outspoken opponent of the law. As she told the Guardian last March, "[The NDAA] provisions create a greater sense of fear since now the federal government will have a tool with which to incarcerate me outside of the normal requirements of the criminal law. Because of this change in the legal situation, I am now no longer able to travel to the US for fear of being taken into custody as as having 'substantially supported' groups that are considered as either terrorist groups or their associates."

Judge Katherine Forrest put a temporary restraining order on the provision last May, and the US government is expected to appeal. This could mean the case could go to the US Supreme Court. Tonight, at 18:00 EST (23:00 GMT, or 22:00 Icelandic time), the plaintiffs will be hosting an open panel discussion on the lawsuit. All are welcome to attend the panel, which will be streaming live here.

Both plaintiffs and defendants will be going before Judge Forrest on August 7 for a final hearing.


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