Appearing at a recent forum with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore, Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges said that the Obama administration’s recently released legal memo on its drone assassination program is really just an attempt to justify what they were already doing.
“It looks like it’s written by a first-year law student,” Hedges said. “I mean, you know, whatever you think of John Yoo — and I hope he burns in hell — he actually had a much more sophisticated legal argument to torture human beings.”
He added that the drone program, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act are all just part of attempting to “legally justify what they’re already doing,” saying that he sees companies like Shell and corporate lobbyists as “forces of death, literally.”
Moore said that he’s glad to appear with Hedges even after all the threats he’s faced over the years, including a crazed conservative who plotted to blow up his house in Michigan. Although a supporter of President Barack Obama’s, Moore recently urged fans to oppose Obama’s “dangerous” erosion of civil liberties, especially by way of the NDAA.
Hedges is suing the Obama administration over a provision in the NDAA that permits the military to imprison terrorists and “associated forces” (including U.S. citizens) indefinitely without charge or trial. A court heard oral arguments against the NDAA’s indefinite detention provision last week.
Hedges contends in the case that as a journalist, his work has already been affected by the mere presence of this law making him fear imprisonment if he communicates with individuals engaging in armed conflict with the U.S.
“This is the problem,” he explained in April. “I spent 20 years as a foreign correspondent, and when we went through that list, there were 17 groups, including al Qaeda, that I have had, as a reporter, direct contact with. There is no provision in there to protect journalists at all, or anyone. Anybody can be swept up under this.”
“I was very happy to hear about this lawsuit that these guys initiated,” Moore said. “And Chris, of course, I’ve been a huge fan of his for a long time. Please read his books. Pass his books around. This man is our… He’s our 21st century Noam Chomsky. Not that Noam isn’t still in the 21st century.”
Moore also said he’s “proud to be part” of the lawsuit, “And I’m very — of course, I’ve been very supportive of Bradley Manning from the beginning, helping to fund the fight. And I put up some of Julian Assange’s bail money.”
The audience erupted into cheers. “Thank you, Michael!” one man yelled.
This video is from Democracy Now, aired Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.