Michael Moore and Chris Hedges on the 'Corporate Coup d’État' and the Govt's Moves to Jail People without Charges or Trial
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AMY GOODMAN: Last week, the ability of the U.S. government to jail people without charge or trial was back in court. A group of reporters, scholars and activists, including Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges, are suing the Obama administration over the controversial provision in the NDAA, the National Defense Authorization Act, saying it could allow for the indefinite detention of journalists and others who interact with certain groups. Well, last Wednesday, the Justice Department asked an appeals court to reverse a judge’s earlier decision blocking indefinite detention, saying the ruling would hamper its ability to fight terrorism. The Obama administration has already won an emergency freeze of the ruling while the case is appealed.
Well, on the same day, Wednesday, an event, just after the court hearing, was held in New York featuring a panel of some of those who were in the courtroom to oppose the NDAA. Joining them was the Academy Award-winning filmmaker and activist Michael Moore and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges. We end today’s show with their remarks. The case is known as Hedges v. Obama. Michael Moore began by responding to a question about how he got involved.
MICHAEL MOORE: How did I get involved in it? Well, I mean—I mean, I’ve been involved in this sort of thing for a very long time, in general, in terms of these issues. I was the chair of the American Civil Liberties Union in Flint when I was 19 or 20 years old. And what Chris said in the last panel here about the corporate coup d’état, that’s something I’ve been talking about, trying to talk about, for a couple of decades, since Roger & Me_, that something was afoot here and that we were going to have our democratic way absconded with. And I agree with him that—that it has been successful. But I remain an optimist because I know history, and I know that coup d’états that were successful at first were eventually overthrown. And I just want to use that word "overthrown" here publicly tonight, so this can be replayed at my trial. I — [phone ringing] should we get that? Or—
MATT SLEDGE: Yeah.
MICHAEL MOORE: Who ordered the pizza?
MATT SLEDGE: Silence your phones, please, if you can.
NATASHA LENNARD: Really, really. Let’s ignore it.
MICHAEL MOORE: Well, I—you know, I’ve had to deal with the issue of the police trying to suppress information or to cause harm or—on any of a number of different levels to those who try to bring out the truth. I had a small alternative newspaper in Flint, Michigan, back in the 1970s. Our printer was raided by the police, and they took the printing plates of our newspaper right off the press and searched and seized everything. And it was because we had done an article on the mayor using federal moneys for his campaign, re-election, and so he went to a local judge, and the judge approved the search warrant, and they grabbed all of our stuff. So, that was, you know, one of my first experiences. Now, that particular incident, along that same year with—a CBS affiliate in Boise, Idaho, was also raided by the police, that the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press asked me to work with them. And a law was passed, a shield law was passed, the following year to essentially prohibit police raids of newsrooms, unless there’s an actual crime, like a murder or robbery or something, going on.
So, I know. I mean, I could talk about this all night in terms of my own—what my own personal experience has been, you know, what I have learned since, in terms—within the Bush administration and what they did or were doing or how they tried to deal with Fahrenheit 9/11, all the way from official government things to just the sort of propaganda that they put out on me in order to, you know, I think, stir the pot of the unhinged. And so, I’ve—I wrote about this in my last book and the number of—not threats, but actual assaults or attempted assaults that I’ve had to go through, up to and including an individual planning to blow up our house in Michigan, and was only caught because one of his weapons went off at his home, and a neighbor heard it and called the cops, and came in and they found all the fertilizer bomb stuff and a list of—a small list, actually, of, well, liberal, left people that he’d like to assassinate, with me at the top of the list, and then there was Rosie O’Donnell, Janet Reno and Hillary Clinton. So, I don’t know how I ended up on the lesbian list, but I’m happy and proud to be there. That’s a joke. Just trying to—well, any time I talk about this, it’s obviously not a pleasant thing to talk about.