As readers here know, I take my hat off to those who bravely and consistently speak up about the loss of liberty here in the U.S., and elsewhere around the planet. Among the most vocal spokespeople (and certainly one of the most articulate) in this regard is Chris Hedges, American journalist, who has reported from more than fifty countries, and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News, and The New York Times, where he was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years.
Hedges has been a persistent critic of the National Defense Authorization Act, and, indeed, it’s hard to understand how any person of conscience is not galled by the NDAA. As I had written previously:
The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provides broad authority for the federal government to use the military in domestic operations in order to detain Americans indefinitely and without trial. This nullifies the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the natural rights of Americans.
We’ve taken our system of law and government and regressed 800 years, to the days before the Magna Carta. Now, publicly criticizing the federal government (which is what I’m doing this very minute) can meet the vague definition of a “belligerent act,” and result in my arrest and indefinite detainment — without access to a lawyer.
This isn’t liberty, folks. This is not what our brave soldiers have fought and died to defend through the last 236 years.
permits the military to detain anyone, including U.S. citizens, who “substantially support”—an undefined legal term—al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces,” again a term that is legally undefined. Those detained can be imprisoned indefinitely by the military and denied due process until “the end of hostilities.” In an age of permanent war this is probably a lifetime. Anyone detained under the NDAA can be sent, according to Section (c)(4), to any “foreign country or entity.” This is, in essence, extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens. It empowers the government to ship detainees to the jails of some of the most repressive regimes on earth.
Hedges, who’s litigation against the Obama Administration is making its way through the court system, writes:
If we lose in Hedges v. Obama—and it seems certain that no matter the outcome of the appeal this case will reach the Supreme Court—electoral politics and our rights as citizens will be as empty as those of Nero’s Rome. If we lose, the power of the military to detain citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military prisons will become a terrifying reality. Democrat or Republican. Occupy activist or libertarian. Socialist or tea party stalwart. It does not matter. This is not a partisan fight. Once the state seizes this unchecked power, it will inevitably create a secret, lawless world of indiscriminate violence, terror and gulags. I lived under several military dictatorships during the two decades I was a foreign correspondent. I know the beast.