Tonight on Sex and Politics, I’ll be talking to Tangerine Bolen, Executive Director of Revolution Truth, and a plaintiff in the critical case to overturn the military detention provisions of the NDAA. Yesterday, an appeals court has overturned the injunction granted by Judge Forrest, which prevented enforcement of Section 1021 of the Act.
THIS APPLIES TO YOU. The original provisions of the NDAA allowed for military detention of terrorist groups Al Qaeda and the Taliban. However, in 2012, a new provision was added which allowed for detaining ‘associated forces’ and those who provided ‘substantial support’. Since these provisions don’t spell out what that means, it could be construed as being a journalist and ’embedding’ with people who support Al Qaeda or the Taliban. It could also mean that if you go to a meeting to ‘support’ Afghan refugees, you could be on the hook if someone organizing that meeting had any sort of organizational affiliation with groups the government deems to be ‘associated forces’.
This is a marked change from past practice, and in a panel discussion that included Bolen, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges (who laid out the case against the NDAA here), Daniel Ellsberg (the man who risked everything to bring us the Pentagon Papers), Activist Alexa O’Brien and the attorneys in the case, it was made clear that the insertion of this language was a retroactive power grab by Government–as Judge Katherine Forrest pointed out when she granted her initial injunction against implementing 1021, it allows for detention til the end of hostilities. Since no one has defined a goal or a milestone for the wars against ‘terror’, it’s conceivable that people could be confined for life. And the government had initially fought Judge Forrest’s injunction by intimating that there were ALREADY people being detained under its provisions.
Larger point; As Chris Hedges has explained, this sort of ‘linking’ of journalists with an ‘enemy’ goes back to the Cold War days, when journalists like I.F. Stone were vilified for ‘supporting’ Communism. In the 50’s under McCarthy, people lost jobs and had careers destroyed, but there were no laws that prohibited associating with sympathizers–McCarthy’s black lists eventually went away and the people who out-lived him (like Dalton Trumbo and Zero Mostel) had the last laugh. The NDAA provisions do away with such constitutional niceties. If one engages in the thought-crime of listening to a non-US point of view (or giving pixels or airtime to a supporter of one of the ‘terror organizations’), there is now a law that can be used to put you away. In the government’s view, writing about the suffering of people in Occupied Afghanistan can be construed as supporting the enemy. Moreover, the conflating of reporting organizations is continuing and growing–If (as suspected), the conviction of Bradley Manning on all charges leads to an indictment against Wikileaks, could the government come after anyone who wrote or blogged for Assange or donated money to their work?
We should be starting at 9 PM this evening. You can give us a listen if you’re in Brooklyn at 1090 AM. If you’re not in Brooklyn, you can go online and listen via WBCR by clicking here. If you click in at 8PM, you can listen to my colleague Joe Wade’s Sex and politics culture show.