“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.” — Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and activist
“Hedges v. Obama is a lawsuit filed January 13, 2012 against the Obama Administration and Members of the U.S. Congress by a group including former New York Times reporter and current Truthdig columnist Christopher Hedges challenging the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA) which permits the U.S. government to indefinitely detain people who are part of or substantially support Al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces engaged in hostilities against the United States.
The plaintiffs contend that Section 1021(b)(2) of the law allows for detention of citizens and permanent residents taken into custody in the U.S. on “suspicion of providing substantial support” to groups engaged in hostilities against the U.S. such as al-Qaeda and the Taliban respectively that the NDAA arms the U.S. military with the ability to imprison indefinitely journalists, activists and human-rights workers based on vague allegations.
The principal allegation made by the plaintiffs against the NDAA is that the vagueness of critical terms in the NDAA could be interpreted by the U.S. federal government in a way that authorizes them to label journalists and political activists who interview or support outspoken critics of the Obama administration’s policies as “covered persons,” meaning that they have given “substantial support” to terrorists or other “associated groups”.”