Indefinite Detention


RevolutionTruth.org founder Tangerine Bolen is a plaintiff in Hedges v. Obama, a challenge to the indefinite detention provision of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In September,  U.S. District Court judge Katherine Forrest blocked that provision of the law. reason asked Bolen for three reasons why Section 1021 is dangerous, especially for journalists and activists.

Unconstitutionally vague language in the law provides the U.S. government with sweeping, arbitrary, and absolute detention powers. It allows them to detain you, deny you counsel, and hold you for as long as they wish, if they believe you are "associated" with "terrorism" in any way or "engaged in hostilities" against the U.S.

Section 1021—and the government's handling of our case—is a stark example of the slow and total perversion of the rule of law. Mainstream media have ignored blatant contradictions in the government's arguments. Without public pressure, the next judge may simply kowtow to deceitful, misleading tactics—even though our win is the strongest ruling for civil liberties in a decade. 

The government claims that as long as your journalism and advocacy is "independent" enough, you will be safe. Who defines "independent" and by what criteria? While mainstream media outlets are failing the public, there is a concurrent, dramatic rise in citizen journalism, often coupled with advocacy. But Section 1021 essentially allows the U.S. government to undermine and redefine First Amendment rights at whim.