Supreme Court Lets Indefinite Detention of Americans Pass

John Glaser, April 29, 2014

The Supreme Court declined to hear the case that a group of activists, journalists, and academics including Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, and Daniel Ellsberg brought against the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA.

This is a huge gift to the Obama administration, which will no longer have to answer for the terrible language in the provision which implies that U.S. citizens can be denied their rights to due process if the government accuses them of helping al-Qaeda or its affiliated forces. So, the court must have a damn good reason, right?

Here it is:

The appeals court said the challengers had no standing because they could not show the provision has any bearing on the government’s authority to detain U.S. citizens.

The court said the plaintiffs who were not U.S. citizens lacked standing to sue because they did not show “a sufficient threat that the government will detain them” under the provision.

This is malarkey. Given the laws on the books and previous court precedent, it is quite clear that journalists, academics, dissidents, and activists of the type involved in this suit are at risk of detainment. There is a clause of the USA PATRIOT Act which prohibits giving material support to groups designated by the United States as terrorists. Clarifying that clause, in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Projectthe court found that “training,” “expert advice or assistance,” “service,” and “personnel,” all qualified as material assistance.

Humanitarian Law Project was a group that was giving legal advice to Kurdish separatists in the PKK, a group that happens to be on the U.S. terrorist list. The U.S. terrorist list is shamefully arbitrary. The government puts individuals or groups on and takes them off according to its interests at the time: Nelson Mandela was on it before he became admired by the world as a man of peace, Saddam Hussein was on it until the U.S. decided it wanted to support him militarily against Iran in the 1980s, the Iranian group MEK was on it until 2012 when the U.S. decided having an Iranian dissident group off the terrorist list could be in its benefit, etc.

But as to the standing of these individuals in the case, they undoubtedly have it. As Noam Chomsky said in a talk at Google this month, the material assistance clause “could maybe apply to somebody who has an interview with [Hassan] Nasrallah, you know, the head of Hezbollah, as I’ve had. Or maybe advises a group to turn to non-violence. That could be regarded as material assistance under Obama. That’s a tremendous attack on freedom of speech and just elementary justice.”

Journalists also often talk with terrorist groups or individuals. Chris Hedges has certainly done so. If the government some day didn’t like the reports this or that journalist was churning out, might he be targeted for indefinite detention?

The courts failure to hear this case is a terrible move. And when this law is used at some point in the future to detain an American without due process, the court will be remembered for ensuring that inevitable obscenity.




9 Responses to “Supreme Court Lets Indefinite Detention of Americans Pass”

  1. Our elites have transcended the law and morality. They create their own rules. The Supreme Court believes that the law of the jungle and not the US Constitution is the true authority that governs the US. The US Constitution is a fairy tale to keep the rabble in line. They say it isn't a suicide pact, but so is anything that goes against one's self interest. They openly argue that there is no law when it comes down to it. All there is is coercion. If people want their freedom back they are going to have to peacefully secessio plebis from activities that help their enslavers (like consumerism) until their enslavers come crawling back begging for forgiveness.

  2. If these guys have no standing, how is it that the intelligence agencies have any standing in the FISA court?

    Rulings like this are further proof that the United States is a failed state. The country is still there, but the government has no legitimacy when it doesn't obey its own laws, doesn't obey the constitution, engages in selective enforcement and tortures the language to make legal anything it wants to do.

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  4. The U.S. Supreme Shysters–nine unelected, unaccountable, ethics-free megalomaniacs–is the ultimate enforcer for the State. Whether they're radical feminist hacks or Federalist Society hacks, these shysters inevitably side with the State against the serf–er, uh, citizen.

  5. Quite right.

    The U.S. Government is irretrievably f–ked up. The Presidency, the Parliament of Whores, the U.S. Supreme Shysters– none of them follow the
    Constitution and the law. Personally, I think it'll take secession to make things right. . . .

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