Marketing Indefinite Detention to the American Public

On Tuesday evening I watched an episode of NCIS-Los Angeles.  NCIS-LA has a really openly liberal bent in most of its episodes, and for that reason I am not a fan of the show, but somehow I end up watching  a few episodes each season in spite of this. But the episode this week featured more than just the normal "white rich people (especially men) are bad; socialism and liberalism are good" message that I have come to expect from a lot of television entertainment.

In Tuesday's episode, NCIS investigators played by Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J were pursuing a terrorist group from the 70's called the "Gun Barrel Party."  This anarchist organization was a sort of a cross between the uber-leftist terrorist organization "The Weathermen" and the current Tea Party, and in the episode they had been involved in a series of high profile bombings in the 70's and were now making a comeback with new followers and a new mission to get the attention of Americans through new attacks on the social order.

As the investigators tracked the members, they came upon the scene of one demonstration where bombs were set to go off, and they were able to arrest one young member of the group.  The young man began quoting the Constitution to O'Donnell and demanding his right to see an attorney.  O'Donnell quickly shot him down, however, by informing him that because the U.S. Government had designated "The Gun Barrel Party" as a terrorist organization, he no longer had any rights and that he had better cooperate.  The suspect told them that he wanted to exercise his Fifth amendment right not to incriminate himself, but O'Donnell explained to him that under the provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act the government now had the right to detain him as long as they decided they needed to and if he failed to cooperate he would end up at Gitmo.  At that point, the suspect began talking and gave them the information they needed to arrest the leader of the organization.

Even though the indefinite detention provisions of the  National Defense Authorization Act have been in effect since New Years Eve of 2011, I am certain that most Americans still do not know that the U.S. government has empowered itself to imprison Americans without trial.  That is one reason that this episode of NCIS is so shocking.  The writers used the full name of the Act and explained that it trumps the constitutional rights of Americans, but they presented this information in a very positive light as the protagonist investigators used the law to take down the evil terrorists.

As Americans, we expect to have many disagreements with our fellow citizens about the issues of the day--welfare, deficit spending, entitlements, social issues, etc.  But the right of each citizen to be protected by the constitution should never be open for debate--this issue should be so basic that no one, regardless of political affiliation, should ever question it.  Yet, Hollywood is now doing a marketing campaign to let Americans know that some citizens can be marginalize and that anyone who is deemed to be part of a designated terrorist organization is not deserving of the rights or protections which are the framework of our society .  This is very dangerous propaganda.

It is ironic that while "Gitmo" has become a national symbol of failure in our dealings with enemy combatants, it is now perfectly acceptable as a threat against American citizens.  It is sad that Hollywood writers who, if they are going to address this subject at all, should be using their forum to explain the dangers of undermining the constitution, are instead championing a destructive law.  And it is sad that many Americans watching NCIS-Los Angeles who had never heard of the NDAA before Tuesday night now see it only as a vehicle for "cool" investigators to use to bring "really bad people" to justice. 

What is saddest of all though, is that our entire media system has become a propaganda machine for leftist policies. From news to entertainment, the media is preaching one big government, post-constitutional message  and indoctrinating the less informed people in our culture to accept the trampling of our liberties as a good thing. 

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her newest novel, The Chosen, about one small group of Americans' fight to restore the Constitution and end indefinite detentions without trial, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at