I am changing my plan for today's blog because I think this is important.
This is not intended as a political rant; it is intended as a citizen alert.
I have just finished one of the most disturbing hours of radio I have ever experienced. I listened to this week's episode of "This American Life" on NPR.
The summary of the show read: "The right of habeas corpus has been a part of this country's legal tradition longer than we've actually been a country. It means the government has to explain why it's holding a person in custody. But now, the war on terror has nixed many of the rules we used to think of as fundamental. At Guantanamo Bay, our government initially claimed that the prisoners should not be covered by habeas – or even by the Geneva Conventions – because they're the most fearsome terrorist enemies we have. But is that true? Is it a camp full of terrorists, or a camp full of our mistakes? Reporter Jack Hitt unveils everything we know about who these prisoners are."
The crazy thing was that--all the time I was listening--I was thinking of "Good Night and Good Luck," the Oscar-nominated movie about Edward R. Murrow. Some of the very same things that the U.S. military was saying at that time were being repeated by the military TODAY in this show about Guantanamo Bay.
I strongly urge you to listen to this show. If you have already missed it locally, or if you do not have access to NPR locally, go to http://www.thislife.org/. "This American Life" is set up to make every show available seven days later via RealAudio (this is a free download--you DO NOT have to pay for RealAudio). That means that next weekend, you can listen to this weekend's show for free. Alternatively, you can pay $13 any time during the next seven days to download the program immediately.
The description of sealed evidence that defendants are not permitted to see in order to defend themselves and the complete lack of legal representation--I can hardly believe that anyone connected to the United States of America would condone such action.
And, lest you think this is old news, here's a news report from ABC dated March 8--that's right--four days ago:
"The Attorney-General of the United States has defended Guantanamo Bay, arguing the prison camp is lawful and consistent with the Geneva Convention.
In the past week, the British Prime Minister and the head of the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, have called for the US detention camp to close.
Both have described it as a legal anomaly.
Speaking on a visit to Britain, US Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales insists the camp is consistent with the Geneva Convention, but he questions the relevance of the Convention in today's world.
"I think it's always appropriate to look to see whether or not in this new kind of war against ... this new kind of enemy, are the conventions, are all the provisions of the conventions [relevant]," he said.
Mr Gonzales rejects allegations that prisoners have been mistreated and tortured at Guantanamo Bay.
Australian David Hicks has been held at Guantanamo Bay for more than four years."
I'll return to regular programming tomorrow.