"I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free." - Eugene V. DebsI've been thinking a lot about NPR's coverage - or lack thereof - of the Padilla case. I can barely stand to listen to NPR's treatment of Padilla's latest sham trial as if it were a typical criminal case notable only for "the circuitous route the government took in bringing Padilla's case to trial." What NPR never takes head-on is the fundamental assault on our most cherished Constitutional protections that the Padilla 3 year and 8 month detention and torture represents.
As I listen to the latest drivel from Greg Allen and Liane Hansen and hear them consider how strong the government's current "case" against Padilla is, I keep wondering when will they ask the most crucial question: "Why aren't people being held accountable and brought to trial for the illegal detention and torture of this innocent citizen?" And yes, I assert forcefully that Mr. Padilla is innocent until proven guilty (a quaint position I'll admit).
I think what disgusts me most about NPR is their utter moral relativism and servility to the government framing of issues. Do they give a crap about our Constitutional protections against arbitrary detention and guarantees of a trial by jury? Is there any depravity they will categorically denounce, even if it is sanctioned by one or all of the branches of the US government? Will they ever just call torture torture without qualifying and minimizing it? What is clear is that NPR clearly believes in maintaining standards such as giving the Office of President undeserved deference and respect - repeatedly playing without challenge speeches by and assertions of Bush as if he hadn't already proven himself a sociopath and liar.
I remember the utter shock and horror I felt when I learned of Padilla's seizure and subsequent disappearance. As the falseness of the "dirty bomb" claims have proven, there was no reason for such draconian actions, except to establish the precedent of allowing US citizens to be detained, disappeared and abused at the whim of the President--a precedent which NPR buttresses with its silence and timidity.