Friday, January 23, 2009

Tom's Moment of Orwell

This morning featured a real keeper from NPR's Mr. Langley, Tom Gjelten:
"One provision of yesterday's executive order prohibits the CIA from holding any detainees in secret prisons. Not a big change; those prisons are all closed anyway, according to US officials."
Brilliant reasoning, eh? All the CIA secret prisons are closed because US officials - who ran these covert, CIA criminal black sites for years and years - say they're shut down.

Yes, NPR is really out in front on this one. The CIA torture sites were making news way back in 2004 as this report from HRW and this one from the Guardian indicate, but NPR didn't get around to the story until Novemeber of 2005, when it was safely out in the open in the Washington Post.

And as others have noted, there is no sense of moral/legal revulsion at the practice - only relentless suggestions that the practices have helped keep us secure or saved lives.

4 comments:

Liberality said...

which in my book makes them guilty too, as an accessory to the crimes committed.

Benoit Balz said...

Dear Blogmasters,

Please keep up this important work. It's a shame your place is the only place to see and read the kind of criticism you're doing. Professional journalism be damned - what we're reading here is great stuff. Thanks so much!

Sincerely,

BB
NY, NY

Anonymous said...

"One provision of yesterday's executive order prohibits the CIA from holding any detainees in secret prisons. Not a big change; those prisons are all closed anyway, according to US officials." - tOM Gjelten

Even if the CIA has closed the prisons (we have to simply take their word for it), Obama's executive order signals a HUGE change in the modus operandi of the US government.

It says that this kind of thing will no longer be tolerated.

It's easy to start something back up when there is no oder specifically banning it.

When there is a ban, one risks jail time for doing so.

And if the CIA has NOT actually closed down the secret prisons, agents will be subject to prosecution.

HUGE difference, even if Gjelten is too stupid to see it (which he apparently is)

Gjelten seems tio be typical of the know-nothing ideologue that is so commonplace among NPR reporters these days.

Anonymous said...

"One provision of yesterday's executive order prohibits the CIA from holding any detainees in secret prisons. Not a big change; those prisons are all closed anyway, according to US officials."

Whether this has the intended effect depends on one's definition of "prison".

Politicians and other government officials are notorious for parsing legal phrases, especially ones that could potentially land them in jail.

How can we forget Bill Clinton's "That depends on what the meaning of the word is is"?

Does a cage in a cave somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan used by the CIA to interrogate "detainees" qualify as a "prison"?

How about rendition? Is that still OK? Is it alright to have others do the interrogating for you (at secret detention centers) as long as you (the CIA) do not operate your own secret prisons?