Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Big Yawn

Two early events in our US government's dismantling of due process and the rule of law stand out in my mind. First, the very public release by the US in January 2002 of the photos of detainees at Guantanamo. Could there have been a more brazen display of official US contempt for its international obligations for the humane treatment of prisoners? The second shocker for me occurred in June of 2002 with the seizure of an American citizen, Jose Padilla, on his arrival at O'Hare airport in Chicago and his subsequent transfer to incommunicado detention in a military brig. NPR's coverage of Padilla's kidnapping was presented by NPR with complete sympathy to the government's actions. Barbara Bradley reported the story for ATC on June 10, 2002, and pointedly noted that the "advantages" of moving Padilla's case to "military custody" included no right to a speedy trial, no need for evidence, and the fact that he could be held indefinitely.

Anyone who listens regularly to NPR news knows that - in deference to the US security state and its purposely amorphous "war on terror" - NPR has demonstrated nothing but a thinly veiled contempt for Constitutional protections required for detainees and suspects - whether US citizens or not. So when another big story recently broke regarding a significant US government assault on Constitutional guarantees, it's no surprise that NPR - by omission - again displays a disregard for our laws and basic constitutional principles. Though not a surprise, it is appalling.

I know it's quaint but the 5th Amendment seems pretty clear about the rights of any "person" (excepting members of the military in cases involving "actual service") not to be "deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." So shouldn't it be a BIG story when we find out that the previous and current US presidents have been ordering the assassinations of people - including US citizens(!)? Not on NPR; search NPR for "Dennis Blair" the US Director of National Intelligence who recently testified about "killing an American" and you will find nothing about the assassination program...absolutely nothing!

The assassination program also points toward another NPR-censored story. One of the targets of the US assassination program is apparently US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki who the US - and NPR - ties to the Christmas bombing attempt (and who apparently sympathizes with terrorist attacks on US civilian targets). The truly stunning news about the Christmas bombing attempt is the apparent role played by the US intelligence and law enforcement "community" in preventing the would-be bomber's visa from being revoked. Alex Lantier of the WSWS has an excellent write up of the story and you can watch for yourself the testimony of Patrick Kennedy before the US House here (the recording is 3 hours long, but the relevant material comes at the 34:28:00 point and also at the 2:55:25 mark). The testimony is not an airtight indictment, but its potential implications are disturbing at best, and at the worst imply that someone in the intelligence "community" wanted to have a major terrorist event occur during this period of the Obama administration. Like the rest of the mainstream media, NPR gives this story no coverage whatsoever - sticking with the original nonsense that it was a "failure to connect the dots.

One would think that given the large number of people who have been falsely seized in the fraudulent war on terror and Iraq (and even standout cases such as the Oregon lawyer arrested in the Madrid bombing case but then soon exonerated) would cause a news organization to treat all US government actions and pronouncements in the "war on terror" with great skepticism - unless that news organization is more interested in representing the viewpoint of the state, a position euphemistically known as being "mainstream."


Dina said...

What boggles my mind is that NPR, et al, spent so much time covering this would be terrorist, even referring to him as the Xmas Day bomber as if it were a fait accompli. Whereas if you search Richard Reed, the would be shoe bomber on NPR's website, he's given a whisper in comparison. Giuliani, on Good Morning America, said that there was no terrorist attack under Bush's watch. Did anyone hear NPR cover Giuliani's misstatement? That is news-- public officials rewriting history.

gDog said...

Ah, yes, that quaint old yellowed parchment which includes Article 1, Section 8 delineating the powers of Congress such as

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

Really, what were these wigs thinking? Was Jefferson a red heifer's son?

Mytwords said...

When searching NPR try "Richard Reid" and you'll find they did give him a fair bit of coverage. What I find pretty disgraceful is that even the Obama administration says nothing about defending the Constitution (which is the one thing the President actually is sworn to do) and instead keeps defending itself by touting how it's doing just what the Bushists did - or taking cover soley behind the utilitarian argument that not torturing works better...yes we can!

larry, dfh said...

Over the x-mas time I was on the road and didn't hear much about the underwear bomber. I traveled to see a good friend on his 60th birthday, when I got there he started right in on 'clearly a false flag operation'. My friend used to be somewhat right-wing, as he had escaped Czechoslovakia in 1968. He now lives in Canada, and told me several years ago: in the 25 years I was in the U.S., it has become everything the kgb told me it was.
'False flag operation' was almost the first thing out of his mouth when I saw him.

larry, dfh said...

I believe this 'barbara bradley' from 2002 is in fact 'barbara bradley haggerty', npr's RELIGION correspondent. Hew voice sounds the same to my untrained ear. Oh well, I guess she's pre-forgiven'.

Grace said...

I am feeling quite depressed by the way Obama and team are falling back on "well Bush did it this way"
rather than putting forth a constitutional argument.
I understand pointing out the hypocrisy but they have done that and now sound like a broken record.
I actually think Obama team are doing a pis* poor job getting in front of stories and the potential problems. I am really disgusted with the few steps in the right direction Holder has taken and the Whitehouse just leaves him out there with little back up.
Oh well, I was silly enough to not only hope for change but anticipate it.

Oh great just hearing the targeted killing by Obama admin. on Democracy Now.

Grace said...


No, that is propaganda!

Glad you are posting here!

Anonymous said...

The Glen Greenwald column linked to in this is the best I have read by him.
Would NPR be a big yawn if they read either Matthew's piece, Grreenwald's or both rather than the nonsense they report.
What we have done to Padilla and others is only referred to as they deserved it or frame it to avoid the constitutional problems.
If you look at the progression of these cases up to targeted assassinations of alleged enemies up to now targeting US citizens, you have to wonder where this ends, or leads.
It seems to me we have decided to adopt practices of other countries, ignoring what I thought many valued in our country, the rule of law.
I don't believe many of these decisions were taken after 9-11, but were being worked on in the
90's when we knew sanctions on Iraq were going to be lifted and the Wolfowitz/Cheney crew didn't like what that meant.
It's been all about security ever since with big media (NPR)playing their role well. If it isn't covered, did it happen?
Maybe there are snipers on some of our leaders and a quiet coup has already happened. That may sound nuts but it seems like it!
Back to the poinr, people would be glued to NPR if they were raising the alarms that should be raised.

gDog said...

people would be glued to NPR if they were raising the alarms that should be raised.
I agree. But they don't want to feed the need to know, they want to feed the need to be reassured that everything is going to be alright if you just let the banksters who control our so-called government get what they need to stay on top.

Anonymous said...

It's not NPR News, but Diane Rehm's guests did talk about the assassination program a little, perhaps a week or two ago.

Rehm asked some questions but didn't seem outraged--not that outrage is her strong suit.

Nate Bowman said...

goop Doggy
But they don't want to feed the need to know, they want to feed the need to be reassured that everything is going to be alright if you just let the banksters who control our so-called government get what they need to stay on top.

Except when they are feeding the fear mongering that the terr'ists are gonna git us if we don't do (fill in the blank).

gDog said...


Oh, yeah. That's the other side of the fear/protection racket. All these PhDs in psychology have found a good jobs program in the NPR/CIA, it seems. Protection Motivation Theory is a well-developed practice, and nowhere is it practiced more than in the MSM.