Thursday, June 29, 2006

This is treason?

The American Prospect discusses the depths that U.S. cable television has sunk to:

I never, ever, ever watch prime time cable news because it makes me want to kill extremely large numbers of people. Tragically, I walked through the door yesterday and my roommate already had Hardball on. There were two people debating the issue of . . . whether or not The New York Times should be brought up on charges of treason. Seriously. Treason. For publishing an article in a newspaper. Treason. And there was Chris Matthews happily presiding over the whole thing as if this was a serious conversation that people should be having. This all taking place on a network that, allegedly, does journalism.

(Emphasis in the original.)

It has been said that the greatest advantage the Devil has is that he has convinced the world that he does not exist. The Republicans have taken a leaf out of the Devil's book, and have spent the last few decades spreading the message that the U.S. media is controlled by liberals and progressives. In reality, of course, the mainstream U.S. media is either explicitly far-right wing (such as Fox News) or so terrified of being accused of "liberal bias" that they give more air-time to the far-right.

Not that it saves them from the accusations.

The mainstream media has made torture and threats of jail for journalists who report the facts something to debate -- with the spin that standing up for media honesty against Pravda-style manipulation is what needs to be defended. Instead of demanding President Bush defend his outrageous claim that he is allowed to disobey the law and the Constitution at a whim, the mainstream media has made that the norm, with those who believe in the rule of law having to defend the principle that the law applies equally to all people.

According to this so-called "liberal" media, it is normal and desirable to lock people away forever, based not on an open, fair trial, but on the say-so of the President, who doesn't have to give any reason other than "'cos I say so".

Last year, George Bush's minions declared in open court that he has the power to seize anyone on earth -– even "little old ladies in Switzerland" –- and imprison them forever, if he chooses. Any person Bush declared was "an enemy combatant", regardless of whether they took up arms, regardless of even whether they even knew their actions were related to terrorism, could be kidnapped from any nation on Earth, friend or foe, even in the American Homeland itself, and jailed indefinitely, without trial, at the President's discretion, stripped of all rights and legal protections.

Assistant Attorney-General Brian Boyle said these captives were entitled to a single hearing in a military tribunal, without legal counsel, without even access to the evidence against them, with no guarantee that they will even be told the charges against them -- just like the old Soviet Union used to do, and any number of military dictatorships.

Boyle admitted that evidence could be obtained by torture in foreign countries, and that there were no restrictions whatsoever on using torture evidence, as long as the president or the military decided it was "credible." Like the "credible" evidence of Iraqi nuclear weapons.

Last November, the Sunday Times tracked down the movements of planes used by the CIA to carry victims of his lawless kidnappings. People have been kidnapped from all over the world, including Sweden, and flown to torture chambers in Jordan, Egypt, Libya and Uzbekistan, where so-called "credible evidence" can be obtained with fists, cattle prods, rape, drugs and starvation.

And according to the so-called "liberal media", this outrageous criminal behaviour is normal. When the old Communist dictators acted outside the boundaries of all ethics and morality and the law, the U.S. media had no difficulty in shouting out that it was wrong. But now that their own Mad King George is doing it, they give "equal" (where equal means more) time to criminals and fascists.

Here's the problem: for decades now, progressives and liberals have danced to the far-right's tune. The worst excesses of totalitarian thugs has been portrayed as normal, and ordinary civilized behaviour is treated as treason. The crooks have controlled the terms of the debate, and this is where it has come to: report the facts, and be treated as a traitor.

No comments: