Friday, May 04, 2007

A long way from American ideals

A brief detour from my normal subject matter...

A year ago, the public radio program This American Life broadcast an extraordinary episode about the Guantanamo prison camp and the writ of habeas corpus. I listened to it via a podcast soon after the broadcast and was stunned by what I heard.

Recently, the episode -- called Habeas Schmabeas -- won the prestigious Peabody award. In light of this event, the This American Life staff updated the episode and rebroadcast it in late April. For a limited time you can download an MP3 version of the program at the This American Life website. After the MP3 offer has expired, it will be available for streaming. Here's part of the blurb for the show:
The right of habeas corpus has been a part of our country's legal tradition longer than we've actually been a country. It means that our 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 prisoners should not be covered by habeas—or even by the Geneva Conventions—because they're the most fearsome enemies we have. But is that true? Is it a camp full of terrorists, or a camp full of our mistakes?

Disturbing, but highly recommended.

No comments: