I shouldn’t be surprised. I know. I’m a hoper though, a dreamer, a believer. So when our mainstream news fails to report some of the biggest stories about our civil liberties, I get disappointed. And, as the holder of a Journalism degree I get downright pissed.
It started with the NPR report this morning about the Mexican immigrant shot dead in Washington state. This morning. Not when it happened. But that’s small time.
What about the news out of Chicago that police are holding US citizens illegally in a warehouse and using torture techniques, that at least once has led to death. No booking, no phone call.
They’re probably terrorists, so it’s okay. It’s okay not to mention them in The New York Times or The Washington Post. At all.
Terrorists like a woman “who says she was shackled to a bench within Chicago’s secretive interrogation facility for 18 hours before being permitted access to a lawyer described the ordeal as being “held hostage’’ in the police compound that has been likened to a CIA black site,” according to an article in The Guardian.
The article also quoted another detainee as saying, “You are just kind of held hostage.” “The inability to see a lawyer is a drastic departure from what we consider our constitutional rights. Not being able to have that phone call, the lack of booking, makes it so that when you’re there, you understand that no one knows where you are.”
The role of the press as a government watchdog is staggeringly absent here. A Chicago Sun-Times article reports a police department denial, using the fact that “unlike other Chicago Police facilities over the years, no allegations of torture have been reported in the media in connection with Homan Square.”
Let me say that again.
No allegations of torture have been reported in the media.
This is exactly the point. And it evades the point. Torture is not reported. Let’s give the Chicago PD the benefit of the doubt that they’re not torturing anyone or handcuffing them to a bar behind bench for 17 hours.
Let’s say there’s no torture. Is that what we’ve come to? If there’s no waterboarding going on it’s okay to deny citizens their constitutional rights? It’s not torture, it’s just eroding civil liberties. No big deal.