This American Life: Secret Government (RealAudio stream). Wow. Wow. Wow.

It’s a spine-tingling episode of This American Life, a wonderfully-engaging and entertaining radio program that mixes comedy with serious discussion of serious issues, which covers our new secret government by calling up the Justice Department and the victims and letting them tell their stories.

Act One covers the story of Jose Padilla, the man who was whisked away from his average criminal trial, declared an enemy combatant, placed on a military brig and not allowed to see a lawyer or a court until “the end of the war”. The Justice Department says it was because he had serious discussions about a “dirty bomb” and they need all the information they can get from him. This American Life suggests it was to distract people from the FBI’s misbehavior.

Act Two covers the everyday people who woke up one morning to find 25 FBI officers outside their door, were taken to solitary confinement for months without their family being told where they were, and then were flown back to their home countries.

Act Three covers the secret FISA court, which meets in secret to issue secret decisions about who the government can secretly wiretap. They’d never said no until the Government asked for broad new powers to override the the safeguards that were in place to prevent abuse of the court. That time they said no, and, at the request of some senators, told the public of their decision. The government appealed, to a secret court which had never met before. The ACLU, finding out about this, tried to fight it.

If you’re interested in these things, or just want an our of entertainment, I highly recommend this show.

[found via GreaterDemocracy]

posted January 19, 2003 01:28 PM (Politics) #


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Aaron Swartz (