It seems that as reality television becomes more scripted, scripted television dramas become more real. Last night’s episode of “Scandal” was a good example of how writers and producers of these types of programs are taking their story lines straight from the headlines, bringing real life issues to our televisions.
One of Olivia Pope’s employees, a broken but devotedly loyal man named Huck, had been taken into custody under the Patriot Act for the attempted assassination of the president. He didn’t actually shoot him, but was framed by another group, who had hired a woman to seduce Huck, letting his guard down just long enough to be used in the plot. The story ended fairly well, with the female agent being taken into custody, with Huck’s help. It was what happened to Huck, while he was being held in the darkest place beneath the headquarters of the CIA that turned this program from just a television show into something much more noteworthy.
Huck was detained as an enemy combatant, a term which took on a new meaning in the post 9/11, Homeland Security world. Simply stated, an enemy combatant is an unlawful combatant, one without a uniform or an organized and established military, and therefor, one not easily recognized by any opposition forces. Under the Patriot Act, it means that the rules and terms of the Geneva Conventions don’t apply. Just about anything is fair game, including how we treat these new prisoners of war.
While Huck was being held, he was subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques”, a much more benign and polite way of saying “torture”. He was stripped naked, beaten to within an inch of his life and water boarded. Having been trained to carry out missions that most of us don’t even want to know about, Huck didn’t cave and confess to anything he hadn’t done. The same can’t be said for most of those who undergo the same brutal and unconscionable treatment. When these interrogation techniques were questioned, one of the characters on the show who was supposed to be representing the CIA and Homeland Security said that the United States of American didn’t exist in that room, that Huck, an American citizen, had lost his Constitutional rights. All that mattered was that a confession be extracted – the methods and means could be justified by the desired end result.
When Huck was finally released, after giving the agents information leading to the real assassin, he was unceremoniously dumped on the sidewalk, where a waiting Olivia Pope took him back to their office. It wasn’t fun to watch – not the torture, nor the beatings, nor the sworn American officials who said that this was the way things are done now. The Patriot Act has had its’ share of critics – I’m among them. Just last week, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013. By reinstating the law, the plan to close Guantanamo Bay prison camp looks more and more unlikely. The military will be allowed to detain, indefinitely, American citizens on suspicions of supporting terrorism. It also means that enhanced interrogations will continue, and that the information received during these ordeals may or may not bring about any results even worth reaching.
During last night’s episode there was a message on the screen for Twitter followers. It said #FreeHuck and there were tweets aplenty in support of this fictional character and his plight. Huck is free, safely back in the welcoming arms of Pope and Associates. The same can’t be said for the untold numbers of Americans who are being detained right now and suffering a much worse fate – all in the name of freedom.
Good Morning Empress. I have to get back to watching this program. This is at least the second time I’ve seen you reference it in one of your blogs and there is just so much stuff to watch, I can barely keep track.
To the political side of this.. I seem to remember, quite vividly, that when the whitehouse occupant ran in 2008 (and has never stopped campaigning), closing Guantanamo Bay was one of his ‘promises’. In fact, it was one of the first things he was going to do. I remember this quite specifically because his intent, was to bring it’s prisoners to US soil, to the court system and prosecute them as criminals in civilian courts rather than as terrorists by military tribunal. I hope I’ve got that part of the story correct because in my memory, it was a giant hellaballoo and sticking point..
I don’t think any of his promises are what got him elected the first time in 2008, I think it was an anybody but that guy (party) mentality and his complexion. People can hate me for saying so but that’s really what I believe. Here we are 4 years later and it’s the same old shit. He has become (always was in my mind), That Guy. There are other things I wish he would have done or do opposite of what he promised since he doesn’t have to worry about re-election now (thanks God for term limits on the office of president) but that’s what we are stuck with. I don’t know that I feel the same way as many others about a Guantanamo Bay where people are held indefinitely. I do know how I feel however about Americans being stripped of their constitutional rights on a suspicion alone. One of those rights being that of a speedy trial with proper representation. It is yet another gateway for expansion of government power. By that I mean, if our government can railroad something like a Patriot Act through (based on fear), then they can do anything they want. I said in one of my recent blogs, that if we give them an inch, they will take a thousand miles.
Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Well, we’re alive. We are losing liberty every day. The pursuit of happiness? I guess if we are happy with what the government tells us we should be happy with, then it’s still there. The constitution doesn’t guarantee us that we will Achieve happiness, just guarantees the right to pursue it. In my book though, it’s a 1 out of 3 losing game for US Citizens. Every 2 years, we hand the government the power to bastardize our constitution by electing the people sent to DC as well as our state and local governments.
I guess I’m off on one of my tangents so I’ll stop….. MTH
mth, I really was hoping that this administration would address Gitmo, the detainee issues and the trials in a more serious way and I’m disappointed that they, apparently, aren’t going to. You’re right, the Patriot Act – gotta love that patriotism touch – was passed while we were all scared out of our minds about terrorists and didn’t realize that we were giving up all sorts of rights in the process. Now we’re beginning to wake up to what a slippery slope this really was.
This may have felt like a tangent to you, but it sounded pretty reasonable to me – right down to your point that the guarantee to pursue happiness is not a guarantee that all of us will achieve it.
This just popped up in my news feed
Does the congressman even know what the F it is he signed/voted for? I’d bet not.
Do any of them know – ever?