Video: Noam Chomsky on the regression of the presumption of innocence
Massachusetts Institute of Technology linguist Noam Chomsky has often blurted out truths that the U.S. mainstream media don't like to highlight.
The video above is but one example.
In it, the scholar and author discusses how the presumption of innocence is under attack these days.
This is perhaps most apparent in the American government's drone attacks that are killing people in other countries in the absence of a declaration of war.
"Effectively, it gives the president the authority to kill whoever he feels like on a suspicion that maybe some day they'll harm us," Chomsky says.
He notes that the presumption of innocence arose in the Magna Carta of 1215, otherwise known as The Great Charter of Liberties.
Chomsky points out the Magna Carta's declaration: "No freeman can be accused without a speedy trial before his peers."
That concept expanded over the centuries to include women, former U.S. slaves, and others.
"It still has limits, which it shouldn't have," Chomsky says. "It doesn't included illegal immigrants."
But he says increasingly, the concept of the presumption of innocence is being contracted, especially through drone warfare.
Chomsky dismisses U.S. attorney general Eric Holder's claim that victims of drone attacks are getting due process as required by law because the executive branch "has considered the matter internally".
"King John would have laughed with hysterical amusement," Chomsky says with a touch of irony.
The video was extracted from an interview filmed on January 22, 2013, as part of a documentary project called Tipping Point Democracy.