Monday, August 01, 2005

SUPREME INJUSTICE

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By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The sewage flowing from Gitmo never ceases. Frantically, now, the very people running this doggie show are leaking vital information detailing our spiral down the gulag drain. The lastest to smack into the web is this. From ABC news:
Leaked emails from two former prosecutors claim the military commissions set up to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay are rigged, fraudulent, and thin on evidence against the accused.

Two emails, which have been obtained by the ABC, were sent to supervisors in the Office of Military Commissions in March of last year - three months before Australian detainee David Hicks was charged and five months before his trial began.

The first email is from prosecutor Major Robert Preston to his supervisor.

Maj Preston writes that the process is perpetrating a fraud on the American people, and that the cases being pursued are marginal.

"I consider the insistence on pressing ahead with cases that would be marginal even if properly prepared to be a severe threat to the reputation of the military justice system and even a fraud on the American people," Maj Preston wrote.

"Surely they don't expect that this fairly half-arsed effort is all that we have been able to put together after all this time."

Maj Preston says he cannot continue to work on a process he considers morally, ethically and professionally intolerable.

"I lie awake worrying about this every night," he wrote.

"I find it almost impossible to focus on my part of mission.

"After all, writing a motion saying that the process will be full and fair when you don't really believe it is kind of hard, particularly when you want to call yourself an officer and lawyer."

Maj Preston was transferred out of the Office of Military Commissions less than a month later.
I recall the Nuremburg Trials, my dad was there for the prosecution, I do recall that some of the people put on trial there were top Nazi judges and lawyers. The Nazis thought, if they wrote laws and passed them, this made everything they did legal! We squelched that notion hard at the Nuremburg trials. This is why we have the whole thing of "crimes against humanity" which we now denounce and refuse to acknowledge.

Here is another lawyer decrying our legal collapse: From Time magazine:
moved to Washington in the weeks after Pearl Harbor — remember, this was a war that everyone wanted to fight in — and worked as an attorney for a member of the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel. One Sunday afternoon in June I was called and asked to report to the Justice Department, where for three months I worked as the youngest of 10 lawyers who tried the saboteurs. In the days after Hoover's announcement, I helped draft a proclamation for Roosevelt that created a military commission to try foreign spies and saboteurs, and denied them the right to judicial review and the right to trial in nonmilitary U.S. courts. They would, instead, be tried by a military tribunal of seven generals, none a trained lawyer, in a conference room in the FBI headquarters, on the fifth floor of the Justice Department, away from the press, a civilian jury and civilian judges.

The appointment of a Justice Department attorney this week to flesh out Bush's order is welcome, because the current document seems incomplete in at least three respects: it does not define "terrorism," rules of evidence for a military trial are not specified and it makes what in most cases may be a vain attempt to ban an outside nonmilitary judicial review of any American military trial in the U.S. or abroad. For example, if a suspected terrorist were apprehended in France, it seems unlikely that the French judiciary would turn the suspect over for military trial in France or the U.S. without reviewing the case. In general, most countries, including France, refuse to extradite their own nationals. Even in the wartime fervor of 1942, the U.S. Supreme Court ignored Roosevelt's order denying the German saboteurs access to the civilian court. The Court reached the merits of the saboteurs' appeal and upheld the convictions and the penalties — death by electrocution for all but the two defectors — to proceed.

In July 1942, when the first witness took the stand and was asked the first question, Kenneth Royall, the appointed counsel for the defendants, stood up and made a valid objection to the form of the question. The tribunal recessed for 45 minutes, roughly the amount of time it takes to smoke a good cigar, and returned with their response. Objection overruled. The question was answered and another asked. Royall stood up and made a second sound objection, but after another cigar break, the panel again overruled him. At this rate the trial would have lasted three years, but Royall took the generals' hint and sat virtually mum for the remainder of the month-long trial.
You see, this article, written at the beginning of our Gitmo gulag adventure, accurately points out several dangerous flaws in the Bush "justice" system, flaws that were quite deliberate and are very ongoing and which lie at the root of all the unfolding scandals that are destroying our international image as well as our collective souls.

The WWII trials were turned into a farce via the mechanism of not allowing the lawyers for the defendants any say in the matter. They allowed the trials to become Nazified. Namely, the end was a foregone conclusion and anyone interfering with it was to be shamed or ignored or silenced in some fashion.

The full Nuremburg Trials grow more and more tawdry as the years pass thanks to our own Nazification. As we become the beacon of torture and murder, we don more and more the judicial robes the Nazi judges wore. Anyone not doing this retires or resigns or is entangled in sudden scandals and offenses.

From Ohio.com:

A Guantanamo detainee who once was Osama bin Laden's driver can be tried by military tribunal, a federal appeals court ruled Friday, apparently clearing the way for the Pentagon to resume trials suspended when a lower court ruled the procedures unlawful.

A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled unanimously against Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni.

More broadly it said that the 1949 Geneva Convention governing prisoners of war does not apply to al-Qaida and its members. That supports a key assertion of the Bush administration, which has faced international criticism for holding hundreds of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay without full POW protections.

"I think pretty much the entire opinion would be welcomed by the administration. I think there's nothing in there that is adverse to the administration's positions," Carl Tobias, a professor of law at the University of Richmond, said in a telephone interview. "It's a very pro-administration decision."
You know, this is sort of like trying Hitler's cleaning lady. Or Eisenhower's driver, who was a woman, by the way, and his mistress.

This is ridiculous on a thousand levels. I can see us interrogating, without torture, the driver for information. But putting him on trial? What was his crime? Running stoplights in Afghanistan?

Seriously, this is at the core of what is destroying us. Our lust for revenge which soured the Nuremburg Trials, has exposed us to being utter fools and criminals in our lust to punish bystanders. It runs an awful lot like the attitude the Japanese had towards prisoners. They were to be used, abused and killed because it was possible and convenient and felt good. We executed their leaders for this. Did we execute Hirohito's chauffuer?

Finally, From the Pentagon:

Intelligence analysts observe interrogations remotely from this room in Camp 5, the new state-of-the-art detention and intelligence facility at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem (Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
He is sitting on a black, padded folding chair, calmly doing stretching exercises within the limits of his restraints. Handcuffs are attached to a chain belt around his waist, and his leg irons are attached to an iron ring in the gray cement floor.

The small room is brightly lit and appears spotlessly clean. A table in the corner is empty, except for a few bottles of water.

This scene played out in mid-February in an interrogation room in Camp 5, the state-of-the-art detention and interrogation facility completed here in 2004. After agreeing to strict ground rules, reporters were allowed to view the interrogation via a video feed from a remote location and with the sound turned off.

A few minutes earlier, three Army military police officers with the names on their uniforms covered with tape had escorted the man into the room. They appeared to exchange polite niceties, and the detainee seemed to be familiar with the process. He even assisted the MPs in correctly fastening the shackles through the chair and into the ring on the floor.

After the detainee sat alone for about five minutes, stretching, examining his fingernails and gazing around the room, the MPs came in again, removed the shackles and handcuffs, and left. One individual, wearing black combat boots, green camouflage pants and a brown T-shirt, stayed in the room and pulled up another chair directly in front of the detainee.

For at least 20 minutes the two men appeared to speak casually. The reporters were escorted out before the session was finished, but during the observed period, neither man appeared irritated or angry at any time. The detainee sat with his legs comfortably crossed, and once he stood and rested a leg on the seat of the chair. At times he gestured animatedly. The two men smiled at each other occasionally and even appeared to chuckle once.
Our detainees seem to be having a happy time, now. Lots of good food and good chat. And this is all hunky dory. The torture which raged on for three years is now over. Thanks to the news leaks and cameras that photographed our crimes. Everyone is now at ease. According to the Pentagon, we are getting tons of great information even today! So it all came out well.

Well.

Talk about stupid. First, the information is utterly useless. Al Qaeda has morphed all over the planet and it has, like any virus, mutated totally and is working its cancerous wonders as bin Laden wished. We lost in Iraq and Afghanistan and are bleeding like crazy in both places and one of the key of bin Laden's triumph is the torture. Without it, he would have one less weapon for fighting us.

The Pentagon childishly believes that the informtion we glean today is going to make us big and strong tomorrow.

This must be why we are celebrating the rise in power of Abdullah, the new ruler of Saudi Arabia. Oh, we do pray he keeps his corrupt and evil talons buried deep in that oil nation! We will literally do anything to keep him in power.

Bin Laden knows this and he uses this against us. Leverage. It is all about leverage and public perception.

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