Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Yes we can try them in federal courts, unless we want to rig the results

Finally, if timidly, a U.S. Federal Court judge begins to reassert the REAL place of the Constitution in our society (emphasis mine):

The court has not reached this conclusion lightly," Kaplan wrote in a three-page order barring Abebe's testimony. "It is acutely aware of the perilous nature of the world we live in. But the constitution is the rock upon which our nation rests. We must follow it not lonely when it is convenient, but when fear and danger beckon in a different direction."

Unfortunately, some in our society don't see this a a small and necessary victory in preserving what is left of our tattered civil liberties pillar:

"The decision of the judge to delay the Ghailani trial and dismiss a key
government witness is a clear indication of the problem when prosecuting war on
terror detainees in a federal court," said Kirk Lippold, a senior military
fellow at Military Families United and former commander officer of the USS Cole,
which was attacked by al-Qaeda in 2000 in Yemen. "This is a blatant misuse of
legal proceedings and would not occur if the Department of Justice had pursued
the use of military commissions."

No, Mr. Lippold, the decision by a federal judge to dismiss a tainted witness is not the problem - the torture and indefinite extrajudicial detention of the suspect that caused his tainting is the problem. If these detainees are truly only tri-able in military commissions, then thy need to be treated as prisoners of war, and afforded Geneva Convention protections. leaving that issue aside, there is no "Color of war" exception to the Convention on Torture, to which the U.S. is a signatory, and which was, once ratified by the Congress, made into U.S. law.

This just days after a terrorist, who plead guilty in federal court (despite the assertion that we can't try people there and obtain convictions unless we sue tainted witnesses, or keep it all under wraps because of STATE SECRETS) gave the clearest evidence yet as to how badly U.S. foreign policy continues to hurt our strategic interests (h/t Glenn Greenwald):

If the United States does not get out of Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries controlled by Muslims, he said, "we will be attacking U.S.," adding that Americans "only care about their people, but they don't care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die" . . . .

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