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View Diary: Morning Reaction: Closing Guantanamo (318 comments)

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  •  the article is not promising (10+ / 0-)

    there seems to be a push for some kind of new court system which retains the secrecy of the military commissions that we currently use.

    Obama advisor Lawrence Tribe explains it thusly:

    "It would have to be some sort of hybrid that involves military commissions that actually administer justice rather than just serve as kangaroo courts," Tribe said. "It will have to both be and appear to be fundamentally fair in light of the circumstances. I think people are going to give an Obama administration the benefit of the doubt in that regard."

    There can be no "military commissions that actually administer justice rather than just serve as kangaroo courts." Military courts are for trying military prisoners, and these prisoners aren't that. Not only that, military courts allow the accused to be represented by a lawyer. And these prisoners aren't allowed that either.

    Star-chamber trials are star-chamber trials, no matter what name you want to put on it.

    Timothy McVeigh was tried in federal court. So was Omar Abdel-Rahman, the perpetrator of the 1993 WTC bombing.

    We have to find a way to try these people in a federal court, or we have to release them. Period. That's the only way to restore the rule of law.

    •  I know, I'm not too happy about that myself (5+ / 0-)

      I suspect the reasoning behind it is that there are valid military secrets involved... although I dunno. Right now all I want is for Barack to walk out of the Oval office alive today -- he's a bigger man than I. I'd as soon go one on one with a psycopathic rattlesnake.

      •  that's a very dangerous slope to be going down (6+ / 0-)

        to say that we are obligated to deny these prisoners--who have not been proven guilty of any wrongdoing--the right to a fair trial in court because of the executive's privilege to keep "military secrets."

        That is the foundation stone of tyranny, right there. Because once they start claiming "military secrets" to justify arbitrary detention of "suspected terrorists," they will eventually start applying the same argument to more and more people.

        After all, who is a "suspected terrorist"? You? Me? Your friends and family? The definition is so vague that it can be applied to anyone.

        If we enter another national security crisis, like a terrorist attack, the government will be tempted to go the quick and easy route of rounding up anyone it finds suspicious and then justifying their arrest and detention due to "military secrets".

        And once someone disappears into our system of gulags, it takes a long, long time for them to come out, if indeed they ever come out.

        That's why it's absolutely crucial for us to be clear that this cannot stand. We cannot use national security as an excuse to deny anyone the fundamental rights guaranteed to us by the Bill of Rights.

      •  Speaking of presidential transition meetings, (6+ / 0-)

        I got a big chuckle out of the descriptions of some of the earlier ones in the TIME article (including Kennedy's reference to Eisenhower as "that old a-hole").  My favorite line:

        Hoover called Roosevelt "a chameleon in plaid," while FDR preferred the image of Hoover as "a fat, timid capon."

        We could use more imaginative political invective like this!

        Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul . . .

        by cranquette on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 01:37:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  that's a very dangerous slope to go down (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SnowItch

        to say that the government can deny these prisoners a right to a fair trial by citing executive privilege to keep "military secrets."

        That's the foundation stone of tyranny, right there. Because once you argue that the president has the right to detain "suspected terrorists" indefinitely without trial in order to protect "military secrets", that same argument can be used to justify imprisoning anyone.

        After all, who is a "suspected terrorist"? You? Me? Your friends and family? The term is so vague that it could apply to anyone, really. And since the government is never obligated to reveal the "military secrets" it claims to be protecting, no one will ever be in a position to know if the stated reasons for their imprisonment are even true.

        In case we enter into a national security crisis--like another terrorist attack--the government will be tempted to just arrest all suspicious individuals without any real evidence, and justify it by asserting the need to keep "military secrets". It's quick and it's easy, which is important in a crisis.

        Unfortunately, these kinds of mass arrests tend to sweep up a lot of innocent people. And once someone disappears into our system of gulags, it may be years before they come out. If they ever do.

        That's why we must be absolutely clear. We cannot allow the concern to protect "military secrets" to be used as a justification for taking away our fundamental rights under the Bill of Rights.

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