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View Diary: BREAKING: District Judge Slams Obama DoJ on State Secrets (76 comments)

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  •  Totally agree with the court's ruling...! (4+ / 0-)
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    alizard, kovie, dotsright, Fireshadow

    I'm not a lawyer either, but I have worked in legal professions and understand that court documents are in the public domain (except for juvenile records).  "In the public domain" does NOT include "secret evidence."  Under habeas corpus, all evidence has to be out in the public domain.  Period.  That is THE essence of 'habeas corpus' [Latin: produce the body - or if it's not a murder case, produce the evidence for all to see.  This has been the cornerstone of western jurisprudence since the Magna Carta was signed in June 1215.]

    The whole "state secrets" thing and evidence gained under torture or coercion is wrong, wrong, wrong.  I can't tell from the excerpts above, but this all seems to be related to MCA '06 which took away habeas corpus (unconstitutionally, since the two conditions under which it can be temporarily suspended have not existed during these last eight years, so even passing MCA '06 with the provision to take away habeas corpus was unconstitutional to begin with) and set up the kangaroo courts to try the detainees - who are not legal POWs (which is why Bush/Cheney weren't allowing the Red Cross access to the prisoners at Gitmo) because the US invaded Iraq, an act of aggression considered a war crime under the Geneva Conventions, and because the ones captured in Afghanistan were sometimes turned in for the bounty money and are innocent, and the detainees were not captured under conditions of a legal war anyway, so MCA sought to set up new conditions for trials that could use "secret evidence" against the detainees but the defendants were not allowed to know what the evidence was, and their "confessions" under torture were going to be allowed as admissable evidence (normally, anything said or evidence gained under 'simple' coercion, not even torture, is inadmissable in civilian court, as I understand the Consititution and Bill of Rights).

    This whole "war on terror" illogicality is behind all this.  There has been no open declaration of war against Iraq or Afghanistan, remember - we haven't declared war on anyone, nor has any nation declared war on us.  The people our US military are going after represent no one but themselves.  They are part of an international gang of criminals who commit terrorist acts, but they are not part of any nation's army, they are not part of any nation's government.  They're just a bunch of thugs and criminals who are only authorized to speak for themselves, but certainly not on behalf of any nation or any nation's military.  For this there's a "world war on terror" - a public relations mirage and nightmare to get people to approve of war.  True, it doesn't make any sense; but this came out of the Bush administration, and nothing made sense for eight years anyway.  Continuing Bush/Cheney policies and laws will be detrimental to the Obama administration, or any future administration if our spineless chickenshite Congress Critters leave MCA '06 on the books.

    Right. You and I all know that what MCA '06 tried to set up was wrong from the get-go.  The whole damned piece of legislation needs instant repealing in its entirety so no future prez can come back and say habeas was suspended in MCA '06, so it worked, even if the provisions in the Constitution were not met and it was unconstitutional to pass a law to suspend habeas corpus.  There have previously been something like 3-4 other rulings of courts regarding MCA '06 provisions, largely having to do with habeas corpus, and previous courts have struck down the MCA '06 provision that took away habeas corpus, and they've declared it unconstitutional.  We need to get our Congress Critters to repeal that stinking piece of legislation (along with the Patriot Acts and the last FISA fiasco).

    Without habeas corpus, we can officially toss out the Constitution and allow a tyrannical oligarchy and two-tiered system of "justice" to prevail.  It does now, for all practical purposes, because Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Gonzales, Yoo, Addington, Bybee, et alia, are running around free, bragging about the "legal opinions" they rendered under tortured reasoning, the torture they legalized, the wiretaps done without warrants, et cetera.  This is why we NEED a special prosecutor.  IF it's true that no one is above the law, then they all need to be tried in a court of law.

    But as far as the legal decision spoken of in this diary, good for the judge who made the ruling!  More!  More!  More!  We need something to present to our Congress Critters to get them moving on repealing unconstitutional laws that should not have been passed in the first place.


    by NonnyO on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 09:23:41 PM PST

    •  Well (2+ / 0-)
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      alizard, NonnyO

      I'm actually ok with the government's having the right to withold certain evidence from an actual trial, so long as it's required to present such evidence to the court in secret for determination as to whether it's justified under the circumstances, and if the courts says no, it must hand over the evidence to be used in trial (which the government can then appeal, of course). This still creates the problem of what if the judge is corrupt or a far-right nutjob, but that could also be remedied though the appeals process, and in any case makes it impossible for the government to keep anything secret from the courts under any circumstances, while protecting classified information when justified and necessary, as determined by the courts, not the government.

      Also, I believe that the habeas provision of the MCA--which I agree was despicable--was struck down last year by SCOTUS in the Boumedienne decision, so habeas is back, and military commissions are out. Amazing how many bullets we've barely dodged by a 5-4 decision by the courts. Scary.

      The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

      by kovie on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 09:49:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Secrets are odd things (3+ / 0-)
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        kovie, kurt, Fireshadow

        If - IF - and ONLY IF the "secrets" relate to national security and have nothing to do with court cases, then it's sometimes permissable to keep the info from us..., but how often does that happen?  Not all that often these days.

        And not in court cases.  If someone is arrested for a crime, s/he has the right to know precisely what the charges are, the law broken needs to be cited in the arrest warrant, and everyone from the judge to the prosecutor and the defense attorney and people in the courtroom has a right to know precisely what is in any "secret" documents.  How can one know what crimes one is accused of having committed otherwise?  How could a judge make a determination as to the validity of the evidence as it relates to the guilt or innocence of someone on trial?

        All our laws are public, after all, not secret.  Ergo, there can be no "secret evidence" against a defendant.

        That "secret evidence" b.s. was put in MCA '06 so the military tribunals could render "secret" judgements against defendants who would have no idea on earth why they were detained in the first place, and so that any "confessions" admissable only in a "secret" court would not be known to the general public (because, of course, that would bring up 5th Amendment issues of not being compelled to testify against one's self, as well as the fact that coerced and/or tortured testimony is not admissable in a court of law otherwise).  The only "secrets" that needed to be kept are the ones involving torture of the defendant.  Remember, too, we do not have a legal war going on.  The prisoners may be held on a US military base, but whatever laws apply at other US military bases thoroughout the world should also apply at Gitmo.  In spite of what Idjit Georgie said, Gitmo is not a lawless no-man's-land (I never did figure out why our Congress Critters let Georgie and Dickie get by with that tortured reasoning).

        Habeas is back, but that section of MCA '06 still needs to be officially repealed in case America elects egomaniacal crazy persons in the future like Georgie and Dickie who will use it as precedent to strike it from the Constitution.  The whole thing needs repealing because nothing about our courtrooms should ever be "secret."


        by NonnyO on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 10:37:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, the opposite applies here (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alizard, kurt, NonnyO, Fireshadow

          in that the DoJ wants to PREVENT secret evidence from being seen in court by the plaintiff that's suing it, rather than USING secret evidence against someone in court, without their being able to see it themselves. Well, maybe not literally the opposite, as it's trying to keep evidence secret in both cases, but in this instance it's the defendant trying to block potentially inculpatory evidence, whereas in your example it's the prosecutor trying to use potentially inculpatory evidence but without disclosing it.

          In either case, of course, it's wrong, and shouldn't be allowed. No Star Chambers, and no absolute powers. This isn't the USSR.

          The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

          by kovie on Fri Feb 13, 2009 at 11:39:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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