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It's with a great deal of hope that Barack Obama will be inaugurated President next January. In regards to the Bush Administration's policy on torture and indefinite detention, as represented by the ongoing incarceration of hundreds of prisoners at Guantanamo Naval Base, Obama announced in August 2007: "As President, I will close Guantánamo, reject the Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions."

Meanwhile, a new Associated Press story reports that Obama's advisers are working on a plan to close Guantanamo prison, release some of the prisoners, and send the rest to trial in the United States. This would be a welcome act indeed, and the ACLU has published a full-page ad in the New York Times (see link first paragraph), asking Obama to close Guantanamo by executive order on the first day of his presidency.

Unfortunately, the new plan carries a significant flaw: Obama is proposing the creation of "a new legal system to handle the classified information inherent in some of the most sensitive cases." [Please read update below]

The new courts appear to be the brainchild of Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, who described them as "some sort of hybrid" legal system, involving military commissions that would "both be and appear to be fundamentally fair in light of the circumstances." Tribe says we'll just have to trust Obama on this, and give him "the benefit of the doubt."

No, Professor Tribe, we do not have to do that, and we won't do that. A spokesman for the ACLU responded to the new plan for a post-Gitmo judicial system:

"I think that creating a new alternative court system in response to the abject failure of Guantanamo would be a profound mistake," Jonathan Hafetz, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who represents detainees, said Monday. "We do not need a new court system. The last eight years are a testament to the problems of trying to create new systems."

"A Quick Dirty System"

The ACLU has had more to say on this subject, most recently in an interview by Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com with Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, earlier today (apparently before the AP story broke). Greenwald asked Romero if the transfer from Guantanamo of "several hundred highly complex cases to the federal judiciary" would administratively overwhelm the courts. Romero responded:

I don't want a quick dirty system that dispenses with people's rights in a too expedient and a too quick a manner.

The fact is, the government is going to have to bear the burden of proof. Can you try these individuals in a criminal court, or a military commission under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and come forward with the proof that will stand up in courts of law that are governed by the Constitution, and if it can't, you've got to release them. That's our system.

Greenwald then asked about the argument that "the rules have to be different for people engaged in acts of war." Evidence typically cannot easily be gathered at the scene; the prosecution often relies on classified information and secret witnesses; the burden of proof seems inappropriate in such cases, as compared to domestic prosecution of criminals. Romero replied in some detail, as these matters are not typically known or discussed among non-attorneys, and certainly not as sound-bites on either the liberal or the conservative news shows:

We understand that these cases may represent different legal theories than the thug on the street who picked up my wallet, right? We have procedures in place to deal with them. We have the Classified Information Procedures Act, which allows us to put evidence before judges and make sure that if they're classified or if they represent issues on national security they're not broadcast to the public, therefore jeopardizing national security further. We have ways of making sure that witnesses are protected in coming forward, so that they're not open to further attacks by other terrorists who might be still out there.

And I think it was a great report, that wasn't put out by us - I would have loved to have put it out - it was put out by a group of former prosecutors and former military officials, Human Rights First, that said that our existing criminal justice system, and our existing UCMJ system, the Uniform Code of Military Justice system, is perfectly equipped to deal with these types of cases. We've done it before. In fact, we've done it even in the Bush administration; we have Zacarias Moussaoui and Padilla prosecuted under federal criminal courts. And what we need is to make sure we have a neutral set of rules.

As news of the hybrid courts plan begins to filter through the media and blogosphere, initial reaction has been negative. Spencer Ackerman described his reaction in today's Washington Independent, while noting that this "plan" has all the earmarks of a "leaked" proposal:

The AP’s reporting suggests Obama is considering a “hybrid process” between the military commissions and the full process enjoyed by U.S. citizens. If there’s anything the military commissions process should have taught, it’s that reinventing the legal system doesn’t work, as demonstrated by the bevy of military lawyers who have resigned in protest of the commissions.

The concern, stripped of euphemism, is that the evidentiary basis for many trials of Guantanamo detainees — including, in many cases, torture — would never be admissible in any court worthy of the name. That’s the Bush administration’s legacy. But it can’t be the basis for cheapening our legal system.

The Return of Mukasey's "National Security Courts"?

What struck me about Obama/Tribe's plan for a "hybrid legal system" was its similarity to the old proposal by soon-to-be-former Attorney General (and stooge) Michael Mukasey to establish "national security courts". Where Anthony Romero looks at the Moussaoui and Padilla prosecutions and sees the sufficient functioning of the current legal system, Mukasey, in an article published in the Wall Street Journal in August 2007, describes a situation where "current institutions and statutes are not well suited to even the limited task of supplementing what became, after Sept. 11, 2001, principally a military effort to combat Islamic terrorism."

Mukasey's argument for a new special kind of court in which to try "terrorists" sounds suspiciously like what is known thus far about the Obama/Tribe proposal:

On one end of the spectrum, the rules that apply to routine criminals who pursue finite goals are skewed, and properly so, to assure that only the highest level of proof will result in a conviction. But those rules do not protect a society that must gather information about, and at least incapacitate, people who have cosmic goals that they are intent on achieving by cataclysmic means....

At the other end of the spectrum, if conventional legal rules are adapted to deal with a terrorist threat, whether by relaxed standards for conviction, searches, the admissibility of evidence or otherwise, those adaptations will infect and change the standards in ordinary cases with ordinary defendants in ordinary courts of law.

John C. Coughenour, the federal judge who presided over "the trial of Ahmed Ressam, the confessed Algerian terrorist, for his role in a plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport" critiqued Mukasey's proposal in an op-ed in the New York Times in November 2007:

It is regrettable that so often when our courts are evaluated for their ability to handle terrorism cases, the Constitution is conceived as mere solicitude for criminals. Implicit in this misguided notion is that society’s somehow charitable view toward “ordinary” crimes of murder or rape ought not to extend to terrorists. In fact, the criminal procedure required under our Constitution reflects the reality that law enforcement is not perfect, and that questions of guilt necessarily precede questions of mercy....

Judge Mukasey raises a legitimate concern about whether open judicial proceedings may compromise intelligence gathering. But courts are equipped to meet this challenge. The Classified Information Procedures Act provides a set of rules for criminal cases...

Certainly this system cannot entirely prevent any misuse of information; the mere fact of an arrest may tell a story we’d rather our enemies not hear. But our system provides a sensible way to protect national security while maintaining some degree of transparency.

Hope and Foreboding

I and others have noted that the weakest link in Obama's claim of liberal program is his adherence to the language and intent of Bush's "War on Terror." It was not clear during the campaign if this was Obama's nod to the center of American politics, or a real conviction. The first signs coming from the Obama camp are still mixed, but there is a real wind of foreboding. President-elect Obama has made clear signs he plans to close Guantanamo. I would like to hear that he will also withdraw the executive order by Bush that allows the CIA to practice "enhanced" techniques of interrogation, i.e., to practice psychological torture.

But this first trial balloon from the Obama camp on torture and terrorism is redolent of the rejected policies of Bush's Justice Department. I do not expect Obama to listen to the complaints of one little blogger, but I do expect the progressive community to speak out and speak out forcefully against any and all attempts to restrict constitutional rights, whether such attempt comes from the left or the right.

Update: Well, this is what comes with writing a "breaking" diary. The Obama team has announced that Obama is not considering any kind of new court for detainees. Per
Talk Left:

"....There is absolutely no truth to reports that a decision has been made about how and where to try the detainees, and there is no process in place to make that decision until his national security and legal teams are assembled," said Denis McDonough, a senior foreign policy adviser for the transition team, in a statement.

This is certainly great news. I can't know why the leak was made about the "new" courts. In any case, I am letting the diary stand as a discussion of the general issues, and removed Obama's name from the title.

As Jeralyn at TalkLeft put it:

There's only one right answer here. Close Guantanamo on day 1 and try the detainees either in U.S. criminal courts or military courts operating under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Please note, Meteor Blades has written contemporaneously with this piece an excellent front page diary covering much of this subject matter. He makes some additional points about closing ALL the torture prisons, which I neglected to make in this piece.

This diary was originally posted at Invictus

Originally posted to Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:10 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (21+ / 0-)

    I know some would argue we give Obama a pass during this period, but this proposal should not stand. If we do not make some noise about it right now, it could go forward. Remember, Obama is subject to a lot of pressure on all sides right now.

    When appropriate, we must always speak truth to power (or power-elect).

    War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

    by Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:12:13 PM PST

  •  I'm not giving him a pass (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Urizen

    I think they are still working this out and I don't see some nefarious purpose or motivation.

    I support Barack America and his trusted sidekick Joe Delaware! -Socratic

    by valadon on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:14:05 PM PST

    •  The dirty little secret about the suspects (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bonsai superstar

      There are some suspects who have overwhelming evidence of being guilty but with more legal rights, unfortunately, they could get charges thrown out because of Bush's fuck-ups.

      I'm all for letting the innocent ones get their say in court, but do we let the ones who really did plot off? I think that's where a lot of this is coming from.

      Didn't Abraham Lincoln have less experience than Barack Obama?

      by relikx on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:24:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ask yourself this (6+ / 0-)

        Do we let any criminal off with "overwhelming" evidence, if their rights are transgressed. Your argument is not really convincing, since the very word "overwhelming" assumes that there is a great deal of sufficient evidence to convict. But "overwhelming" evidence does not include evidence illegally obtained, like in a tortured confession. Why? Because you can't trust illegally obtained evidence, for a variety of reasons.

        Really, our whole legal system rests on this. I'm shocked to see arguments like this at Daily Kos.

        War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

        by Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:37:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Upon the basis of whose word (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avila, Valtin, Chacounne, limpidglass

        do we think these people "really plotted?" There is evidence from a neutral NGO for this?

        As far as the rest, I guess it's a question of whether we are a nation of laws or opinions, and whether overwhelming evidence is the same as having been proven guilty.

        In a court of law. Where one is presumed innocent.

        The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

        by vox humana on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:39:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  we have rule of law in this country (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avila, jlynne, Valtin, vox humana, Chacounne, Alec82

        If you arrest someone, you need to have a warrant issued upon probable cause.

        If you accuse someone of a crime, they have the right to trial by a jury, and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. If acquitted, they cannot be tried again.

        We didn't throw this away just because of 9/11.

        Who knows where these suspects came from? The US government was offering bounties for "suspicious individuals" after 9/11. So many countries seized the opportunity just to dump random people on us that they didn't want--political prisoners and other inconvenient individuals. Why do you think that so many of these countries are refusing to take these people back?

        Many of them have no connection to terrorism whatsoever. And if they're innocent, they should be released.

        •  I agree with you, but (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Avila, Valtin, vox humana, limpidglass

          I do worry about what they will do once released.  If I had been held in a cage, denied contact with the world, and randomly tortured for 5 or 6 years, I might be a bit tweaked.  

          That's the practical problem with Bush's illegal detention and torture scheme.  We've created the very threat we were trying to contain.  However innocent they were when detained, these people now have reason to engage in terrorism.  Whatever threat they may have posed before their detention, it has now been amplified by orders of magnitude.  

          This is why we have the presumption of innocence, the guarantee of due process, and the very high burdens of proof.  Unlawful detention and torture are not things that can be fixed, or made right, after the fact.  When we unjustly imprison the innocent, we risk the creation of monsters.  I hope their better angels are better than mine.  

          Steny Hoyer = a slam dunk argument for term limits

          by jlynne on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:35:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The Obama transition team just released (12+ / 0-)

    a statement denying that they will enact new courts.
    They are committed though to close Gitmo.

    This year we can declare our independence...Barack Obama

    by PalGirl2008 on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:15:34 PM PST

  •  Denied by the Obama campaign. (7+ / 0-)

    The Obama campaign has denied that there are any plans for any new kind of court.

    John McCain, you are _not_ my friend.

    by LarryInNYC on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:15:56 PM PST

  •  A suggestion (6+ / 0-)

    Let's see what he proposes before rejecting it.

    Sounds like a plan, no?

    Though there may be reasons to oppose when he actually makes a proposal, at this point, this is premature.

    •  What a concept! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      valadon

      The level of concern around here this week is funny.

      Hey folks, we won.  We have huge messes to clean up without inventing ones that don't exist yet.  Let's get on with improving our country.  When Barack does something bad we'll get on him.  

    •  What a concept! (0+ / 0-)

      I support Barack America and his trusted sidekick Joe Delaware! -Socratic

      by valadon on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:29:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, it isn't premature at all. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila, Valtin, limpidglass, Alec82

      We wanted Nancy Pelosi to wait for Bush to submit his proposals before she should build opposition and speak against his bad ideas?

      No.

      If there is even a rumor of such a thing being considered, it needs to be spoken about, now.

      Administrations are not in a haste to deny things that don't need denying. Let them confirm their opposition, in print.

      In the meantime, there is no time to delay speaking up against any possibility of separate legal systems.

      Semper vigilans. Semper.

      The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

      by vox humana on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:45:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm going to hold on getting bent out of shape. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon

    I want to see what the real policy and position will be once Obama is in office.  This transition time will be full of rumors.  With the discipline shown during the election, I doubt anything of significant substance like this will be announced until after Obama is in office.

    I remain confident in Obama's character and his love and respect for The Constitution.

    "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him. Mark 12:17

    by bkamr on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:18:59 PM PST

  •  I don't understand why people can't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon, second gen

    wait for him to get into office and actually lay out plans before they are telling him what to do.

    •  I don't get it either (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      valadon

      Maybe their bitter Hillary and Gore trolls.  Maybe they're just the kind of people who alwaysneed to be paranoid about something to give their lives meaning (it's not an uncommon condition).

      •  I'm no troll (7+ / 0-)

        You can click on my diary page and see that my interests in this instance have a very long pedigree.

        Calling me "paranoid" or a "troll" is ad hominem. I've changed my diary, including the title. Again, I'm keeping it "up", because the issues it covers are too important to be ignored.

        War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

        by Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:34:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Urizen is an anti-Gore troll (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Avila, Valtin, limpidglass

          no need to give him any credence by getting defensive. As far I can see, you're doing your civic duty by engaging in healthy debate.

          Dr. Bill Foster for President Obama's senate seat!

          by NeuvoLiberal on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:41:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll happily admit that I didn't want to (0+ / 0-)

            see Gore be the nominee for our party this year.  If that makes me an anti Gore troll, fine.  I'm delighted he wasn't our nominee.  I'm delighted that we won.

            •  it became clear that Gore won't be the nominee (0+ / 0-)

              by November of last year when he chose not to step in. Yet, that hasn't stopped your bashing Gore at every turn.

              "I'm delighted that we won."

              Almost everyone here (including, of course, me) is utterly relieved and delighted that Obama/we won and that Obama has a chance to turn the page on the last 7-8 years and chart a bold new course for the country. If I didn't think that he was capable of winning or of delivering strongly, I would not have expended an enormous amount of my time defending him during the intense primary wars when I felt that he needed my help.

              Dr. Bill Foster for President Obama's senate seat!

              by NeuvoLiberal on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:04:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I recall you basically praying (1+ / 2-)
                Recommended by:
                spookthesunset
                Hidden by:
                Avila, NeuvoLiberal

                for a brokered convention so Al could come in and "save the party".

                Have a wonderful evening.

                •  That's an utterly bogus and false claim. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Valtin, limpidglass

                  I dare you to provide a proof of your (what is a false) claim. You won't be able to, because I was, in reality, doing everything I could to try and have Obama wrap up the primary as soon as possible (so that he could focus on a 50-state strategy toward a landslide victory.)

                  While brokered convention was a possibility, democratic principles dictate that the legitimate winner of the primary process (which IMO was the winner of the pledged delegate tally) MUST be the nominee. In the absolutely chaotic scenario of a bitterly contentious convention, Gore would've been my alternate choice after the legitimate winner, but not ahead of the winner.

                  I am going to HR you for lying. If you provide proof of you claim (which you won't be able to, but I am giving you a chance to do so), I'll remove it.

                  Dr. Bill Foster for President Obama's senate seat!

                  by NeuvoLiberal on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:22:06 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  MMM tasty donuts (0+ / 0-)

                    you are also the one who wrote the other day that had Gore run he would've got 400+ EVs.

                    And no, I'm not gonna waste my time finding it.  I know you wrote it and the hope was transparent.

                    •  yeah, I think he would've won 400+ ECVs (0+ / 0-)

                      had he run and picked Obama as his VP, but that's not "praying for a brokered convention so Al could come in and "save the party" as you falsely stated.

                      Basically, ever since Obama entered the race in late 2006, I was for Obama as my second choice after Gore, because neither HRC nor JRE were trustworhty (given their support for the war and triangulations around it) and Obama is relatively more honest than them. By mid 2007, the polls showed all of the Dems polling ahead of any of the Republicans. By the end of 2007, Obama built a strong organization (and a rapid response team, as I was urging him to do all through 2007), so that by December, when coupled with the GE polls, I was convinced that he would be a strong enough GE candidate. At the same time, Gore decided not to step in. Therefore, I became a strong supporter of Obama's candidacy since then (although I was defending him from HRC and JRE supporters' attacks through out 2007, and in fact, I've been a defender of Obama since 2005 when many of his current supporters were attacking him for this and that!).

                      You should cut out your bullshit lies and smears, and most important, stop your anti-Gore trolling. Your negativity towards Gore is obsessive and counter-productive (for progressive ends; Gore is trying his best to save the planet) and based on your comments right here, you're have some sort of an unhealthy obsessiveness aimed against me as well. Cut it out.

                      Dr. Bill Foster for President Obama's senate seat!

                      by NeuvoLiberal on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:41:31 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  furthermore, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Valtin

                  your anti-Gore trolling didn't stop even after Obama became the nominee, or for that matter, even after Obama WON.

                  Dr. Bill Foster for President Obama's senate seat!

                  by NeuvoLiberal on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:28:30 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  All I've ever said against Gore (0+ / 0-)

                    is that he was a crappy candidate who ran a crappy campaign.  I'll stand by that.  We've just seen what happens when we have a good candidate who runs a good campaign.  We win.  It makes a huge difference.  I'm glad we didn't have a crappy candidate or a crappy campaign this time.  Alleyloyah!  If it had been up to you it wouldn't have turned out that way.

                    •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                      Obama was a strong candidate under very favorable conditions for Democrats who ran a strong campaign and won.

                      Gore was a good candidate under very unfavorable conditions who ran strategically clever enough campaign to pull out a win (SCOTUS stole his win) coming from 15-20% under.

                      Case closed.

                      It's time for you to get over your anal retentive grudge against Gore, and focus on the future of the country and that of the planet. Are you man enough for that?

                      Dr. Bill Foster for President Obama's senate seat!

                      by NeuvoLiberal on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:46:30 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you n/t (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Avila, NeuvoLiberal, vox humana

            War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

            by Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:52:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't mean you were (0+ / 0-)

          specifically a troll.  Concerned?  Ayup.  The mentality of seeking betrayal is what I was calling trollish or just annoying.

          •  It's more the mentality (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Avila, Valtin, Alec82

            of caring more about speaking for justice at all times and making clear to the powers-that-be and the powers-about-to-be that this issue is crucial.

            And that we are watching.

            The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

            by vox humana on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:47:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So here's something that hasn't even happened (0+ / 0-)

              and somebody's getting their knickers in a twist over it.  To me that "caring about justice at all times" rings a wee bit hollow when it turns out to be pretty much a pile of crap in the first place.  To me that's "concern".  And masking it in "caring about justice" is pure sanctimony.

              •  If you have followed U.S. history (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Avila, vox humana, limpidglass, Alec82

                the past 60 years, you wouldn't write this. History didn't begin with the administration of GWB.

                War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

                by Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:54:05 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  We just won an election (0+ / 0-)

                  The votes aren't even all counted yet.  Now we're in a position to begin changing things that have gone horribly wrong with our country over the last thirty years.  If you can't think of anything better to do than basically invent shit to be upset about that's between you and you.

                  •  Nonsense. Utter nonsense. (5+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Avila, Valtin, limpidglass, Lauren S, Alec82

                    Pardon me for getting heated, but I can't believe you are writing this.

                    What do you think you are going to change?

                    Don't you think torture, secret renditions and the rule of law should be on that list?

                    Don't you think we should make clear what principles we stand for and so many voted for?

                    What "things" do you think are going to be changing that don't need public advocacy to push them along?

                    The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

                    by vox humana on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:02:19 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I think those things are terrible (0+ / 0-)

                      and I believe our president elect when he says he will put an end to them.

                      Chill out.  This is a half cocked diary that turns out to be about nothing.

                      •  If you believe ANY politician (5+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Avila, Valtin, limpidglass, Lauren S, Alec82

                        based on election promises, then I cannot help you. This is our democracy, not his. I will wait for nobody to speak up on crucial issues to my country.

                        This is a crucial issue. For him to consider such things would be wrong. I'll tell him. It's my right; it's my duty.

                        I'll let others cross their fingers and hope, hope, hope. That's not how any political system I have ever seen works. Especially democracy.

                        The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

                        by vox humana on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:10:15 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Well, I'll roll up my sleeves and (0+ / 0-)

                          work work work instead of participating in stupid concern diaries.

                          Have a nice evening.

                          •  And you as well. (5+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Avila, Valtin, limpidglass, Lauren S, Alec82

                            What work, work, work will you be doing?

                            Please tell me it is writing your Congressional delegation and educating others about this issue.

                            You can cross your fingers and wish upon a star as far as the President-elect is "concerned." I'll just bet he believes as we do. I just feel it in my heart, like Bush with Putin. It's truthy. It must be so.

                            The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

                            by vox humana on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:16:17 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  If it's "half-cocked" (5+ / 0-)

                        then why did Laurence Tribe say what he did. Evidently you don't understand how politics works. I gave them just the reaction they were looking for. If there weren't diaries or articles like this, then we would all be in trouble, as the President responds to political pressures.

                        Think about what, in a completely different context, happened with Proposition 8. Not enough speaking out by politicians and the public, and look what happened.

                        War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

                        by Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:37:33 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  You wouldn't say this (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Avila, vox humana, limpidglass, Lauren S

                    if you have worked with the tortured and incarcerated, as I have. If you had seen the sunken eyesockets, created by torture, the hopelessness, the suicidal wishes openly expressed, the wish to die because of what this country had done or supported.

                    Shame on you for your insensitivity and your arrogance. I only hope this is not something typical of the victors. I am certain it is not something President-elect Obama feels, or they would not have come out with a clarification about their position on this so quickly.

                    War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

                    by Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:35:24 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  So the Democratic congress (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Avila, Valtin, limpidglass, Lauren S, Alec82

                should not have worried at all about Alito, since he hadn't made any court decisions yet? They didn't.

                They shouldn't have worried about any of Bush's signing statements, since there was no proof he would actually do anything about any of them? They didn't.

                They were silent - waiting for the right time to say something.... I will not be like them.

                Please consider carefully what you are saying.

                There is never harm in advocating for the rule of law in the United States, as far as I can see. If Mr. Obama agrees, he can say so. If he does not... well, don't you want to know that?

                I do.

                The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

                by vox humana on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:56:52 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No. I'm not objecting to advocating the rule of (0+ / 0-)

                  law, I'm objecting to shrilly going off half cocked about shit that HASN"T happened and most likely won't.  There is a difference, y'know?  OMG, the sky is falling!!!!  I just don't get the need for that.

                  •  If an idea in Washington has been considered, (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Avila, jlynne, Valtin, Lauren S

                    it gets floated. If it gets floated, they are waiting for public reaction. If the public does not react, they assume it is okay.

                    If the public does react, they can deny they were ever considering it in the first place. See how it works?

                    Those who care about an issue can only win by losing - that is, protesting an idea that never actually happens. That's because by speaking up, they prevented its implementation.

                    You cannot prove a negative, but you must protest it. In such cases, silence is most certainly consent.

                    The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

                    by vox humana on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:04:48 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  kind of similar to pre-emptive war? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      vox humana

                      enjoy the sanctimony.

                      •  Finally (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Avila

                        a dismissive insult. I never troll-rated you until this point. Enjoy the projection.

                        War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

                        by Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:39:29 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Check out the FAQ sometime (0+ / 0-)

                          Sorry I can't get into your alarmism over things that haven't happened.  You enjoy your sanctimony, too.  

                          I thought we were kind of encouraged to disagree around here, part of that clamor of the netroots thing.  Discourse, y'know?

                      •  I don't like the comment, but (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Urizen, Valtin, Lauren S

                        I can't really see the reason for hiding it.

                        Not everybody feels speaking up for the rule of law and speaking against torture is important. Some might want to wait and see how their national leaders handle the issue.

                        National politicians almost always speak up on behalf of the downtrodden with no votes against the established interests. Why just look at...

                        Well, of course there was...

                        Ummm, maybe...

                        Well, okay, it has never happened, but - but, maybe this time, right? We all really, really want it to be so. We shouldn't have to do anything about it, right?

                        The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

                        by vox humana on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:03:11 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

          •  I am concerned, you are correct (6+ / 0-)

            I am concerned that Obama's progressive agenda will be hijacked by his seeming adherence to tenets of the "war on terror". If you think this concern misplaced, can you spell the name L-y-n-d-o-n J-o-h-n-s-o-n?

            War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

            by Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:24:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  ((((((((((((((((((Valtin))))))))))))))))))))))))) (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Avila, Valtin, Lauren S

          Calling you a troll is just height of absurdity.

          I'm so sorry.

             Standing by you,
                  Heather

          •  Yeah (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Avila, Urizen, vox humana, Chacounne, Lauren S

            But it probably keeps me honest ;-)

            War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

            by Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:45:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  As I said above (0+ / 0-)

              I didn't mean you specifically were a troll.  There has been a plethora of diaries recently laden with concern about things that haven't happened, that probably won't happen.  A lot of them are from HRC and Gore supporters who are embittered because their candidates didn't get the nomination.  I was referring to them.  I do consider some people here "Gore trolls" (not that I hr them for that, but I do argue with them).  You took that personally and it wasn't stated or meant that way.  We've likely crossed paths before, but I don't remember doing so.  Some of the others who got involved I do consider Gore trolls.  I volunteered for, donated to, and voted for both Gore and Kerry.  I think they both sucked as candidates and I think they (we) would have won if they hadn't.  I admire both of them as citizens, as people, but not as presidential candidates.

              We just got our candidate (best one we've had in my lifetime) elected by a landslide with majorities in both houses  He's spoken out very clearly about his opposition to torture and his belief in the law.  He taught the constitution, y'know?  He was one of the brightest students they ever had at Harvard.  So, I find the concern rather misplaced at this point in time.  Let's see what he does, actually does, instead of flying into handwringing mode on the basis of incomplete research over two months before he's even in office.

              I don't doubt anybody's good intentions around here, but i do think it is fair to argue about the quality of their information and the approaches they take in presenting it.  I also think it is fair to call them out about where their loyalties lie, not that having a penchant for Gore or Hillary excludes them from anything, but it does give them a specific (and negative) agenda.

              So, I was simply putting my $.02 in in response to Into The Stars comment which I agreed with.  I would have left it there.  I responded to you to clarify that I wasn't referring to you as a troll.  There were three or four others who jumped in (Gore trolls among them).  Didn't mean to highjack your thread, but I try always to respond to those who engage with me whether we agree or not (sort of the purpose of discourse IMO).  Highjacking the thread was a group effort.  When the donuts come out over differences of opinion I think we move toward defeating the purpose of this site.  

              So there's another two cents.

              Be well.

      •  maybe, just maybe, the rule of law (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avila, Valtin, Chacounne

        is important to the people posting here.

        Maybe, just maybe, the idea of innocent people rotting in jail and being tortured disturbs us sufficiently that we want to make absolutely sure that the horrors that Bush inflicted on this country are definitively ended.

        The possibility escapes you, I know. But try. Think hard and try to grasp it.

        I know you can do it.

      •  Sorry, you have no idea what you're talking (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Valtin, vox humana

        about if you think that Valtin is a troll. As a member of the APA, he has fought a years long tenacious battle against those who have condoned mental health professionals being involved in torture at Gitmo and the other black sites, ultimately winning. You might want to look through his history before you make accusations.

            Standing with Valtin against torture,
                   For Dan,
                   Heather

    •  Didn't tell him what to do, out of nowhere (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila

      I responded to a report in the mainstream press that quoted his old law prof and adviser, Laurence Tribe. I responded to the substance of those statements. If you don't like that, there's not much I can do to help you.

      Perhaps you are confusing me with others who have made insubstantial and ridiculous assertions. That's not me.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 07:30:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Give it a rest (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valadon

    President elect Obama has been president elect for less than seven days. Press reports will swirl and bounce about for a long time before anyone - ANYONE - has any definitive clue beyond what Obama said in the campaign on what will utimately become official policy. Of course the right will attack every press speculation as a sign the end of days is nigh. The left - the responsible left that us - should keep their shorts on. Don't fall into the trap of attacking speculation. Keep your powder dry. Maybe you will need it to help shoot down your real enemies - the anti-Obama forces that still are alive and kicking.  

  •  If the Obama team has denied (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jj32, Valtin

    planning to enact new courts, and someone supplies a link to that effect, your diary title should change.

    It would be the first principle of sane kindness that all forms of sacrifice would be avoided, if at all possible."--Adam Phillips

    by andrewj54 on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:24:54 PM PST

  •  We have to realize that we have a new type of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, Valtin, Mother of Zeus

    president.

    This one listens to people he disagrees with.

    Sometimes that makes it easy to jump to conclusions.  Let's wait until he decides (or indicates what he is going to say) before we criticize his decision.

    OTOH, we should, in my view, feel free to offer advice.  

  •  OK, well the issue of whether (0+ / 0-)

    creation of a set of courts to deal with these cases is a complex one.  I think you make some good points.  I think there are good points on the other side, but mainly I just hope people don't just reject the notion in an immediate, knee-jerk fashion.  Although I know they will.  But in any event, I'd like to see the specifics of any such plan before I make up my mind.  If there is one thing I feel very confident in, it is that Obama both understands and deeply respects our constitutional order as it relates to protecting the rights of those accused of crime.  I will give him the respect to wait until he actually proposes something concrete.

    But anyway, I would like to ask you about this sentence in your diary

    this first trial balloon from the Obama camp on torture and terrorism

    Did I miss something?  What has the trial balloon on torture been?

    The festive scenes of liberation that Dick Cheney had once imagined for Iraq were finally taking place -- in cities all over America -- Frank Rich

    by Mother of Zeus on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:25:45 PM PST

    •  Re torture (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila, vox humana, Mother of Zeus

      That's an infelicitous phrasing by me. The torture issue is implicit in any discussion of Guanatanamo, IMHO, as the evidence on these prisoners is almost totally compromised by the use of torture.

      Re waiting... well, if someone saw fit to leak this trial balloon, I'm willing to take the heat and let my diary stand as a critique of such a position. I also believe that the contradictions in Obama's support of a "war on terror" terminology and certain policy positions (fighting in Pakistan) will have to be settled one way or another sooner or later.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:31:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the leak was made deliberately (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, Valtin, vox humana

    it's a trial balloon.

    Lawrence Tribe was not just shooting his mouth off randomly. This idea was definitely under consideration, and they wanted to float it to gauge people's response.

    The idea of "hybrid courts", where the ordinary rules of evidence and due process do not apply, is precisely the kind of wishy-washy, "bipartisan" solution that we do not need. Putting a new label on star-chamber tribunals, and holding them in a shiny new courts on US soil instead of in Guantanamo, does nothing to solve the problem.

    These prisoners are entitled to a trial as provided by law, not some new system of kangaroo courts cooked up to keep this extra-legal system of judgment and punishment going under a more pleasing label.

  •  Nip it in the bud. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, Valtin, vox humana, limpidglass

    There is no such thing as "too soon" for the public to weigh in on these alleged proposals.

    I hope the rumor is false, but if true, it won't be long before the hybrid courts extend their reach to American citizens based on an ever-expanding definition of "terrorism".

    "It is often pleasant to stone a martyr, no matter how much we admire him"...John Barth

    by Giles Goat Boy on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 06:34:40 PM PST

  •  Sorry I missed your Diary and didn't include ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, Valtin, vox humana, Alec82

    ...it when I posted. Mine was placed in the "queue" for stories that go to the Front Page around 5 p.m., and I was otherwise engaged when your excellent Diary went up.

    We won. But we're not done. -- karateexplosions

    by Meteor Blades on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:21:24 PM PST

    •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila, mieprowan

      As has happened in the past, we have been attracted to and seen the importance in similar stories, as we sort of cover the same beat. Of course, you do it much more and usually much better than I. In fact, I'm glad when I see you or any number of others write on something I have or mean to. It means I can relax and be aware that when I'm too busy at work to attend to blogging, that others will recognize and publicize the important stories of the day.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:26:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As always, an important diary, my friend. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, Valtin

    I do have a concern about using Mr. Padilla's trial as a model, since he was not not allowed to present the evidence of the fact that he was tortured and the effect it is having on him.

              Just a thought,
                  Hugs,
                 For Dan,
                 Heather

    •  You are "right on" about the Padilla trial (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avila, Chacounne

      I have a lot of trouble, as well, using Padilla as evidence the system works. In fact, it is not. But I did not take that direction in this diary because I thought it would steer the discussion away from the central issues I was addressing. I was probably wrong. And given the discussion here, I should have remembered to just write whatever I want or think, and let the chips fall where they may. They always do anyway!

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 08:29:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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