Sunday, March 11, 2007

Guantanamo tribunals begin top terror suspect reviews in closed-door sessions

The Combatant Status Review Tribunals began to hear cases on suspects behind the 9/11 attacks to determine if they can be classified as enemy combatants. The hearings are closed to the media because of the threat of a possible leak of classified information. After studying declassifed information on the detainees, Joshua Denbeaux and Mark Denbeaux, Seton Hall law profesors, have conclued that the hearings are unlawful because the detainees cannot view evidence or have a lawyer present.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why this is excused in any way at all. Our justice system, no matter who you may be, is based around the fact that you have the right to legal advice/attorney no matter who you are or how much you make. I understand that certain cases and evidence must remain classified, but lack of representation for defendants? Ha! this is such a joke, it hurts.

-Ghazal.

Anonymous said...

The fact is that any justice sustem is subject to the circumstances of the moment. The moral question behind this is another matter, but no one can dispute the prudence behind these exceptions. Putting detainees through the usual legal process would be both inefficient and possibly detrimental to whatever investigation being carried out. I doubt the Union would've won the Civil War if Lincoln hadn't skirted a little on the justice system (sustaining habeas corpus, no layers, etc.) to maintain order in the border states.

-Anglestani

Propagandhi said...

I most certainly doubt the prudence behind these exceptions.

You can't speak of the need for expedience when we are talking about people who may have been involved in a crime that took place 6 years ago and have already been in custody for well over half that time.

Even if I could concede that there is some credence to your argument regarding the witholding of evidence. At the least the judges should be able to make the decision which evidence they can or cannot see and I don't see why they should not be allowed a lawyer present.

I'm not willing to just accept that we have the right men just because our government says so. They also said there were WMDs in Iraq, they also said there was plutonium enrichment in N. Korea (they recently said...oops maybe not) and I can't count on my hands, because the number is too high, the number of people who have been released from death row based on DNA evidence.

Our government gets things wrong, our judicial system gets things wrong and our intelligence gets things wrong. So don't tell me I should just accept that they've got this right and let them use any manner to deliver "justice" as they see fit.

As for Lincoln working skirting the justice system for good cause, how did you feel about the verdict in Barenblatt which enabled the "red scare" and "McCarthyism" to spread throughout the US? Did the circumstance of the moment mean that the government was right to perform a modern day witch hunt?

If that's what we call justice then I'd hate to see what we call injustice.

“The twofold aim of justice is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffers.”

Anonymous said...

I certainly don’t believe the government should be able to arbitriarly improsn people and the due process should be adhered to as much as possible, and of course the government is far from infallible. But unless you or anyone else can come up with a better alternative, then there really is no alternative. In the real world, justice is never so simple as innocent and guilty. And yes there are mistakes, but there any system has mistakes. Any government makes mistakes.

“As for Lincoln working skirting the justice system for good cause, how did you feel about the verdict in Barenblatt which enabled the "red scare" and "McCarthyism" to spread throughout the US? Did the circumstance of the moment mean that the government was right to perform a modern day witch hunt?”

I don’t know about Barenblatt, but I certainly believe that Lincoln’s actions more than redeemed themselves by keeping the country together. I think you would have a hard time convincing anyone that Lincoln should’ve allowed the border states to secceede, and thereby lose the war, in order to preserve “due process.”

Exceptional situations demand exceptional action. The Civil War is one of those. The rise of terrorism is another. And for those who think that any compromise with our liberties who start us down the road to a totalitarian regime, well, Lincoln’s violations were far more egregious than Bush’s, and our system still stands.

-Anglestani

Anonymous said...

This is an awsome discussion guys, but what I gotta know is if we have class on Tuesday?

Propagandhi said...

you say, "Exceptional situations demand exceptional action. The Civil War is one of those. The rise of terrorism is another. And for those who think that any compromise with our liberties who start us down the road to a totalitarian regime, well, Lincoln’s violations were far more egregious than Bush’s, and our system still stands."


I for one do not see that our time now to be of the same danger and crisis as the Civil War, I think that is a gross exaggeration. I think terrorism is a threat but I don't think suspension of human/civil rights is helping fight it. Strengthening points of entry, increasing defense on chemical/nuclear plants or perhaps catching Osama Bin Laden and actually securing Afghanistan would all seem to be where our energies should be put forth if we were truly concerned about terrorism.

I had a friend of mine, Jeff, who was a fire fighter die in 9/11 so I know the cost of terrorism but I don't follow the fearmongering put forth that we have to cave on all liberties to fight it. England has dealt with the IRA for almost the entire 20th century and guess what; when they catch a member of the IRA acting as a terrorist they put him on a fair trial with at the very least a defense lawyer. I’m not saying don’t put him on trial, I’m saying provide them at least the bare minimum so that this doesn’t look like some court out of Alice in Wonderland where we just keep screaming “off with their heads!”

And finally... George Bush is no Abraham Lincoln.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what exactly the nature of this case is. Is there more info available about the case? Are the defendants being charged with a crime or is their "status" just being determined?

Little confused about the facts here.

-Patriot

Anonymous said...

Actually, there are serveral occasions when the British did not give captured members or suspected members fair trials. And in the British system, where is no constitution at all to speak of, and in theory any law can be passed that can infringe on civil rights to whatever degree the government deems necessary. If you can prove otherwise, I would certainly enjoy it if you can show me a source where it says the British government has always given IRA members a fair trial. I already know for a fact, this is errorneous. And Britian has passed several such laws in times of war to expediate government function, and subequently repealed them after the crisis no longer occured.

Secondly, even if the British gave every IRA member a fair trial-which they do not-the IRA's nature and their relation to Britian are completely different from radical muslim terrorist organizations and their relation to the US. The IRA is a motivated by a secular, political cause, that is the liberation of Northern Ireland and the reunification of the Irish nation. This, obviously, does not involve “God’s will” in any way, nor does it call for the destruction of Britain. Furtermore, the IRA has a measure of control over its operations and would not attempt something that may cause massive civilian casualties, and certainly nothing on the scale of 9/11 (especially since one of their objectives is to sway British public opinion to let North Ireland go). Finally, the IRA, culturally speaking, is similar to the rest of the British isles, making them far more predictable than muslim extremists. When you consider all these things, I think it’s obvious that drawing an analogy between Islamic fundamentalist groups and the IRA would be a fallacy.

“I for one do not see that our time now to be of the same danger and crisis as the Civil War, I think that is a gross exaggeration. I think terrorism is a threat but I don't think suspension of human/civil rights is helping fight it. Strengthening points of entry, increasing defense on chemical/nuclear plants or perhaps catching Osama Bin Laden and actually securing Afghanistan would all seem to be where our energies should be put forth if we were truly concerned about terrorism.”

Oh, certainly, and when Lincoln suspended habeas corpus at the beginning of the civil war, no one in the North thought the CSA would be much of a threat either. Everyone believed the war would be over in less than a month. And at the first battle of Bull Run, residents from Washington DC brought picnic baskets with them to watch the show. But of course, it wasn’t so harmless now, was it? We can say Lincoln did what he did and it was worth it, because we have the benefit of hindsight. All I’m saying is that we should give Bush the same benefit of the doubt, and not criticize every little thing he does. Also, “strengthening points of entry” is more simly said, than done. No one can argue that Bush has already implemented extensive legislation to enlarge an already burgeoning bureaucracy for this purposes, even going agains his own promise of a “smaller government.” And no matter how much you guard your borders, someone can always slip through. History is a fine example of what happens when a country decides to box itself in. Securing Afghanistan? We have invaded, thoroughly wracked, and secured it once, and now what? Did that somehow reduce terrorist activities? Capturing Osama Bin Laden isn’t gonna help matter either. Since I’m fairly certain that about 95% of what’s happening right now is not being orchestrated Bin Laden. And even if we removed Bin Laden from the picture (whose main goal is the removal of US troops from Saudi), that still wouldn’t matter to other groups who simply want to inflict damage on the US for the sake of it.

“George Bush is no Abraham Lincoln.”

And I’m sure around 1861, they were saying Abe Lincoln is no George Washington.

-Anglestani

Anonymous said...

Well said. History may yet paint a different picture of President Bush.

-Patriot