Saturday, November 14, 2009

Obama to allow the kangaroos to put on a show in the Big Apple

There are times a bleeding heart defender of rule of the law can only weep. This is one of them. Team Obama is going to follow the script laid down by Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in their numerous movies: they are going to put on a show!

Granted this little bit of theater won’t be as hideous as the ones put up by Joe Stalin but any resemblance to legitimate and fair trial is purely accidental. Exactly where in the Big Apple will they managed to find twelve unbiased jurors?

Oh and let us not forget in times past no self-respecting judge would have allowed this trail to take place at all. The government’s case is poisoned by the massive misconduct of the Bush-Cheney administration. Talk all you please about “aggressive interrogation techniques” the accused were tortured and abused.

That core bit of prosecutorial misconduct can not be ignored. The massive violations of the norms of law have contaminated any and all evidence the government may have gathered. There is no fact that has escaped the taint of the corruption. Any courtroom following the long established norms of our legal system would have no choice but to dismiss the government’s case with extreme prejudice.

Thus the Administration will be forced to create some new “court” that can conveniently ignore the massive violations of basic human rights that were inflicted on the suspects. Call it a tribunal or a court of special purpose or whatever what makes one happy, it is the spiritual heir of the Court of the Star Chamber that our founders despised.

The only reason for this little charade is that Obama and his Administration can not release the defendants on their own recognacense. Not in a month of Sundays can that happen because adhering to the demands of the rule of law would doom Obama’s Presidency. Plus there is also the unfortunate likelihood that the defendants are every inch the evil bastards the government claims to them to be.

But that used to be one of the more impressive bits of our legal system: even evil bastards were accorded the full protection of our Constitution. They were shielded by the Forth and Fifth Amendments. They were guaranteed a speedy trial by a jury of their peers. But 9/11 changed all that didn’t it? Bush-Cheney was blind-sided by OBL’s box-cutter wielding nihilists and went into CYA overdrive. In the rush to prevent another oops-awe-shit failure of the “Bin Laden determined to hit the United States” variety they trampled the protections of the Constitution. In their flop-sweat determination to gather “intelligence” on Al Qaeda they not only violated both Federal and international norms and laws but also common sense and decency.

Thanks to the epic incompetence of Bush-Cheney there is no good end result to this affair. It is a pity that we could not find some shark infested atoll to dump these lads on and be done with it. As it stands there is no way to put this put this legal Humpty Dumpty back together again. Obama and his team are attempting to find the least distasteful end to this situation but that brings little cheer. Let’s be real, there is no way this trail does not do further damage to our standing.
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