Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An interesting take on the sheikh

Innocent until proven guilty?
David Seaton's News Links
Read the following excerpts about the New York trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and see if they make sense to you.

I am posting them in case anybody reading feels up to rebutting their simple argument:
If we must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that KSM was complicit in mass murder, by what right do we send Predators and Special Forces to kill his al-Qaida comrades wherever we find them? For none of them has been granted a fair trial.

When the Justice Department sets up a task force to wage war on a crime organization like the Mafia or MS-13, no U.S. official has a right to shoot Mafia or gang members on sight. No one has a right to bomb their homes. No one has a right to regard the possible death of their wives and children in an attack as acceptable collateral damage.

(...) How does Justice handle a defense demand for a change of venue, far from lower Manhattan, where the jury pool was most deeply traumatized by Sept. 11? Would not KSM and his co-defendants, if a change of venue is denied, have a powerful argument for overturning any conviction on appeal?

Were not KSM's Miranda rights impinged when he was not only not told he could have a lawyer on capture, but told that his family would be killed and he would be waterboarded if he refused to talk? (...) And if all the evidence against the five defendants comes from other than their own testimony under duress, do not their lawyers have a right to know when, where, how and from whom Justice got the evidence to prosecute them? Does KSM have the right to confront all witnesses against him, even if they are al-Qaida turncoats or U.S. spies still transmitting information to U.S. intelligence? What do we do if the case against KSM is thrown out because the government refuses to reveal sources or methods, or if he gets a hung jury, or is acquitted, or has his conviction overturned?
I think these comments point out very efficiently and very graphically how contradictory the US culture of endless war is with our constitutional guarantees and how grotesque it can become when some sort of compromise between the two is attempted. I would find it very difficult to answer the questions this commentary evoke.

It looks to me as if the treasured constitutional traditions of the United States of America are going to be bent to the needs of a "show trial". That eventuality could end up doing worse damage to the republic, much worse, than anything Bush ever did.

This thing is so contaminated with politics that if English common law is still in force and if Johnnie Cochran were still alive, he probably could get KSM off. The trickiest, hungriest trial lawyers in the USA must be lining up to do this one pro-bono. Any shyster that could get KSM off will be the heavyweight champion of the lawyers.

And if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed walks the presidency of Barack Obama is toast.

If this is not a fair trial under our age-old rules than KSM will have done more damage to the USA through his day in court than he did with the airplanes.

What I also find interesting about the above comments is that they could easily come from the left, but in fact they come from the far, far, right, but not the neocon version, they come from the paleoconservative, old time, Father Coughlin, right: none other than Pat Buchanan.

Of necessity, I read a wide spectrum of opinion from left to right. I do this because we are all living in the same world and looking at the same reality, and like the famous story of  the blind men and the elephant, different people catch hold of different parts of the elephant. This practice helps me to constantly recalibrate my thinking... such as it is.

To enjoy reading somebody, I only demand that the commentator be intelligent, lay their cards face up and make well constructed arguments that challenge my preconceptions. Buchanan fits that.  Unlike the neocons, he isn't trying to fool anybody. You can see him coming from far off. He is an old  fashioned, pre-Vatican-II, lace-curtain, Irish Catholic, antisemite and anybody with Irish family probably has at least a great uncle like this, but not as smart as Buchanan, most likely.

So here is this rather perfect argument out of the pen of someone most of my readers loathe and despise. Go on, take a shot at picking his discourse apart. I confess that I cannot find any fault in it and I wonder how the US government has gotten itself in such a precarious position and dumb a fix. DS


Forensic econ said...

Buchanan is right.

I will add to that: what if no evidence is allowed that was obtained through torture?

Worse, what if he is convicted only through using evidence obtained through torture?

The case against him may have no other evidence.

PS thanks for the Riis pictures!

Publius said...

I have to confess that I quite like Pat Buchanan, despite some of his views. After all, does anyone alive, if they are honest, really agree with anyone else on everything?

Pat Buchanan is vilified by the left primarily because of his intolerance. The people doing the vilifying are usually as intolerant as he is, but they are intolerant towards what they perceive to be intolerance. Nice.

The main issues open which Buchanan is "intolerant", e.g. gay rights, abortion, etc. , are going to become much less relevant or even cared about as economic and social collapse continue. A collapse forced by the FACT of peak oil. Our ponzi scheme economy and endless costly wars are just icing on the cake.

Jay Salter said...

The USA has a lifetime history of railroading felony convictions. We employ battalions of judges who know just how to do it. This becomes especially easy when the accused is manifestly guilty. Relax.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

I just had a terrible thought. A Catch 22 idea.

It appears that KSM is eager to take the credit for 9-11... The greatest terrorist attack in history. He is positioning himself in the Islamist world as the "great master mind". The big hero!

What if bin Laden releases a tape saying that KSM is fake, that he had little or nothing to do with the attack? That he is just trying to get all the credit for something that other "heroic martyrs" planned and executed?

What if Al Qaida says that KSM is just a poor nut trying to be famous, like somebody confessing to be a serial murder just to get some attention? What happens to the great "show trial" then?

What a disaster this is!