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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The American Show Trial

Another aspect of The Gulag Archipelago is how Stalin staged show trials. The one thing you can say about Stalin was that he could put on a show and get the results he wanted. No one was fooled, but he got the conviction he wanted on the charges that were brought.
Dubbya will have to go down as the most inept, bumbling, incompetent political leader of all time. He can't even stage a show trial and have it come out right. No wonder he hates Hollywood.
Yesterday there was the first verdict of a prisoner from the Gulag Guantanimo. Here is some of what Scott Horton says about it.

The six military panelists acquitted Hamdan on the major charges of conspiracy, which were the only charges originally brought against him. They convicted him of material support on the grounds that he was in fact bin Laden’s chauffeur.

It seems the ability to drive a car can now get you put in prison for life.

As Matt Waxman, who as a senior official in the Rumsfeld Pentagon helped craft this system, has acknowledged, there was another defendant in that courtroom standing alongside Salim Hamdan: it was the American justice system. Judgment will be taken by history, and the case was played to a global audience. The first returns are in, and they are not positive... Even before the verdict came in, observers around the world were focused on the Bush Administration’s own contempt for the military commissions process. It had announced that it was indifferent to the judgment of the commission—if Hamdan were acquitted, he could continue to be held for life, a Pentagon briefer acknowledged.

If this doesn't make it a show trial, what does?

The former chief Guantánamo prosecutor has now openly acknowledged that an independent, objective prosecutor never would have charged Salim Hamdan, because he was an absolute nobody... That such a loaded, rigged system actually produced an acquittal on the only serious charges is evidence of the breathtaking incompetence of the Bush strategists.


The military commissions exist to try war crimes. Conspiracy is a war crime...And he was acquitted on these charges... But in the second round, “material support” charges were added—a crime invented after the fact, in violation of basic legal and constitutional norms. Notwithstanding vacuous Congressional pronouncements, “material support” is not a war crime. For obvious reasons—if it were a war crime, then the laws of war would be criminalizing entire populations...In fact, the whole thrust of the laws of war is just the opposite: it seeks to protect the large bulk of the population which is not directly engaged in hostilities. David Glazier has written an impressive summary of the issue, but Judge Allred’s own opinionmakes the case against his ruling sustaining the charge–he is unable to cite anyprecedent or authority in support of the Administration’s say-so... 
I (Horton) agree that prosecutors offered reasonable evidence showing that Hamdan was involved in material support to Al Qaeda. But the fact remains that this is not a war crime. In fact, the law is very clear on this point. That means not that Hamdan is innocent, but that the charge should have been brought in another court, not before a military commission.

The news media being the overpaid lapdogs of this adminstsation are only reporting the conviction and conveniently overlooking the pillaging and plundering of American justice, prestige and honor.

As Russ states on almost all of his blog entries: "Stop the Madness!"

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