Monday, October 02, 2006

Tortured Law

As a fifth grader, I learned in civics class that ex post facto laws were not allowable under the U.S. Constitution. Since I'm neither an attorney nor a member of Congress, and it's been awhile since civics class, I googled ex post facto and found this is a law passed after the occurance of an event or action which retroactively changes the legal consequences of the event or action.

What is this Military Commission Act of 2006 if not an
ex post facto law? It is retroactive to September 11, 2001, erasing the legal consequences of disallowing a speedy trial and allowing for the admission of evidence gained through torture. If this doesn't change the legal consequences of terrorism or torture, then what does?

Sec. 948R clearly states that torture statements are admissable, "if the interests of justice would be served by admission of the statement into evidence." Combining the concepts of torture and the interests of justice into this section is right out of a Saturday Night Live episode. Certainly, it smacks of 1984 Doublespeak, where torture serves the ends of justice.

The law under "Rulings and Precedents" discusses "judicial guarantees which are indispensible to civilized peoples." Hmmm... how does the abolishment of
habeus corpus and the admission of statements wrested under torture meet a "civilized people's" standards? Possibly a Nazi or Communist civilization.

But here is the scariest part of the Act: "Any Executive Order published under this paragraph shall be authoritative as a matter of U.S. law, in the same manner as other administrative laws." Sounds like
carte blanche to me. Why am I brought to mind of the hand puppet King Friday from the Land of Make Believe in the children's program Mr. Roger's Neighborhood? No matter how absurd or arbitrary the King's dictates, when he appealed for input, he was met with a pleasant, "Correct as usual, King Friday" by his obeisant subjects. An absurd analogy for an absurd moment.

The Act then goes on to say, "Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the constitutional function and responsibility of the Congress and judicial branch of the U.S." Excuse me, but if there is no
habeus corpus, then how is the judicial function of our court system preserved? Further, this reads as if the President now can pass law through executive fiat alone.

I'd like to close with a question: Why does U.S. law now protect CIA personnel from prosecution "for all but the most serious abuses," protecting those who, in the past, violated U.S. laws against war crimes? The irony of this is supreme;
we are trying people for war crimes, yet exonerating those who committed war crimes in extracting the evidence for those trials. Is this a Joseph Heller moment, or what?

Why doesn't this "get out of jail free card" apply equally to the lowly reservists convicted of similar crimes at Abu Ghraib?

I'm with Lady Aberlin who asks at the end of the Land of Make Believe sketch, "Oh hi, Trolley. Is it time to go back to reality?"


Blogger Lurch said...

While I'm neither a legal expert nor a psychistrist I have a pretty good understanding of Mr Bush's psychology. The purpose of this law was to insulate him and his immediate associates from future legal liability. The fact that CIA employees, operatives, or contractors might also be absolved of their crimes was merely an incidental.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006 at 2:47:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Semper Fi said...

While I agree with Lurch, I would really like to see the list of people who are on the presidential pardon list when Bush leaves in 2008.

This is just providing immediate cover for the torturers.

I also have an extreme problem with Abu Ghraib. Do E-3s and E-5s run the National Guard. Where were the NCOs, senior NCOs, junior officers and staff officer in all of this?

Tuesday, October 3, 2006 at 5:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike d said...

Semper Fi,

The lack of senior NCOs and Officers being charged has been one of the things that bugged me the most. If they weren't involved in the torture and abuse of prisoners, then they were at least guilty of gross dereliction of duty.

As we used to say in the Army, different spanks for different ranks.

Do yourself a favor and rent Stanley Kubrick's "Paths of Glory". It has striking parallels to the Abu Ghraib fallout.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 at 9:21:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

In ref. to the last comments, the first thing we learned in ROTC was, as goes the commander, so goes the corps.

But let's not bog down in details, let's get back to the main poin: the invasion of Iraq, was a total violation of international law, and therefore illegal. Using my infantryman's logic, it follows that anything therafter is illegal.

As I've asked, upon what authority or int'l law does the US military imprison foreign nationals w/o a trial, w/in their own borders? Without a declaration of war, the US cannot inter Iraqi civilians. Only the Iraqi gov't. has that authority.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 at 9:39:00 AM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home