For those of you who so passionately support civilian trials of suspected terrorists I suggest two things: 1) a visit to FreeTarek.com, and 2) take a long hard look at our post-9/11 Justice system. You might try a visit to the Center for Consitutional Rights.
Bragging about the conviction rate of terrorists in civilian courts ignores the abolition of defendants' rights in this War on Terror that justifies so much, accomplishes so little, and alienates so many. It also has a high likelihood of putting innocent people in jail, or perhaps worse, in the endless limbo of indefinite detention.
We headed out to see Karen Malpede's Another Life at the Irondale Center last night. It'll be there until 3/24 and it's worth seeing; for the inspired writing, passionate performances, and sadly accurate skewering of America's pathetic, violent, and irrational response to 9/11.
Since October, 2009 Tarek Mehanna has been held in pre-trial 23-hour solitary confinement because he is a suspected terrorist.
Tarek's web site presents his case quite clearly. His brother spoke after the play last night and we found him credible. Of course we haven't attended the trial, haven't read all the relevant documents, etc., and don't know if he is really guilty or not. But it is not hard to believe that he was set up, knocked down like a bowling pin, and stuck away for what could be the rest of his life. All this on what appears to be flimsy evidence at best, and possible a fabrication.
The sad state of the U. S. Constitution today:
- extraordinary rendition to make sure that torture is not done on American soil,
- the right of the President, without judicial oversight, to declare a person a valid target for assassination,
- the FBI's right to declare someone a terrorism suspect, and thereby negate his/her constitutional rights,
- the Government's, Federal and Local (e.g. New York City's Police Department) illegal surveillance and wiretapping,
- the classification of many First Amendment activities as “material support” to groups the U.S. has labeled as terrorist organizations.
Yes, the list is longer, and yes it is frightening. A whisper of fear rises at the thought of dark consequences for even mentioning his name.
Military trials for terrorists may be an abomination, but civilian trials aren't necessarily better if the interpretation of our Constitution is so distorted as to make the rights of defendants disappear.