Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Anti-Federalist Society and "Fair Trials"

Lately I've seen a couple of pieces in various press sources about our erstwhile rivals and student office mates, the American Constitution Society, and thought they were worth commenting on.

The first is this amusing piece in the Weekly Standard about how imitation of the Federalist Society is the sincerest form of flattery, along with some tongue-in-cheek suggestions on how to further capitalize on more of FedSoc's good ideas.

But second and far less amusing is their participation in an event advertised in Eat the State, an angry socialist rage-against-the-MAN,-man! rag of little note and picked up for its laughter value. But the events they advertise are wider and more main stream in scope. The one I'm talking about in particular is The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld, also sponsored by such self-styled non-partisan, Islamo-fascist apologist luminaries as the ACLU and Amnesty International.

Here's the description of the event:

The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld is an educational event that will feature nationally recognized speakers and dramatized trial testimony. Speakers include Jennifer Harbury, author of Truth, Torture and the American Way; Ron Slye, Professor in International Comparative Law, Seattle University School of Law; and Pramila Jayapal, Founder and Executive Director of Hate Free Zone Washington. Trial vignettes will include stories by detainees and the cross-examination of Donald Rumsfeld. Please join us for this historic event and help us hold senior U.S. officials accountable for facilitating torture. Through this event, we will call on the U.S. Government to:

(1) close all torture camps,

(2) provide due process rights to all detainees, and

(3) prosecute war crimes.

It's ironic to me that they're calling for (what I can only assume are) full US Constitutional due process rights for non-citizen terrorists captured on the field of battle while denying the Secretary of Defense his own. Look again. The "trial" they're putting on only has prosecution witnesses and a prosecution cross examination. There is no defense direct examination, witnesses, context, re-direct, cross examination of the "victims" of "torture" who are the accusers, jury of peers, etc.

And there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever what the outcome will be.

What is an event where a person's guilt is pre-determined, where he has no lawyer, where he cannot confront his accusers, where he cannot appeal to his peers, and where he cannot call witnesses in his defense?

This is not a trial, but a show trial - a well-worn method used for centuries by despots who wish to claim legal and moral legitimacy in extra-legal and profoundly immoral systems. I have my own concerns about lacks of any kind of fact findings in US detention facilities in some limited circumstances, but feel far better about the protection of my rights under the Bush Administration than if the ACLU, ACS, or a law professor at Seattle University were in charge. For mainstream organizations supposedly worried about "America Fascism," it's a disappointing - but unfortunately not surprising - turn of events.


UPDATE: A good discussion about what trial rights detainees SHOULD have grew out of the comments on this post, but it just wasn't that relevant to what I wanted to discuss here. As such, I saved the comments under its own post above.

Also, I forgot to mention that the Eat the State rag was also lionizing Hugo Chavez, a guy who knows a little something about show trials and lack of separation of powers.

No comments: