November 19th, 2009


Today's good read

"The fact is that international law has not evolved to deal with persons like Mohammed. Or more precisely, most legal discussion under international law is moving counter to the Geneva Conventions' intent, which was to treat the franc-tireurs as unworthy of legal protection because they were not soldiers and were violating the rules of war. International law wants to push Mohammed into a category where he doesn't fit, providing protections that are not apparent under the Geneva Conventions. The United States has shoved him into U.S. criminal law, where he doesn't fit either, unless the United States is prepared to accept reciprocal liability for CIA personnel based in the United States planning and supporting operations in third countries. The United States has never claimed, for example, that the KGB planners who operated agents in the United States on behalf of the Soviet Union were themselves subject to criminal prosecution.

"A new variety of warfare has emerged in which treatment as a traditional POW doesn't apply and criminal law doesn't work. Criminal law creates liabilities the United States doesn't want to incur, and it is not geared to deal with a terrorist like Mohammed. U.S. criminal law assumes that capture is in the hands of law enforcement officials. Rights are prescribed and demanded, including having lawyers present and so forth. Such protections are practically and theoretically absurd in this case: Mohammed is not a soldier and he is not a suspected criminal presumed innocent until proven guilty. Law enforcement is not a practical counter to al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A nation cannot move from the rules of counterterrorism to an American courtroom; they are incompatible modes of operation. Nor can a nation use the code of criminal procedures against a terrorist organization operating transnationally. Instead, they must be stopped before they commit their action, and issuing search warrants and allowing attorneys present at questioning is not an option...

"But it may not be the jury that is the problem. A federal judge will have to ask the question of whether prejudicial publicity of such magnitude has occurred that Mohammed can’t receive a fair trial. (This is probably true.) Questions will be raised about whether he has received proper legal counsel, which undoubtedly he hasn’t. Issues about the chain of custody of evidence will be raised; given that he was held by troops and agents, and not by law enforcement, the chances of compromised evidence is likely. The issue of torture will, of course, also be raised but that really isn’t the main problem. How do you try a man under U.S. legal procedures who was captured in a third country by non-law enforcement personnel, and who has been in military custody for seven years?"

-from 'Deciphering the Mohammed Trial', well worth your time to read.


LGF, Scalia, and Captain Nemo

"By refusing to embrace and defend the core principle of justice at stake here - that a distinguishing feature of our political system is that we don't imprison or kill people without charging them with a crime and proving their guilt in a real court - the Obama administration has made it for more difficult for it to defend what it is doing, as well as for those who want to defend their decision to give trials to 9/11 defendants."

* Good read: excerpt from a new book on Justice Scalia.
* Interesting read: an interview with Charles Johnson, who runs the controversial website Little Green Footballs, on no longer being the darling of the right wing.
* "...The incident has sparked a renewed focus on how Islamic extremists and al-Qaida sympathizers become radicalized in the first place."
* Hypocrisy in action: they were against the filibuster before they were for it.
* I didn't realize VA governor-elect Bob McDonnell was associated with Pat Robertson. Fantastic.
* "They just can't help themselves. Journalists are addicted to Sarah Palin. Some love to hate her, some love to love her, all love to dissect or defend her." (Bonus: fact-checking the book.)
* Disney decides against a Captain Nemo movie/franchise.
* Dan Abnett picked as the writer for the Warhammer 40k Ultramarines movie.
* See, my concern is a Global Frequency TV show would be seen as another Fringe/X-Files copycat.