Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ammar al-Baluchi should be brought to trial

On February 11, 2008, the United States Department of Defense, under the auspices of the military commission system, as established under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, officially charged Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the alleged "mastermind" of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with war crimes and murder in planning those attacks.  

Easy conviction, right?  Easy-peasy.  I mean, they'd tortured a confession out of him, what more is needed in the USA of today to secure a guilty verdict?    Yet, eight years later, even after three attempted trials, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is is still years away from a verdict.  As a matter-of-fact, in a fair trial, conducted under established legal precepts of American principles of justice, it is unlikely he can be convicted.

So, he's being held indefinitely; without ever having been convicted of any crime.

That's fine, I really don't care what happens to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. He's a dead man walking.

Another Guantanamo detainee, Ammar al-Baluchi, has not even been brought to trial; he hasn't been formally charged with any crime; charges against which he could defend himself before a judge, and before which evidence of his guilt would have to be be presented  He is being denied any legal recourse for challenging his imprisonment.

Al-Baluchi is one of those detainees that has been given a “high-value detainee" status.  Woohoo.  Incidentally, he was played by actor Reda Kateb in the 2012 film Zero Dark Thirty; his character's torture (at a CIA "Black Site" or secret torture camp) in the movie is based on real events.  In fact, his lawyers have argued that the US government provided the film-makers more evidence about their client than they, themselves, have been given.

Is Ammar al-Baluchi guilty?  Then produce the evidence of that guilt and charge him formally.  Is there no evidence of his guilt?  Then do the American thing.  Release him.

That's fine, I really don't care what happens to Ammar al-Baluchi.  He's a dead man walking.

But at least hold a freaking trial.  By not doing so, they are announcing that their real contempt is reserved for the standards of justice of "civilized" nations, and the basic foundations of American (and international) law.

Americans need to accept the fact that the worst violations of American principles have not been of any prisoners' legal or human rights (indeed, the US has declared they essentially have no such rights) ... the worst abuses have been of American principles of justice, morality, and of the standards that define "civilized behaviour."

And here's why it matters to me:  The worst abuses have always been of my principles and (I hope) your own.  My principles were spat on and shat on.

I'm offended by what was done to me.