Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Rot At the Heart Of Western Court Systems

Today, the courts of the two major players in the War on Terror, the US and the UK, dealt horrific blows to our ability to hunt down those who would destroy us.

In the United States of course,
the Supreme Court has ruled that George Bush may not use military tribunals to prosecute the terrorists kept at Guantanamo Bay:

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court delivered a blow to the Bush administration's anti-terror policies Thursday when it ruled that the president was out of line when he ordered military war-crimes trials for some Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion, which said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and Geneva conventions.

A huge question in this case. Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, et al, was whether the Geneva Conventions applied to prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. The Bush administration argued that these detainees were not prisoners of war and therefore, not eligible to treatment under the Geneva agreement.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a strongly worded dissent, saying the court's decision would "sorely hamper the president's ability to confront and defeat a new and deadly enemy."

The court's willingness, Thomas said, "to second-guess the determination of the political branches that these conspirators must be brought to justice is both unprecedented and dangerous."[...]

At this point, it looks as if the Terrorists who are making war on us are to be tried in criminal courts.

This brings up the question, if the United States Armed Forces were to locate Osama Bin Laden's closest confidantes, and they listened in on their private conversations ( say, from outside a window), would the evidence thus collected stand in a court of law, or would it be thrown out for having been collected without a bench warrant?

It sounds like I am trying to be funny, doesn't it?

But, I think, perhaps, it is a reasonable question at this point.

George Bush, for his part, is undeterred.
He, apparently, plans to bring a bill before Congress:

While acknowledging that he has not yet had time to fully review the decision, Bush told reporters Thursday that he will take the court's decision "very seriously" and will work with Congress to determine whether passing legislation setting up military tribunals is a valid option.

"The American people need to know this ruling, as I understand it, won't cause killers to be put out on the street," Bush said during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi "I was told this was not going to be the case … one thing I'm not going to do is jeopardize the safety of the American people."

Bush continued: "I want to find a way forward. I have told the people I would like there to be a way to return people from Guantanamo to their home countries but some of the people need to be tried in our courts."

Breyer said the ruling applies only to Hamdan and the possibility of his appearing before a military commission for trial, and 'nothing' in it prevents the president from approaching Congress to seek the authority he thinks is necessary to set up such courts.

Senior administration officials repeatedly said Thursday that Breyer's words were an "invitation" to the administration to approach Congress in search of revised legislative language that would make commissions at Guantanamo legally acceptable, and they pointed out that all of the constititional issues raised by Hamdan and his lawyers were roundly rejected by the court.

"The court recognized that military commisions would be appropriate as long as procedures would be consistent with [Thursday's] decision," one official said.

Meanwhile, in the UK,
High Court Justice Sullivan handed down a ruling which will almost certainly free men currently being held as terrorists. Read this, you won't believe the rot which passes as a judge in the Britain:

The man shown at left is Mr Justice Sullivan, a High Court judge, who today has effectively sabotaged one of the main planks of Britain's anti-terror laws, by claiming that the rights of those detained in effective house arrest under the government's "control orders", are being denied. As a result, individuals currently subject to such restrictions on their liberty will almost certainly be set free. Sullivan argued that to detain a person without trial is a breach of their human rights, as defined in Article 5 of the
European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

This is not the first time that Sullivan has put the rights of potential terrorists above the rights of the public, by invoking his own interpretations of the ECHR. On
May 16, Sullivan ruled that nine Afghan terrorists, who had hijacked a plane in Kabul, containing 173 passengers, and flown it to Britain in February 2000, were free to stay in Britain indefinitely.

The nine Afghan terrorists had been jailed for five years for hijacking, possessing guns and explosives and false imprisonment of the plane's staff and passengers. The men had threatened to kill hostages, in a four day standoff at Stansted Airport, Essex.

Sullivan was not content to merely allow the men to stay in Britain, but stated that the government "deliberately delayed" acting upon a ruling by an appeals court, which said that the men could not be returned to Afghanistan where their lives would be "at risk". Consequently, he ordered that the Home Office should pay the legal costs at the highest rate, to demonstrate his "disquiet and concern." Sullivan said: "It is difficult to conceive of a clearer case of 'conspicuous unfairness amounting to an abuse of power."

On the case of the nine Afghans, Sullivan had invoked the context of Article 3 of the ECHR, to state that the men may, if returned to Afghanistan, be "put at risk". Article 3 of the ECHR states: No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment..

If such men continue to be allowed to abuse the law from the benches of Western courts, we are doomed. The Justice system of both the United States and the UK are infested with men and women who have a hatred for the systems of the West, and thus, it is not hard to find a judge who will strike down almost any decision, no matter how just.

It seems the more important the case, the harder it is to get justice. While it is true that we were successful in getting a conviction against Zacarias Moussaoui here in the US, we did so at the cost of having Mr. Moussaoui make a mockery of our system. And, of course, we were not able to put him to death, as would be just.

I sense the American public is, at this juncture, fed up with such rulings. While George Bush has the attention of the citizenry he needs to seize the momentum and get Congress to pass a bill which will allow him to go forward with military tribunals.