Thursday, January 18, 2007

"Right. The Constitution. Where do you want to start cutting?"

Just checked my e-mail to find this:
WASHINGTON (AP) The Pentagon has completed a manual for upcoming detainee trials that would allow suspected terrorists to be imprisoned or executed using hearsay evidence and coerced testimony.

That'll show the Constitution who's boss.

[Edit] And more on that:
According to the 238-page manual, a detainee's lawyer could not reveal classified evidence in the person's defense until the government had a chance to review it. Suspects would be allowed to view summaries of classified evidence, not the material itself.

The new regulations lack some protections used in civilian and military courtrooms, such as against coerced or hearsay evidence. They are intended to track a law passed last fall by Congress restoring Bush's plans to have special military commissions try terror-war prisoners. Those commissions had been struck down earlier in the year by the Supreme Court.

At a Pentagon briefing, Dan Dell'Orto, deputy to the Defense Department's top counsel, said the new rules will "afford all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized people."

Except, of course, for the ones that it doesn't:
"No civilized nation permits convictions to rest on coerced evidence, and reliance on such evidence has never been acceptable in military or civilian courts in this country," said Elisa Massimino, Washington director of Human Rights First.

Also, this popped out to me:
Officials think that with the evidence they have now, they could eventually charge 60 to 80 detainees, said Hemingway said. The Defense Department is currently planning trials for at least 10.

There are almost 400 people suspected of ties to al-Qaida and the Taliban being held at the military's prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. About 380 others have been released since the facility was opened five years ago.

So, we've had this facility for five years. We've thrown nearly 800 people in there. We've stripped them of so many rights that any trials they receive would be shams. We allow hearsay as valid testimony. And still we only have a valid case against 60 to 80 of them. How flimsy do our reasons for holding the other three hundred plus have to be?

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