Saturday, March 24, 2007

What Wonders George Hath Wrought

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has purportedly confessed to every serious crime of the last twenty years including 9/11. The confession was so wide ranging as to be ludicrous. Either the man is evil incarnate, or he's delusional with a desire for martyrdom, or, and this certainly possible, he confessed to whatever his captors wanted simply to stop the torture. While the US press hasn't done too much in the way of analysing the confession, members of the world press certainly have. Germany's Der Spiegel has a brief summary of what other German news outlets have to say about the confession.

The sweeping confession of alleged al-Qaida mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has claimed involvement in 31 terror plots, has been met with skepticism from German commentators. Some editorialists have stronger feelings about the "show" trial against Mohammed than whether or not he is telling the truth.

German commentators criticize the conditions under which the confession was obtained, noting that Mohammed had been subjected to years of "rough" interrogations at the hands of the CIA. Apart from condemning a hearing that did not adhere to the laws laid out in the United States constitution, along with a transcript that was heavily edited, German papers also cite allegations that Mohammed was tortured while held in custody as a suspected terrorist. Can his testimony be trusted or was he coerced into giving it? ...

The left-wing Die Tageszeitung denounces the Pentagon's actions as a "farce" and warns that the world will "never know" if the claims made by Mohammed are true:

"We don't even know if this 'hearing' in front of a military tribunal at Guantanamo ever even took place. Apart from members of the military -- whose names are crossed out in the transcript so that nobody can ask them any questions -- nobody was allowed to attend: no lawyer, no reporter, not even family members."

"Rightful justice cannot be obtained under the wrong conditions. The so-called confession is worthless, the upcoming trials are nothing more than show spectacles -- the only irony being that there won't be any audience. Indeed, the manner in which the USA deals with terror suspects has nothing to do with rule of law or seeking to establish the truth. This would require a proper defense, prison conditions which can be monitored and the right to appeal. And the suspect should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court led by independent judges."
[Emphasis added]

While it is painful to be lectured on the current debased state of the American ideals of justice by another nation's press, it is more painful to have to admit that the assessment provided by Die Tageszeitung is accurate. The "show trials" of Soviet-era Russia have re-emerged, this time under the auspices of our own government.

The question implicit in the analysis is clear: what are we going to do about this?

A good start would be to turn on those "klieg lights" Mr. Bush is so frightened of and to shine them directly on the architects of this abomination.



Anonymous W.D.Russell said...

Reminds me of the Woody Guthrie ballad about Pretty Boy
Then he took to the trees and timber
To live a life of shame;
Every crime in Oklahoma
Was added to his name.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Nora said...

It is disgusting to me that Bush and his minions are screaming and protesting so much about having his people testify in front of Congress, which would be public and televised and would involve no torture, no secret prisons, none of the accouterments of interrogation that they have been more than happy to inflict on innocent people around the world. If merely having his people endure the threat of perjury prosecutions (again, conducted in open court, with the right of cross-examination, the right to non-hearsay evidence against them, the right to have every element of the crime proven beyond a reasonable doubt) is so terrifying to Bush and his people, then how on earth can they justify Gitmo and the "military tribunals" they have set up there? It's just appalling.

3:14 PM  

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