This morning Steve Inskeep of NPR's Morning Edition talked to Sen. Patrick Leahy
about this wee problem of the administration being found guilty of holding folks against domestic AND international laws by the SCOTUS. You see the SCOTUS let the White House know
that there is this little thing called Habeas Corpus
that is sort of a basic Human Right. Anyway let's take a look at some of the choice quotes starting with this one:
INSKEEP: The Supreme Court has said that Congress can legalize some form of criminal proceedings for these suspected terrorists. On the one hand you could legalize what the Bush administration is already doing, these military commissions or tribunals. Maybe on the other extreme you could do more of a regular trial like a military court martial where the defendant has many more rights.
(as usual emphasis mine)
First off, the SCOTUS did not say that Congress can legalize anything. They said what the Bush administration did was illegal. Sort like Inskeep admits in his next breath where he says Congress could legalize what the Bush admin has been doing (illegally). I remember this broohaha in the 90's about some President lying in court about a blowjob and how this was sort of illegal and yet, Congress wasn't expected to legalize the practice of perjury.
Of course the other choice quote there is that he finds it "extreme" to offer up court martial trials to folks who are innocent until proven otherwise (except if you get caught up in this Kafkaesque nightmare).
Anyway, let's continue, Inskeep then keeps on keeping on:
INSKEEP: You're against allowing what's already been done, are your Republican colleagues on board with you.
LEAHY: I think some are... What's been done so far is the incompetance. We haven't had a single trial. We haven't had a single conviction. We're getting criticized around the world. We've had people committing suicide down there. We have had... embrasingly to us a number of times totally innocent people being held in prison.
INSKEEP: So Senator, do you want to go to the other extreme then and give them something under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. A regular court martial, where they get a defense lawyer, where they can present a solid defense, where they can confront the accuser. And other rights?
Again, why is this extreme? You just heard from the Senator (and certainly as a top journalist covering these matters daily) that there have been innocent people held
without this "extreme" right of Habeas Corpus! Faster than you can say Ted Nugent, Inskeep mouths off some more:
INSKEEP: So you would want a courtroom setting where you would want a fuller hearing of the evidence...
Senator as I understand it, the Supreme Court ruling was wrong because it violated the Geneva Conventions, and the reason it did that, was because it permited the use of evidence that was obtained under coercion. Would you change that?
LEAHY: Yes, I would and we should reinstate that.
INSKEEP: ... I can hear someone saying, these are some of the worse people on earth, and Senator Leahy and other Democrats want them to have lawyers and access to the ACLU and all kinds of rights...
Obviously, Inskeep doesn't understand what "rights" are and how they should apply to all human beings regardless of color, gender, or being suspected of something. It is sort of what Rule of Law means. Letting the Law sort things out. Simply accusing someone of doing something should never be enough to remove their rights.
Luckily, Sen. Leahy puts Inskeep in his place for me.
LEAHY: Well what you're doing is reading the White House talking points in saying that. My response to that is this. You guys have done such a great job. You have had a Republican controlled Supreme Court tell you that you have been breaking the law. And what have you got to show for it? Not one single conviction.