To do my work in refugee law, I relied heavily on the Dept. of State’s (DOS) Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The DOS Reports had one interesting characteristic: there was no DOS Report on the United States itself. No one was overseeing the United States.
Moreover, it was a principle of refugee law that the more democratic a country, the higher the onus was on the claimant to prove that he or she did not have recourse to due process of law.
But what is happening at Guantanamo and in the military courts deciding the fate of the people held there is demonstrating to the world like nothing else I can think of the serious lack of due process of law in the country today and the gross violations of human rights that are tolerated and condoned. Gratuitous police brutality, vanishing constitutional rights, and the intrusion of the state into individual privacy all run a close second, but Guantanamo is at the top of the list.
Here a defendant’s confession, and a minor defendant at the time at that, exacted after he was threatened with being gang raped till he died, has been found to be admissible by a military court. In my view, this is a new low in the protection of due process. It actually says that there is no due process in the United States at the present time if the judge’s decision is allowed to stand.
If we don’t protect the integrity of the courts as the last resort for the righting of injustice, no document like the Constitution will ever matter. It will be, as George Bush said, just a [GD] piece of paper.
Keep in mind that the people being held in Guantanamo did not cause 9/11 and did not make war against the United States. They are all victims of the same false-flag operation, decoys to deflect attention from the real perpetrators.
There is no way Khadr can give the U.S. any useful information on the “enemies” of the United States because it was the United States itself that destroyed the World Trade Center and used it as a false-flag pretext to invade Khadr’s country of Afghanistan. We are all being manipulated and people like Khadr are being asked to pay the price for it.
US Judge OKs confession extracted by threatening suspect with rape
By Eric W. Dolan, August 11th, 2010, http://tinyurl.com/3xws645
In one of the first military commissions held under the Obama administration, a US military judge has ruled that confessions obtained by threatening the subject with rape are admissible in court.
The case involves Omar Ahmed Khadr, a citizen of Canada who was apprehended in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old and has remained in Guantanamo Bay for the last seven years awaiting trial for terrorism and war crimes.
As AFP reported on Monday,
Khadr, now 23, is accused of throwing a grenade in 2002 that killed a US soldier. He also is alleged to have been trained by Al-Qaeda and joined a network organized by Osama bin Laden to make bombs.
“It’s very clear that the government of the US and the government of Canada have decided not to intervene in this case and therefore we are going to see the first case of a child soldier in modern history,” said his military lawyer Jon Jackson.
“When President Obama was elected, I believed that we were going to close the book on Guantanamo and the military commissions. And instead President Obama has decided to write the next sad, pathetic chapter in the book of the military commissions,” he added.
In addition to being a child soldier, there is evidence that Khadr’s confession was obtained though the use of threats of violence and death.
In May hearings, a man identified as Interrogator 1 said in testimony that he threatened Mr. Khadr with being gang-raped to death if he did not co-operate. That interrogator was later identified as former U.S. Army Sergeant Joshua Claus. He has also been convicted of abusing a different detainee and has left the military.
Mr. Khadr’s military-appointed lawyer, Lieutenant-Colonel Jon Jackson, argued this instance, as well as other alleged instances of torture and coercion, are enough to render any future confessions, even those in so-called “clean interrogations,” inadmissible in court.
Although Khadr’s confessions were obtained in this manner, the military judge presiding over the case ruled they are still admissible as evidence.
Another Guantanamo detainee, a former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, has already entered a plea agreement, but information about his sentence has been sealed by a US military judge.
In response to the two tribunals, Jennifer Turner writes at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Blog of Rights:
Although President Obama promised transparency and sharp limits on the use of tortured and coerced statements against the accused, at Guantnamo today one military judge ordered that a sentence be kept secret from the public and another military judge allowed statements obtained by abuse and coercion of a 15-year-old to be used at trial.
The United Nations has also condemned Khadr’s trial, saying that “the statute of the International Criminal Court makes it clear that no one under 18 will be tried for war crimes,” and noting that “no child has been prosecuted for a war crime” since World War II.
Alex Neve, the Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada adds,
When set against the systematic failure of US authorities to ensure accountability and remedy for the human rights violations, including torture, that have occurred at the hands of US personnel in the context of what the previous administration called the “war on terror,” the ruling which took no more than perhaps 90 seconds at the outside to deliver is less surprising, if no less troubling.