The Talking Dog

October 22, 2007, All the law's a stage (the defendants merely players)

From our friends at Make them Accountable, we get a pair of charming stories: (1) from LA Times, this account on how the FBI is quietly trying to re-make cases against Ron Jeremy Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the 14 other "high value" detainees at GTMO, because the CIA and military f***ed up their interrogations with torture and other things that can't be used in court; and (2) from WaPo, this account of why the GTMO military commissions prosecutor (Col. Moe Davis) abruptly resigned, to wit, the government was pushing the "sexier" cases ahead of the more solid ones so as to make a political splash to time with election cycles.

What else is new? Certainly, it was understood that no matter what the Military Commissions Act said, no one seriously expected a case to be built solely on the interrogation results of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others-- indeed, KSM's rantings were clearly the product of coercion at best, or a compeltely irrational mind at worst. More solid evidence was clearly required. And it seemed, Col. Davis realized that this was not the "best foot forward" kind of case to put on (better put on a 15 year old kid who threw a grenade, but whose own government in Ottawa at least, abandoned him.) So there we go.

BTW...the Military Commissions Act of 2006 is far, far more insidious than anyone can imagine. Yes, to be sure it immunizes officials (up to the Commander in Chief, of course) for their role in violating international and American law associated with torture (and all bounds of human decency), to be sure, and it permits some evidence obtained "coercively" (i.e. by torture) at military trials, but it also allows the President to use the military at home in the event of any emergency the President declares, even over the objection of the local state governor, and it codifies the President's power asserted in Padilla, to wit, the ability to unilaterally nullify the entire Bill of Rights, and on mere contention of terrorism involvement (the most minor contribution can do), lock up any legal resident, or citizen, without judicial recourse, forever.

Oh well. We all stood by and let it happen; remember when Chuck Schumer and the gang stood by and let McCain do all the debating on this, and then when, symbolically, the "secret evidence" part was excised, everyone got all kissy? Somehow, it seems, the Democrats were and are every bit as comfortable as the Republicans with the rest of the national security state apparatus they have put in place... I suppose we can hope that the Supreme Court tells us we have a Bill of Rights after all.

Anyway, all of this is entirely consistent with the unitary executive and the unified theory of governance, i.e., all the world's a stage, and show trials make for excellent theater, particularly when timed to coincide with elections... this has been: "All the law's a stage (the defendants merely players)". Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.