“Fair” show trial

The BBC says that the Gitmo trials will be fair.

US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff has promised a fair trial for Guantanamo prisoners accused of organising the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Firstly, these are military tribunals, not courts, but they intend to seek the death penalty. Does that sound like a convincingly fair trial to anyone outside the Bush administration?

Surely, by definition, you can’t have a fair trial where the evidence is extracted under torture.

If the investigators were so inept that they had to keep people in isolation for years, interrupted by periods of regularly overtly torturing them, to make a case, I suspect they may not have the strongest case in the world.

This is clearly the perspective of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

“Possibly putting someone to death based on evidence obtained through water-boarding, or after prolonged periods of sleep deprivation while being forced into painful stress positions, is not the answer,” said Jennifer Daskal, a lawyer for Human Rights Watch. (from the BBC website)

Is the Bush administration completely stupid?

Is there any way on earth that this show trial will diminish the threat of terrorism, given that noone outside of the US and few people inside must see this as any form of due process?

Even the British royal family doesn’t believe what the US says about the war in Iraq, ffs. Much as it grieves me to quote a Royal in an approving manner,
Prince Andrew got it pretty well spot on last week, although he was seriously slated in the media, for daring to express a political opinion.

(Ironically, Princess Diana is still worshipped by the media, precisely for daring to express herself. I guess that is more to do with the touchy-feely “poor sensitive me” stuff that she came out with. In the present day, you are much more respected if you discuss your bulimia on Oprah than if you give any serious thought to the world…)

Andrew said there were

“occasions when people in the UK would wish that those in responsible positions in the US might listen and learn from our experiences”.

Basically, the prince, himself a decorated Falklands war veteran, was implying that the colonial mistakes of the British could prove instructive to the USA. Specifically, not acting in ways that spur lifelong hatred and will to fight, I assume.

He also said, although more politely, that we in the UK don’t believe what we hear from Washington, post-Iraq:

the Iraq war had induced a “healthy scepticism” towards America.(from trhe Guardian, 5 Feb 2008)

I grant that our own government seems hellbent on not learning any lessons from history, so it’s not as if our hereditary figureheads have any influence here, either. But, surely years of holding on to their land and fending over republican revolutions have taught them a thing or two about the virtues of flexibility and of not making unnecessary enemies.

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