Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

Vince Warren: What Happened to Constitutional Rights?

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU
Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 09:59 AM
Original message
Vince Warren: What Happened to Constitutional Rights?
* Interview at the link, GRITtv

by admin was published on August 10th, 2010

President Obama was elected with fanfare and promises to restore the rule of law and accountability to the justice system, specifically around indefinite detentions at Guantanamo. But the upcoming trial of Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen taken into custody when he was just 15, seems to belie those promises.

Vince Warren, executive director of The Center for Constitutional Rights, joins us in studio to discuss the Khadr case, which he notes will make Obama the first to try a child soldier in a tribunal he calls "rigged from the start." He also discusses the story of Anwar Aulaqi, an American citizen hiding in Yemen who is on the U.S.'s targeted assassination list--hundreds of miles from any battlefield, making it conceivable that they could kill U.S. citizens anywhere in the world.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 10:07 AM
Response to Original message
1. The so-called 'wars' on drugs and terror, that's what happened
these faux 'wars' have been used to destroy the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 01:03 PM
Response to Original message
2. Was Khadr a "child soldier"?
Does that have a definition in the treaties that he's referring to?

One observer said Khadr shouldn't be tried because he was a child. "The children involved are victims, acting under coercion." Was he?

I mean, essentially it's the Nuremberg defense applied to kids, but since they're not considered to be able to make such decisions, they're too immature and easily manipulated, they're held innocent. Except that sometimes they *are* considered mature enough to make important decisions. Why is the one kind of decision well within their capacity, but the other not?

In Khadr's case, was he under coercion? Was he acting on his own? Was he mimicking what he saw? Or merely acting on the kind of brainwashing that he--probably under the direction of his parents--received? If being conditioned provides exculpation, doesn't that apply to nearly everybody--why stop at age 18, if the conditioning occurred earlier than 18?

If he's not able to make this kind of decision on his own, what about American teenagers that beat up immigrants and the homeless? Should they get off scott-free, and their parents nailed for the crime? Or if their parents aren't provably culpable, perhaps their older peers over age 18? How do you determine responsibility in this under American rules of evidence? And if you can't, isn't that just conferring something akin to non-revocable diplomatic immunity on those under a certain age?

Was Khadr even a soldier, under the terms used in the relevant treaties?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. This trial under the military commissions is a farce, the links below
make clear the level of control or I should say, abuse of control.

Khadr's confession can be used: judge
judge in Omar Khadr's pretrial hearing in Guantanamo Bay says he will allow into evidence video purportedly showing the Canadian making and planting bombs in Afghanistan, and an apparent confession he made while in custody.

Col. Patrick Parrish rejected defence arguments that Khadr's statements were the product of torture and could not be used against him.

"The motion to suppress the accused's statements is denied," Parrish said Monday, without giving reasons. ...

snip* One of Omar's interrogators was later convicted in the murder of a detainee in U.S custody in Bagram.

snip* Prime Minister Stephen Harper has used the terms "Rule of Law" and "Due Process" to describe the Guantanamo military commissions, but Omar's defense team argues that neither of those terms is appropriate. The U.S. military is allowed to pick the lawyers, the jury, and the judge, and to change the judge if they don't like his rulings, which has already happened in this case. The process has been denounced by the U.S. and Canadian Bar Associations, and even by the Supreme Courts in both Canada and the United States. President George W Bush and Prime Minister Stephen Harper are among the very few political leaders who still support the military commissions. /

At Guantanamo, the long wait for an unfair trial

The state versus a boy soldier
Omar Khadr, 15 years old when he was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 and imprisoned first in Bagram, then in Guantánamo, will at last face trial this month on charges never before brought in the history of war

by Chase Madar

Barack Obama may not be as audacious as his supporters had hoped, but his government will soon be the first since the second world war to prosecute a child solder. The trial of Omar Khadr, a Canadian national captured at the age of 15 outside Kabul in 2002, should begin this August at Guantánamo Bay. It will be the Obama administration's first Gitmo trial, and pre-trial hearings have already begun to determine how much evidence is to be excluded because of the torture and abuse he suffered at Bagram prison in Afghanistan and Guantánamo.

Khadr is accused of throwing a hand grenade that killed a US serviceman in a firefight between US forces and jihadis. He confessed to tossing the grenade from his hospital bed at Bagram prison while heavily sedated, his chest wounds barely closed. Over months, an extravagantly detailed confession was developed by a succession of interrogators, from the since convicted abuser of prisoners who first interviewed Khadr to a female military interrogator with an MA in anthropology who soothed him to good effect. Omar Khadr repudiated his confession after being transported to Guantánamo, and has alleged in a lengthy affidavit that he suffered torture and abusive coercion at both prisons. Whether all his claims will be corroborated is unclear, but a witness for the prosecution has already testified that he saw Khadr at Bagram standing with his arms outstretched above eye level, wrists chained to the walls of a five-foot-square cell, hooded and weeping. If a US soldier were treated this way, few would hesitate to call it torture.

Prosecuting a child soldier thus treated in custody is not the savviest PR move for a government eager to show it has mended its ways. But here, as elsewhere in national security policy, Obama is playing mainly to a domestic audience. Many Americans are baffled by the idea of clemency for a youthful offender, let alone an accused terrorist. In a country where dozens of prisoners are serving life without parole for crimes committed when they were 12 or 13, and trying 15-year-old felons as adults is routine if not mandatory, the prosecution of Omar Khadr is not a hard sell.

The rest of the world, so eager to welcome a kinder, gentler US since Obama's election, will be less indulgent. Unicef (now headed by a former US national security adviser) and every major human rights group have denounced the Khadr prosecution, as has the UN's special representative for children and armed conflict, and former child soldiers. The Khadr trial is giving migraines to many State Department officials.

One might have expected the US to persuade its usually pliant northern neighbour to repatriate Khadr to avoid international embarrassment. If the detainee had any other surname, this would have happened years ago. ...

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
3. They got drug tested and hemp was found in the urine of the Bill of Rights.
Thanks for the thread, Jefferson.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-12-10 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. LOL, excellent response, and of course, you're very welcome UncleJoe. n/t.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Mon Jan 22nd 2018, 05:42 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]

Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC