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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

The new meaning of "American Justice"
Even though "prosecutors never offered evidence that the Lackawanna defendants intended to commit an act of terrorism," they plead guilty. Why?

Defense attorneys say the answer is straightforward: The federal government implicitly threatened to toss the defendants into a secret military prison without trial, where they could languish indefinitely without access to courts or lawyers.

That prospect terrified the men. They accepted prison terms of 6 1/2 to 9 years.

"We had to worry about the defendants being whisked out of the courtroom and declared enemy combatants if the case started going well for us," said attorney Patrick J. Brown, who defended one of the accused. "So we just ran up the white flag and folded. Most of us wish we'd never been associated with this case."

The Lackawanna case illustrates how the post-Sept. 11, 2001, legal landscape tilts heavily toward the prosecution, government critics contend. Future defendants in terror cases could face the same choice: Plead guilty or face the possibility of indefinite imprisonment or even the death penalty.
-- Washington Post

Even the prosecutors seem a tad embarrassed:

U.S. Attorney Michael Battle, whose region encompasses Lackawanna, said his office never explicitly threatened to invoke enemy combatant status but that all sides knew the government held that hammer. "I don't mean to sound cavalier, but the war on terror has tilted the whole [legal] landscape," he said. "We are trying to use the full arsenal of our powers.

"I'm not saying the ends justify the means," he continued, "but you have to remember that we're protecting the rights of those who are being targeted by terror as well as the rights of the accused."

From what I've read, this is exactly how the Soviet Union used to work: Confess, and maybe someday you'll see the light of day again. Otherwise, forget it.

Another quote from Scott Ritter:
Bush as Hitler? You're damn right. For Americans, Bush is worse than Hitler. Hitler never came close to destroying the American way of life; Bush is accomplishing that objective in spades. (Frontier Justice, p. 194)