Remember 2003? Remember when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured?

He’s the guy who appar­ently mas­ter­minded the hijack-​​crash attacks that took place on you-​​know-​​what date in 2001. He’s due to go on trial (with oth­ers) at Guantanamo soon.

Well, actu­ally, it’s not going to be a trial — it’s going to be a tri­bunal. And that’s only one prob­lem with it. Evidence to be used against him will include both hearsay claims, and con­fes­sions obtained under tor­ture. (This accord­ing to CNN.)

Tribunals are actu­ally not civil tri­als as we think we under­stand them in the US, and the Guantanamo approach has already been ruled uncon­sti­tu­tional by activist duty-​​doing Supreme Court judges in 2006. In a mil­i­tary tri­bunal there is no jury, and in the Guantanamo setup there may not even be full dis­clo­sure of evi­dence, mean­ing the defense might be caught flat­footed.1

Complicating things is Mohammmed’s own state­ment that he wants to be killed, so he can be a “mar­tyr” to his per­verse cause.

On the one hand, I’m in favor of pun­ish­ing the guilty; how­ever, our national high ground has so steadily eroded in the last six years of Bush’s stu­pid­ity that we’re actu­ally using lev­ees to hold back the sea. And we know how well that strat­egy works.

Things are fur­ther com­pli­cated by the near­ness of this par­tic­u­lar tri­bunal to the Presidential elec­tions. There’s denial in every offi­cial quar­ter, but you’d have to be a retard of W’s mag­ni­tude to not see the clear polit­i­cal pan­der­ing afoot. The tim­ing is obvi­ously coör­di­nated to return a guilty ver­dict, fol­lowed by a quick federally-​​sanctioned killing, just before the first Tuesday in November.

That’s the part that I find most trou­bling. Mohammed wants to be a mar­tyr, and we’re all too happy to give him what he wants. This will embolden his cronies and give them a ral­ly­ing point. We’ll have accom­plished this no-​​win by sus­pend­ing our own national code of honor, which will mean that the killing of Mohammed, as with the killing of Saddam Hussein, will not redeem us inter­na­tion­ally, and will strip away another layer of our honor domes­ti­cally. And of course the cyn­i­cal tim­ing of the event will be cel­e­brated by the most debased and worth­less in our nation — with the main­stream media lead­ing the way.

A show trial, based on sus­pect evi­dence, clearly staged for a cru­cial national elec­tion. We’re using human lives and inter­na­tional good­will as toys in a six-year-old’s make-​​believe pageant. Look how far our “lead­ers” have brought us. We have the col­lec­tive matu­rity of a first-​​grader.

I don’t see a pos­i­tive res­o­lu­tion to this. The only way to turn it around is to shut down that god-​​beshitten off­shore tor­ture house, for­mally charge in civil­ian crim­i­nal court those who can be charged, and turn the oth­ers loose.

Yes, some guilty ones will escape. But then, so will what’s left of our dig­nity as a country.

As it is, we’re going the way of so-​​recently-​​reviled China.

Shame on America. Shame on all of us.

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1. Many might say, “So what?” If we can’t con­vict an obvi­ously guilty man on hon­est grounds, every con­vic­tion we ever make will be sus­pect. We can’t afford that. It’s one step away from star cham­bers. In fact, it is a fuck­ing star cham­ber.

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