Reason and argument, pillars of Western civilization, and not violence, are the foundation of justice through trials. But trials can be subverted in a large number of ways. The most basic way is to focus the trial on legalities dreamed up and imposed by a government or a military tribunal, instead of focusing on the charges, the evidence, and rights and their violations. Legalities replace the search for justice. Many other forms of corruption can occur. Perjury can be encouraged or allowed. Evidence can be prevented from being presented. Evidence can be tampered with. “Evidence” can be obtained by torture. Deals can be made with witnesses. All such methods subvert the norms of argument, and those norms are critical to civilized discourse and thus civilization.
As noted earlier, prisoners at Guantanamo held indefinitely are getting no justice. The government doing this, led by obama and before him bush, is undermining norms of argument and civilized behavior.
Kelly Vlahos has an article about the kangaroo court trials of several Guantanamo prisoners who are, in fact, getting trials. “…the defense attorneys assigned by the military itself say they are being spied on, their files and emails missing and/or ending up in the hands of the prosecution, their conversations listened to, their clients’ mail being confiscated and read by military officials.” Confidentiality is part of not testifying against oneself and part of the presumption of innocence. There cannot be a candid conversation between an accused person and a defense attorney under these conditions. Any innocent or inadvertent piece of information obtained by such spying can be used against even an innocent person in innumerable ways.
Attorney General john ashcroft in 2001 issued an order allowing taping of lawyer-client conversations. The California Supreme Court subsequently overturned a 1982 ruling and allowed the admission in a trial of secretly taped conversations between lawyers defending their clients.
Totalitarian trends such as these are an ineluctable consequence of government, depending on conditions that can slow them down or speed them up. 9/11 was the condition that speeded up the already existing assault by government on freedom and rights, which is its natural behavior, built into the beast.11:55 am on October 12, 2013 Email Michael S. Rozeff