Optional Obedience

by Becky Akers by Becky Akers Recently by Becky Akers: Cancer in the Skies

It's been fun watching the alleged Constitutional scholar make a complete fool of himself on one of the most basic of Constitutional points, hasn't it? It would be even more fun if liberty in general and the lives of five men in particular didn't hang in the balance.

Now that the Feds have illegally imprisoned and tortured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his cohorts for years, Obama's administration has graciously deigned to try them. So what if the Constitution requires trials for all "persons … (not just "citizens" — nor may neocons assert that the Founders used "person" interchangeably with "citizen" in their magnum opus because they didn't) held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime"? If the last century achieved nothing else, it proved that Our Rulers need no longer obey the Constitution's quaint little commands unless they feel like it. And so Bushbama openly flouts the requirements of habeas corpus when it comes to suspected terrorists, even those who are citizens.

Now that they've decided it's politically expedient to try Mohammed et al., by gum, they're breaking their arms patting themselves on the back for this brave decision — as if obeying the Constitution is optional: “We believe that these folks should be tried in New York City," says David Axelrod, one of Obama's yes-men — sorry, senior advisors, " … near where their heinous acts were conducted in full view, in our court system, which we believe in.” And New York's fűhrer — sorry, mayor, Michael Bloomberg, thinks it's u201Cfitting that 9/11 suspects face justice near the World Trade Center site where so many New Yorkers were murdered.” Yo, Mike: u201Cfittingu201D be danged, the Sixth Amendment orders that the "suspects face justice" in "the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed."

But just because we're bringing these punks, mass murderers, and devils incarnate to trial doesn't mean there's any doubt whatsoever about either their guilt or the verdict — and we have that from no less an authority than the president of the United States. Barack Obama announced a few days ago that "those offended by the legal privileges given to Mohammed by virtue of getting a civilian trial rather than a military tribunal won’t find it u2018offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.'"

The heck with that innocent-until-proven-guilty thing. No doubt Barry the "constitutional law professor," who "thought about things in unconventional ways" and who bragged on the campaign trail that this "means…I actually respect the Constitution,” realizes that said document never even mentions the presumption of innocence. Indeed, not until 1895 did anyone suspect that this "principle…is the undoubted law, axiomatic and elementary, and its enforcement lies at the foundation of the administration of our criminal law," and then it was the Supreme Court, not the Constitution, promoting this radical idea. Take that, all you bleeding hearts with "an over concern with the rights of terrorists and a lack of concern for the rights of the public,” as New York's former fűhrer — sorry, mayor, Rudy Giuliani awkwardly put it.

Still, Con-law profs who so beautifully illustrate the Peter Principle when kicked upstairs ought not shatter the electorate's Constitutional illusions. Barry apparently realized his error, for he "quickly added that he did not mean to suggest he was prejudging the outcome of Mohammed’s trial. u2018I’m not going to be in that courtroom,' he said. u2018That’s the job of the prosecutors, the judge and the jury.'"

And those jurors had better fall into line. "Asked what might happen if the suspects are acquitted, [US Attorney General Eric] Holder replied: u2018Failure is not an option. These are cases that have to be won. I don’t expect that we will have a contrary result.'" Gee, but I hate coy tyrants, don't you? Far better to threaten jurors bluntly with an IRS audit should they fail to see things the Feds' way.

Nor was Eric the Red finished demonstrating that we're just another banana republic now. These are kangaroo trials: not only have Our Rulers already decided the verdict, anyone found innocent won't be freed. "Seeking to allay acquittal concerns, Holder insisted the suspects will be convicted, but even if one isn’t, u2018that doesn’t mean that person would be released into our country.'" Of course not. We'll remand him to the sinkhole from which we originally kidnapped him, whose government will likewise imprison and torture him if it expects to continue receiving American foreign aid.

“We need not cower in the face of this enemy,” Eric crowed. “Our institutions are strong, our infrastructure is sturdy, our resolve is firm, and our people are ready.” Plus, we've waterboarded the heck out of Mohammed — 183 times, by the government's own count –, so he's likely to spew whatever the Feds tell him to: Prof. Shane O'Mara of Trinity College, Dublin, noted earlier this year that "brain imaging in people previously subjected to severe torture suggests that abnormal patterns of activation are present in the frontal and temporal lobes, leading to deficits in verbal memory for the recall of traumatic events." Luckily for Leviathan, "confabulation (the pathological production of false memories) is a common consequence of frontal lobe disorders." Wanna bet Mohammed has forgotten whatever role the Feds played on 9/11 while "remembering" that he alone masterminded the whole thing?

Former presidential puppeteer, Karl Rove, alleges that "some attorneys in the Justice Department have tried for years to … u2018gain for these war criminals the rights that we would accord American citizens who might be accused of knocking over the local 7-Eleven.'" You'd think he and the rest of Our Rulers would show some sympathy, being war criminals themselves.