Monday, September 24, 2007

Just for the record

This is not due process; this is merely the appearance of due process:

“Each individual so arrested was brought immediately before a federal judge where he was assigned counsel, had a bail hearing and was permitted to challenge the basis for his detention, just as a criminal defendant would be,” he wrote. The article made no reference to Mr. Awadallah’s detention.
Due process means doing more than this for people detained because of a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon:

It was Oct. 2, 2001, and the prisoner, Osama Awadallah, then a college student in San Diego with no criminal record, was one of dozens of Arab men detained around the country in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks as potential witnesses in the terrorism investigation.

Before the hearing, Mr. Awadallah told his lawyer that he had been beaten in the federal detention center in Manhattan, producing bruises that were hidden beneath his orange prison jumpsuit. But when his lawyer told this to Judge Mukasey, the judge seemed little concerned.

“As far as the claim that he was beaten, I will tell you that he looks fine to me,” said Judge Mukasey, who was nominated by President Bush last week to be his third attorney general and is now facing Senate confirmation hearings. “You want to have him examined, you can make an application. If you want to file a lawsuit, you can file a civil lawsuit.”

Even though Mr. Awadallah was not charged at the time with any crime and had friends and family in San Diego who would vouch that he had no terrorist ties, Judge Mukasey ordered that he be held indefinitely, a ruling he made in the cases of several other so-called material witnesses in the Sept. 11 investigations. A prison medical examination later identified the bruises across his body.
But wait, it gets better. Mr. Awadallah was taken from San Diego to New York as a "material witness. His attorney, Mr. Hamud, wasn't informed, however.

“I wasn’t aware that they were in New York until approximately 8:30 yesterday morning,” Mr. Hamud told the judge at the Oct. 2 hearing, according to the transcript. Mr. Hamud said he had been required to fly overnight to New York from California to attend the early morning hearing.

“You are now aware of it,” the judge replied without elaboration.

When Mr. Hamud asked Judge Mukasey why he was not admonishing prosecutors for blocking his contact with Mr. Awadallah, the judge replied: “Your question is ridiculous. The government isn’t interfering with the attorney-client privilege.”

The lawyer continued, “It is, Your Honor.”

The judge replied, “Oh, please.”
Due process is something other than noting a prisoner can file a civil lawsuit if they so choose. Due process is something more than bringing a defendant into a hearing that is essentially a kangaroo court. What is described here is the due process of the Red Queen: `Sentence first--verdict afterwards.' Or, as the king said:

`What do you know about this business?' the King said to Alice.

`Nothing,' said Alice.

`Nothing whatever?' persisted the King.

`Nothing whatever,' said Alice.

`That's very important,' the King said, turning to the jury. They were just beginning to write this down on their slates, when the White Rabbit interrupted: `Unimportant, your Majesty means, of course,' he said in a very respectful tone, but frowning and making faces at him as he spoke.

`Unimportant, of course, I meant,' the King hastily said, and went on to himself in an undertone, `important--unimportant-- unimportant--important--' as if he were trying which word sounded best.
Wonder which sounds best to Judge Mukasey now?

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