Saturday, April 26, 2008

KSM has a lawyer

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is our government's most famous torture subject. They admit to half drowning him and who knows what else to get him to "confess." Now they've given him a military lawyer. This lawyer is a spunky guy.

Prescott Prince is a small-town lawyer who has never taken a death penalty case to trial. Yet he finds himself involved in one of the biggest capital punishment cases this century: He's defending the alleged mastermind of the September 11 terror attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed....

No civilian court, he says, would accept confessions obtained after a defendant was mistreated. But the CIA admits Mohammed was waterboarded, a controversial interrogation technique that involves simulated drowning.

"I take the position that this is mock execution. ... Colloquially speaking, at least it's torture," Prince said.

The fact that whatever Mohammed said during such duress could be used at trial is alarming to Prince.

"That's not the rule of law. That's just insanity. ...

"Even the greenest deputy sheriff or rookie police officer in Skunk Hollow County knows that if you rough up a defendant, anything he says after that is not going to be admitted into court," Prince said. "The officer might not like those rules, but he understands them and will abide by them."

But a judge in a military commission could have it entered into evidence. "We have created a system under the military commissions that says, in essence, 'if he was roughed up but what he says still seems reliable, we'll accept it any way.' And that's just wrong."

... Prince doesn't believe that Mohammed can get a fair trial and says the country risks trashing "our constitutional values when it becomes convenient to do so."

April 23, 2008

Notice that I described this plug-ugly prisoner as this country's most famous torture victim. He may in fact have had something to do with the 9/11 -- he may have been the "mastermind" of that atrocity. But our idiot government has managed to transform him into a sympathetic figure, someone we beat the shit out of in violation of our own best traditions.

And this interview makes Prescott Prince sound like a fine, down to earth, sort of guy. He is is a Navy Reservist who served 6 months in Iraq. Clearly he'd play well in a public courtroom drama. I can see the headline: "Little guy from Mayberry takes on evil Washington ..."

So they won't be holding a real court for KSM -- he'll get judged by one of our "Military Commissions" -- the special gulag proceedings at Guantanamo where the military and ultimately the Administration picks the judges and the judges decide whether anyone, including the accused, gets to see the "evidence."

Only our current bumbling authoritarians could have managed to make an admitted Al Qaeda leader the "good guy" in this situation.

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