US "Justice" - Guilty until proven innocent?

After the blunders of September 11th, the US get a chance to announce a success; they've arrested someone who might have been planning to set off a bomb in the US. It gives "Dubya" a chance to show that the US intelligence agencies aren't sitting around doing nothing. An action to be applauded.

Or is it?

Let's see what the US security departments (NSA, FBI, CIA) have ponied up; firstly, the FBI director has conceded "there was not an actual plan". Hrm, so, this person has been looking at how a "dirty bomb" works and how to obtain the ingredients one presumes, but hasn't actually planned a detonation and probably doesn't even have the ingredients. This is looking shaky already.

Not only have they admitted there was no plan, but instead of charging him and giving him the rights attendant with a trial, they have instead chosen to call him an "enemy combatant", giving them the rights to hold him indefinately, without trial, without charge and without legal representation. If a US (or British) citizen was treated this way by a foreign country, there would be outrage, and rightly so. However, Dubya now has his Jedi hand-waving down to a fine art and hides everything behind his "Axis of Evil" and mentioning the word "terrorist" to allow him free reign over civil rights.

Not only are they willingly trampling over his human rights by holding him without charge, Donald Rumsfeld has said that the US was "not interested in trying him at the moment". Most likely because they know the evidence would not stand up in anything other than a kangaroo court.

So where does this leave Al-Muhajir? Well, Dubya is unlikely to climb down; he's still being bouyed up by his post September 11th ratings and probably has advisers working hard to keep his ratings high by continuing the "war on terror" (funny how this war on terror did nothing for the last few decades to stop IRA fund raising in the US...) which the average Joe in the US seems to find great. The FBI/CIA are unlikely to want to let him go as their reputation relies on getting some kind of success, even if that means holding a man without charge, trial or lawyer.

While I am not saying Al-Muhajir is innocent, it opens up a whole raft of legal concerns if the FBI can hold a man indefinately without charge one the strength of saying he is linked with a terrorist group and might have been thinking about blowing up a bomb. If America is indeed the home of Democracy (a notion I grow less inclined to believe each time I read the news), charge him and hold a trial. Holding him captive with no recourse makes a mockery of justice and democracy.

Update: 4/11/02
I thought I would check on the current state of Al-Muhajir and found this.

In summary, he has been held in solitary confinement for the last few months and the state is trying to make sure that the judge considering his fate does not listen to the defence lawyers as that may allow others sharing his fate to demand a review regarding "the correctness of the president's determination to detain them".

In short, you're not allowed to question the president if he decides to detain someone for whatever reason. Added to this, the defence is not being allowed to see the documents being used to argue for his guilt; what court would effectively convict someone without allowing the defence to see and correspondingly defend against the evidence presented by the prosecution?

File last modified: Saturday, 06-Mar-2004 14:12:10 GMT