Monday, December 18, 2006

It's About Subverting Democracy


This first paragraph from a WaPo article on the release of 33 more detainees from Guantanamo tells you everything you need to know about George W. Bush's intentions, and what his administration is all about:

Thirty-three detainees who had been held at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were returned to their home countries over the past week, part of a government effort to reduce the facility's population to a core group of terrorism suspects who could be held indefinitely [emphasis mine].

Democracies don't hold suspects (i.e., people who have not been tried or convicted of a crime) indefinitely. Democracies don't detain people arbitrarily and hold them in perpetuity without charging them with a crime or giving them a trial. Democracies don't refuse to allow detainees to consult a lawyer -- and democracies don't strip detainees of a legal right that is over 800 years old: the right to see the evidence being used to deprive you of your freedom, so you can prove you don't belong in jail.

In a democracy, there is a term used to describe a person who is suspected of having committed a crime, but who has not been charged with a crime, or tried for a crime, or convicted for a crime. That word is INNOCENT. And in a democracy an innocent person who has been charged with a crime remains innocent until tried for that crime in a court of law and convicted, using witnesses, evidence, and rules regarding the use of that evidence. When and if the innocent person is proved to have committed the crime he or she has been charged with -- then and only then can the suspect be truthfully called guilty.

Democracies do not hold suspected terrorists, or suspected anyone, indefinitely -- nor do they refer to such suspects as, simply "terrorists," without even affixing the adjective "suspected," as if these individuals had already been convicted of what they are suspected of having done.

But then, detainees at Guantanamo are not being detained in a democracy. And neither are the rest of us -- although in most instances not, for the moment, being held indefinitely in prison without charges or trial -- living in a democracy. Are we?


Chief said...


You REALLY should go to law school.

Kathy said...

LOL! Thank you, Chief! Are you volunteering to pay for it? :-))

Did I ever tell you I have an Associate's degree in Paralegal Studies? Couldn't find a job in the field, so I went on to teaching, couldn't find a job in the field, so I went on to ...

Oh wait. I haven't written the end to that yet.