Friday, September 22, 2006

Non-starter for anyone ethical

So, there's a "compromise" between the top Republicans who are running scared of losing exclusive control of the Congress, and the President.

There's a PDF here, and it includes several reasons that this should be considered unacceptable.

The one that is absolute for me is 948r, section c.

Basically, it says we can use statements obtained through torture if the judge decides they're reliable, as long as this bill hadn't been passed when they were obtained.

Here's the thing. If the police beat a confession out of a suspect, you don't allow that confession to stand, in any court, for any reason, under any circumstances. Why? Because it rewards torture. You do not reward torture. Ever. Not if you're an ethical nation. You don't let some government goon to think "I did good by torturing that prisoner!"

It's a way of saying "Yeah, it sucks if you have vital information that you can't use because you got it through torture. I bet that makes you wish you'd never engaged in torture doesn't it? I bet you wish you'd found an ethical and moral method to get that information."

There's more; there are all kinds of injustices that could get by if this were enacted. For example, the government is allowed to tell the defense "we have classified information saying that your client attended an al Qaeda training camp and agreed to make war upon the United States. We won't tell you who told us that; it's classified. We won't tell you how we interrogated the person who told us that; that's classified. We won't tell you how it's been corroborated, if it has been. But we're going to introduce this as evidence into the trial."

How can a person defend against that charge? Maybe it was made by an enemy. Maybe it was given under duress. Maybe it was a single person who wouldn't have any way of knowing these facts.

No one deserves to be punished for being a terrorist unless that person is actually a terrorist. This bill would put innocent people at risk of being convicted unjustly.

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