Because the U.S. has turned into a country that tortures people with impunity -- and brags about it -- the news that a federal appeals court has ruled against a "detainee," an "enemy combatant," comes as no surprise.
Courts are a reflection of the society in which they exist. They're not on Mount Olympus. And the courts since 9/11 especially have repeatedly sided with the government and against civil liberties and plain old ordinary justice.
Justice, you scoff, ha! What does justice have to do with anything?
The man in this case is Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani. He was "captured" in Pakistan in 2004, held for five years on board a ship (the U.S.'s favorite no-man's-land) and at Guantánamo, and tortured. Apparently, according to the appeals court, none of that interfered with the Constitutional right to a speedy trial.
Yeah, what's five years out of your life, especially when you know that by the time you do get to court, you're going to be convicted anyway? It's a foregone conclusion, so who cares how long you're held?
And torture? "Meh," said the court. That has nothing to do with the speedy trial clause.
The panel acknowledged that the nearly five-year delay was substantial. But, it said, “the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the government may purposely delay trials for significant periods of time, so long as, on balance, the public and private interests render the delay reasonable.”
The panel rejected Mr. Ghailani’s argument that the trial judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, should have considered the “physical and psychological harm he endured while in C.I.A. custody as prejudice supporting his speedy trial claim.”
“The Speedy Trial Clause protects defendants against prejudice caused by delays in their trials, not against the harms of interrogation of enemy combatants,” the panel said.Justice in America. A shining beacon for the rest of the world. That's why we preach to everyone else about "human rights" and the "rule of law." Because we're so expert at it.
The court even uses the Orwellian language of the government -- "enemy combatants." They're prisoners, you smug, black-robed hypocrites. But that's okay -- just take another page from the Dick Cheney playbook, which clearly you admire.
Ghailani is now being held at the Supermax in Florence, Colorado, one of the most notorious of the abusive, dystopian prisons in the U.S. A former warden called it "a clean version of hell." It is designed to destroy people. It also houses "eco-terrorists," the government's preferred term for environmental and animal rights activists, and people who have been entrapped by the FBI.
Again I refer to you to Martin Niemoller.
The rule of law has been destroyed in this country. The fact that it still exists in pockets, here and there, that it still obtains once in a while, doesn't negate the fact that it has been destroyed overall.
Where are all the lawyers rising up against this? Why aren't they making a stink? There are only a relative few who give a shit.
But then, they, too, are just a reflection of society at large. Why should I expect them to care any more than our politicians, the judges on the appeals court panel, or anyone else?