First, what did Mr. Horton recently publish?
Er, if I thought I was speechless after that, check out Mr. Horton's final paragraph:
I have just been given an update on the handling of the case of Bilal Hussein from a Pentagon source who claimed to have been briefed on the proceedings.
Bilal’s case has been assigned to investigating Judge al-Kinani, who has already conducted a long series of evidentiary hearings in the case. The Pentagon is confident that it will secure a conviction in the case, and that evidence and legal arguments are irrelevant to the process.
• Under strong pressure from the U.S. military, the investigating judge closed the case and imposed a gag order. This was requested principally because the U.S. military intends to, and has, used all the power at its disposal to exert pressure on the judge to assure a conviction. It is extremely concerned that its pressure tactics will be exposed in the media. It settled on a gag order as the best means of keeping a lid on things.
• The U.S. military has assigned a team of five to act effectively as prosecutors in the case. The team is headed by a Captain Kelvey. (Says the source: “We recognize, of course, that the U.S. has no authority to prosecute a case in an Iraqi court. That’s one of the reasons that a gag order was essential.”)
• Another tactic pursued by the Pentagon was to convince the Iraqi judge not to listen to Bilal’s U.S. lawyer, former federal prosecutor Paul Gardephe. The judge was counseled to refuse to admit him as Bilal’s defense counsel. The judge accepted this advice.
• The Pentagon is convinced that regardless of the evidence presented and the arguments made, Bilal Hussein will be convicted based on its influence wielding and pressure tactics. (“The judge announced on the opening day that he would recommend conviction and refer the matter to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq. This was before any evidence or arguments had been produced. Our folks were elated, but concerned that his somewhat rash statement would undermine the credibility of the proceedings. They had expected him to say this only at the end of the proceedings.”)
Sounds like the U.S. Government is doing everything within its power to turn the Iraqi legal process into a kangaroo court—the equivalent of the Combat Status Review Tribunal in Guantánamo or worse. And you thought the United States was committed to building the rule of law in Iraq. Think again.Who is Bilal Hussein? From the Associated Press, we learn that Mr. Hussein is an AP photographer who has been held by US forces since April 2006 because he was deemed a security threat.
How is it that America, the land guided by one of the most awesome political documents ever created in the world (yes, the Constitution), became a nation that holds hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people without providing them due process, without ensuring that fundamental rights are honored, that at the very least engages in tactics and strategies which can be perceived as being unethical, immoral, and illegal, and at the most engages in tactics and strategies which actually are unethical, immoral, and illegal.
How have we fallen so?