Friday, July 20, 2007

Revealing Secrets To Try Terrorists In Open Court.

An Associated Press story today shows one of the consequences of treating terrorists like ordinary criminals. A woman who taught herself Arabic and uses the internet to trap terrorists has successfully helped the United States government capture Islamist war criminals. One wannabe Jihadist is an American National Guardsman who had to be tried in military court.
"[Shannen] Rossmiller's terrorist-hunting might never have been exposed had it not been for the [Spc. Ryan] Anderson case. Called as a witness, she fought hard to keep her identity a secret. Anderson's right to confront his accuser won out." (Here.)
Anderson's citizenship, presence in the United States, and military status compelled his open trial in a military court and resulted in the exposure of a valuable American intelligence asset. The example of Rossmiller's exposure is one more reason why giving terrorists the same rights held by uniformed soldiers and regular criminals would be a mistake.

-tdr

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Comments:
This is interesting. I've never encountered a lawyer who wanted to repeal the 6th amendment before. Surely you can see the problem with selectively denying basic rights to "terrorists." Anybody that the Bush administration doesn't like will be a terrorist. It's the ancient question, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" How will you feel about this new government power after Hillary Clinton assumes office?

I'm puzzled as to why Rossmiller was summoned as a witness. If federal agents caught Anderson attempting to commit espionage, then that should have been all the evidence needed. Perhaps she was summoned to dispel the appearance of entrapment. Remember the John DeLorean case, in which everybody involved but DeLorean was a federal agent or informant? DeLorean beat the rap, but then, he wasn't classified as a terrorist.
 
You still have not encountered a lawyer who wants to repeal the 6th Amendment. It overstates to say my post calls for that. That being said, I was imprecise when I said it would be a mistake to treat "terrorists" the same as regular criminals and the uniformed military. I had in mind unlawful enemy combatants like those at Guantanamo.
 
Well, of course! There's no reason that a foreign fighter should be entitiled to anything but a bullet. Don't the laws of war allow us to simply execute francs tireurs? I was confused becaused you mentioned it in connection with Anderson, who was, apparently, a U.S. citizen.
 
Yeah, your comments made me realize my post was confusing. I had a lot in mind but didn't feel up to writing about all of it and decided to do something short instead.
 
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