By Kenneth J. Theisen
The Obama administration announced on Monday, March 7th that it will resume kangaroo trials at the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This ends a two-year ban imposed by President Obama the day after he took office. Back then he also announced that he was ordering the closure of Gitmo which in the eyes of the world had come to symbolize torture and the abuse of due process for the prisoners held in the U.S. war of terror. Of course Gitmo is still open and the atrocities it came to represent continue there and at other U.S.-run hellholes such as the expanded prison at Bagram, Afghanistan.
The change that Obama promised during his election campaign has not occurred. Instead the criminal policies begun under the Bush regime are now the policies of the Obama administration. In making the announcement the Obama administration issued a written statement about these new military commission trials.
In the written statement, Obama said he has also issued a new code for treatment of prisoners and that he reserves the right to try some accused terrorists in American federal courts. Obama wrote that the new policies will "broaden our ability to bring terrorists to justice, provide oversight for our actions, and ensure the humane treatment of detainees." But they will do nothing of the sort. Trying prisoners at Gitmo will reduce oversight and strip prisoners of essential due process rights.
The kangaroo proceedings under the military commissions virtually guarantee convictions for the U.S. government. The judges are U.S. military judges. The "evidence" consists of hearsay, secret evidence, statements obtained under torture, and just about anything else the government wants to use. The ability to cross-examine witnesses is greatly reduced. Due process is virtually non-existent. But this is what the U.S. government wants. They want convictions and these kangaroo proceedings will deliver convictions. They will also ensure that the abusive treatment of the prisoners remains concealed from the public.
Despite Obama's Orwellian statement, the world will not be fooled. Even U.S.-allied governments have condemned the "justice" provided by these military commissions. We must expose the "justice" provided by these courts as what it really is - no justice at all. Kangaroo courts began under the Bush regime and are being continued under Obama.
Obama has also continued the Bush policy of trying to restrict the access of prisoners to any real due process. While the order issued by Obama today impacts prisoners now held at Gitmo it does not affect those held at places such as Bagram. There the Obama administration does not even bother with kangaroo trials. In Bagram and other hellholes run by the Pentagon due process consists of "reviews" where the U.S. military decides whether to continue to hold prisoners or not. There are no hearings or lawyers for the defendants. Obama lawyers maintain that those held at Bagram and other prisons overseas have no right to habeas corpus or other due process rights under the Constitution. They also maintain that prisoners of the U.S. war of terror can be held indefinitely. Most of what happens at Bagram and other U.S.-run prisons overseas also receives very little, if any media attention.
The "justice" rendered by the U.S. is in fact a crime and we need to expose and condemn it. World Can't Wait will continue to do so.