Thursday, February 18, 2010
You just can’t take these guys anywhere. They embarrass you every time.
I don’t mean the terrorist Khalid Sheik Mohammed, pictured above, the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorists. I mean Joe Biden and the Community Organizer’s “spokesman” Robert Gibbs. You know, the talking head who doesn’t use a teleprompter.
Yesterday we were talking about criminals, crimes and executions. One the things I didn’t mention was that before, during and up until he was convicted, Michael Grossman was presumed innocent. I didn't mention it because I took that for granted. It’s the way the legal system works in the US – or the way it used to, anyway.
It’s the very essence of American jurisprudence: every person accused of a crime is considered to be innocent until proved otherwise.
That might sound like a technicality, but it’s not – it’s critical to the “blind justice” theory. The State must prove -- “beyond a reasonable doubt” – that the person they accused is guilty. The burden is not, the burden is never, on the accused to prove his innocence.
That’s been enshrined in American law since the signing of the Constitution, where the 5th Amendment reads."No person shall be ... deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law ..."
Not only there -- the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights (Article 6 Section 3) makes the same point, as does the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 14, section 2).
So why am I telling you this? Because in recent days, both Vice President Joe Biden and the Community Organizer’s spokesman, Robert Gibbs, appear to be ignorant of the concept.
Both were reacting to the furor -- the very appropriate furor – that resulted when the Community Organizer and his Merry Men decided to give the terrorist Khalid Sheik Mohammed (“KSM”) a civil trial in a civilian court instead of treating him like the terrorist enemy combatant that he is.
Why is that an insane idea? Because when a terrorist is given a civilian trial, he’s entitled to all kinds of legal niceties, including a jury of his “peers” – a fascinating concept all by itself – as well as the presumption of innocence. Worse than that, quite frankly, is that the accused terrorist’s taxpayer-paid cadre of lawyers will also be given access to all government evidence against him, which will may well prove to be a fatal error to the ability of the US to protect its citizens from future attacks. Imagine providing all kinds of top secret security data directly to the terrorists of the world. It’s utterly insane.
Needless to say, granting civilian trials to accused terrorists is a hot topic. People who pay attention to such things – not to mention pay for them -- are outraged. In response, the White House, in its many guises, is working overtime attempting to calm the situation.
First they sent out Joe Biden – who probably would have been better off if he’d plagiarized his remarks from Neal Kinnock again.
Here’s the exchange from “Meet the Press” of February 14:
Host David Gregory asked Vice President Joe Biden: “The reason for a civilian trial as given by the president and others was a question of perception: That it was very important that the rest of the world see that we treated Khalid Sheikh Mohammed fairly. But hasn’t the administration already made the decision that even if he were to be acquitted that he would never be released?”
Biden: “Look, there is no doubt that he would not be acquitted. The facts we have are overwhelming. We are absolutely confident he will be convicted and for whatever he is tried. The attorney general made the decision that he should be tried in the court of the greatest jurisdiction, which was in New York City.”
WHAT??? “The facts are overwhelming”?? Since when does that matter? Jury verdicts don't work that way. Try this: “If it fits, you must acquit”. Remember that one?
And what do you mean, Mr. Vice President, that you are “absolutely confident” he will be convicted? As Vice President, you are the second-highest official in the US government. It is your Constitutional duty to grant the accused every right he’s entitled to under the law – that’s the way the US works, it’s a system of laws. And under US law, that nice fellow pictured above is entitled to the presumption of innocence.
So what on earth do you mean, you are “absolutely confident” he will be convicted? Legally, now that you’re treating him like a civilian, he’s a completely innocent man – and will remain such, up until the judge accepts the jury’s verdict.
Okay, okay, so it’s Joe Biden who's talking. Everyone knows that for decades, Joe Biden’s loose lips have gotten him in trouble. The American people knew that, and chose to elect this dufus anyway, so apparently they weren’t concerned about it. We could give Joe Biden a pass – again.
But now comes the Community Organizer to explain what Joe Biden said. Surely Gibbs, the White House spokesman, will step in to reaffirm this administration’s commitment to this basic principle of American law, won’t he? That in criminal trials, the accused is innocent until proven guilty?
Ah, well, actually not. Gibbs responded with a nice bit of Jesuitical reasoning – he answered both yes and no. (Hey – I’m Jesuit educated. I knows it when I sees it.)
On Wednesday, CNS News asked Robert Gibbs: “The vice president (Joe Biden) said on Meet the Press that he guarantees that KSM (Khalid Sheik Mohammed) would not be acquitted. Isn't part of a civilian trial presumed innocent?”
CNSNews: “And does the administration believe that he (KSM) is presumed innocent?”
Gibbs: “The administration is in charge of presenting the case against an individual that killed 3,000 people on American soil. I not only think he'll be convicted, I think he'll be executed for his crimes.”
CNSNews: “Can you make that guarantee though?”
Gibbs: “I think he’s going to be executed for his crime.”
Again, WHAT??? Where’s KSM’s presumption of innocence? Where’s his right to due process, as guaranteed by the Constitution? Where’s his right to a jury of his “peers” who will make the decision about his guilt or innocence? Where’s his right to a fair trial?
In a nutshell? If you thought that the 25 years the US government spent trying to prove Martin Grossman worthy of execution was outrageous, you haven’t seen anything yet. Just wait until you see the wheels of justice come to a screeching halt over the fate of Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
What’s happened is that both the Vice President of the United States, as well as the President’s spokesman, have just fatally compromised Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s right to a fair trial.
The two have now absolutely guaranteed that Khalid Sheik Mohammed will never be executed for his crimes. In fact, from the looks of it, he may never even be convicted.
Woe unto all of you, who elected these yahoos to office.