Friday, December 09, 2005

 

Foreign Fighters in Iraq

No, not al-Qa`ida. Aegis. Remember how we all thought it would be a great idea to have thousands of foreign armed mercenaries in a war zone with no kind of military oversight? Yeah, that's working out great, especially for Iraqi civilians who get shot at while driving, then videotaped and posted on the internet for some asshole's chuckles.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

 

Arian not guilty, NYT bummed

No wonder the Bush administration doesn't want terror supsects or "unlawful combatants" to have access to the due process of the American judicial system. You see, if that were the case you need what legal experts call "evidence." And despite an admitted 10-year campaign to indict Sami al-Arian on terrorism charges, and despite the PATRIOT Act that allowed them, finally, to push ahead with those charges, what the U.S. government didn't have much of was evidence. And so the Arian trial came to an end yesterday with the defendent being found not guilty.

You see, here's the type of "evidence" that the U.S. had:
In bringing the case against Mr. Arian in 2003, the department relied on the easing of legal restrictions under the antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act to present years of wiretaps on the defendants in a criminal context.

In the conversations cited by prosecutors, Mr. Arian was heard raising money for Palestinian causes, hailing recently completed attacks against Israel with associates overseas, calling suicide bombers "martyrs" and referring to Jews as "monkeys and swine" who would be "damned" by Allah.

But much of the conversation and activity used by prosecutors predated the 1995 designation by the United States of Palestinian Islamic Jihad as a terrorist group, a designation that prohibited Americans from supporting it.
You see, some people still believe that to be guilty, you must commit a crime. Not just support unpopular political positions (or unpopular moral positions). I don't think anybody could quote me calling suicide bombers "martyrs" or referring to Jews as "monkeys and swine" (certainly, I find this second example extremely disgusting). But that doesn't mean that I think that anybody who says this kind of thing should be shipped off to prison as a terrorist. I think that's a freedom of speech issue, and I think that the first amendment, which happens to protect free speech, is a pretty damn good thing about America, and that upholding it, even in the case of a person whose speech and views are politically unpopular, pushes America further toward the ideals that it claims to stand for. The New York Times, on the other hand, seems to disagree. Because their headline for the story of the Arian verdict is as follows: "Not Guilty Verdicts in Florida Terror Trial Are Setback for U.S." Not a setback for the Bush administration. Not a blow to the PATRIOT Act. No sir, a "setback for the U.S." Damngumbit, these jurors must just hate America, they want to set it back so far. Yknow, maybe jury trials in general for "accused terrorists" are just setting us back. Just ship 'em off to Gitmo, right?

Monday, December 05, 2005

 

And now for a poem...

Read the story at the Guardian. This poem is really too funny.

The leader

Patient and steady with all he must bear,
Ready to accept every challenge with care,
Easy in manner, yet solid as steel,
Strong in his faith, refreshingly real,
Isn't afraid to propose what is bold,
Doesn't conform to the usual mold,
Eyes that have foresight, for hindsight won't do
Never back down when he sees what is true
Tells it all straight, and means it all too

Bracing for war, but praying for peace
Using his power so evil will cease:
So much a leader and worthy of trust,
Here stands a man who will do what he must

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