Saturday, July 01, 2006

Murderers walk? Thank you, John Ashcroft and Al Gonzales! How 'bout we Guantanamize everyone who's ever been part of the Bush Crime Family?


Oh, wow. This is fucking unbelievable. Just crazy. Man, I don't even know what to say.

We'll come back to that. Meanwhile, I've got an idea. Let's say that somehow the torturing psychopaths who run the Bush administration can't figure out a way to weasel out of the Supreme Court's decision that no, they can't do whatever they want with the poor souls they've swooped up in their unprecedented worldwide campaign of terror and mayhem. The policy has been, everywhere our military goes, to kill everyone who needs killing and then arrest everyone left unkilled.

Of course the brain-dead thugs of the right will say, "Sorry, but that's war, sissyboy. And real men love it."

It turns out that that isn't war, at least not as practiced by civilized nations. According to actual experts, the normal practice is to do on-the-spot triage—sorting out people who may warrant further attention from people who just happened to be there. But this is not what U.S. policy has been in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts.

The policy has been, anyone we don't kill, we arrest and dump in some hellhole outside the jurisdiction of lily-livered rights-enforcing U.S. courts. Like Guantanamo, to pick a random example. This is why in such staggering numbers the people we've been torturing so freely and routinely there didn't do anything and don't know anything. The fact is, growing numbers of those poor souls have been cleared even by our misbegotten tribunals, and are still rotting in our hellhole of a prison because we don't know what the fuck to do with 'em. So we just let 'em rot.

Well, now those liberal sissyboys—and, yes, the sissygirl—on the Supreme Court have announced that Guantanamo is not outside the purview of the U.S. constitution, just as the president and his hired goons are not above the law. Oh, sure, there are four real manlymen on the Court who said, "No way, sissboys and sissygirl, the president is too above the law (every law except the law of the jungle), and the Constitution is just fancy toilet paper." But because the true-blue-American manlyman Supremes were too manly to play nice with their sissy-leaning boy Anthony, they lost.

What I'm getting at is, it's just possible that in the wake of the Court's ruling, the Bush administration will feel obliged to shut down the Guantanamo Torture Station. I'm not saying it's likely, just possible. My guess is that they're already at work on some scheme that allows them to continue doing whatever they want with detainees while throwing some bone to those whiny old liberals on the Court.

After all, it's sometimes pointed out that one of the miracles of the U.S. system of government is that we obey our courts, because this is, after all, a country of laws. The courts, after all, have no enforcers. At best, to enforce one of their rulings, they can only turn to the other branches of government. And yet, when the Supreme Court rules, whether we agree or disagree, it's the law of the land.

Except maybe not to this Bush crowd. As far as they're concerned, they are the law of the land, and they're prepared to "deal with" anyone who thinks different.

But maybe Guantanamo will get emptied anyway. Maybe what they'll do is ship all those prisoners off to those black-hole prisons we've set up in torture-friendly countries.

Either way, Guantanamo would be free for my new project, which is to ship off everyone who's ever had any connection of any kind to the Bush administration. Oh, there might be a few people who are genuinely innocent of any administration-sponsored crimes, but it's the 21st century, and we can't go back to that "old law" thing where people are presumed innocent until proved guilty.

And think what a reversal it would represent from the breakdown among the current generation of Guantanamo detainees, where only a few were guilty or knew anything of any intelligence value. And after we've tortured all the Bush Crime Family sons of bitches, we can possibly spare a few minutes to consider whether any of them possibly shouldn't be incarcerated. It won't really matter, though, since we're not going to release them anyway. Just 'cause they're innocent? Get real! That's how we do things in the brave new world of manlyman justice.

Oh, it would be inconvenient for a while, while we figure out how to put in place a government that's serious about the business of governing. But that seems a small enough price to pay. After all, the Bush Crime Family goons have made their point: No government very likely would be better than the one we're stuck with.

And other levels of government might then be somewhat freer to get on with their jobs. Which brings me back to what set me off on this whole rant.

What's got me hopping is in fact a local story here in New York, and you had to read down about 90 percent of the ways to discover that, in the end, it turns out to be a scumbag-Bush-administration story. Maybe AG Al "The Torture Guy" Gonzales just had other things on his mind. But for whatever reason—possibly just because of the Ashcroft-Gonzales Justice Dept.'s obsessive need to maintain control, simply because they can— a pair of retired cops who hired themselves out to the mob as paid assassins are about to walk free.

Maybe you've heard about the story, which has been in and out of the news for about 15 months. Two ex-NYC cops are accused of working for organized crime, while they were on the force, in a host of enterprises up to and emphatically including a string of at least eight murders.

The story has taken a stomach-churning turn. Oh, the defendants were found guilty awhile back. Federal prosecutors were able to prove to the satisfaction of one and all that they did everything they were accused of. However, Judge Jack Weinstein, while leaving no doubt about his revulsion at the conduct of the defendants, and casting no doubt on their guilt of assorted atrocities including the eight murders, has overturned the convictions on the ground that the statute of limitations had run out.

What? you say. "Statute of limitations"? On murder? Since when is there a statute of limitations on murder?

That's what you have to read deep into the story to find out. You see, the lowlifes weren't actually tried for murder. They were tried for some kind of cockamamie racketeering conspiracies. As it happens, from the very start, their lawyers raised the statute-of-limitations issue. Because on conspiracy, there's a very tight, specific limit: five years. We're way beyond that. The judge let the prosecution go ahead and present its case, but only because it was claiming that it could show some kind of ongoing conspiracy that would somehow make the earlier deeds "current."

Of course the proscecutors failed to do that, because they couldn't. It was a ridiculous idea from the start. Maybe they thought the judge would somehow forget that they were trying to do an end run around clearly written law. Unfortunately for them, he didn't.

Ironically, the defendants had already fired those first lawyers, on the ground that they provided incompetent counsel. That's a standard prelude to appealing for a new trial. But they no longer need a new trial. They got something way better. The argument first raised by the "incompetent" lawyers has led to a dismissal of the charges.

New York Times reporter Alan Feuer reached one of those lawyers, Edward Hayes, and his account of their conversation should be read out loud as the Justice Dept. contingent of the Bush Crime Family is frog-marched into the cargo hold of the prison ship that hauls their sad asses off to Guantanamo:

"Reached at his office, Mr. Hayes was at first speechless—a rarity for a man who once sang 'Danny Boy' in open court.

"He said the prosecution had made a grave tactical error by not allowing the case to be tried in state court, which has no statute of limitations on murder, instead of using the federal racketeering charges, which have the five-year limitation.

"'But this is a Justice Department that more than any in my lifetime has shown a mad-dog desire to control everything and to ignore the law,' he said. 'And they paid the price in this case.'"

There were a host of other charges against the defendants, involving all manner of corruption, that perhaps deserved to be prosecuted, and maybe a racketeering case could have been the way to do it—if a way could have been found around the statute of limitations.

Meanwhile, the most important charges, the ones that needed to be made to stick, and that would have been a slam dunk in state court where they belonged, are now lost. You can be sure that the Kings County (Brooklyn) District Attorney's office was dying to prosecute those charges. Anyone who's watched Law & Order knows that DAs tend to be fussy about prosecuting murders in their jurisdiction.

But if you recall, we heard from the early months of the Bush administration that Attorney General John Ashcroft, when he wasn't covering up statues that made him queasy, was busy centralizing in Washington prosecutorial decisions that were formerly made at the local level by U.S. attorneys. In those decisions, ideology always seemed to trump justice or even normal law-enforcement considerations.

Cops committing murders for hire? Is there any more nightmarish eventuality in the worlds of law enforcement and criminal justice? But thanks to our power-mad Injustice Dept., those murdering cops are almost certainly going to walk.

At least under my plan, Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Gonzales, whom we might think of as the Godfathers of American Torture, will have plenty of time to think about it in their cells at Guantanamo, where they'll be enjoying some of the entertainments they worked so hard to promote for the enemies of American democracy.


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