Salon has an update on the ongoing humiliation of the Zacarias Moussaoui trial today. Moussaoui, in addition to being a mentally ill would be terrorist, is also the poster child for the government’s efforts to shred the Constitution. The idea of military tribunals makes me ill, and I’m hoping that the government does decide to move the Moussaoui trial out of civilian courts to the secret military tribunals because it will illustrate clearly just what a flawed and disgusting idea that they are. If we are unable to secure a conviction in a real court and we move the procedure to a secret court where the prosecution gets to dictate the rights granted to the defendant, what does it say for the US justice system, other than that it puts us on par with countries that our president likes to refer to as evil.
Update: The Economist has an editorial about the military tribunals. The lede breaks it down pretty well:
You are taken prisoner in Afghanistan, bound and gagged, flown to the other side of the world and then imprisoned for months in solitary confinement punctuated by interrogations during which you have no legal advice. Finally, you are told what is to be your fate: a trial before a panel of military officers. Your defence lawyer will also be a military officer, and anything you say to him can be recorded. Your trial might be held in secret. You might not be told all the evidence against you. You might be sentenced to death. If you are convicted, you can appeal, but only to yet another panel of military officers. Your ultimate right of appeal is not to a judge but to politicians who have already called everyone in the prison where you are held “killers” and the “worst of the worst”. Even if you are acquitted, or if your appeal against conviction succeeds, you might not go free. Instead you could be returned to your cell and held indefinitely as an “enemy combatant”.