Sunday, December 17, 2006

NYT: "Iraq's Legal System Staggers" Due to Bully Boy (Michael Moss)

I would love to be in bed asleep right now and was hoping the New York Times would have nothing to offer this morning. They still don't report on Carne Ross' statements about the British government's knowledge that Iraq was no threat prior to the start of the illegal war.

They honestly don't have much of a news section today. The 32 page news section has 23 full pages of ads. (Ads appear on other pages as well.) (Check my math, I'm very tired.)

What it does have is a small article by Marc Santora. "Iraqi Chief Calls Forum to Press for National Reunification; Major Groups Are Absent" tells you that the talks were not attended by "Shiite militias or the Sunni extremists" and that "Moktada al-Sadr . . . refused an invitation".

The other article is Michael Moss' "Iraq's Legal System Staggers Beneath the Weight of War" and know up front, the headline writer either didn't read the article or is white-washing.

Moss takes a look at the legal system in Iraq and, no surprise to anyone paying attention, Bully Boy didn't bring 'justice' to Iraq anymore than he brought 'liberation.' Here's a basic summary (use the link, I'm tired): you usually appear before the judge with a court appointed defender (being paid approximately $15 dollars to represent you) and that's pretty much it. By that, I mean there's no defense mounted for you. Those who attempt to mount a 'defense' have a strange idea of what a defense is. The charges against you? In the article brought by the US military which is not a policing body (despite what some on the left and the right think). Moss tells you that the average trial length (and remember Iraq has a death penalty) is fifteen minutes. He tells of two IRaqis on trial who "were detained by Iraqi seucirty forces on Jan. 3, 2005, in connection with several Baghdad attacks, one on a hospital." These men's families put up $2,500 to have the men defended better than it was thought a public defender would do. And the result? 30 years for both men. Despite the fact that the court record included a letter written by the hospital administrator stating that the hospital had not been attacked.

Wondering where to lay blame? Trace it to the top. From the article:

Karen Hanrahan, an international law expert who was the State Department's rule-of-law cooridnator in Iraq until recently, devised a plan to create a public defender system to train and pay defense lawyers. She said it was never financed in part because judicial planning was dominated by American prosecutors who took a dim view of defense lawyers.

Perfectly in keeping with the administration's attempts to destroy anything they don't care for. That's some legal system the US crafted (and the US crafted it).

Need some more bad news? Picture yourself an Iraqi on trial but you were found innocent. You might think the whole nightmare was over. Not true. Moss reports that if you're found innocent, you don't walk out of the court room a free person, instead you're taken into US military custody because, apparently, the puppet government's not able to determine guilt or innocence. Here's how it works. If the Iraqi judge finds you guilty, you're off to whatever sentence (including the death sentence) you're given. If the Iraqi judge finds you innocent, it's back to US military prison. It's a lose-lose all around and no one should mistake it for 'democracy.'

In other news, the British Red Cross is calling for the immediate release of some thirty people kidnapped in Baghdad today at the offices of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society. Making his own call, according to Reuters, is the soon to be Senate majority leader Harry Reid who demonstrates, day after day, that he can stand erect with no spine: "Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on Sunday he would support a short-term increase in U.S. troop numbers in Iraq being weighed by President George W. Bush if it is part of a broader withdrawal plan." As the Doobie Brothers sang, "What A Fool Believes." Temporary? Like the 'temporary' amount of troops needed for the 'crackdown' -- the ones still there in Baghdad all these months later? Harry Reid's determined to lead a war party. Get him some tooth picks so he can prop his head up.

New content at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

Editorial: Thanks to those who strive for peace
TV: What About Rosanna?
"F.U." from The Nation
Danny Schechter's The Death of the Media
Tower Records R.I.P.
The Susan Seaforth Hayes of independent media
MyTV's Fascist House
The US military divides up Baghdad
Look who's invited out of the stye
Next week?

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