I follow the ACLJ or American Center for Law and Justice. I agree with a lot of the work they do because they help get political and religious prisoners who are wrongfully imprisoned free again in places like Iran and Egypt, Cuba, etc. But I recently saw a couple articles surrounding the Boston bombers and I have to wonder about an organization which has Law and Justice in the title but advocates denying rights to people, even American citizens. The ACLJ put an article up when the first firefight took place and the world found out that the suspects were Chechens. This is going to be a somewhat lengthy blog post, so I’ll just post the link to the article: (don’t worry, it’s only a few paragraphs long.)
Now notice what he says in the last paragraph:
4. Because we know so little, and because the stakes are so high, it is imperative that the remaining suspect — if caught — should not be permitted to “lawyer up.” Were they an isolated pair, merely inspired by foreign terrorism? Did they have links to al Qaeda? Did they have links to Chechen terror groups? Were they even inspired by jihad or something else entirely? Did they have help? Foreign terrorists with potential links to our deadliest enemies do not have the right to remain silent.
For those of you who think you know me, you know I’m not adverse to war nor an apologist for evil people. That being said, I couldn’t disagree with the author more. There’s a line in the Declaration of Independence that states that ALL of us are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. You either believe it or you don’t. There is no middle ground. Now remember, the very premise of this organization is to help free people who have been imprisoned for their beliefs in nations where people’s rights are granted and taken away by the state, where rules of warfare are used against their own people to keep them powerless and at the mercy of tyrants or fanaticism, where prisoners are denied their basic human rights. So it boggled my mind even further to read a second article outlining the legal reasons of why this kid can be held as a belligerent, saboteur and a terrorist.: http://aclj.org/how-treat-boston-marathon-bomber-captured
In the article, ACLJ clearly states how we can hold this kid as a “belligerent” under the Geneva convention and deny this kid his basic HUMAN rights to things like: having an attorney present, having the right to remain silent, INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. Just because it’s legal, doesn’t make it right. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve followed the events of the Russian-Chechen war since the wall came down and the Chechen terrorists are some of the hardest, coldest, most vicious actors on the planet. They were behind the Moscow theatre takeover in 2002 http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Moscow_theater_hostage_crisisand the horrible school massacre in Beslan in 2004 in which almost 400 people were killed, including 186 children. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beslan_school_hostage_crisis
I have no sympathy for his politics, his motivations, his beliefs, and I certainly will never condone acts of hostility against innocents and soft targets. But I do have a problem with us becoming like the very countries the ACLJ fights against to give people their basic rights and terrorist or not, murderer or not, until he’s found guilty, THIS BOY HAS RIGHTS THAT SHOULD BE HONORED. He hasn’t even been convicted of a crime yet! Besides, treating him like he has less rights because he’s a suspected terrorist doesn’t put us on any better playing field in fighting the war on terror. After 9/11, we formed DHS, we appointed an intelligence czar, we threw all kinds of resources and training at counter-terrorism. The FBI is GOOD at counter-terrorism. Let them conduct a thorough investigation. Let them follow the money and leads. Given time and resources, they will come up with a good idea of who these boys were, the motivations behind the attacks, whether they were financed by another country or Al Qaeda, whether they’re part of a bigger cell and so forth. Granted, the info won’t come as fast as if we strap the kid to a plank and waterboard him but we will get objective, unbiased intelligence you can’t get from torture and most importantly, we won’t compromise the soul of our nation which is based on liberty, rights and freedom. Either way, whether the kid is “lawyered up” or not, if the state builds a rock-solid case against him, he’ll be found guilty. There won’t be any doubt about what happened, who’s responsible and we can sleep better knowing that justice was done and we didn’t sell our souls to fanaticism to do it.
This is not a G.I. Joe cartoon from the 80’s, I’m not gonna spout off about “if we did that, we’ll be just as bad as THEY are”, or some cliche’ platitudes. But the ACLJ condoning denying basic rights to this suspected terrorist is just completely contradictory to what they claim to stand for. That’s not what America is about and until their attitude changes, they won’t see any support from me either by word or financially.