It was bound to happen sooner or later to poor Erick Erickson.
He runs the fringe, right-wing website RedState.com and, after 10 months of increasingly pulsating throbs like a character in an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon at every move the Obama Administration has made, Friday morning Erickson’s head absolutely exploded.
Because the Obama Administration has the audacity to return America to the rule of law abandoned by George Bush, Dick Cheney, and their henchmen. Instead of a kangaroo court at Gitmo, the Justice Department will have Khalid Sheik Mohammad and four co-defendants in New York standing trial in federal court on terrorism charges relating to his role in planning and plotting 9/11.
In a frantic, fear-mongering, mass e-mail sent Friday morning, Erickson screams out his warning:
“In that trial, the terrorist will get all the rights afforded an American citizen in a criminal trial, (emphasis his) including the right to a fair trial, the right to a taxpayer funded attorney, the right to review all the evidence against him, potentially including classified intelligence matters, the right to exclude evidence against him including, potentially, any confession obtained through enhanced interrogation techniques, etc.”
In other words, Erickson is aghast that an American president will use the American legal system and American rules of evidence to prosecute people who broke American laws.
In RedState’s view, apparently, Mohammad should have an unfair trail governed by no lawyers representing him, keeping secret evidence against KSM so it can’t be used in his defence, and prosecutors should use information obtained through torture.
That’s the true American way, according to this goofball who seems to have as solid an understanding of the Constitution, US laws and treaties, as those great legal scholars from the Bush era, John Yoo and Jay Bybee.
Uhm, I remember seeing video of Osama bin Laden and several al-Qaeda spokesmen publicly stating after September 11 that the group wants to destroy everything America stands for. Well, it seems Erickson is all in favour of letting the terrorists have their way, going so far as to demand Washington finish the job those four groups of highjackers started by destroying the rule of law.
Shouting Not to Be Heard
Before urging recipients to call members of Congress to object to bringing KSM or any of his cohorts to the US, Erickson dips into
“At best, this will be a show trial fit not for the American Republic, but a third world kleptocratic totalitarian regime. At worse, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will gain access to classified material he can then leak to other terrorists while New York yet again becomes a target for terrorists. We have already had occasions in this country where terrorists’ sympathetic lawyers have conveyed information, orders, and plans to other terrorists.”
Not only does Erickson not understand the principles underlying America and its system of laws, he’s busy trying to rewrite history.
The Gitmo tribunals sent up by Donald Rumsfeld at the urging of Dick Cheney met the very definition of “show trial.” Clearly, Erickson hasn’t read much history of the Soviet Union. Throughout the 1930s, Josef Stalin’s frequent purges kidnapped hapless victims before dragging them in front of rigged courts after being tortured in the Lubyanka’s cellars. For good measure, they could neither see any evidence against them, question state witnesses or mount an actual defence before being either shot or sent to die in Siberian forced labour camps.
This is what Erickson thinks the US should emulate?
While I’m sure that calling Obama’s decision one that would be made in a “third world kleptocratic totalitarian regime” managed to rouse his readers – if they know what he meant – Erickson should have checked dictonary.com before using such big words. There are two definitions:
Klep-toc-ra-cy – [klep-tok-ruh-see]
noun, plural -cies
A government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal; rule by a thief or thieves.
A government characterized by rampant greed and corruption.
While this sort of behaviour was not just tolerated but rampant during the Bush years – in Washington, on Wall Street, at outfits like Halliburton, KBR, and Blackwater, and among defence contractors – so far, President Obama hasn’t shown much tolerance for thievery.
Instead, he and the Democratic Congress increased spending for veterans by the largest amount in history. He’s working to bring health care to the one-quarter of the population who are either uninsured or underinsured and impose some semblance of rules on the health insurance cartel. He’s urging Congress to pass legislation that will allow workers to vote in secret ballots to form a union without management peering over their shoulders taking notes and naming names. He’s sort-of started cracking down on kleptocratic defense contractors who stole billions from the Treasury during Bush’s reign of error. Democrats in Washington are trying to re-impose rules on a resistant financial services industry rules to both level the playing field and give consumers a break.
Who’s Taking a Leak?
Finally, Erickson has his boxers all in a bunch because, he insists, a trial will make New York a target for more terrorist attacks and because KSM will see classified evidence that he will then leak to other terrorists.
Alas, dear Erick sees only red when the world is a bit more shaded than he wants to admit.
For openers, Erickson outdoes even his own wing of the Republican Party in hyperbole by declaring there have been “occasions” – which was once – when “terrorists’ sympathetic lawyers have conveyed information, orders, and plans to other terrorists.” Actually, one lawyer passed a personal message to an acquaintance of a defendant she was representing. No information. No secrets. No plans. And there was no evidence that the person who received the note was a terrorist, only that they happened to be of Middle Eastern origin and a Moslem.
Oh, silly me. In Erickson’s world that’s a prima facie argument they were a terrorist.
If RedState and the other right-wing grandstanders who shoved their way in front of TV cameras Friday afternoon are so concerned about leaks, like the self-promoting Joe Lieberman, why don’t they stick a sock in the mouth of Rep. Pete Hoekstra who gives away intelligence every time he grabs his BlackBerry and sends out a Twitter message? Especially since Hoekstra is the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.
I just re-read Erickson’s e-mail and I’m still wondering why does he hate America so much?