Wednesday, January 12

The Attacks Begin on the President's Homeland Security nominee, Michael Chertoff

From the Muslim American Society:
Michael Chertoff is not fit to lead the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. While he has a good record as a prosecutor, he does not have as good a record on respecting and safeguarding civil rights and liberties. He is, by his own admission, an advocate of "streamlining" justice, a euphemism for setting aside troublesome things like due process of law.

One of the guiding principles of the Department of Homeland Security is that its strategies and actions will be consistent with the individual rights and liberties enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and guided by the Rule of Law. Michael Chertoff's record in John Ashcroft's Justice Department clearly illustrates Mr. Chertoff's cavalier treatment of both.

While serving as the head of the criminal division in the U.S. Department of Justice, Mr. Chertoff was responsible for: (1) misconduct by Justice Department lawyers in a failed prosecution of an alleged sleeper terrorist cell in Detroit, Michigan, (2) an overzealous, and ultimately failed, prosecution alleging the creation of internet terror networks against an innocent college student in Boise, Idaho, and (3) the stalled prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui.
If we accept the above list of things that Mr. Chertoff is supposedly "responsible for," then that would seem to refute that he has a "good record as a persecutor." Thus, one of these things must not be true. Although I don't know all the facts, it would seem to be logical that Mr. Chertoff does have a good record as a prosecutor since he has been conformed three times by various legislative bodies and is likely to be confirmed again by the US Senate to be the Homeland Security Secretary.

Post 9/11, Mr. Chertoff played a key role limiting or eliminating civil rights and liberties protections by promoting actions such as: using "material witness" warrants to incarcerate people of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent, interviewing thousands of Middle Eastern and South Asian men who entered the U.S. lawfully before and after the 9/11 attacks, denying a defendant facing the death penalty the fundamental right to face and question his accusers, and holding suspects indefinitely without counsel as "enemy combatants." Some have described Mr. Chertoff as "the driving force behind the Justice Department's most controversial initiatives in the war on terrorism."
As far as I'm aware, the only people being held incommunicado are people at Getmo or are otherwise in US military custody. Therefore, I'm not clear who their accusers would be. They were captured on the battlefield fighting US forces. The situation seems straight forward to me.

Ultimately, terrorism is a crime...
The author is incorrect here. International terrorism is more then a crime. It is an act of war. Crimes are individual acts, and although that describes a part of the events of Sept. 11, it misses the far more important element, which is that we were attacked not just by individuals but rather by a movement, Islamic fascism. It would be just as absurd to try to round up Islamic terrorists as criminals today as it would have been to round up German fascist in the 1930s. It just won't work.