I promised politics with this blog, so here I go.
Over the centuries governments were always held to a just standard in the ways they dispensed justice by the people that system represented. Even serfs were only treated so badly by their lords, and the lords had responsibilities that they were held to in protecting and feeding their subjects. And too capricious dispensing of cruel punishments could result in his own people dispensing the same justice back on a lord. So in order to game the system the wise power brokers realized that they need to turn the public against who they desired to throw down before they moved against those people.
Politicians have always been good at reducing their enemies from human beings to some lesser outsiders that are not as deserving of justice as we good people are. Strangely these evil people always seemed to have possessions that the politicians and their powerful friends coveted. In ancient Greece the charge was corruption of the youth. In the middle ages it was the Inquisition. Just before and during WWII it was the final solution. In the 50's just being accused of being a communist was enough to destroy a person. And today it is terrorism. The common thread in all these atrocities is that the mere accusation of a crime is all that is required. The accusation reclassifies the accused from a human being to something lesser. Only then are their rights and possessions stripped from them.
In a just system the accused has the right to a fair trial with an impartial jury. They have the right to mount a defense and there is a presumption of innocence. Often during a trial the accused is free on bond while they organize a defense and clear up their personal affairs. Only if there is a conviction of a crime is the person stripped of their rights and only to the extent that is required for their rehabilitation back into the mainstream of society.
These military tribunals that began under Bush, and continue under Obama, are solely to be used to convict "terrorists." Who is a terrorist? Why anyone the American government accuses of being a terrorist. Certainly terrorists are all guilty of the crime of terrorism, that is just assumed, otherwise why would the government accuse them? So because they are guilty already we can hold them in inhumane conditions and treat them as less than human. We can torture them and force confessions from them. Just as witches confessed to consorting with demons during the the Inquisition. These kangaroo courts reduce the rights ahead of the crime, eliminating the presumption of innocence based on an arbitrary designation of terrorist being assigned to a human being. This reclassification from human being to something lesser precedes the automatic assumption of guilt.
Make no mistake, being a terrorist is something that any of us can be _accused_ of being at will by anyone in the government. But they would never accuse Americans of being terrorists and take their rights away without a trial, you say.
Like the right to life? http://www.cbsnews.com/news/who-were-the-4-us-citizens-killed-in-drone-strikes/
How about the right of liberty? http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/dec/15/americans-face-guantanamo-detention-obama
How about the right to travel? https://www.aclu.org/national-security/federal-court-sides-aclu-no-fly-list-lawsuit
How about the right to own things? http://www.cato.org/events/policing-profit-abuse-civil-asset-forfeiture
Surely they would only target the criminals? It amazes me how people that don't trust the government to pour piss out of a boot with the instructions on the heel will trust the government to know who a criminal is 100% of the time.
No, you cannot trust the government to do anything right. The government is as good at accusing people of crimes as they are at balancing the budget. Or in other words, horribly bad at it. That is why we have courts and juries and appeals. Because the government gets things wrong in a surprisingly high number of court cases.
We need to end the travesty of the Military Tribunals. We need to allow the human beings that are accused of terrorism the same rights that you and I expect if we were accused of a crime. Or when we are finally accused then we will find out that we have no more rights than those we allowed to be persecuted before us in our names.