RANGER AGAINST WAR: The Count of Monte Cristo <

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Count of Monte Cristo

I presume the goal of this War on Terror (WOT) is to diminish further terrorist attacks, and that one way to accomplish this is via the apprehension and trial of terrorist suspects. To that end, presumably, the U.S. put a bounty of $5 million on the head of one suspected 9-11 organizer, Mustafa Setmarian.

Setmarian is also suspected of being involved in the planning of the 2004 Spain commuter train bombings, which killed 191, and is the alleged founder of Spain's al Quaida network. Obviously, both the U.S. and Spain have a legitimate claim to arrest and extradite him, which should lead to a criminal trial.

Last year Setmarian was apprehended, and is said to be in a CIA secret prison, according to Pakistani and European security agencies, as reported recently by Spain's El Pais newspaper.

The problem is, Spain's high court is unable to request his extradition as he has not been officially imprisoned. He must be arrested before he can be legally extradited. Please note that being imprisoned by the U.S. no longer means that you were arrested or extradited through international legal cooperation. According to the Reuter's report, "Spanish judges complained U.S. officials were concealing information on his whereabouts."

So, Setmarian languishes in prison somewhere, our own Count of Monte Cristo, while countries which abide by the rule of law would like to bring him to justice.

What are the U.S.'s intentions? Amercian officials must cooperate in accordance with international law, and stop making this a secret spy game. The problem is, we're not trying anyone. If we would, then Iraq and the rest of the world would see that the Gulag system is not acceptable, as should the American taxpayer.

Unfortunately, we're following Saddam's lead. Why does America accept this extralegal behavior from President Bush?

This is a sickening example of the WOT gone completely against all standards of civilized conduct. The U.S. pays $5 to capture this slimeball, and then he's not brought to justice. Surely extradition to Spain would be appropriate, as would a fair and open trial within the U.S. Federal courts. One could even envision Setmarian being bound over to New York state courts for the murders and conspiracy charges relevant to 9-11.

In addition, one must wonder why, if this prisoner is so important that he is in a secret prison, the President didn't bring him to Gitmo with the other 14 evil ones.

The actions of our leaders do not reflect the values of a democratic nation. The fact that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 has been passed into Federal legislation doesn't mean it will pass under the constitutional bar.

Trying terrorists in open Federal court would be the safest, most judicial path to follow if constitutionality is our watchword. How cathartic and refreshing it would be to exercize our judicial imperative. To put democracy into action, on display for all the world to see. To display a democracy that is not delivered with a bomb.

Arrest, extradite charge and try these alleged terrorists.

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