Ashcroft “Stunned” People Think Detainees Deserve Due Process

225px-john_ashcroftJust when the nightmare of John Ashcroft has receded in many minds, he’s back to remind us how we became an international pariah for our abandonment of fundamental legal principles and why the Supreme Court and other courts have ruled repeatedly against the Bush Administration. In the video below, Ashcroft scoffs at the suggestion that detainees deserve a fair trial, revealing his evident contempt for the rule of law.

What I most love about this interview is how Ashcroft views the choice as executing them in the battlefield or letting them go. He also corrects himself in referring to the detainees as POWs but then compared them to all of the German soldiers captured in World War II.

Ashcroft’s contempt for the law is manifest throughout this dismissive interview. It is easy to see how he, John Yoo, Viet Dinh and other found a home in the Bush Administration.

For the video, click here.

44 thoughts on “Ashcroft “Stunned” People Think Detainees Deserve Due Process

  1. From the Boston Globe, Dec. 10. President-elect Barack Obama renewed his devotion to the Geneva Conventions — which critics say the Bush administration has skirted in its war on terror — in issuing a statement today to mark International Human Rights Day.

    “The United States was founded on the idea that all people are endowed with inalienable rights, and that principle has allowed us to work to perfect our union at home while standing as a beacon of hope to the world. Today, that principle is embodied in agreements Americans helped forge — the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions, and treaties against torture and genocide — and it unites us with people from every country and culture,” Obama said in the statement. .

    “When the United States stands up for human rights, by example at home and by effort abroad, we align ourselves with men and women around the world who struggle for the right to speak their minds, to choose their leaders, and to be treated with dignity and respect. We also strengthen our security and well being, because the abuse of human rights can feed many of the global dangers that we confront — from armed conflict and humanitarian crises, to corruption and the spread of ideologies that promote hatred and violence.

    “So on this Human Rights Day, let us rededicate ourselves to the advancement of human rights and freedoms for all, and pledge always to live by the ideals we promote to the world.”

  2. The man has a point, if you watch the full video. It’s a difficult thing legally and militarily to fight a non-state enemy while simultaneously maintaining a high moral standard; it often leads to a good deal of circular logic.

    On this Human Rights Day, I think we should rededicate ourselves to putting terrorism into perspective and getting back to the sources of violence that actually pose a significant threat to our allies and ourselves. Does anyone else recognize the absurdity of our destabilizing Pakistan, a NUCLEAR POWER, in the name of fighting al-Qaeda?

    Terrorists, or more broadly, individuals who perpetrate political violence without the explicit backing of a state, will never, ever represent the same kinetic power as a nation. Take the Russian-Georgian conflict of this summer. One of our close allies was invaded in almost a matter of hours because we’re too busy “fostering freedom” in Iraq and Afghanistan. Given the fact that at root these terrorist movements are nationalist in nature and not actually “out to destroy our way of life,” I for one think we can solve a whole lot of military, legal, and political problems all at the same time by refocusing our national efforts to where they’re most effective, i.e. international rather than transnational violence.

  3. Ashcroft looks just like evil, crazy Santa and he needed a good bite from kitty! There are so many holes in his “logic” it’s difficult to know where to begin. He is misrepresenting how the U.S. has historically dealt with enemies actually found on a battlefield, he “forgets” to understand that the people we threw into Gitmo were in the main not from any battlefield, but picked up by others for the $5000.00 reward, and quite importantly, he “forgot” that we do not hold prisoners in accord with the Geneva conventions.

    Every argument he makes is contrary to reality yet he sits there acting as if he’s a caring grandfather, only trying to protect this nation. His actions have resulted in greater attacks on the U.S. and vistied untold cruelty on other human beings. It was spooky to hear the clanging of silverware on plates as he waxed eloquent on the torture inflicted on others in the name of the United States. We have come a very long way to greet such cruelty with the polite clatter of spoons on a plate.

  4. So it is clear that Bush is three for three in appointing Attorney’s General who do not respect the rule of American law, the Constitution, the Geneva Convention or internaional law. All they have each accomplished in their time in Justice was to approve Bush/Cheney’s illegal policies and act as a firewall between the WH and the Hill’s oversight attempts. Now Alen Specter is blathering about holding up confirmation of Obama’s pick for AG over approving a Clinton immunity deal. If the new Administration were to actually and justifiably look into the myriad crimes of the Bush Administration I can allmost hear Specter screaming “witch hunt” allready. The Republican Party from going after Clinton rabidly for his indiscretion, ignoring and often abetting Bush/Cheney’s crimes and obstructing legislation and oversight shows a “party first” mentality that has not served this Nation well to say the least. Aren’t their RICO laws to protect us from such organized illegal power grabs? I mean this goes back to Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and others from the Nixon Watergate era along with PNAC and their concerted efforts to force their agenda on America through broken laws, strong arm tactics, propaganda in the media, war profiteering and the shift of wealth from the middle class to the upper crust. Am I becoming one of those conspiracy nuts or does the history of evidence and the money trail all point to a concerted effort to grab power and wealth at the expense of and using the excuse of national security?

  5. This would be a great thing! This story found at Alternet:

    “The U.S. Supreme Court this week takes up a case examining whether cabinet-level officials in the Bush White House can be held legally accountable for the administration’s controversial tactics in the war on terror.

    At issue is an attempt to force former Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI director Robert Mueller to stand trial with federal agents, prison guards, and their supervisors. They are all named in a lawsuit filed by a Pakistani man who was held as a terror suspect for five months in solitary confinement in a U.S. prison although there was no evidence connecting him to terrorism.

    The case is set for oral argument on Wednesday.

    Javaid Iqbal was among hundreds of Middle Eastern and South Asian Muslims who were swept up in a massive government dragnet in the New York City area in the weeks and months after the Sept. 11 attacks. Most of the men were arrested on valid immigration-related charges. But instead of being housed in an immigration detention center to await deportation, some of the men — including Mr. Iqbal — were taken to a maximum security section of a federal prison in Brooklyn.

    Iqbal’s lawsuit alleges that he was subjected to “brutal mistreatment and discrimination” by federal officials who arbitrarily classified him as a Sept. 11 suspect “of high interest” to the FBI solely because he was a Muslim from Pakistan.

    Many of Iqbal’s claims are consistent with the findings of an April 2003 report by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General. The report criticized officials for establishing a system that punished detainees and treated them as guilty until proven innocent. The report said many Muslim men were held under harsh conditions on baseless leads that the FBI took months to investigate and disprove.

    The suit alleges systematic mistreatment, including being held 23 hours a day in a solitary confinement cell with the windows painted over and the lights always on. Iqbal was given minimal bedding. The air conditioning was run in the winter, the heat turned on in the summer. He was subjected to daily strip and body-cavity searches. The guards once forced him to submit to three consecutive body-cavity searches in a row while still in the same room. When he protested a fourth search, he was punched and kicked by the guards, the suit alleges. By the time he was released, he’d lost 40 pounds.

    Lawyers for Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Mueller are challenging their inclusion in the lawsuit, saying they had no personal involvement in the alleged mistreatment and no knowledge of Iqbal.

    Iqbal’s lawyers say that Ashcroft was a “principal architect” of the harsh detention policy and that Mueller was instrumental in adopting and carrying out the policy.

    “The policy of holding post-September 11th detainees in highly restrictive conditions of confinement until they were ‘cleared’ by the FBI was approved by defendants Ashcroft and Mueller,” Iqbal’s lawsuit says.

    Ashcroft and others “knew of, condoned, and willfully and maliciously agreed to subject [Iqbal and others] to these conditions of confinement as a matter of policy, solely on account of their religion, race, and/or national origin and for no legitimate penological interest,” the suit says.

    A federal judge refused to throw out the suit against Ashcroft and Mueller. On appeal, a panel of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York also refused to remove them from the case.

    “It is plausible to believe that senior officials of the Department of Justice would be aware of policies concerning the detention of those arrested by federal officers in the New York City area in the aftermath of 9/11 and would know about, condone, or otherwise have personal involvement in the implementation of those policies,” the appeals court panel said.”

  6. I always remember Ashcroft lost an election to a dead man. And Bush appointed him. Says a lot about them both.

  7. New York Times:

    “In Banking, Emanuel Made Money and Connections

    Published: December 3, 2008

    “……..Mr. Emanuel, who was chosen last month to become President-elect Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff, went on to make more than $18 million in just two-and-a-half years, turning many of his contacts in his substantial political Rolodex into paying clients and directing his negotiating prowess and trademark intensity to mergers and acquisitions. He also benefited from the opportune sale of Wasserstein Perella to a German bank, helping him to an unusually large payout.

    The period before he was elected to a House seat from Illinois is a little-known episode of Mr. Emanuel’s biography. Former colleagues said the insight it afforded him on the financial services sector is invaluable especially now. But Mr. Emanuel built up strong ties with an industry now at the heart of the economic crisis, one that will be girding for a pitched lobbying battle next year as the incoming Democratic administration considers a potentially sweeping regulatory overhaul………”

    “…..After Mr. Emanuel left banking to run for Congress, members of the securities and investment industry became his biggest backers, donating more than $1.5 million to his campaigns dating back to 2002, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

    Mr. Emanuel also leaned heavily upon the industry………”

    These are the Chicago politicians that will bring……”change.”

  8. I guess we couldn’t have a thread without at least one troll spew!
    Jill, Patriot,et al, Ashcroft is the epitome of the hypocrisy of the Bush regime. On one hand he is a very religious Christian and on the other hand he has no problem with torture and indefinite incarceration of detainees. Only in the Bush world can a religous man believe that it is ok to jail people without due process.

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