Terror rights and wrongs, but is it the right terrorist?

There’s much debate over whether that yahoo who tried to blow up a car in NYC a bit ago should have been read his Miranda rights before he was arrested, lest he clam up.

The question is moot — he’s singing like a bird — in this case the issue has brought up, yet again, the debate over whether terror suspects should be accorded the rights of others of us.

The letters to the NYTimes go over some of the salient problems (click) but there is one arguement, and it is the best, for why any and all terror suspects should be given their full rights, including attorneys, silence, jury trials, the whole ball of wax.

How do we know that really is a terrorist?

OK, one of the letters in this list hints at this. The idea that the government can deny someone rights others have by accusing that person of being a terrorist is a loophole a weasely attorney could drive a cement truck through. But it’s more than a loophole. It is a presumption that the government will not lie to us about who it has arrested.

Anyone here ok with assuming the government, and its agents, will never lie to us? Let’s see a show of hands.  

Yeah, thought so.

I don’t care who they are, I want the government to prove to me that they have the right guy. I don’t want that guy tortured into an admission, I don’t want him tricked into saying something, I want it proved.

Yeah yeah, I know, what if he knows a bomb is going to go off and we could torture it out of him?

Quit watching so much TV. If he knows there’s a bomb, he knows how long he has to stay quiet, he will, end of story. And even if it would work, are you sure you want to give the government that kind of power?

I’m not. I get called a liberal by Tea Party types all the time. You know, those guys who think government is too big, to powerful, to mean and nasty and not to be trusted.

Do I hear them calling for Miranda rights? Nope. They seem fine with giving the goverment they dispise the power of life and death just by saying someone, anyone they choose, is a terrorist.

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6 Responses to Terror rights and wrongs, but is it the right terrorist?

  1. Bob Becker says:

    First, in re: the accused arrested for the attempted car bombing in NYC: he was not read his Miranda rights immediately. The courts permit questioning without Mirandizing in circumstances where there might be an immediate threat of additional violence. So the claim that he was immediately read his rights upon arrest, and that anyone so arrested on suspicion of terrorism must always immediately be Mirandized, is false. But the exception is for a limited time only: it is not open-ended. Within I think in this instance a couple of hours, he was Mirandized and is, since being Mirandized, still singing like a bird.

    What I find interesting regarding the Miranda matter and those accused of being terrorists is that those wanting the right eliminated for terrorist suspects, even American citizens, have not so far been able to show any instance in which Mirandizing a suspect has led to more death and destruction. Seems to me before surrendering a key right, those advocating the surrender should have to show that exercising the right has been very costly. [And no, the latest Jack Bower episode on TV or Tom Clancy novel does not count as evidence.]

    And people have been falsely suspected of terrorism in this country. Remember the poor security guy at the Atlanta Olympics who the FBI was certain for quite a while had been the bomber? If Sen Lieberman has had his way, and the rest, he’d have been immediately clapped into a military prison and denied counsel or any contact with his family. He still might be there and the real bomber still uncaught. And there was the LSU bio-researcher who was thought to be the anthrax terrorist for quite a while. Identified by the authorities as their main suspect, fired from his job, etc. He was innocent. He too if the “no rights of terrorist suspects, even American citizens” had had their way, might have disappeared into military custody, perhaps never to be heard from again. Used to be, Americans took pride that that sort of disappearance happened in other places, but not here. Used to be.

    Charlie’s absolutely right, particularly with respect to American citizens: the accused are the accused. They’re not necessarily the guilty. I find it scary how quickly Americans and their so called leaders [both parties] were willing, quaking timidly, to start surrendering American freedoms following 911 via the so-called Patriot Act and a variety of other Bush administration policies [many shamefully continued by the Obama administration, I am sorry to say]. It’s scary to see the government still doing it now. Former Sen. Clinton, now Secretary of State, recently spoke in support of the idea that American citizens suspected of terrorism should have their rights as citizens [Miranda, habeus corpus, etc] suspended merely on suspicion. At the rate we are going, the terrorists aren’t going to have to topple American freedom. We’re doing the job for them. They say “boo!”: and we take another chunk out of every citizen’s Constitutionally protected liberties.

  2. Darth Maul says:

    Do I have it right? Trentelman wonders if the government can protect the rights of scumbags in this blog but in his column dated 5/18 he makes it clear that the government is the only way to provide health care. What hypocrisy, what else can you expect from a liberal but talking out of both sides of their mouths.

  3. Michael Trujillo says:

    Well, Darth, you died in the movie, so who cares what you think? Obi-wan would be considered a liberal, and he handed you your &$$. In fact, you were created by a noted California liberal.

    Grab another Mountain Dew, crawl back into your parents’ basement, and play another round of Call of Duty. The adults are talking here.

  4. an old, old man says:

    Darth, ol’ buddy — your reading comprehension seems to be below grade level. Maybe y’better try again . . . . .

  5. ctrentelman says:

    But, Darth, how do you know they’re scumbags? By taking the govenrment’s word for it?

    You sound like someone very sure that he will never come under a benevolent government’s eye. Let’s hope that is true.

    I’m not contradicting myself over health care, by the way — first off, the bill just pass is NOT the government running anything, it’s government telling private businesses to quit rejecting people who are already sick (among many other things).

    And, because government is involved, there will be public oversight. In England, for example, people constantly criticize the way the govenrment health care is run and the government, which is run by politicians who have to get reelected, responds.

    Here in the US, under the private enterprise system you seem to cherish, private insurance companies run by private enterprise-loving executives, tell people to go off and die on a regular basis and there’s not a thing anyone can do about it.

  6. CB says:

    Coincidence, I recently came across this article from Green Scare site. While it deals more with activists in other contexts, the importance of Miranda rights and the 5th Amendment are clearly explained.

    http://www.greenisthenewred.com/blog/why-you-should-not-talk-to-the-police/2843/

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