Monday, September 26, 2005

The Roundup Roundup 

As you undoubtedly know, Cindy Sheehan was finally arrested earlier today for camping outside the President's house (no, no: his other house). Today's news is not, however, all bad; our revered colleague the Heretik has a typically excellent item on the St. Patrick's Four, who were found not guilty of "conspiracy to impede an officer of the United States," the most serious charge they faced after spilling their own blood at a recruiting center in March of 2003. The four war protesters were brought up on federal charges after a hung jury in state court voted nine to three for acquittal:
The four were convicted on lesser charges, damage to property and trespassing, both misdemeanors which carry possible sentences of one year and six months respectively.

"Regardless of the penalties, we will continue to call for justice for the Iraqi people and our troops," stated Daniel Burns, one of the four defendants. "We know our principled dissent now represents the majority of the public, and we're inspired by the jury's decision to refuse the government's attempt at intimidation."

The decision did not surprise the defendants, given Senior U.S. District Judge Hon. Thomas J. McAvoy forbade them to present to the jury the legal context, particularly international treaties and the US Constitution, which would have made possible and reasonable an acquittal on all charges.

"Our actions were lawful, however, we were repeatedly denied the chance to explain why," stated Teresa Grady, one of the defendants. "We were not allowed to mention Article VI, paragraph four of the Constitution, which says that the treaties of the United States are the supreme law of the land. We were not allowed to explain our actions in the context of the Nuremberg Principles, which declare that citizens can be held responsible for crimes of their government. Nor could we explain how this war was a violation of the UN Charter. The jury made a wise choice with what they had. It's unfortunate, however, that they were denied the full truth."
RELATED SIDEBAR: In the Heretik's comments section, our esteemed colleague Cernig of Newshog reminds us that there is yet another vocal critic of Bush administration policy who has spilled quite a little blood (not, alas, his own) on U.S. government property, but who, unlike the troublemakers above, has thus far managed to elude arrest. From CBS:
We asked President Musharaff who he thinks is more popular in Pakistan — the United States or Osama bin Laden?

“That's a very difficult question,” Mr. Musharaff replied. “Maybe Osama bin Laden. In the man in the street, it may be Osama bin Laden.”

That is Musharraf’s dilemma in the war on terror. To satisfy his American allies, he risks his own survival by taking on bin Laden and al Qaeda. Musharraf concedes that bin Laden may be holed up somewhere in the tribal territories of Pakistan near the Afghan border. But finding him there, he told us, is not so easy . . . .

We told the president that people in the United States are starting to question his commitment to finding bin Laden or cracking down on extremism. In fact, CIA Chief Porter Goss as much as said that he believed that Osama bin Laden was hiding in the tribal territories in Pakistan, and was being protected by the Pakistani government.

“I absolutely don't agree with that statement,” Musharraf says . . . .

There are still many who believe that it is not to Musharraf’s advantage to capture bin Laden, that with his capture Pakistan would lose its leverage with the United States and jeopardize billions of dollars in military and economic aid, including a vital shipment of F-16s to upgrade its Air Force.

President Musharraf acknowledges that he would much prefer that the United States capture bin Laden in Afghanistan than have Pakistani troops capture him here: "He's almost become a cult, I think," he says. "And it's a very sensitive issue in the religious extremists. We don't want to get involved in interrogations or investigations and trials here with these people."

If he captured bin Laden in Pakistan, would he go so far as to secretly move him across the border and turn him over to the Americans? The president does not answer the question directly. "One thing is very sure, let me assure you, that we are not going to hide him for a rainy day and then release him to take advantage."
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