Monday Highlights

Good morning. Well, back in Texas for the second half of the install, i.e., the physical/electrical is done and the software nominally works. Now to “go-live” and shake out the bugs and to get the users the interface the need to run the system.

  1. An old heresy.
  2. An icon made of … wooden eggs.
  3. Boundaries and life … and a wedding.
  4. Violating the principle of separation of state and church, err, sport.
  5. Regarding that show trial and Mr Holder’s due diligence.
  6. Of Obama and message (a problem in the same).
  7. Fox News derangement syndrome.
  8. I have to say I found an underlying assumption here repugnant, i.e., that every human activity should and can be taxed.
  9. Two pictures.
  10. Violence by Islamic adherents in Germany against … Polish blondes.
  11. Obama on nuclear power … words don’t match deeds. The times notes “has more support among Republicans than Democrats.” Ya think?
  12. Pro-life and pro-choice in San Francisco … as reported by a pro-choice left-leaning photo-journalist.
  13. Two questions.
  14. Polikinghorne on theodicy.
  15. Opposition to Obama … now unpatriotic.
  16. It’s cold in China.

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  1. Boonton says:

    Regarding that show trial and Mr Holder’s due diligence

    I forgot again, why is this a ‘show trial’? Do you believe an innocent man is being put on trial unfairly? That’s the common image that comes to mind when one speaks of ‘show trials’.

  2. Mark says:

    Have you read Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem? I consider a show trial one which is both one where the verdict is politically predetermined and the proceedings are done in public with great fanfare for political ends.

    That is to say, I think Eichmann’s trial also was a show trial.

  3. Boonton says:

    So a guilty verdict is predetermined in this case not because he is guilty but because it is ‘political’ for him to be guilty? As for the proceedings done in public, all criminal trials are public. For great fanfare, this is probably the first time a debate about trial security, venue and jurisdiction has been called ‘fanfare’.

  4. Boonton says:

    Also what is your point with the ‘show trial’ disparagement? Should Eichman have been set free? Are you saying trials that attract a lot of public attention should be done in secret? Do you have a substantive charge against the trial or is it just a ‘show trial’ because its happening under Obama’s watch?

  5. Mark says:

    Via the NY Post:

    The trial of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed won’t be held in lower Manhattan and could take place in a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, sources said last night. Administration officials said that no final decision had been made but that officials of the Department of Justice and the White House were working feverishly to find a venue that would be less expensive and less of a security risk than New York City. The back-to-the-future Gitmo option was reported yesterday by Fox News and was not disputed by White House officials.

    Via Mr Gibbs (Mr Obama’s press secretary):

    “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is going to meet justice and he’s going to meet his maker,” said President Barack Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs. “He will be brought to justice and he’s likely to be executed for the heinous crimes that he committed in killing and masterminding the killing of 3,000 Americans. That you can be sure of.”

    If his verdict is known in advance … what can you call that but a show trial?

    And no, I don’t think Eichmann should have been set free, but I his was a prime example of a show trial. There may be good reasons to have a show trial … and the automatic reflex that is a term of disparagement may be unwarranted, but that begs the question. Does Mr Mohammed warrant a show trial. Is in our best strategic/national interest. If so, why?

  6. Boonton says:

    Well I pretty much knew Tim McVeigh’s verdict in advance but I wouldn’t call that a show trial, would you? A trial is about determining the truth, it’s not some type of lottery. If the evidence points clearly to guilt the verdict should not be ‘in doubt’. That doesn’t mean the trial is unfair or a show trial.

    As for Eichmann…well I’m not really sure where you’re going. It’s not so much about national interest but about justice. Eichmann was put on trial and punished because it was in the interest of justice. Maybe Mr. Mohammed is not as bad as Eichmann but I find it hard to believe he merits no punishment, no trial. Do you believe its in the national interest to set one of 9/11’s planners free!

  7. Mark says:

    The Israelis kidnapped Eichmann from his home in South America and smuggled him incognito to Jerusalem where they tried him in a internationally publicized trial. There are some similarities to the case of Mr Mohammed, but very few to Mr McVeigh. Mr McVeigh was not a foreign national captured on foreign soil for starters.

    Justice? In what context? Under what jurisdiction?

    Do you believe its in the national interest to set one of 9/11’s planners free!

    It’s unclear to me that a highly publicized public trial and “setting him free” are the only two alternatives. I guess that’s ’cause I’m not a “really smart Democrat” like yourself.

  8. Boonton says:

    Your definition of ‘show trial’ had nothing to do with the circumstances that put the suspect in custody. Nor did your definition have anything to do with citizenship. ‘Foreign nationals’ are tried all the time for crimes.

  9. Mark says:

    Yes, that’s true. The point I was making there was regarding the national/strategic interest in publicizing the trial.

    ‘Foreign nationals’ are tried all the time for crimes.

    Example? Such was when and for what?

  10. Boonton says:

    Any illegal immigrant who commits a crime is tried and punished in the US.

    The name eludes me but I recall reading about a man from Hondorus I believe. He has a fishing business and one of his boats was caught off US shores with lobsters that were underweight. Actually they weren’t underweight under US law but Hondorian and believe it or not there’s a US law that says its a crime to ship underweight lobsters around in order to dodge another country’s laws. He was indicted and, because he wanted a good name, actually opted to come to the US to fight the charge. He was convicted and got something like 3-5 years even though the ‘crime’ under Hondorian law is something like a $200 fine. There’s now a movement afoot to get him pardoned.

    Where did you ever get the idea that just because you’re not a US citizen you can’t be subjected to US law if you plan and direct crimes against the US from foreign soil?

  11. Mark says:

    Did the Israeli secret service do the right thing w.r.t. Mr Eichmann?

    Do you imagine that we are or should be planning to capture and try in NYC publicly the Somali pirates?

  12. Boonton says:

    Actually the Somali pirate that was captured is going on trial. I’m not sure if its in NYC but he will either go on trial or he will accept a deal to plead guilty.

    Did the Israeli secret service do the right thing? IMO yes.

  13. Mark says:


    Actually the Somali pirate

    Not my question, I had asked about the community of pirates working now out of Somalia and the region.

    Does this work for other Nations? Can one expect other Nations to righteously extradite and extract illegally American’s working against their country or demonstratively breaking their laws? How far does that go? Is it a purely might makes right kind of thing?

  14. Boonton says:

    1. Mohammed is not accused of being some vague ‘supporter of terrorism’ but of planning a specific attack against the US, namely 9/11. I have qualms about extending US jurisdiction over the whole universe when the crime is more vague. For example, Bin Laden’s driver in Afghanistan, I believe, was acquited by a military tribunal. While I agree if I traveled to Afghanistan and volunteered to be Osama’s limo driver I could be charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization, I’m skeptical of making anyone, anywhere engaged in normal transactions into a de facto subject of US law.

    2. From what little I understand of international law, the answer to your pirate question is yes. The US can make it a crime to engage in piracy and hence charge and try any pirate captured…even if that pirate never attacked US ships or citizens or cargo. I do think there are limits to how far this can go, though. For example, I believe the age of consent in the UK is 16, in the US 18. A 21 yr old London man who sleeps with a 17 yr old in London shouldn’t, IMO, be subject to prosecution in the US.

    3. Your question is not really about ‘show trials’ but about extradition….namely does a country have a right to violate another country’s sovereignity to capture and extradite someone that country doesn’t want to give up. I’d say this is a valid question but its not relevant to the trial itself. When you are in a courts jurisdiction, ‘how’ you arrived there is not usually relevant to the charges against you.

    Long story short, Israel may or may not have been wrong to violate Argentina’s sovereignity. That’s a question or dispute between those two countries, not a defense for Eichman.

    Perhaps the last Batman movie is whats relevant here. You may recall the Chinese businessman relocated all of the mobs money. He argued that if any gotham city mobster was arrested, he couldn’t be trusted to turn on the others. But since the Chinese gov’t would never extradict him, he was beyond Gotham’s jurisdiction. The Joker pointed out that Batman has no jurisdiction….and he was right. He kidnapped the guy from China and the next day he was tied up on the steps in front of police headquarters where he was promptly arrested and his criminal case began.

    If that was real life that’s more or less how it would go down. Maybe China would object to the US gov’t and the US gov’t would shrug and say they don’t control or condone Batman’s actions. Maybe China could pressure the US to suspend the criminal case and return the businessman, maybe China could go to war. But as a matter of law the violation of China’s sovereignity is a US.v.China dispute which doesn’t impact the actual criminal case.

    Which brings up the question of why you now think this is an issue? Mohammed was not captured in any violation of national sovereignity but with the support and cooporation of the Pakistani government. Even if this was an issue, which it isn’t, he was captured and extradicted well within Pakistani law.