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Terror fight dents law, experts say: fascism becomes Inquisition

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  • Teresa Binstock
    [When civil, church, and Empire s highest administrators wanted to purge midwifes, herbalists, and other old-ways folks, an Inquisition was formed. The
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2002
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      [When civil, church, and Empire's highest administrators wanted to purge
      midwifes, herbalists, and other old-ways folks, an Inquisition was formed. The
      coup-led government of Bush & Cheney (and whichever primary investors they
      serve) is well on its way to a modern inquisition.]


      Terror fight dents law, experts say
      By Mike Soraghan
      Denver Post Washington Bureau

      Sunday, September 01, 2002 - WASHINGTON - Legal experts say the Bush
      administration's handling of the case against Denver-born activist James Ujaama
      is a classic example of how the government is stretching the law as it grapples
      with terrorism. After arresting Ujaama, 36, on a material-witness warrant at a
      relative's house in Denver on July 22, the Justice Department never acknowledged
      his arrest and detention. He was held under a name his family says it had never
      heard of to testify before a federal grand jury in Virginia that he never saw.
      And he likely never will see it.
      A federal magistrate cleared the way Friday for Ujaama's return to
      Seattle to face charges of setting up a terrorist camp in Oregon. A grand jury
      in Seattle indicted him Wednesday for conspiracy to provide material support
      and resources to terrorists, and on a separate firearms count. "People who've
      been indicted generally don't talk to grand juries," said his Virginia lawyer,
      Gregory Stambaugh.
      The material-witness law allows prosecutors to arrest someone
      without charges or evidence if he or she has information relevant to an
      investigation and
      might flee. But the law does not allow U.S. citizens to be imprisoned
      indefinitely without some proof of a crime. At Friday's hearing in Virginia,
      Ujaama himself angrily accused the government of lying to him about being only a
      material witness. His courtroom outburst came after a prosecutor accused him of
      fabricating a complaint that someone in the federal courthouse had derided him
      as "bin Laden's boy" before the hearing.
      Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra calls the use of the
      material witness law "a legally available tool" to prosecutors.
      "Material-witness warrants are signed and approved by judges," he said. "It's
      not something the department does in a vacuum." But it is something the
      department does in secret. Sierra said the department is banned from explaining
      its use of material-witness warrants by a secret judicial order. He wouldn't say
      what judge issued the Ujaama warrant or if the Justice Department sought it. But
      he did note that administration critics "are not privy to all of the information
      involved" in the cases.
      Those critics, though, insist the material-witness law was not
      intended to hold someone while police and prosecutors look for evidence to
      charge him or
      her with a crime. They say it is intended to assure a person's testimony will
      be available for legal proceedings. George Washington University law professor
      Jonathan Turley said the Seattle indictment shows the government didn't deem
      Ujaama a witness, but was abusing the material-witness law to hold Ujaama
      without having to charge him. "The use of the material-witness statute is so
      inaccurate as to actually be laughable," said Turley, who has handled national
      security cases in the District of Columbia.
      The Ujaama case is consistent with a department that believes it
      isn't subject to judicial review, said Ira Robbins of American University's law
      school. "Maybe there are some aspects of a sham going here - when they have to
      be held accountable, they move him," Robbins said. Georgetown law professor
      David Cole suggested the Justice Department could have taken Ujaama to Virginia
      because it is in the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, well-known as the most
      conservative in the nation, while Seattle is in the 9th Circuit, considered the
      most liberal, and might be less sympathetic to prosecutors.
      Yet the experts note a shift. A D.C. district court has ordered the
      Justice Department to release the names of its detainees. And the U.S. 6th
      Circuit Court of Appeals last week ordered deportation hearings opened, saying
      "democracies die behind closed doors." --eof
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