John Walker Lindh (remember him?), Ashcroft and original intent.

The sixth amendment to the constitution guarantees a defendant in a criminal case means to compel witnesses in his or her defense to appear. Since a main thrust of the amendment is to provide the defendant with a speedy and public trial, one assumes that the original intent was that these witnesses would appear at the trial so as to gain maximum benefit from their immediate presence and the opportunity to follow up with questions to clarify their pro-defendant testimony. This web site examines the amendment and some cases relative to it.

Now, along comes the Justice Department denying Lindh the power to compel witnesses favorable to him to appear on the grounds of, you guessed it, national security. This story in the Los Angeles Times gives some details.

How does this sound to you? It troubles me and I hope the judge is strict about making the prosecutors present an absolutely compelling argument. The “national security” business is easy to run into the ground in my opinion.

John Walker Lindh shouldn’t even be on trial in our civilian justice system. If this prisoner of war is still legally regarded as a citizen, he should at a minimum been charged with treason. The Justice Department, for reasons never made completely clear, opted instead to charge the American Taliban with:[ol][li]Conspiracy to murder Americans Providing material support to foreign terrorist organizations[/ol][/li]
Before expressing concern for Mr. Walker’s basic rights, I’d like to ask a question; Why discuss the constitutional guarantees of a non-citizen?

Under title 8, (I believe): US citizenship can be lost by voluntary act.
By: [ul][]Having advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks while training with Bin Laden and []Claiming to be an Irish citizen to both his terror comrades and military investigators and When given the choice of fighting Hindus in Kashmir or with the Taliban in Afghanistan choosing the latter[/ul]John Walker Lindh both declared war on this country and renounced his citizenship.

In America, even non-citizens are protected by the Constitution, John.

claiming to be an irish citizen is not sufficient. IIRC, one must appear before consular officials, prove yourself mentally competent and formally renounce US Citzenship. This does not make it so, especially if the IRS believes the renounciation is for the purpose of evading taxes.

This is strange.

The argument used by Government lawyers is that of national security. However, the odds are that 95% of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay will have little or no knowledge of al qaeda plans (past or present) since they were merely foot soldiers.

And Ashcroft himself has said that ultimately most of these prisoners will be released to other jurisdictions since he has no wish to prosecute them all in US courts.

Given the above, what kind of threat are they likely to pose to national security merely by speaking up for their comrade, Walker? All they will say is stuff like:

“Honest, he was with us at the time, so he couldn’t have shot the CIA agent”

In any case, their evidence can be prevented from being reported in the media - it can be only presented to the court.

If the views of JohnBckWLD above are at all representative of the US public then it strikes me that Walker is gonna need all the friends he can get.

John, you need to get wise as to the nature of these extremist Islamic organisations. Their first loyalty is to God (Allah), their second loyalty is to each other. Only after that does loyalty to a country come into play.

It’s hard for you to understand this because you come from the US where loyalty to the country is placed above everything else.

Walker was young, impressionable and surrounded by fanatics. I’m not saying this excuses him, just that you need to show some appreciation of the unique nature of this case.

I’m no legal scholar (nor do I play one on television), but that’s impossible. Literal interpretation of your quote would mean every human being on the entire planet had the same rights as American citizens. Can a Tibetan national file suit in Bejing on 4th amendment grounds, a Lebanese Jew file suit in Beruit on 1st amendment grounds or an Iranian file suit in Tehran on 6th amendment grounds? Doesn’t the preamble of the Constitution open with, "We the People of the United States"

The only unique nature of this case is this is the first time in the history of the republic a (former IMHO) citizen of the US joined a foreign army & took up arms against his homeland. I’ll give sympathy only where sympathy is due. Poor little Johnny Walker and his defense team are making a mockery of our judicial system. I can’t understand why anyone would want to be an apologist for this American Taliban. I’ve heard too many excuses, (the lamest being he converted to fundementalist islam because his father is a closeted homosexual) and I really don’t think he needs any more friends. Not only in his eyes are him and Allah good buddies but he’s got plenty in Guantanamo & and millions in the middle east. I guess I’m supposed to feel bad for him because of the choices he voluntarily made. If that’s the case, I guess I’ll have to write Zacarias Moussaoui a thank you note for vaguely tipping off investigators prior to the 9/11 attacks.

But he is on trial there. So, I guess we can mark you down as one who thinks the usual rules should thrown away in the interest of “national security.”

Not only is it possible; it’s the way it is. You will notice upon re-reading what I wrote that I specifically said “In America.”

So long as every one of those human beings is located in America, then yes they’re protected by the Constitution. It’s quite a nifty document. As opposed to doing government by whim, here in the States, we kind of like to do it by Rule of Law.

Irrelevant. Not one of those individuals is located in America. Again, read what’s written.

[qute]Doesn’t the preamble of the Constitution open with, "We the People of the United States"

Sure does. That would be the very reason I wrote “In America” in that thar posting above.

Your opinion is uninformed and/or ill-informed and thus is an opinion not rooted in fact.

You might want to double-check your facts on that one. There was a kind of well-known war America entered back in the 1940s. Couple of folks cruised on over to Europe and some folks cruised over to Japan (some of those were “repatriated” from the camps).

And I’ll consider an opinion valid when it’s not based on whim.

What the heck?

You miss the point, instead of lamenting the trampling of Salayman’s constitutional rights, perhaps Americans should be asking why he was returned to this country in the first place.
Fact: JWL was captured on FOREIGN SOIL, fighting against American Troops after renouncing his citzenship and becoming a member of an ENEMY ARMY.
All your In America quotes are moot, the crimes and capture took place on Afghan soil.

I’ll consider an opinion valid when someone explains to me why he wasn’t brought to Guantanamo with the rest of his adopted compatriots and was treated like a citizen in the first place. The truth is he’s a foreign, non-citizen, POW who has confessed to his crimes. He’s not worth the salt in anyone’s tears nor is he entitled to more rights than American Military personnel are afforded.

JohnBckWLD: IMO, Walker was not prosecuted because Bush, Ashcroft (this bum is one of the worst cabinet officials I have seen. Christ, I thought Meese and Reno were piss-poor public servants, but they were a 1000 percent better than the guy who couldn’t defeat a corpse) and their fellow whores don’t want to risk losing votes in California.
They know good & well that all the lefties in California would scream bloody murder if they would go after the death penalty for Walker. And judging from the continuing revelations about Enron and the California energy crisis, Bush and Co. need every vote they can get in that state.
I suspect that had Walker grown up in another state or been a poor man, they would be calling for his execution. IMO, he should be hung from an apple tree.

Got any proof Lindh renounced his citizenship? Got any proof he was a member of an army and not of a terrorist group?

John, Peyote and others: Walker was in an foreign army that also served the CIA and other USA agencies until October. Then the tides have understandably changed. A good defense could be that if he did try to get away from the Taliban or al-Qaeda, he would be treated like an American at war with them; that is get shot and killed on the spot. A more perfect defense (although most likely will not be used) is that he was working deep cover on his own in an attempt to undermine al-Qaeda, a group that blasphemes his religion, since any US government official working undercover would be sniffed out. What if it turns out he was the source for some of the warnings that (should have) alerted the CIA and the other agencies? You can’t then accuse him of treason because he didn’t try harder.

As it is now, he is giving the agencies questioning him more intelligence about the Taliban and al-Qaeda than any spy, any satellite camera ever can. All this without bargaining for his life. Kind of cruel to kill him when it is acknowledged that he may not have killed anyone in his service to the Taliban, while others who may have killed walk away.

“John, Peyote and others: Walker was in an foreign army that also served the CIA and other USA agencies until October.”

Also, if Walker was funnelling information to the CIA, then, of course, he shouldn’t be punished. However, I imagine he would not be facing charges if this were true.

“John, Peyote and others: Walker was in an foreign army that also served the CIA and other USA agencies until October.” cite please?

Also, if Walker was funnelling information to the CIA, then, of course, he shouldn’t be punished. However, I imagine he would not be facing charges if this were true.

Thought not. Y’all’re really grasping at straws now.

Monty: I do not believe Lindh can be considered to have legally renounced his citizenship since I understand this is an involved process which requires confirmation from an American official. As to his involvement in a terrorist organization, I believe both Newsweek and interviewed him a short time after his capture, and his remarks left little doubt in my mind.

If the US proves that, won’t they be shooting themselves in the foot with respect to the Geneva conventions and the detainees/POW’s down in Cuba ? It might be less trouble if Ashcroft let the citizenship matter slide.

The US was working with the Taliban to curb the opium trade. In fact, there is an libelous e-mail about Bush giving aid to the Taliban for that reason.

General Manuel Noriega was a contact with the CIA. It did little to help him when he made a wrong move.

A little off target, but as to the treason charge: it’s really, really hard to make treason stick for historical reasons. Part of the reason it’s the only crime explicitly created and defined by the Constitution is because of its flagrant historical abuse by monarchs on thier political enemies or people they wanted to make an example of…

…although I’ll bet that’s been beaten to death in an earlier thread.

Fact is, the US hasn’t charged Lindh with any of the things you list in the first paragraph. The charges are (as listed in the LA Times article linked in my first post): “charged with conspiring to murder U.S. nationals; providing support and services to foreign terrorist organizations, including the Al Qaeda terrorist network; and using firearms and destructive devices during crimes of violence…”

Fact as to paragraph 2 above: At the time Lindh joined the Taliban, that group was the recognized government of Afghanistan and wasn’t fighting the US. Has it been shown that lowly buck-ass privates in their army even knew that the US was in the war?

And as to paragraph 3 above, who cares what you have heard? The original question was: Is it legitimate (i.e. constitutional) to prevent a defendant from conducting his defense the way he and his counsel think proper? The specific point concerned the power to compel witnesses in your defense to appear in court and testify.

All we have from you are rants which indicates that you have already convicted him and “Defense witnesses? We don’t need no steenking defense witnesses.”