Obama Considers Keeping Military Commissions: SF Gray Panther Responds

May 2, 2009

President Barack Obama

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

I find myself so outraged that your administration is even considering restoring the military tribunals at Guantanamo that I had to write.

According to today’s New York Times, administration lawyers are concerned that “judges might make it difficult to prosecute detainees who were subjected to brutal treatment or for prosecutors to use hearsay evidence gathered by intelligence agencies.”  And well they should!  Hearsay evidence and evidence obtained by torture have no place in the legal system of any country purporting to have a fair and impartial justice system.  Are we back to the days of the Salem witch trials, when finger-pointing and torture condemned so many innocent women to death?

So what if they can’t get convictions without this kind of evidence?  Since when has evidence from intelligence agencies been infallible?  (Remember that ‘Communist’ Martin Luther King?)  Since when has evidence obtained by torture been infallible? Maybe some of these guys are innocent.  And, innocent or not, is trashing legal protections against abuse, torture, and unprovable allegations really likely to advance the safety and well-being of US residents?  Or will it simply make more people in the world hate and fear us?

I am deeply disappointed that the restoration of the military tribunals is being taken seriously and urge you to put a stop to them once and for all without delay.

Sincerely,

Susan Lyon

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