In his defense of a White House flunky who is being accused by two ex-wives of abuse, Donald Trump tweets: “People’s lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”
Hmm. Frankly, I don’t think that Trump really understands what due process is.
Due process is this: when an accuser accuses someone of something, the accused has a presumption of innocence, and the accuser is required to bring forth evidence to prove the accusation. The accused has a right to refute whatever testimony and evidence has been presented, and a right to present one’s own evidence and testimony to defend one’s innocence. One may not impose punishments on one’s target of accusation until such due process has been given. This due process is so important to protect our liberty that such rules are included in U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
One example of a due process-free institution is the prison at Guantánamo that the U.S. government unconstitutionally maintains for supposedly suspected terrorists. Trump has signed an executive order to keep that illicit prison open.
Now, many people have really believed that all the detainees at Guantánamo are “terrorists,” not based on their being convicted in a legitimate trial but based on the government’s say-so. But given government bureaucrats’ record of lying and fabricating “evidence” to cover up their own incompetence or to frame innocent people, we shouldn’t believe what bureaucrats tell us when it comes to locking up people indefinitely without trials. Such bureaucrats can easily do the same thing to us as they have been doing to people from those mostly-Muslim countries.
As I wrote in this article on the illegitimacy of the U.S. government’s apprehension and detention of “suspects” at Guantánamo:
For instance, out of 779 prisoners held at the unconstitutional Guantánamo prison in Cuba since 2002, over 700 of them have been released, because they were innocent and there was no evidence against them. Only 5% were captured by U.S. troops, but 86% were turned in by Afghan villagers who were paid bounties by the CIA. According to investigative journalist Andy Worthington, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney knew that “the vast majority of Guantánamo detainees were innocent” and that senior intelligence analysts believed that such Guantánamo detainees were “mistakes” and “had no connection to terrorism whatsoever.” Some of the detainees who were released had given false confessions, which is the real purpose of bureaucrats violating the Eighth Amendment and using torture in the first place.
Further, given that Trump continually authorizes CIA drone strikes on foreign territories such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen, which mostly result in the murders of innocent civilians, and based on due process-free “kill lists,” it is obvious that Trump does not see the cognitive dissonance there in his protecting the absence of due process elsewhere.
In other areas, there is the problem with relying on technology to capture suspects, domestically. The FBI’s facial recognition technology is unreliable, in which 20% of the results may be false positives. Such events as being falsely identified by these technologies can ruin people’s lives. Even fingerprinting and DNA “evidence” are unreliable, and cause false positives.
And police “asset forfeiture” eliminates due process altogether, in which local police thugs literally steal cash from traveling motorists who are not charged with crimes or even suspected of anything. And the current Department of Justice (sic) and attorney general Jeff Sessions are big on such legalized stealing from innocents. In fact, in 2014 law enforcement agencies stole more from innocent civilians than their counterparts in the private sector (burglars, muggers, etc.). Oh wait, Trump supports these policies, too. Hmm.
“Child Protective Services” is another example, in which CPS bureaucrats may take away your child based on a single anonymous tip by a disgruntled or spiteful neighbor. No due process there. And there are the Duke Lacrosse false-accusation rape case and similar cases.
Who knows what Donald Trump’s views on those kinds of cases are. And as an apparent narcissist, he understands free speech for him but not for others, and private property rights for him but not for others as well.
So Trump seems to understand the point of view of divorced men being accused by ex-wives, and perhaps the idea of due process when it comes to his own being falsely accused of “Russian collusions.” But, given his record and statements, Trump clearly has no real understanding of due process, to all our detriment.
Scott Lazarowitz is a libertarian writer and commentator. Please visit his blog.
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