Free Ali Al-Timimi

August 27, 2008

Judge me, Judge me not

Filed under: Judge Me, Judge Me Not — sandboxarea @ 8:45 pm
Take a sad song and make it better

Take a sad song and make it better

It’s one of the tenets of the US style of government: an independent federal judiciary. Federal judges are to be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Congress. Checks and balances are woven into the system.

Though there are several types of judges and courts, it is important to understand the American legal process to understand how a group of men from the government gamed the legal system and committed a fraud on the courts.

Judges are appointed in different roles: a magistrate issues warrants, reviews arrests, and performs other pre-trial tasks. A district judge is a trial judge for a specific geographic location. An appellate judge is tasked to make a ruling –in conjunction with a small group of other appellate judges– on the “correctness” of a conviction or if a specific legal issue has to be addressed during a trial if– for whatever reason– the trial judge is incapable of making that decision. Sometimes the trial is delayed until resolution by the appellate court. We’ll skip talking about the FISA or Supreme Courts in this post.

In Ali’s case, a Magistrate granted an FBI’s request to search Ali’s house. Each affidavit presented to a magistrate requires that the FBI agent swears an oath that the search and seizure request is based on truthful and factually information. Unlike other systems such as those derived from the French judicial process, the magistrate is not an active participant in the investigative or intelligence gathering process. His decision is solely based on the information presented in the government’s request and the oath of the law enforcement personnel.

In Washington DC, the holiest of holies is not the Supreme Court where you are able to hear the Justices debate many of the cases (and perhaps one day see live coverage of the judicial process in action). In the nation’s capital the FISA Court rules supreme. Only this secret court– housed within the Justice Department– is empowered by Congress to bypass many of the protections conferred by the Constitution “in the name of national security”. The FISA Court is perhaps the most agreeable court to the government’s position.

Nonetheless, it was shocking to many when the Court disclosed that the FBI presented falsified affidavits to it on at least 75 instances:

So scamming your way to a warrant– or 75– ain’t that hard. So let’s now analyze the affidavit presented to the Magistrate to obtain the warrant to raid Ali’s house. We’ll use the Washington Post’s summary of the affidavit:

You have all the prerequisites to con a Magistrate and the press:

  1. Anonymous tips… check
  2. Running an Islamic group… check
  3. Conducting military training… check
  4. Lives in a cul-de-sac… check
  5. WMD (weapons of mass destruction)… check

Perhaps the Washington Post’s fact checker was absent or the Feds are using time travel: let’s get this straight… the FBI agents are sitting around in “late 2002” when they get these anonymous tips about Ali. They pounce and look on the Internet and see that Ali will comment has commented about the Shuttle in a few months… in 2003… in the future.

Riiiiiight. That was the script for the movie called Minority Report where Tom Cruise was a special pre-cognition cop in Washington DC. In that movie as well as in Ali’s tragic story, someone gamed the system for their personal benefit while everyone thought that the checks and balances inherent in the system would have protected them… who would have thunk?

So if we continue to believe the fictional account sworn statements of the government, then obviously the agents should have worn Hazmat (hazardous material) protective clothing and used SWAT. Errr, ahh… oops someone forgot to tell the rank and file before the raid… just jeans and tee-shirts and no guns drawn.

In other posts we’ll analyze the other points in the affidavit.

We’ll look at the importance of describing Ali as living in a “cul-de-sac” and some other gibberish statements in the post “Labels and Libel


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