Trump Trounces 6th Amendment, Says Americans Should be Hauled Before Military Tribunals at Guantánamo
During an interview Thursday with The Miami Herald, Donald Trump advocated prosecuting American citizens with military tribunals at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, rather than in civilian courts.
“Would you try to get the military commissions, the trial court there, to try U.S. citizens?” the reporter asked.
“Well, I know that they want to try them in our regular court systems, and I don’t like that at all. I don’t like that at all. I would say they could be tried there, that would be fine,” Trump responded.
Either Trump is unaware of the Sixth Amendment, or he believes it is irrelevant and a hindrance.
The Amendment states:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation, believes the CIA and the Pentagon established a communist style gulag at Guantánamo Bay.
“When the Pentagon and the CIA were free to establish their model system in Cuba, they adopted a system that was totally contrary to the principles found in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments. In fact, the irony is that the system that the Pentagon and the CIA established in Cuba mirrors the system set up by Castro and the communists on the rest of the island,” he writes.
Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to former secretary of state Colin Powell, notes many of the detainees held at Guantánamo were innocent.
“It did not matter if a detainee were innocent. Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance,” Wilkerson wrote in 2009.
He told the Associated Press many detainees “clearly had no connection to al-Qaeda and the Taliban and were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Pakistanis turned many over for $5,000 a head.”
A large number of the detainees were held for years without trial or charges. For instance, Shaker Aamer, who was captured in Afghanistan in 2001. He spent 13 years at Guantánamo. Aamer was cleared of all charges in 2007 but not released until 2015.
It can be argued foreign detainees do not have rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth amendments. Trump, however, was talking about American citizens accused by the government of terrorism. The FBI routinely entraps witless patsies with undercover operatives posing as Islamic State recruiters and prosecutes them as terrorists. Does Trump think these people should be shipped to Guantánamo?
Many Americans believe Donald Trump is the liberty candidate. His remarks on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, however, demonstrate something else.
Trump has made other comments at odds with the Constitution.
He advocates stripping so-called anchor babies of their citizenship and sending them back to Mexico. The Fourteenth Amendment extends citizenship rights to everyone born on American soil except for children of foreign diplomats and American Indians, who belong to sovereign tribes.
His Muslim database would violate the First and Fifth amendments. Trump wants to target individuals based on religion, which is prohibited by the First. He would also violate the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal treatment under the law.
It should be noted Donald Trump does not have a lot of respect for the First Amendment. He attempted to silence the media by suing an author for $5 billion after he suggested Trump was not a billionaire.
“Most troubling, however, is what he has threatened to do should he become president,” writes Shikha Dalmia. “He says he’d not only loosen libel laws to allow public officials to sue the press more easily, but also look for other ways to discipline critics. For example, he has threatened to go after Washington Post publisher Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon, on anti-trust grounds for publishing “wrong” stories about him. But anti-trust laws were meant to thwart monopolies. If he can use this law to silence critics, it is beyond horrifying to imagine what havoc he’ll wreak when he has the entire federal apparatus—the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, the FCC—at his disposal.”
Trump has also attacked the judiciary. He said if elected he would go after Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Trump’s animosity is personal: Curiel had refused to throw out a class action lawsuit alleging fraud by Trump University.
Donald Trump openly displays “contempt for federalism, separation of powers, checks and balances, and basic American political norms,” concludes Kalmia.
The only positive thing that can be said about Donald Trump is he has shaken up the Republican party. He is not a liberty candidate, however. Trump consistently advocates authoritarianism.
Finally, Trump displays ignorance of politics and history. “Maybe in our deal with Cuba, we get them to take [Guantánamo Bay] over and reimburse us, because we’re probably paying rent. We’re going to keep it open, but we’re going to get the cost down, because that’s ridiculous,” he said recently.
In fact, the location was leased to the United States in 1903 after it invaded the country. After Fidel Castro came to power, Cuba accepted only one payment of $4,085. Since that time, the US has occupied Guantánamo Bay free of charge and Cuba has protested the occupation.
During Obama’s visit to Havana in March, Cuban President Raul Castro said there are two obstacles to normalizing relations between the countries. The first is the financial, economic and commercial embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States and the second the “illegally occupied” naval base at Guantánamo Bay.