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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Making sure the terrorists don't win, Spanish style.

While Dubya's administration does its best to ensure that terrorism suspects are denied legal protections and to keep the press away from terrorism trials, the Spanish government is not only trying the accused Madrid train bombers in public, but is broadcasting that trial live on television and on the Internet.

The trial, held in a converted brick building on the grounds of a former exhibition center, is a judicial experiment that is being observed around the globe. A Web site allows viewers to witness, from anywhere in the world, how a Spanish court is dealing with a particularly brutal attack in the global jihad. By going to www.datadiar.tv, anyone can experience how the suspects are seeking to justify their actions and how their attorneys are defending them....

The image that [video technician] Roberto Gallego selects on his mixing console is first sent to TVE, the Spanish state television network, which then distributes the signal to anyone interested in a direct feed. That amounts to millions of curious onlookers throughout Spain. In addition to a few regional and private broadcasters, Datadiar, a specialized Internet portal for the legal profession, is streaming the entire terrorism trial. Internet users elsewhere, including the United States, Peru, Germany and even Pakistan, are viewing the direct transmission -- and by last week the site had already tracked 6 million page impressions.

The virtual audience is there when Rabei Osman Ahmed, nicknamed "Mohammed the Egyptian," the attackers' suspected ideologue, operates his remote control for Arab translation and insists: "I am completely innocent." They can also listen to the heart-wrenching stories of the survivors of the attack. For example, they can hear the testimony of a 21-year-old Spaniard who suffered three episodes of cerebral apoplexy and lost his hearing: "I saw people running around. It was like a dance of sleepwalkers."

I know which way of dealing with terrorism makes me feel more confident that justice is being done. Not to mention confident that the country involved isn't tossing out the rule of law in a mindless pursuit of often-imagined enemies.

Via Spiegel.

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