Monday, February 26, 2007

In just a few minutes Fausta is going to interview Jose Guardia of Barcepundit and yours truly; we're going to do a podcast on what's going on in Spain, especially the March 11 trial, and you'll get a chance to call in! We start at 6 PM Barcelona time, which would be 5 London time and 12 noon New York time, so don't miss it. Of course, it will be archived, so you'll be able to listen to it any time you want even if you can't tune in live.

The Wall Street Journal has two must-read pieces up. One is by Bret Stephens; he explains several important differences between Anglo-American common law and Continental European civil law, focusing on the role of the investigating magistrate, a position that does not exist in the Anglo-American system. Juan del Olmo was the Spanish investigating magistrate in the March 11 bombing, and Baltasar Garzón is Spain's most famous investigating magistrate. Spanish law is almost exactly the same as French; Stephens's article focuses on a French magistrate named Jean-Louis Bruguiere.

Quote: Consider the powers granted to Mr. Bruguiere and his colleagues. Warrantless wiretaps? Not a problem under French law, as long as the Interior Ministry approves. Court-issued search warrants based on probable cause? Not needed to conduct a search. Hearsay evidence? Admissible in court. Habeas corpus? Suspects can be held and questioned by authorities for up to 96 hours without judicial supervision or the notification of third parties. Profiling? French officials commonly boast of having a "spy in every mosque." A wall of separation between intelligence and law enforcement agencies? France's domestic and foreign intelligence bureaus work hand-in-glove. Bail? Authorities can detain suspects in "investigative" detentions for up to a year. Mr. Bruguiere once held 138 suspects on terrorism-related charges. The courts eventually cleared 51 of the suspects--some of whom had spent four years in preventive detention--at their 1998 trial.

In the U.S., Mr. Bruguiere's activities would amount to one long and tangled violation of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution.

Nick Cohen, meanwhile, accuses the British left of allying with reactionary Islamism; since the enemy of the enemy is my friend, the left and the Islamists have formed a strange partnership against the Western civilization both despise so much.

Over at Front Page, Aaron Hanscom reports on the March 11 trial. Definitely check this one out.

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