Sunday, December 30, 2007

Injustice Is UnAmerican

A particularly galling crime has gone on for six years now at Guantanamo, and today a major force in seeking to end this injustice publishes his plea to end it, Thomas B. Wilner. I'm exerpting some of his op-ed here, and support him totally.

The Supreme Court heard arguments this month in cases brought by detainees held at Guantanamo Bay. Media reports noted the complicated legal issues involved, such as whether the Constitution extends beyond sovereign U.S. territory, whether foreigners are entitled to constitutional protections and whether habeas corpus would have been available in a place like Guantanamo some 250 years ago under British rule.

Those are all interesting legal questions. But what is at stake here is far less complicated and more fundamental -- the question of whether our government can throw people in prison without giving them a fair chance to defend themselves.

Throughout the civilized world, the right not to be imprisoned without a fair hearing -- one that provides notice of the charges and the opportunity to rebut them before a neutral decision maker -- is fundamental. It is the hallmark of the rule of law.

More than 300 prisoners remain at Guantanamo. Most have been there almost six years. We now know that the great majority were not captured on any battlefield. They were not even captured by U.S. forces. Rather, as the National Journal reported last year after an exhaustive study into government records, many were simply "innocent, wrongly seized noncombatants" who were "handed over by reward-seeking Pakistanis and Afghan warlords" in exchange for bounties.

All these prisoners have asked for is a fair hearing, one in which they have the chance to learn the charges against them and to rebut the accusations before a neutral decision maker. The Supreme Court ruled 3 1/2 years ago that they had that right under the statute giving any prisoner in government custody the right to a fair hearing before a federal court
What all this means is that as they approach the end of their sixth year of imprisonment, these men have been denied even one fair hearing.

If we observed this conduct by any other country, we would be appalled. We would say, rightly, that you can't jail people without giving them a chance to defend themselves. There is and can be no acceptable legal excuse or explanation for denying people a fair hearing.

The writer was head of the team that won that Supreme Court decision. He speaks with knowledge as well as with righteousness. We are all shamed by the country's record in this case, by our letting this crime be committed.

It is time to end the reign of injustice and the administration that commits these crimes.

Impeachment is called for.

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Anonymous ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

It's been too long since I left a love note for Dave Broder, so:

ifthethunderdontgetya wrote:
Nobody cares about Bloomberg or "unity08" except for discredited hacks, Mr. Broder.

The GOP has spent the last seven years proving, once again, why they can not be trusted to run the government.

We don't want GOP lite now. We want to go the other way.
12/30/2007 2:22:50 PM

12:12 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Love it, thunder. Did you leave tho'ts at the '10 most popular' piece of drivel? Amazing, the ignorance.

12:21 PM  

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