Thursday, April 26, 2007

Show Trials

Now, here's a frightening quote:

“There is no right on the part of counsel to access to detained aliens on a secure military base in a foreign country, ...”

This inelegantly phrased assertion appeared in a US Justice Department filing which proposes tight restrictions on lawyers for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, according to an article in today's NY Times.

Under the proposal, filed this month in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the government would limit lawyers to three visits with an existing client at Guantánamo; there is now no limit. It would permit only a single visit with a detainee to have him authorize a lawyer to handle his case. And it would permit a team of intelligence officers and military lawyers not involved in a detainee’s case to read mail sent to him by his lawyer.

The proposal would also reverse existing rules to permit government officials, on their own, to deny the lawyers access to secret evidence used by military panels to determine that their clients were enemy combatants.

And the reasons given in support of such shamefully draconian measures? Fasten your seatbelts:

The filing used combative language, saying lawyers had been able to “cause unrest on the base” and mentioned hunger strikes, protests and disobedience. An affidavit by a Navy lawyer at Guantánamo, Cmdr. Patrick M. McCarthy, that accompanied the filing, said lawyers had gathered information from the detainees for news organizations. Commander McCarthy also said the lawyers had provided detainees with accounts of events outside Guantánamo, like a speech at an Amnesty International conference and details of terrorist attacks. [Emphasis added]

Heaven forfend! These lawyers are trying to provide those detained for years without charge with basic legal services accorded defendants in civilized nations.

The Department of Justice is in even worse shape than I thought, which I didn't believe possible until this morning. Apparently the DOJ would prefer a simpler procedure for those "aliens" held at what one lawyer called a "legal black hole."

Try 'em and then hang 'em.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

My rule for BushCo, which I am never able to live up to, is to imagine the very, very worst they could do--and then add something worse to it.

I simply have a paucity of imaginiation for dealing with this crowd.

10:05 AM  

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