Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rue Another Day

The hideous evil of the past eight years has been epitomized by the proceedings against detainees at Gitmo, illegal proceedings which have denied the rule of law that has always made this country proud. Today it goes down in flames, as it should.

On the eve of Barack Obama's presidential inauguration, military commission proceedings lumbered forward against five men accused of organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and, separately, against a Canadian charged with killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. But with the president-elect having promised to close down the detention facility here, the military base was infused with a sense that this legal process is doomed.

Both the prosecution and defense had sought a delay, which was denied, and government officials here are expecting an order down the chain of command shortly after the inauguration telling them to halt proceedings, sources said.

Judge Stephen R. Henley, an Army colonel, intimated several times Monday that the rulings he issued or the matters under discussion in a series of pretrial motions might well be moot.

"If later sessions are scheduled," Henley said, addressing one legal matter. Later he referred to "the next session -- should it occur." He also said, "It will be scheduled -- if at all -- in the future."

"You get a sense from the judge's statements that the commissions are going to stop very soon," said Army Maj. Jon Jackson, military counsel for Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, a Saudi national accused of war crimes and murder for his alleged role in the 9/11 attacks.

We can all take pride in working to end these and other violations of our laws and our principles. That any such atrocities have occurred is shocking. We had had a better opinion even of the right wingers, that at heart they wanted the laws that protect us all from maltreatment. It turns out we are wrong, that there are members of our society who don't want justice, and who will work against it.

We have to stand very strong against the cretins like those who ran this country for eight years, and still have too much influence in elected bodies and red states.

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