Thursday :: Feb 26, 2004

Military Lawyers Speak Out Against Bush/Ashcroft Justice

by Mary

Posted by Mary
When the Bush administration started their war on the terrorists, they decided that they needed to have a free hand in dealing with any terrorists that fell into their hands. And because they despise everything Clinton did, they decided that these terrorists were not criminals (treating them like criminals was a sign of the namby-pamby and weak way Clinton dealt with the evil ones). Furthermore, because captured terrorists were not criminals, they should not have the right to have their day in court. Therefore, Bushco built their prison on Guantanamo outside the control of the US courts (so they thought). And because the pesky international treaties like the Geneva Convention laid down how prisoners of war were to be treated, the Bush justice team decided to label their prisoners as enemy combatants. Thus, they've created their perfect justice system - one where the prisoners were trapped in a system without rules. Prisoners in Guantanamo were held without any recourse except to pray that President Bush might decide to consider their case and "give" them a hearing under the military justice system. These prisoners have no case reviews, no habeus corpus, no judges, no jury, no right to challenge your accuser, no ability to see the evidence against you, etc.

But, Bush's overreach in acting as the prosecutor, judge, jury and hangman has created some backlash. (Isn't the complaint we have with mob justice that there is no checks and balances?) Finally after a few years, the Supreme Court (perhaps being shamed into acting like an equal branch with a particular responsibility to uphold the constitution) decided to hear the case of some of the prisoners who had been held now for years despite the Bush justice department's argument and plea that they butt out.

When the Guantanamo scheme was first put forward, one of the frequent points made was that the military courts had more control over the proceedings and didn't have to honor all the rules that "shackled" the law under the civilian (presumably more liberal) justice system. But, it turns out that the military justice system (reflected by the lawyers selected to represent prisoners) still thinks that they have an obligation to at least pay attention to the constitution and are proving not to be quite so ready to be the rubberstamp of the Bush regime.

The system created by the United States for trials by military tribunal of foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay is fundamentally unfair and hopelessly antiquated, military lawyers assigned to represent these prisoners said on Wednesday.

"We are concerned with virtually every aspect of the military commission process and the impact that will have on our client's chances to get a fair trial," Navy Lt. Cdr. Philip Sundel told Reuters.

..."The bottom line is it's an outdated system that was pulled off the shelf and dusted off from the World War II era. The law has advanced a lot since then, both internationally and domestically. The standards that were applied then simply aren't acceptable today," Bridges said.

I'm sure you will not be too surprised to hear that the Bushies think they've created an eminently fair and just system in Guantanamo. So, my suggestion is that when we finally have criminal proceedings against Bush and Ashcroft, that we accord them the full and complete legal protections that they believed were adequate when they was in charge. (I'm rather fond of karma as a form of justice - you get the same level of compassion and justice you are willing to accord someone else.)

Mary :: 7:04 AM :: Comments (3) :: Digg It!