Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bush Administration Continues Its Attack on Gitmo Lawyers

Cross-Posted to Raising Kaine

Here's an article from the New York Times describing the latest in the government's efforts to curtail and obstruct Guantanamo detainees' attorneys in their pursuit of fair hearings on the evidence for their clients. Court Asked to Limit Lawyers at Guantanamo

The government has proposed some teeny-tiny adjustments to the way Gitmo detainees are represented, to wit:

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 attorneys have been accused of "causing unrest" at Guantanamo. Well we all know how happy the detainees were to be there until all the pesky lawyers showed up. The government's hatchet man, Cmdr. Patrick McCarthy, says defense lawyers have
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.

“Such information,” his affidavit said, “threatens the security of the camp, as it could incite violence among the detainees.”
Give the government the right to review all communications between lawyers and their clients? How could that possibly be seen as impeding the relationship between attorneys and clients? The government guys will keep their secrets and won't use the information gleaned to seize unfair advantage in their cases. Honest!

And one visit to initiate representation? Sounds reasonable. After all, the detainees have been locked up for years by generally white, non-Muslim Americans who don't speak their languages, and the lawyers are generally white, non-Muslim Americans who don't speak their languages, either, so no reason for the detainees to be suspicious of any lawyer who shows up - sometimes sporting a Jewish name - and says "let me help you. And by the way, if you do allow me to help you this is the only time we're going to talk about your case so I need to know everything. And by the way, everything you tell me through correspondence or meetings will also be told to the government's lawyers. But I'm really on your side. Seriously. Trust me. So come on, start talking."

Of course the attorneys deny that they have done the things of which they're accused. No proof offered, just the usual speculation and hinting at dark things to come. These people are wasted in the law. They should all be in Hollywood writing scary screenplays for a revival of the Goosebumps series.

I have an idea. Let's distribute the detainees around our federal prison system and CLOSE Guantanamo. Let's let their attorneys see them the way they see their non-detainee clients.

This issue is yet another "sky is falling" assertion by elements of the Bush Administration bound and determined to continue stacking the deck against the Guantanamo detainees. Here's another suggestion. Why not drop all the bulltwaddle, gather the evidence and put it out there, and hold some damn hearings with real rules of procedure and rules of evidence? Or is that just too scary a prospect for the likes of Alberto ("I know nothing, I see nothing, I hear nothing") Gonzales and this Administration?

1 comment:

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