Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Tropical Vacation

The recent firestorm of controversy surrounding the forthcoming trials of six inmates has forced the mainstream media to consider the military commissions system, as established by the Military Commissions Act. The disparity between the rights enjoyed by defendants in our domestic criminal legal system and those enjoyed by those tried before a military commission are incredible. Arbitrarily, the president of a commission can cloak the proceedings of a trial in national secrecy, beyond the purview of those accused. Moreover, the rules about what evidence is admissible is also more favorable to the prosecution, as statements made under duress, as in made while being tortured, are admissible as evidence. Unfortunately for the unfortunate souls subject to this system and the American people, said evidence will probably be classified. Here is an amusing response from the fashion community to the system.

On the other hand, if the information no longer exists, then there is no need to bother with the bureaucratic wrangling required to classify thousands upon thousands of hours of operations within the detainee detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, encompassing everything from the routine to the interrogations. All of them. As one might imagine, there are some lawyers and a judge that are justifiably upset. Unfortunately, the judge's question seems worded in such a way as to prevent any sort of burden being placed on the Bush Administration. In addition to receiving an extension on a previous deadline, administration officials only have to reveal whether or not the information destroyed was pertinent to the trial of Hani Abdullah, who is before him. If the Administration is bold enough to claim that the life and times of each and every individual in the facility for the entire time they were at the facility would definitely be pertinent to any trial, if for no other reason than to evaluate the statements made during the interrogation process, our constitutional checks and balances, specifically the checks of the judiciary over the executive, will be further eroded, if not made entirely irrelevant. The aforementioned trial was already made more complicated by Mr. Abdullah's attorneys' allegations that their client's personal effects were seized by the government, in violation of attorney privilege. For some additional reading, try the Executive Order outlining the form and procedure of the Military Commissions or the Executive Order outlining the ways in which the United States will cooperate with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

If one follows the most recent rhetoric in the daily White House press feeds regarding Guantanamo Bay and its status, such as June 22, 2007 and Feb. 11, 2008, Ms. Perino says that the Government is working on closing the facility and return the detainees to their home country or other third country. As one might expect, however, there are a few conditions, namely that the detainees have to be held in whatever country they are released to. Why would this matter? Well, if Country X feels that citizen John McY was wrongly imprisoned by Country Y, X might go to the UNSC, b/c pbiab.

For fun, try to come up with other activities that fit the definition of torture according to the U.S. Code and put it in a comment. And, also, a tangentially related article that details the career of the first commander of Guantanamo Bay and his later career in Iraq.

Oh, and the Cuban government wants Guantanamo Bay back to end its role in the War on Terror.

1 comment:

TheRedKap said...

Being locked in solitary isolation listening to the teletubbies on infinite repeat while occasionally getting sodomized by a redneck girl. I think that would be torture, even without the sodomy.