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Shutdown Bush's Kangaroo Courts in Gitmo

Scott Horton at Harper's says that the JAG prosecutors in Gitmo have little faith in Bush's kangaroo courts in Gitmo:

But many of them (JAG prosecuting lawyers at Gitmo) make very clear that they have deep concerns about the system that's been concocted in Gitmo - fundamental concerns about whether it's just and whether it serves the interests of the United States to be conducting proceedings derided in the balance of the world, including by our allies, as kangaroo courts. There is a sense among them that the proceedings that Congress and the politicos at the Defense Department have crafted are unworthy of the military and unworthy of the JAG corps. And this is surely correct. Three separate teams of prosecutors have now quit rather than carry cases forward.

The JAG prosecutors have also been subject to political pressure to rig cases against the detainees:

That tells a huge story, of course. And in one of those cases, according to my sources, prosecutors were outraged when they learned that political figures had decided to withhold exculpatory evidence in order to "rig" the cases and "ensure a conviction."

A retired Air Force JAG expressed his opinion on warandpiece.com:

"This subtle but profound ruling constitutes a revolt by career military officers, especially military lawyers, who have previously compromised their integrity and oath of office to support a President and Administration who lied and violated US and international law to take the nation to war and keep it mired there for years. Note that the courageous ruling is by an Army colonel and the implications quote a Marine colonel -- two officers at the end of their careers who have nothing to lose by placing institutional integrity ahead of loyalty to a commander-in-chief who has none. Sadly, the generals and admirals who should have made such stands over the last five+ years sat mute."

The military tribunal system designed to try the Gitmo detainees is now in shambles. The Bush's administration experiment in creating an extra-judicial legal system that operates outside the boundaries of our Constitution has been an utter and complete failure. Not a single detainee has been successfully tried and convicted (excepting the David Hicks plea bargain).

We need to shut down Gitmo, transfer the detainees to US prisons, and put them on trial under the same rules that sent terrorists like Zaccarias Moussaui, Ramzi Yousef, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, Mahmud Abouhalima, Mohammad Salameh, Nidal Ayyad and Ahmad Ajaj to prison for life. What are those rules? They're called the US Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the entire body of judicial precedent that has been constructed in the last 230 years of our nation's history.

These people can be tried, and, if guilty, convicted under the same rule of law that is used every day in this country and that we have come to trust to protect basic human rights and dignity. We can do this. It's nonsense to believe this impossible or that we will somehow be put in danger if the detainees are brought to American soil and held in our federal penitentiary system.

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Comments (1)

Steve Crickmore:

This is pretty shocking, Larkin. Most of these so-called terrorists were picked up by bounty hunters in Pakistan, and are probably innocent of being terrorists but only guilty of being radical muslims, well certainly now, after their experience at Camp Delta.

Even Blair, Bush's erstwhile steadfast ally has turned against Bush on this, calling for Gitmo to be closed, after remaining silent while British nationals were 'abused' for years at the camp and later returned to Britain without being charged.


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