Monday, June 04, 2007
Gitmo Judges Make It Interesting.
The GITMO judges recognized that the infamous Military Commissions Act only applied to people found to have been "illegal" enemy combatants. All of those being charged under that act have previously been found to be simply enemy combatants by previous military tribunals. The most probable "solution" from the administration point of view appears to be a reconvention of the tribunals in order to find those in question to be "unlawful" enemy combatants.
In the meantime, we are where we are. The enemy combatants in Guantanamo Bay are not going to be released in the coming weeks. If anything this will further delay their eventual final adjudication as military tribunals are reconstituted and cases retried to come to the predetermined "right" conclusion. BUT... and yes there is a big but here, BUT one person is outside the reach of American authorities who has already been adjudicated under the MCA.
David Hicks is currently imprisoned in Australia under a plea deal reached when he pleaded guilty under the MCA. It now appears the commission which reached that plea deal with Hicks actually did not have jurisdiction in his case. If I were Hicks' lawyer I would have an appeal in front of the next judge available, appealing his clients further detention, and all other stipulations attendant with Hicks' guilty plea. The commission had no jurisdiction and his clients pleas should therefore be null and void.
Part of the Hicks agreement was that Hicks was not allowed to talk about his experiences in Guantanamo for one year, which conveniently enough placed the upcoming election in Australia just inside that deadline. I think it would be perfect justice for Prime Minister John Howard if the sweetheart deal he made with America to silence his domestic critics regarding this entire sordid affair blew up in Howard's face, by having Hicks be freed and singing his song in the heat of the national election.
That would be the perfect come uppance for Howard for going to Vice President Cheney and reaching a politically expedient solution to a sticky situation. Furthermore it would result in one of the worlds most dangerous men, by the overblown proclamations of administration spokestoadies for many many years, being released because of the sloppy work of the administration. Well done Mr Cheney and cabal. Despite all the hot air you blow about protecting us being your most sacred duty, you have just allowed a terrorist to walk free to plot the best way to rain death and destruction upon us all because of your shoddy lawyering.
Frankly, what I describe here in half snark actually may come true some day. I don't doubt there is a certain percentage of people in GITMO who are terrorists. In fact the percentage grows the longer we keep the innocents with the guilty, because I can think of no better way to radicalize a man against something than to unjustly hold him in bondage, with no hope for fair process, and tormenting him as you do so. I don't doubt that a large percentage of GITMO detainees will join the enemy on the battlefield if they are released, because any real man held in those conditions for years on end would bloody well do the same! Not that they were guilty or anything mind you...
The treatment visited upon these people is going to bring the day when they are free closer rather than bringing them to justice if they need it. "The worst of the worst" were treated the worst. They can never be brought to open court. The treatment they were given can not be publicized in any official record. They will never have a day in court. Before they do, they will be sent back to their home country, and their stories discredited as propaganda. The day these men see justice has been taken from us by the barbarism practiced by this administration. For that, George Bush and those who facilitated this disaster should feel shame everlasting.
But we shall see what we shall see I suppose. The very first thread in the fabric I just wove will be when we hear of an appeal of Hicks' sentence being filed.
[UPDATE: That didn't take long! Even as I was bashing out this post word came down that Hicks would not appeal. He faces a much longer sentence if he were to appeal. I would like Ranch with my crow please...]
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