Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday 5 June 2007

Even Guantanamo Military Commissions judges won't play ball with Bush's kangaroo justice

(Please see UPDATE at end)

Yesterday military judges dismissed (New York Times) charges against two detainees the administarion had charged with war crimes. The ramifications of these decisions are explored further in this separate New York Times article.

I heard the military defense counsel for one of the defendents acquitted yesterday being interviewed a couple of weeks ago and expressing her firm, matter-of-fact view that the Military Commissions Act, cobbled together last year after the Supreme Court had thrown out earlier attempts by the Bush administration to conduct railroad justice on people it holds in limbo in Guantanamo, that the new Military Commissions were designed solely to result in guilty verdicts. When the interviewer asked her whether these trials could best be described as 'show trials', she responded with a one word answer - 'yes'. It seems as if the judges, even though they are serving military personnel and lawyers (just like the defence and prosecution counsels) are not willing to prostitute their legal training by acquiescing in the shoddy excuse for 'justice' that the Bush administration is attempting to use to get the results it wishes and are willing to defy the clear wishes of their Commander-in-Chief to maintain their professional integrity both as miltary personnel and as lawyers.

Another farcical and horrendous case concerns US citizen and Moslem convert Jose Padilla against whom the major charges have already been dropped as completely unsupported nonsense, with the Bush administration now falling back on legal maneouvres to keep him under detention under civilian custody after the Supreme Court last year considered taking up the legality of his military detention, with only flimsy telephone wiretap evidence to justify their actions.

I have never doubted that the US justice system and its democracy is strong enough to surivive the 'trashing' that the Bush administration has inflicted on them, but a lot of people have been, and are being, hurt along the way in support of the policies of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld clique. It is gratifying to note that their attempts to ride roughshod over fairness and equity are, slowly but surely, being thwarted.

UPDATE: (Tuesday 5JUN07 18.35 BST) There was a further welcome blow to the Bush administration as former aide to Vice-President Cheney, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison and a fine of USD250,000- for perjury and obstruction of justice. He was convicted in March of offences relating to "the White House's attempts to undermine the credibility of critics of the Iraq war". In colloquial parlance the 'chickens are coming home to roost'!

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