OK, a show of hands please, how many of you thought about me when you saw the article about how the military wants to keep the lawyers out of Guantánamo? It seems the military thinks that we attorneys are acting as a conduit for the media! (If only it were true…) Anyway, that is bush talk for saying that we are doing a heck of a job exposing our clients’ conditions and our government’s un-American activities. We haven’t exposed any deep dark secrets and you should take note of the fact that the military has not accused any of us of misconduct or illegal activity… What they are accusing us of is being in the way. Too bad for them. I, for one, plan on staying “in the way” until the place closes.
So what is going on now? A brief summary: In October, our republican congress passed the military commissions act (MCA), a law that sent our country back to the Middle Ages by repealing the ancient writ of habeas corpus. (And don’t let these scum bags tell you otherwise, this law does not just apply to detainees at Guantánamo.. .it applies to any non-citizen and in the long run could even be applied to citizens that the prez determines are enemy combatants.) In the old days (before October 2006) habeas corpus allowed people being held by the government to challenge their detention by requiring the government to answer some simple questions: like why they were being held and what they were accused of doing. Anyway our government did away with that little law that had been around for 800 years or so.
At the same time the republican congress abolished habeas corpus it proclaimed that the only thing the Guantánamo detainees could challenge is their designation of having been determined to be an enemy combatant…. but the determination of being an enemy combatant was a rigged deal… and many of the detainees did not even participate in the proceedings because they were (correctly) told (by the military) that they did not have to participate because, get this, they had the right to challenge their detention in our federal courts… (oops on that one, huh?)
Well now the courts are closing their doors to the Guantánamo detainees. The appellate court said that the MCA is a legit law, the Supreme Court said it is too early to decide if the law is legit and the men at Guantánamo… well, they will continue to languish at Guantánamo for who knows how long.
And that brings me back to the lawyers… we are the trouble makers because we bring our client’s stories front and center. We are telling you who the men are and what they were doing (or more importantly what they were not doing) when they were sold to our government in return for bounties.
Bush and our military want to get back to the way things were… cages, water boarding… you know the drill. Meanwhile, we attorneys are fighting like hell to continue to represent these men and to visit and write to our clients… but it would sure be nice to have a little help about now.
Law Day. Tuesday May 1st. Can you help us out and contact your senators and your reps and tell them to restore habeas corpus and close the place? And can you ask everyone you know to do the same? If you do your part, I promise that the other habeas counsel and I will do our part and continue to be in the way…