Monday, June 11, 2007

Nuremberg Prosecutor Denounces Guantánamo

Henry King Jr., who was a U.S. prosecutor at Nuremberg (and is now a respectable 88 years old), is no fan of the Bush administration's detention policies.
"I think Robert Jackson, who's the architect of Nuremberg, would turn over in his grave if he knew what was going on at Guantanamo," Nuremberg prosecutor Henry King Jr. told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"It violates the Nuremberg principles, what they're doing, as well as the spirit of the Geneva Conventions of 1949....

"The concept of a fair trial is part of our tradition, our heritage," King said from Ohio, where he lives. "That's what made Nuremberg so immortal -- fairness, a presumption of innocence, adequate defense counsel, opportunities to see the documents that they're being tried with."

King, who interrogated Nuremberg defendant Albert Speer, was incredulous that the Guantanamo rules left open the possibility of using evidence obtained through coercion.

"To torture people and then you can bring evidence you obtained into court? Hearsay evidence is allowed? Some evidence is available to the prosecution and not to the defendants? This is a type of 'justice' that Jackson didn't dream of," King said.

He said the Guantanamo prisoners should be tried in the court-martial system or the U.S. federal courts, under fair rules that leave open the possibility of acquittal. Three Nuremberg defendants were acquitted, King noted.
Source: Reuters

Another "money quote" from today's Al-Marri decision:

Judge Motz writes:

To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the President calls them “enemy combatants,” would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution -- and the country. For a court to uphold a claim to such extraordinary power would do more than render lifeless the Suspension Clause, the Due Process Clause, and the rights to criminal process in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments; it would effectively undermine all of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. It is that power -- were a court to recognize it -- that could lead all our laws “to go unexecuted, and the government itself to go to pieces.” We refuse to recognize a claim to power that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic.

Victory for Al-Marri in the Fourth Circuit

Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar (and a legal resident of the U.S.) scored a major victory today. Al Marri has been held in indefinite military detention since 2003 but an appellate court has now granted al-Marri habeas relief and ordered that his military detention must end. Al-Marri must now be returned to civilian prosecutors (if not released).

Back when he was in the civilian court system, al-Marri was charged with various white collar crimes and making false statements to the FBI...not exactly Osama's no. 2 man.

Here is a snippet of the opinion, with a link to the full opinion below:


For over two centuries of growth and struggle, peace and war, the Constitution has secured our freedom through the guarantee that, in the United States, no one will be deprived of liberty without due process of law. Yet more than four years ago military authorities seized an alien lawfully residing here. He has been held by the military ever since -- without criminal charge or process. He has been so held despite the fact that he was initially taken from his home in Peoria, Illinois by civilian authorities, and indicted for purported domestic crimes. He has been so held although the Government has never alleged that he is a member of any nation’s military, has fought alongside any nation’s armed forces, or has borne arms against the United States anywhere in the world. And he has been so held, without acknowledgment of the protection afforded by the Constitution, solely because the Executive believes that his military detention is proper.

While criminal proceedings were underway against Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, the President ordered the military to seize and detain him indefinitely as an enemy combatant. Since that order, issued in June of 2003, al-Marri has been imprisoned without charge in a military jail in South Carolina. Al-Marri petitions for a writ of habeas corpus to secure his release from military imprisonment. The Government defends this detention, asserting that al-Marri associated with al Qaeda and “prepar[ed] for acts of international terrorism.” It maintains that the President has both statutory and inherent constitutional authority to subject al-Marri to indefinite military detention and, in any event, that a new statute -- enacted years after al-Marri’s seizure -- strips federal courts of jurisdiction even to consider this habeas petition.

We hold that the new statute does not apply to al-Marri, and so we retain jurisdiction to consider his petition. Furthermore, we conclude that we must grant al-Marri habeas relief. Even assuming the truth of the Government’s allegations, the President lacks power to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain al-Marri...

Click here to read full opinion, (in PDF format).

Colin Powell on closing Guantanamo

The Iraq-tarnished Powell speaks out (a few years too late) on Guantánamo.

Psychologists Against Torture

Prominent psychologists from around the country have signed an open letter to the president of the American Psychological Association, expressing their concerns over the role psychologists are playing in U.S. interrogation of prisoners in the "war on terror."
We write you as psychologists concerned about the participation of our profession in abusive interrogations of national security detainees at Guantánamo, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and at the so-called CIA "black sites."Our profession is founded on the fundamental ethical principle, enshrined as Principle A in our Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct: "Psychologists strive to benefit those with whom they work and take care to do no harm." Irrefutable evidence now shows that psychologists participating in national security interrogations have systematically violated this principle. A recently declassified August 2006 report by the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General (OIG) — Review of DoD-Directed Investigations of Detainee Abuse — describes in detail how psychologists from the military's Survival, Evasion Resistance, and Escape (SERE) program were instructed to apply their expertise in abusive interrogation techniques to interrogations being conducted by the DoD throughout all three theaters of the War on Terror (Guantánamo, Afghanistan, and Iraq). READ MORE