Thursday, March 5, 2009


I have been watching this issue unfold over the months, although it is not one that concerns either of my two clients. I guess it starts with the fact that the whole concept of our legal system is foreign to most of the men at Guantanamo (and to some of us who have worked in our legal system for say 25 years or so...) and some are not sure that they want attorneys (hmmm, I guess I cannot blame them on that score either). In addition, some of the men have severe mental health problems after years of being held in the cruelest of conditions without any charges against them or any end in sight....The bottom line is that some men at Guantanamo refuse to sign any piece of paper (I wonder why that would be???) and so they have not authorized their attorneys to represent them in writing and some men refuse to see their attorneys or only see their attorneys sporadically. The attorneys for these men keep plugging away and continue to file all the necessary papers and continue to work to get their clients out of Guantanamo.
So who cares?
Apparently some in the Department of Justice think that this is the perfect group to go after and a convenient way of getting rid of some of the habeas lawsuits...and now the DOJ is threatening to step up their efforts to dismiss the habeas cases for those men who have not signed or otherwise authorized their attorneys to represent them.
So my question is this, is this really the policy of the new DOJ? (I have now heard this from three separate attorneys with three different DOJ attorneys and all in the last week)... Or do we have a subgroup of hanger-ons who are continuing with the agenda from the last administration? Is anyone higher up paying attention? Does the justice department really want some of these men at Guantanamo to be unrepresented?