Friday, July 12, 2013

From Roger Fitch and our Friends down under at Justinian

Straying from the rightful path

Corporate mercenaries settle with Iraqi victims ... While Abu Ghraib contractor ducks liability for torture ... Corporates and conservatives generally pleased after Supreme Court's latest term ... British newspaper scoops US media on major security story ... Spying on attorneys at Gitmo ... Our Man in Washington, Roger Fitch, reports 
IT'S hard to find a case where the US has strayed further from fairness and the rule of law than that of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, now on trial before a military commission at Guantánamo.
Nashiri was named as an (unindicted) co-conspirator in the NY trial of several men charged in the 2000 bombing of the US Cole in the Gulf of Aden yet, when captured in 2002, he was sent to Thailand for CIA torture rather than Manhattan.  
In 2006, George Bush decided to send some real terrorist suspects to Guantánamo, though apparently no one associated with war, the ostensible basis for Gitmo. Nashiri was among them.  
His torture, acknowledged by the CIA and documented by the ICRC, the CIA Inspector General and the Senate's still-secret report on CIA torture, would likely block any civilian trial in a US court.
It proved no bar, however, in the Pentagon's flexible military commissions, where he was charged with sundry "war crimes" occurring before there was any war, in a place - Yemen - at peace.
If there had been hostilities, the Cole would have been a valid military target.  
By contrast, fellow Guantánamero Ahmed Ghailani, accused of the 1998 US Embassy bombings in East Africa - another civilian terror attack - was successfully tried in US federal court.
No matter. Obama's lawyers charged Nashiri in a military commission.
In Nashiri, the Pentagon seeks a death penalty against a man its own mental health experts say suffers from PTSD; apparently, it's a result of CIA torture.  
While it wasn't the military that tortured him, torture - military included - has implicit impunity: every torture claim, arising from US adventures in Afghanistan or Iraq, and filed in an American court, has been ruthlessly extinguished (see below).  

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