Monday, June 18, 2007

The Assault on Lawyers

Scott Horton, a New York-based attorney and the author of the weblog No Comment has a article coming out in the July issue of Harpers, examining the Bush administration's assault on habeas counsel. As Horton notes,
The habeas laywers have been tarred with ethnic slurs and accusations of homosexuality, accused of undermining national security, subjected to continual petty harassment. They have also had their livelihoods threatened through appeals to their paying clients. These events have been reported as separate incidents in the press, but this conduct results from a carefully orchestrated Bush Administration policy that goes under the rubric of "lawfare."
Horton is, of course, referring to the gay-baiting of Clive Stafford Smith, the Jew-baiting of Tom Wilner, Cully Stimson's ill-conceived scheme to organize a boycott of firms involved in pro bono Guantánamo work and a host of other abuses and attacks on Gitmo lawyers by the Bush gang.

On this blog and through Candace's articles, we have tried to draw attention to this campaign against habeas counsel and military defense lawyers (most notably Major Mori). Here is a selective digest (ah, the memories!):

Locking Attorneys out of Guantánamo
Is there a Larry Lurking in the Bushies?
The Gagging of Michael Mori
Moe and His-Six Point Plan
Moe Davis Takes a Page from Ho Chi Minh's Playbook
An Open Letter to Cully Stimson

Candace herself has been subjected to outrageous bureaucratic games and harassment. When Candace tried to meet with Razak Ali, her Algerian client, the authorities at the base effectively pretended that no such person existed although Candace had the correct spelling and ISN number (not to mention a court order authorizing the visit). Upon returning from Guantánamo she filed a motion to show cause asking why the government should not be held in contempt of court; the judge gave the government a thorough dressing down.

Since that date, Candace has been "punished" with a special military escort who follows her every move at the base. Candace actually enjoys this special treatment (it means shorter lines). She does not enjoy the fact that her notes are reviewed by the authorities and military personnel have made unsettling and alarmingly well-informed remarks about her client meetings, her work and her family. Candace was also part of a group of lawyers who were informed that a FOIA request had been made about habeas counsel violations of the protective order governing attorney-client access and communications. In the past, these conveniently timed requests have come from government-friendly right-wing media outlets ... all part of the Bush administration's assault on lawyers.... So what was Candace's violation? Apparently on one occasion she filed a court document without sending it in for prior review... of course the document was for her client Razak- Ali for whom she has no classified, confidential or protected information, so the fact that she even had to send it in for approval befpre filing is annoying to say the least.... but it is the rule and Candace humbly apologized for her oversight..,.