Tuesday, June 17, 2008


It has been less than a week... the Supreme Court has again declared that the men at Gitmo have rights, not very many mind you... but a few important ones. Like the right to know why they are being held and the right to defend themselves against whatever accusations might be made against them.... rights that have been accepted by civilized countries for hundreds of years, and known in the legal world as the writ of habeas corpus.
Now that our Supreme Court has again told our nation (and the world) that Habeas Corpus still exists in the United States... if only by a thread ... we have people like John McCain threatening new legislation so we can continue to hold men indefinitely without charge ... And we have a judiciary in the District Court of D.C. wondering how can they handle this "massive" litigation. (This "massive litigation" is less than 300 men... small beans for our federal court.)
One thing that has been clear over these many years is that our federal courts are in mortal fear of ruling on these cases. They are in fear of challenging our executive...
The last few days have shown that the district court in DC would very much like an out... they don't want these cases and they don't want to rule on these cases... They remain paralyzed and it is unclear who will provide the necessary guidance to get actual movement on the habeas cases.

Back at the beginning of 2005 the then commander at Guantanamo, Major General Jay Hood, acknowledged to The Wall Street Journal that: “Sometimes we just didn’t get the right folks,” and that the reason those “folks” were still in Guantanamo was that “[n]obody wants to be the one to sign the release papers . . . . There’s no muscle in the system.” General Hood added that there were “significant numbers of men here” who he expected would be transferred to their home governments or released, and that ‘[i]f that doesn’t happen, I’m going to be doing some yelling.” (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 26, 2005).

General Jay Hood left his post at Guantanamo that same year and he never did do any yelling... there is still no muscle in the system and if the last few days are any indication our judges in the District Court don't want to be the ones to sign the release papers...

And so, despite the wonderful and eloquent decision of Justice Kennedy, the question for me remains:
Will Mr. Al-Ghizzawi remain in Guantanamo without charges? Will Mr. Al-Ghizzawi ever get a Habeas Corpus hearing?
Will Mr. Al-Ghizzawi ever see anything resembling justice at the hands of my country?