Friday, October 22, 2004


Bush League Justice

Interesting that the closer the election gets, the flimsier the excuses for not giving fair trials to the "high-level" prisoners held at Guantanamo. One could almost get the idea they're just a group of innocent civilians combined with low-level al Qaeda operatives being held until after the election out of purely political concerns.

The BBC has an update on how a US Federal District Court denied the government's latest flimsy excuses:
Government lawyers failed to convince Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that audio and visual recording should be made of suspects' meetings with their lawyers and that the authorities should be able to review the lawyers' notes.
...the government has supplied only the most slender legal support for its argument, which cannot withstand the weight of the authority surrounding the importance of the attorney-client privilege."

Meanwhile, government efforts to pack the tribunals with pro-prosecution judges has been partially defeated:
Three of the six US military officers sitting on the Guantanamo tribunal have been dropped after complaints of potential bias.

The remaining three members of the tribunal will hear the cases of two terror suspects held at the Cuban camp, starting from 1 November.

A spokesman confirmed that Mr Altenburg had declined to remove Col Brownback.

Earlier, defence lawyers, who are themselves Pentagon appointees, argued that the colonel was a personal friend of Mr Altenburg and could not be partial.

The Associated Press news agency said Mr Altenburg rejected complaints against two other tribunal members while there was no challenge to the sixth.

I suppose going from 5 out of 6 biased judges to 2 out of 3 is an improvement, just not enough of one. They're going to start hearings on Nov 1, the day before the elections. Why do I think something dramatically helpful to Bush's campaign will be released, to be proven an "accidental error" after the election.


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