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Hear That Sound?

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It's the last gasp of American credibilty as it strains against the malignant legal misinterpretations and persistent lies of the Bush Administration's disrespect for the rule of law and utter disregard for the oath to uphold and protect the Constitution.  From the NYTimes:

Detainee 200343 was among thousands of people who have been held and released by the American military in Iraq, and his account of his ordeal has provided one of the few detailed views of the Pentagon’s detention operations since the abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib. Yet in many respects his case is unusual.

The detainee was Donald Vance, a 29-year-old Navy veteran from Chicago who went to Iraq as a security contractor. He wound up as a whistle-blower, passing information to the F.B.I. about suspicious activities at the Iraqi security firm where he worked, including what he said was possible illegal weapons trading.

But when American soldiers raided the company at his urging, Mr. Vance and another American who worked there were detained as suspects by the military, which was unaware that Mr. Vance was an informer, according to officials and military documents.

At Camp Cropper, he took notes on his imprisonment and smuggled them out in a Bible….

Nathan Ertel, the American held with Mr. Vance, brought away military records that shed further light on the detention camp and its secretive tribunals. Those records include a legal memorandum explicitly denying detainees the right to a lawyer at detention hearings to determine whether they should be released or held indefinitely, perhaps for prosecution.

The story told through those records and interviews illuminates the haphazard system of detention and prosecution that has evolved in Iraq, where detainees are often held for long periods without charges or legal representation, and where the authorities struggle to sort through the endless stream of detainees to identify those who pose real threats.

The Bush Administration has managed to do in six short years what more than two hundred years of our nation's history had not done: un-do the notion of American commitment to human rights, the rule of law, and to freedom and justice. All with a series of decisions, one piling up on top of the other — with no check, no balance, no oversight, simply one rubber stamp after another for the last six years from the Republicans in Congress who cared more about their hold on personal power than they did about their oath to uphold and protect the Constitution. 

And I thought yesterday's in-depth article on the mess that is the Iraqi legal system was going to be the worst thing I had to read this week.   To hell with due process, screw that cruel and unusual punishment restriction, and all that malarky about the first amendment — well, who needs it!  Right to counsel?  Let's just ignore that altogether.

There had best be some accountability and some tough questions asked, and soon.  Beyond that, I can't even get past sputtering rage…so I'm going to let Atrios hit the journamalism points on this.  And then I'll let Digby do the honors on things back at the gulag.  Jeebus.  This is just painful.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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