Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Worst of the Worst

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:35 PM Permalink

And it ain't the detainees:
For Guantánamo Review Boards, Limits Abound

At one end of a converted trailer in the American military detention center here, a graying Pakistani businessman sat shackled before a review board of uniformed officers, pleading for his freedom.

The prisoner had seen just a brief summary of what officials said was a thick dossier of intelligence linking him to Al Qaeda. He had not seen his own legal papers since they were taken away in an unrelated investigation.
As the hearing concluded, the detainee, who cannot be identified publicly under military rules, had a question. He is a citizen of Pakistan, he noted. He was arrested on a business trip to Thailand. On what authority or charges was he even being held?

"That question," a Marine colonel presiding over the panel answered, "is outside the limits of what this board is permitted to consider."

Under a law passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in October, this double-wide trailer may be as close to a courtroom as most Guantánamo prisoners ever get. The law prohibits them from challenging their detention or treatment by writs of habeas corpus in the federal courts.
The prisoners have no right to a lawyer, or to see classified evidence, or even to know the identity of their accusers.
"At the end of the day, it's about giving the detainee the flexibility and freedom to present his case," said Capt. Philip L. Waddingham, a former Navy pilot who oversees the operations of the panels at Guantánamo.
The review system at Guantánamo began operating in July 2004, more than two years after most detainees were imprisoned there. Officials said it was intended in part to deflect criticism that the prison had become a legal black hole.
Many of the detainees had been captured by Afghan militias, Pakistani border guards and other surrogates, and some had been turned in for bounties, intelligence officials said. Information about their identities and actions was often vague and secondhand. Physical evidence, if any existed, was sometimes lost before reaching Cuba.
"It wasn't the job of the intelligence community to verify their guilt or innocence," said Col. Brittain P. Mallow, a retired Army investigator who led a task force that gathered evidence for war crimes tribunals that are expected to prosecute about 50 to 70 of the remaining 396 detainees.
The boards were allowed to consider a wide range of intelligence, including statements obtained by coercion.

Midlevel officers were assigned to help the detainees prepare for their hearings. Military lawyers were not permitted to serve in that role, however, because of concern that limitations on that assistance might open the lawyers to charges of violating professional ethics rules.
The early results of the hearings, in which officials said a surprising number of detainees were found not to be enemy combatants, only heightened the unease.
According to documents and interviews, the Pentagon office in charge of the reviews ordered the repetition of some C.S.R.T. boards that recommended the release of detainees. Defense Department officials would not discuss those cases in detail.
According to a recent study of 102 unclassified C.S.R.T. files by the Seton Hall University law school, the military denied all requests by the detainees for witnesses who were not also being held at Guantánamo and denied requests for detainee witnesses 74 percent of the time.
Summation: These kangaroo courts are completely against the Geneva Conventions. The US Supreme Court has mandated that the detainees be given the rights guaranteed under the Geneva Conventions.

Bush continues to violate US and international law. These are the highest of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Now can we impeach him?


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