Monday, May 08, 2006

I'll believe it when I see it

President Bush claims he wants to "end" Guantanamo. I'll believe it when I see it. In the meantime, its also worth noting that the excuse he gives for not shutting it down immediately - having to wait for the Supreme Court to rule on whether detainees could be tried by military or civilian courts - is just a little disingenuous. The case in question is over whether detainees can be tried before military tribunals which fail to meet even basic standards of justice. There is no legal barrier to trying detainees in ordinary civilian courts. Instead, the "barrier" is that such prosecutions would be highly unlikely to result in convictions, for the simple fact that most detainees haven't committed any offence under US law, and that in most cases the "evidence" against them is charitably described as "weak" (I would use "laughable" myself). And then there's the whole issue of torture... due to both common law and the US constitution (as well as Article 15 of the Convention Against Torture), US courts simply will not allow statements which have been gained by torture or coercion to be presented as evidence in court. Which means that most detainee's statements are prima facie inadmissable against either themselves or others - and any other evidence gathered on the basis of such statements will likewise be excluded as "fruit of the poisonous tree". Given what we know has gone on at Guantanamo, prosecutors may find themselves in the position of having to prove that each piece of evidence they present is not directly or ultimately the result of torture - which may be a difficult proposition, as well as a public relations nightmare.

That is why the US is not trying Guantanamo detainees in ordinary court. Not because they can't, but because - due to their own stupidity - they can't win.


Oh, I totally believe he wants to "end" Guantanamo. It's way too exposed and even the name has become a liability. Also, he's fighting public opinion in the US and abroad, Amnesty Intl, Red Cross, UN bodies, etc, etc, etc.

So what to do? Make sure that "terra" suspects are held in Bagram, Diego Garcia, on vessels that never drop anchor except at naval bases. And, of course, (that lovely euphemism) rendition is always available, right?

Cockroaches like Bush and his cronies can always find some dark rock under which to do their business.

Posted by Anonymous : 5/08/2006 11:21:00 PM