Saturday, January 13, 2007

Stardate 61034.85 - Official Attacks Top Law Firms Over Detainees - New York Times

Official Attacks Top Law Firms Over Detainees - New York Times

I try to keep my politics out of these posts for the most part, but I read this article this morning and it really made me angry. Charles D. Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, said in an interview this week that he was dismayed that lawyers at many of the nation’s top firms were representing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and that the firms’ corporate clients should consider ending their business ties.


The administration failed to deny access to lawyers for the prisoners, so they attempt an end-run-around by essentially blackballing the law firms whose attorneys are representing some prisoners. He has told corporate America to sever ties with any firm representing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. McCarthyism is apparently alive and well and actively practiced by the current administration.

Never mind the fact that our entire legal system is based on innocent until proven guilty. Mr. Stimson also implied in the interview that they are being paid to represent these individuals by terrorist organizations stating that they "are receiving moneys from who knows where." Never mind that the great majority of attorneys and firms are not being paid for their efforts, and those who are paid are they are donating the money to 9-11 charities.

Are there bad people in Guantanamo? Undoubtedly. But there are also people for whom the burden of proof has been lacking and they have been let free, some after long incarcerations.

I don't know if the administration put him up to this or if he said this on this own. Someone who recently said that he was learning “to choose my words carefully because I am a public figure on a very, very controversial topic” had clearly not done so here. Was he told to do so by the White House, or did he do this on his own?

Even though the US Attorney General (not exactly a bastion of civil rights) has said he disagrees with Mr. Stimson's position, the damage has been done. The insinuations have been made; the list of firms has been published. So I therefore think that Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who wrote to President Bush on Friday asking him to disavow Mr. Stimson’s remarks did not go far enough.

Let me therefore be the first to call for Mr. Stimson's resignation. Trying to deny representation to prisoners is un-American, unethical, and illegal. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that the detainees "have been imprisoned in territory over which the United States exercises exclusive jurisdiction and control." Therefore, the detainees have the fundamental right to due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. Mr Stimson has sought to overturn the Supreme Court. I'm pretty sure he has overstepped his authority, and if his comments were truly not sanctioned by the White House then he should resign on his own, or the President should ask for his resignation.

Have you no decency, sir?



-s said...

Good post. Another thing to do is if it's made public that a corporation drops a firm because of the remark, that the corporation get some blackballing and boycott as well.

Trailing Male said...

It's all part of Bush's plan to develop his legacy. He wants to be remembered, and, boy, will he ever.

CAPT_Sawyer said...

For the record, he resigned in February 2007.