Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fed Judge Rebukes U.S. in Guantanamo Case

Just when you think it can't get worse, it does. A federal judge has accused the United States government of withholding evidence in a Guantanamo Bay case:

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said he was forced to delay ruling on whether to free Aymen Saeed Batarfi because as many as 10 documents of classified information were withheld from the court until recently.

So here's what we know: the U.S. sought to deny Guantanamo detainees habeas corpus rights; it specifically placed them in Guantanamo, outside of the U.S., to bolster its argument that the detainees didn't deserve Constitutional rights; it detained them on secret evidence for years; and now it's hiding evidence?

It appears even after Justice Antonin Kennedy, attorney Seth Waxman, and Boumediene v. Bush, the U.S. Constitution is gasping for its life.

Here is an interesting documentary on Guantanamo:

There is also an excellent, must-read article in Transcript, a UC Berkeley School of Law journal (Fall-Winter 2008, Vol. 40, No. 2). I can't find an online link, but it includes an article by Jon Jefferson titled, "Life After Gitmo," and an interview with Moazzam Begg.

Update on January 14, 2009: the Washington Post reports that some Guantanamo Bay detainees were tortured:

The interrogation, portions of which have been previously described by other news organizations, including The Washington Post, was so intense that Qahtani had to be hospitalized twice at Guantanamo with bradycardia, a condition in which the heart rate falls below 60 beats a minute and which in extreme cases can lead to heart failure and death. At one point Qahtani's heart rate dropped to 35 beats per minute, the record shows.

Americans should oppose torture because it's in our own self-interest. The next time an opposing country captures one of our military personnel, our moral authority to object to his/her torture may not exist.

Update: excellent WSJ Op-Ed (12/22/08) by Thomas Wilner.

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