Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Guano Bay Reprise

It seems that Bush's second attempt to create extra-judicial courts is collapsing on itself again.

Unfortunately for Mr. Khadr, this doesn't mean that he is likely to see any kind of freedom in the near future. The US government still claims that the people held there are "enemy combatants" - and will be held for the duration of 'The War on Terror'(tm).

Since BushCo refuses to acknowledge these people as POW's (and grant them appropriate treatment and rights), it seems to me that there is little chance of any release for these people until 2009.

A no-nonsense military judge lobbed a bombshell into the Bush administration's controversial terrorist tribunals, dismissing all charges against Canadian Omar Khadr Monday because prosecutors failed to label him an "unlawful" combatant.

Although the reason for dismissal seems to be "mostly semantics", I think there's more at play here than "just semantics". The judge is playing with semantics, but in doing so, he's also sending a signal to the Pentagon and the executive branch of the US government that he's not willing to participate in a charade.

Hours later after the first ruling, another judge, Navy Captain Keith Allred, similarly dismissed all charges against Salim Ahmed Hamdan, former driver for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Capt. Allred cited the same grounds, lack of jurisdiction because the government had failed to demonstrate Mr. Hamdan was an "unlawful" combatant.

Oh - this is interesting. I thought we were talking about a declaration of someone being "an unlawful enemy combatant", and it seems that the courts are saying that the government must demonstrate why such a designation is appropriate. That puts the government's case in a deep, dark little world of hurt.

Any appeal must be to the Court of Military Commission Review, created by the act. But it doesn't yet exist and no one has been named to sit on it.

Speaking of charades - notice that BushCo hasn't even finished setting up the overall structure required. Bushco wasn't expecting to have to actually use the appeals process, were they? I'm pretty sure that they wanted to get a couple of quick "slam-bam" convictions out of the way, and then proceed with whatever arbitrary punishments they could come up with.

Now, let's see just how much Harper does to get Khadr released to Canadian custody in the coming months - it will tell you a great deal about just how concerned about your civil rights Harper really is. (and I'll wager it isn't much)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The lack of the appeals court also points to the idea that the government was going to deny any detainee the ability to appeal their judgement. Very typical of this current crop of nasty conservatives. Thankfully it backfired this time.