Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Obama Hamstringing Gitmo Lawyers?

I might not have run with this story, though must be said it's a worthy read in its own right, had I not previously featured this, this, I don't know how best to describe really, perhaps it's suffice to say that the setting is Louisiana. (Again)

....The mayor was quickly convicted of both charges but lawyers have raised challenges to the convictions, bringing a number of legal complaints. For example: in a town that is 60% African-American, Mayor Higginbotham had only one Black juror. Higginbotham’s counsel was disqualified by the DA, and the public defender had a conflict of interest, leaving the mayor with no lawyer. Two days before trial began, the DA gave Higginbotham 10 boxes of files related to his case. Higginbotham’s request for an extension to get an attorney and to examine the files was denied.

There’s more: during jury selection, when Higginbotham – forced to act as his own lawyer – tried to strike one juror who had relationships with several of the witnesses, he was told he could not, even though he had challenges remaining. There was also a problem with a sound recorder that the court reporter was using, and as a result there is no transcript at all for at least two witness’ testimony. Finally, during deliberation, the judge gave the jury polling slips that had “guilty” pre-selected, and then later hid the slips. I Don't Know What Justice Looks Like But I'm Sure It Doesn't Look Like This: Waterproof Louisiana

But don't you think in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and the rest of these ''high value'' detainees, it's past time for America to end the charades, put away the hypocrisy for once, and just put these guys against the wall and shoot the fuckers, innocent or guilty. Because let's face it, there is only ever going to be one verdict for those that might one day see a ''trial.'' I know there's not a bit of shame to be found anywhere in America, its Presidents past, or its President present, Bush lite, Barack Obama. Because for shame, how on earth do you put a fellow in the dock that you have waterboarded a hundred and eighty three times and still call it a trial?

Hypocrisy, it's the American way, not arf!

Did Obama Kneecap the 9/11 Suspects' Defense Lawyers?

What an investigation into Gitmo attorneys means for the pending trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants.
By Nick Baumann

Last week, on the same day President Barack Obama launched his re-election campaign, his administration announced that it had officially reversed its decision to try the accused 9/11 plotters—including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed "mastermind" of the attacks—in federal court and would instead prosecute them via the military commissions system.

But, as the military commissions gear up for what could be their first cases to end in death sentences, a shadow hangs over the lawyers representing these most unsympathetic of defendants. For well over a year, civilian and military defense lawyers representing so-called "high-value detainees" at Guantanamo Bay were caught up in a secret Justice Department investigation. (The agency won't say whether the investigation is still ongoing.) Can Guantanamo lawyers mount full and fair defenses of the 9/11 conspirators while under the pressures of a past or present DOJ investigation—and the threat of a future probe by the Pentagon itself, as some congressional Republicans have called for? We're about to find out.

The genesis of the DOJ probe dates back at least to the summer of 2009, when guards at Guantanamo found a series of photos in the cell of Mustafa Ahmad al Hawsawi, an accused Al Qaeda financier and one of KSM's four co-defendants. The photos, according to multiple reports, showed CIA employees suspected of involvement in the interrogation of high-value detainees, including al Hawsawi himself.

The CIA, unsurprisingly, was deeply alarmed. John Rizzo, then the agency's top lawyer, demanded an investigation. He later described the incident as "far more serious than Valerie Plame," referring to the Bush-era leak of an operative's covert status. He wasn't alone in his concerns. "This is an agency that has reasons to be concerned as to whether or not somebody's got their back," another high-ranking former intelligence official told Mother Jones last year. "It's always operating out there on the edge, not unlawfully, but generally at the farthest reaches of executive prerogative."

The Justice Department launched an investigation, headed by Donald Vieira, a former Democratic Hill staffer. Vieira soon found that the photos had been taken for a reason. Since any successful defense of a high-value detainee would likely require proving torture—and calling the alleged torturers, if they existed, to the stand—members of the Gitmo defense bar felt they needed to identify whom, exactly, had interrogated their clients.

In any other criminal case, this would normally be a breeze—defense lawyers generally know which cops or FBI agents questioned their clients and can call them as witnesses if necessary. But when you're dealing with the CIA, it's a whole different story. more

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