Thursday, May 17, 2007

'Moral decision' jeopardizes Navy lawyer's career

By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News

NORFOLK, Va. – Matt Diaz was a Navy lawyer with 18 years of military experience when duty called at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Six months there broke him.


Cmdr. Diaz is on trial because of actions he took after concluding – as many of higher rank have – that the Bush administration's offshore detention camp for terrorism suspects was making a mockery of American justice.


What is illegal, he said, is the Bush administration's prosecution of the war on terror. He accused officials of violating international law, such as the Geneva Conventions on the humane treatment of war prisoners, and the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of due process.

"I made a stupid decision, I know, but I felt it was the right decision, the moral decision, the decision that was required by international law," Cmdr. Diaz said. "No matter how the conflict was identified, we were to treat them in accordance with Geneva, and it just wasn't being done."

The U.S. Defense Department strenuously rejects such talk.

"Detention of enemy combatants in wartime is not criminal punishment and therefore does not require that the individual be charged or tried in a court of law," Daniel Dell'Orto, a top Pentagon lawyer, testified recently before the Senate Armed Services Committee. "It is a matter of security and military necessity that has long been recognized as legitimate under international law."

Go read the article. They have a blow by blow timeline of Guantanamo and the violations.


At 11:46 PM, Blogger Paddy said...

No jokes left.

At 6:20 AM, Blogger ohdave said...

You might also stop by my place,, as I have a piece up about Romney's foolish comments about Gitmo in the recent debate--and I use that term loosely.

Essentially the Republicans are showing that they have no use for the rule of law and that they haven't learned anything from the abuses of the last 5 years.

At 8:06 AM, Blogger gimmeabreak said...

This Diaz article is profoundly disturbing on so many levels.

When do we get our country back? I don't like this one, mommy.

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Paddy said...

I actually was thinking this morning about all the various horrid things these people have done.... warrantless wiretaps, taking us to a trumped up war etc, and I concluded that destroying out legal system is the one that scares me the most. Just beyond comprehension.

At 8:29 AM, Blogger gimmeabreak said...

We have to work very hard.

At 8:56 AM, Anonymous Georgette Orwell said...

I salute Commander Diaz for his bravery in doing the right thing instead of the safe and easy thing. Too rare these days. Let's hope he starts a trend back toward the rule of (gasp) law.

At 10:52 AM, Blogger Forgiven said...

We Don’t Need No Stinkin Lawyers

In an effort to continue to circumvent due process, this administration wants to limit access to the detainees in Guantanamo and their attorneys, attorneys which by the way they didn’t want them to have in the first place.

The Justice Department has asked a federal court to impose these tighter restrictions on the attorneys. They argue that it is a breach in security to have them meeting so much with their clients and also to be able to view classified documents. These classified documents are the ones being using to prove the status of the detainees. This is eerily similar to the run up to the war strategy. The strategy where the administration would plant a story in the media and then quote the story later as proof of their quote’s authenticity, better known as a circular argument and propaganda.

Imagine being on trial for your life and the judge saying, “You are meeting too often with your lawyer and he cannot see the evidence against you.” When did America stop being America? Was it September 11, 2001? If it was, then all those people died in vain and we have made a mockery of their memorial. While I personally consider lawyers one step up from earthworm on the food chain, if I were fighting for my life in a court of law, I would probably have one. Aren't the fundamental rights of being a human reserved for not only those people in our country, but outside of our borders as well? One wise American said that there are certain rights that are inalienable, they belong to everyone. The true test of a democracy is not how it treats its allies, but how it treats its enemies. The world is watching us to see if those noble words we espouse real or just something we put on cereal boxes.

If these men are who we say they are, then won’t that come out in a trial with or without attorneys? Can the attorneys make evidence disappear? Either justice works or it doesn’t and if it doesn’t then lets dispense with the formalities and start executing these men now. That would be more humane than what they are receiving now.

Let’s be clear, this isn’t about lawyers or national security risks. This new strategy is about keeping dirty laundry in the hamper. This administration does not want its ugly secrets to become public and by keeping these attorneys at bay they can hope to continue their campaign of terror. Some of these attorneys have brought to light much of the information we have of the deplorable conditions found at Guantanamo, exposing this dark place to the light of morality. By doing so, they have now become “enablers of the terrorists” and therefore security risks. This argument has just about worn thin, anyone who does not fall in and goose step to the administration’s beat is at best naïve and at worse a terrorist sympathizer. The exercise of our democratic rights should not come with questions of our patriotism or our feelings about terrorists. Torture or terrorists should not be the framework of the argument. One should be able to disagree with one idea and not be accepting of the other. This is not the 3rd grade playground; we are adults who have the capacity to see the world in more shades than these.

So, according to the Bush administration we don’t need no stinkin lawyers!

The Disputed Truth


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