Thursday, June 29, 2006

John Paul Stevens to meet with Salim Hamdan, involuntarily?

The WaPo reports:

"The Supreme Court today delivered a stunning rebuke to the Bush administration over its plans to try Guantanamo detainees before military commissions, ruling that the commissions violate U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of war prisoners. In a 5-3 decision, the court said the trials were not authorized by any act of Congress and that their structure and procedures violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949." (what do those panty-waist Genivans know?)

What planet are they on? Don't they know that a small cabal of legal minds inside the vice-president's office has already ruled on the Constitutional merits of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and has decided in W.'s favor? Jane Mayer in this issue of the New Yorker writes that Cheney's Cheney, David Addinton, is the brains behind all these draconian policies that the administraion has been following since 9/11. In an interview with Blake Eskin Mayer she said of Addington:

"Some constitutional scholars have questioned whether Addington, in his eagerness to expand the powers of the Presidency, which he and Cheney see as having been unduly diminished since Watergate, gives enough weight to the legislative and judicial branches of the federal government. Some have suggested that he has aggrandized the powers of the President in such a way that the executive branch ignores the system of checks and balances set up by the Founding Fathers, so that its actions are unchecked and unaccountable."

Keep in mind that this is the guy who took over for Scooter Libby when he was indicted. Thus out of the frying pan and into the fire for us.

Addington was the one who came up with the idea that we were in a "new paradigm" where all those quaint notions of about due process and not torturing prisoners was out the window. So who is this guy and why is he so powerful? Because he's Cheney's man, and we all know from Ron Suskind's new book that Cheney is basically running a shadow government, from the darkness, that no one knows about.

Mayer says, "Addington exercised enormous influence in part because he was seen as Cheney’s representative, and Cheney was the epicenter of power on these matters. Addington also had a forceful, aggressive, and, some say, bullying style that allowed him to dominate legal debates. In interviews, other lawyers told me how he dismissed their views, mocked their softness if they championed international law, and worked secretively and, one of them said,viciously, to outmaneuver critics." Sound like the game plan of this administration from day one to me.

Although, this ruling apparently doesn't say Hamdan or any of the other detainees are free to go, it does say that W.'s Kanagroo courts are unconstitutional. All W. has got going for him legally in detaining these "killers" is the amorphous charge of conspiracy. Since they can't present any evidence at all against the majority of those they have been holding, some for as long as 4 years, they just slap the "conspiracy" change on.

What John Paul Stevens says is that under international law and the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, conspiracy cannot be used in such a case. W. says he just got a "drive by briefing" on the ruling but that, "To the extent that there is latitude to work with the Congress to determine whether or not the military tribunals will be an avenue in which to give people their day in court, we will do so."

Now W., what the the Supreme Court just say? You can't try these folks in one of your courts, even if Congress says you can. Conspiracy was a charge thrown out at Nuremberg and has been rejected by the military courts because it is unfair to put someone on trial for fighting against you. Anyone fighting a war is in a conspiracy.

We'll see what happens now, W. says he's not putting these killers back out on the street, but, of course, that's not the issue here; it is whether this administration can prove that the detainees and are guilty without evidence obtained through torture or hearsay from some bearded wierdo who got a pay-off from the Pakistanis for turning them in.

Something tells me David Addington is busy working on a draft of a new Martial Law declaration that will send the Five Supremes who voted for this down to Gitmo.


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