This is a delightful development although sickeningly long, long overdue. With the deterioration of what passes for intelligence in this country it’s evident most people do not understand the depth of the havoc the Bush administration wreaked.
From the SCOTUS blog:
In the first ruling of its kind, a federal judge on Friday barred the federal government from using any statements made by a Guantanamo Bay detainee since he was captured in Afghanistan more than six years ago, finding that all of them were “a product of torture.” U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle did so two days after the Obama Administration notified her that it would not oppose the efforts by lawyers for Mohammed Jawad to block the use of any of those statements as a basis for keeping him in captivity.
What was that the Bush administration was adamant over ….. we don’t do torture – nuh-uh. Inadmissible evidence. ‘Captured ‘more than six years ago’ and held without reason. The Obama administration wanted to delay even further.
Huvelle, however, went ahead with a hearing on Thursday, where she sharply criticized the government’s past actions and refused any further delay in the case. She put her oral ruling into written form on Friday. In the order, she said the trial on Jawad’s challenge to his detention will go ahead on Aug. 5.
“Permitting the government to take additional time,” the order said, “would be contrary to the Supreme Court’s directive [in Boumediene v. Bush in 2008] that ‘the costs of delay can no longer be borne by those who are held in custody.’ “
Major David Frakt is Mr. Jawad’s counsel. He is an officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, reportedly recently promoted to Lt. Col. He is also a professor at Western State University (California) law school. He appeared on Rachel Maddow’s show on a couple of occasions. (Script courtesy of Crooks & Liars)
Maddow: The “New York Times” in writing about your case, your client, Mohammed Jawad, described that case as emblematic of everything that is wrong with Guantanamo. Do you think that‘s true? What should most—what should Americans know about the case that you are defending?
Frakt: Well, there are several things that are quite problematic about the case. First of all, I think many Americans would expect that the military commissions would focus on high-level terrorists, people responsible for 9/11 and other serious terrorist attacks against the United States. In fact, the early focus of the commissions has been on child soldiers, drivers, foot soldiers—and in Jawad‘s case, he is not even accused of being affiliated with al Qaeda or the Taliban. He is not charged with any known war crime. He is not charged with any terrorist crimes.
You know who authorizes this kind of shit? Cowards. Cheney didn’t get five deferments because he had other things to do or he wanted to be an attentive father and husband or he wanted to really hunker down at college or any other bullshit reason he has thrown out. Quite simply – he was scared. Paranoid people are frightened people.
So, then we have the fact that he was a child. That there‘s evidence actually now proven in the military commissions themselves that he was tortured both by the Afghan authorities and subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment at Guantanamo and at Bagram Prison. He was subjected to 14-day sleep deprivation program, extended periods of isolation. He tried to commit suicide. So he‘s been there for six years now.
The case itself has been plagued with problems—ethical problems involving the prosecution with unlawful influence by—and political influence by the legal advisor to the military commission‘s general officer. My opposite number, Lieutenant Colonel Darrel Vandeveld, the U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, a very courageous soldier, quit essentially or asked to be reassigned to other duties because he decided he could no longer ethically-proceed with a prosecution of Mohammed Jawad because the evidence just no longer stood up to scrutiny.
So, it really is emblematic of the many problems that these commissions have faced. And I want to emphasize that the defense—there is a reason that there only have been two detainees tried over the last seven years at Guantanamo, and that‘s because of the efforts of defense counsel, military defense counsel who have fought tooth and nail to prevent their clients from having tried in an unfair kangaroo court.
As a law professor, Major Frakt also made presentations at Washburn Law School of closing arguments he gave regarding Mohammad Jawad. If interested, you’ll find those videos here.
Dick Cheney speaks: