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DOJ May Undermine Most Gitmo Cases

We almost missed this bit of actual reporting from the Wall Street Journal:

New Rift Opens Over Rights of Detainees

JUNE 29, 2009


WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has determined that detainees tried by military commissions in the U.S. can claim at least some constitutional rights, particularly protection against the use of statements taken through coercive interrogations, officials said.

The conclusion, explained in a confidential memorandum whose contents were shared with The Wall Street Journal, could alter significantly the way the commissions operate — and has created new divisions among the agencies responsible for overseeing the commissions.

Defense Department officials warn that the Justice Department position could reduce the chance of convicting some defendants. Military prosecutors have said involuntary statements comprise the lion’s share of their evidence against dozens of Guantanamo prisoners who could be tried.

The Obama Justice Department’s view is a sharp turn from that of the Bush administration, which argued detainees have no constitutional rights. It isn’t clear how the Obama administration will act, but the Justice Department’s legal counsel’s office traditionally has the last word on constitutional interpretation in the executive branch. The White House declined to comment….

In a memorandum issued May 4, David Barron, acting assistant attorney general, said the office believes there is a "serious risk" that federal courts "would adopt a constitutional due process approach" when evaluating military commission trials, people familiar with the memo say.

Mr. Barron advised that federal courts were unlikely to require strict adherence to Bill of Rights provisions spelling out specific procedures, such as the Sixth Amendment speedy trial right, or the Miranda warning, which the Supreme Court imposed in 1966 to ensure compliance with the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment right to an attorney.

But Mr. Barron advised that courts were likely to view the use of coerced statements to convict and punish defendants as violating any definition of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, which courts have cited in establishing a baseline of fundamental rights. As a result, some officials believe a legislative fix to the Military Commissions Act should include additional rights for defendants in order to lower the chances courts would strike it down…

Mr. Barron, a professor on leave from Harvard Law School, is in charge while Mr. Obama’s nominee to head the legal-counsel office, Dawn Johnsen, awaits Senate confirmation….

"There is a school of thought…that if they actually convene these things in the [U.S.], the courts will quickly find that all the due process constitutional stuff we deal with in criminal courts will be applicable," said another military official familiar with the talks. "The main push for this argument comes out of" the Justice Department and the Office of Legal Counsel, the official said

Mr. Barron said he couldn’t comment on the matter and referred questions to the Justice Department’s public affairs office. A spokeswoman there declined to confirm the memorandum’s existence or discuss whether detainees had constitutional rights, citing "ongoing deliberations."

So, just as we have long suspected, Mr. Obama’s intentions are to free as many of the terrorists in Guantanamo as possible.

And he will do all they can to get it done.

To that end Mr. Obama carefully staffed the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel with the most rabidly anti-Bush (and pro-terrorist) lawyers he could find.

And this is some of the fruit of that effort.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 30th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “DOJ May Undermine Most Gitmo Cases”

  1. Right of the People says:

    RIGHTS???? RIGHTS???? These scumbags have rights?

    We never should have captured any of these s**theads, just a give ’em an Indian beauty mark and move on. That was our first mistake. The second, if we really did have to capture them, was to bring them unto US controlled soil. We should have given them over to one of our allies who don’t have a legal system like ours and aren’t restricted in their interrogation methods. If even one of these nutjobs gets loose in the US and harms even ONE US CITIZEN, Barry the Blowhard should be held accountable.

    I’m going to take my meds before I blow a blood vessel then sip some Jack or Wild Turkey and go lay down. My head is full and might explode.

  2. Liberals Demise says:

    If just one of the loving Bastards of Life show back up on a battlefield and kill our soldiers or Marines……….do we as “The People of these United States…….” get to bring charges of TREASON against Barack Hussien Obama? Because if so ….. I’ll go for it, too!!

    • MinnesotaRush says:

      I’m in LD!

    • jobeth says:

      I don’t believe this is the first thing we could claim as treasonous. Surely there are other actions we can bring that charge on.

      I’ve never known a president so intent on the destruction of the US than this one. And it isn’t even hidden anymore.

      For some reason it just goes on and on and no one seems to be able to charge him with it.

      He totally ignores the laws we have. (SCREAM!) Of course he ignores the rule of law where American citizens are concerned…But where the enemy is concerned…we follow it to the letter and then some…We give them more rights than our own, who have fought and died for those rights for fellow countrymen.

      Everything is a means to the end. If freeing the enemy will bolster Obalmy’s end…”free the bas****s”

      The sane world is coming to an end.

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