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January 13, 2007

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I share your hope there's some genuine penalty for this. It looks like a case of either gross professional incompetence or deliberate thugishness. I find the latter more plausible, but either way, it's not all right.

"...the WSJ had an editorial today that made the same point"

It's hard to tell for sure, since it's behind the subscription firewall, but it does not appear to be an editorial. Editorials are never written in first person.

Maybe it's an Op-Ed piece? (Very different from an editorial, as I've pointed out here more than once before.)

Otherwise, I noted the story yesterday, and was duly shocked and horrified, and would have blogged it if I was in active blogging mode (which I hope to get back to next week sometime).

I'd call it deliberate, professional thuggishness.

Gary - it's listed as "commentary" (at least the online version is). Written by Robert L. Pollock, who's on their editorial board.

Stimson should lose his job, but I'm guessing he'll be awarded the presidential medal of freedom.

Asked who was paying the firms, Mr. Stimson hinted of dark doings. "It's not clear, is it?"

Maybe it's George Soros's drug money.

"Gary - it's listed as 'commentary' (at least the online version is). Written by Robert L. Pollock, who's on their editorial board."

Right: not an editorial, but an Op-Ed piece. It's hard to smear the WSJ Editorial Board, given how cuckoo they often are, but it is a misattribution, at best, to attribute the work of a member of the Board, which was not an editorial, to the WSJ Editorial Board, which did not collectively take responsiblity for that piece as an editorial.

Basically, this is no different than taking the views, or a piece written by, of any of the ObWi posters, and asserting, in response to Charles Bird, or Hilzoy, or Seb, or whomever, that "ObWi wrote and believes that...."

It's a serious misattribution. One might fault the WSJ editorial page editor for running the piece, but it's still not an editorial.

No more than this post of Hilzoy's is an Editorial speaking officially for the ObWi Editorial Board as a whole and as an institution.

Gary: thanks; fixed. (For some reason, possibly because I always wanted to read "the Editorial page" when I was little, I always get this confused.)

Sully:

Sources among the heroic community of pro bono lawyers who are defending some of the innocent and some of the guilty at Gitmo tell me that Stimson's comments are not isolated, that there has been a full program dedicated to the harassment of Gitmo lawyers - surveillance, pettty harassment, pressure on their law firms.

We are ruled by a delusional idiot (warning, drudge):

He defended his decision to invade Iraq in the same way, saying Saddam was competing with Iran to get a nuclear weapon and making the region unstable.
...
I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude and I believe most Iraqi's express that.

"For some reason, possibly because I always wanted to read 'the Editorial page' when I was little, I always get this confused."

It's really simple: editorials are those unsigned things written in omniscient style, and are presented as The Official Editorial Stance Of This Publication, and generally found under the label "Editorials."

Everything else isn't.

(Stuff opposite the editorial page is literally "Op-Ed," but anything else on or opposite the editorial page that isn't an editorial is an opinion piece, or a letter, or what-have-you. Only editorials are editorials, speaking officially as the Voice Of The Editorial Board Of The Paper, he helpfully said tautologically.)

Naturally, the issue of attacking lawyers for defending clients, and for looking out for the Constitution, is a tad more serious, but trust me to focus on the small points.

George Mason U., undergrad and graduate programs included, is a home for right-wing "thought" (particularly in economics and law) funded by the taxpayers of the commonwealth of Virginia. Lavish private funding of chairs makes the economics department one of the most anti-intellectual and pro-business in the country.

Feel free to write me off as today's analogue to the outraged rightists who viewed the University of California system the same way forty years ago. (Except for the part about how chairs are endowed; there was never any left equivalent to that, and the whole system was a good deal more publicly funded then.)

Phil, my thoughts exactly.

Leahy has written a letter (PDF) to Bush (via this article, which also includes condemnation by the ABA, the ACLU, and others):

Also Friday, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., wrote President Bush a letter of protest, calling Stimson's remarks ''reprehensible'' and ``especially appalling . . . from a senior defense official responsible for U.S. detention policy.''

''I hope you will immediately disavow Mr. Stimson's statements and take the appropriate action against this official,'' said Leahy, a lawyer and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I'm hopeful that Leahy will be a big improvement over Specter, who often said the right thing but almost never followed through with action.

Gary: the issue of attacking lawyers for defending clients, and for looking out for the Constitution, is a tad more serious

Overreach seems to be a consistent problem for this crowd.

The Republicans went Too Far in exactly the same way during the gubernatorial campaign in 2005, with the notorious Scott Howell ad that aimed to whip up feeling against Tim Kaine for his opposition to capital punishment. The passage that upset Virginia's many, many lawyers, even and especially some of its many Republican lawyers, was the suggestion that there was something wrong with Kaine having participated in the defense of a man charged with murder (and later convicted of the crime).

Gary: the issue of attacking lawyers for defending clients, and for looking out for the Constitution, is a tad more serious

Overreach seems to be a consistent problem for this crowd.

The Republicans went Too Far in exactly the same way during the gubernatorial campaign in 2005, with the notorious Scott Howell ad that aimed to whip up feeling against Tim Kaine for his opposition to capital punishment. The passage that upset Virginia's many, many lawyers, even and especially some of its many Republican lawyers, was the suggestion that there was something wrong with Kaine having participated in the defense of a man charged with murder (and later convicted of the crime).

I disavow that second post. Truly, I only hit 'post' once; I blame captcha, and if not captcha, Dick Cheney.

"The passage that upset Virginia's many, many lawyers, even and especially some of its many Republican lawyers, was the suggestion that there was something wrong with Kaine having participated in the defense of a man charged with murder (and later convicted of the crime)."

Base stuff for a base base.

Is Gates still testifying? Maybe someone could ask him about this.

"Is Gates still testifying?"

No.

Basically, lawyers get disbarred for being crooks (e.g. stealing clients' funds) or criminals (e.g. getting busted for drugs). They can also get disbarred for sufficient inattention to client's affairs that malpractice has occured (e.g. the statute of limitations has been blown). Very often, there's an underlying chemical dependency problem.

Being a cog in the right-wing noise machine isn't, alas, a disbarrable defense. Otherwise, Anne Coulter's license would have been lifted long ago!

"Otherwise, Anne Coulter's license would have been lifted long ago!"

Probably you mean Ann Coulter.

This makes me all warm and fuzzy inside:

The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.

Probably. We mustn't exclude the possibility that "Anne Coulter" was a misspelling of "Laura Ingraham".

Your quote, Ugh, doesn't really indicate what's news (certainly I read it, and wondered what the news part was). Anybody who has been paying attention knows about national security letters; the new part is this:

The F.B.I., the lead agency on domestic counterterrorism and espionage, has issued thousands of national security letters since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, provoking criticism and court challenges from civil liberties advocates who see them as unjustified intrusions into Americans’ private lives.

But it was not previously known, even to some senior counterterrorism officials, that the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have been using their own “noncompulsory” versions of the letters. Congress has rejected several attempts by the two agencies since 2001 for authority to issue mandatory letters, in part because of concerns about the dangers of expanding their role in domestic spying.

I have to say, as someone who tries to follow the intelligence, and civil rights abuse, aspects of stuff, that this isn't, so far, all that high on my list of things to be alarmed about, although it's certainly something to keep on the list to pay attention to, and watch out for abusive of; and, of course, if either the CIA or DoD doesn't have the power to issue national security letters, they should be made to stop, obviously.

I do find the note about the CIFA database of interest, though also of absolutely no surprise:

[...] In the next year, they plan to incorporate the records into a database at the Counterintelligence Field Activity office at the Pentagon to track possible threats against the military, Pentagon officials said.
I've been writing about CIFA and Talon's abusives for almost five years now; CIFA needs to be reined in, overall, and possibly abolished. That's the important issue (although the largest issue is, of course, the political leadership that pushes this sort of thing, and doesn't restrain it at all).

I've read that both AG Gonzales and a DoD spokesperson have already disavowed Stimson's comments, so take that for what you will.

Ooo ooo ooo! I get to nitpick Gary!

Gates' testimony in his confirmation hearings is certainly over, Gary, but surely you're aware that he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Friday?

Nell, they did the same thing this year in the VA-11 race this year against Andrew Hurst (I got slicks in the mail all the time informing me that "Extreme liberal Andrew Hurst DEFENDS CRIMINALS!"), and it actually worked. He lost to Tom Davis 55-43.

"Gates' testimony in his confirmation hearings is certainly over, Gary, but surely you're aware that he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Friday?"

Are you suggesting that we use a time machine to get to him last Friday, or that he'll be testifying again on Monday, Josh? It's a bit unclear.

I mean, it's a given that sooner or later the Secretary of Defense will be testifying before Congress again, but if we weren't discussing his confirmation testimony, I missed the meaning of the question, I admit.

(Personally, I think Gates is a weasel, and experienced and slippery enough that he knows how to evade during testimony extremely well, so I'm unclear what the exercise would derive, in any case, but it seems unlikely to hurt to try to make him answer.)

Are you suggesting that we use a time machine to get to him last Friday, or that he'll be testifying again on Monday, Josh? It's a bit unclear.

Bernard's question read to me like he was referring to Gates' most recent appearance before the Senate... that while he testified on Friday, his testimony might continue on Monday.

Bernard's question read to me like he was referring to Gates' most recent appearance before the Senate.

I was in fact referring to the recent testimony.

Ooo ooo ooo! I get to nitpick Gary!

LOL. I’m jealous. (kidding Gary).

If people are eager to nitpick me, I'll be happy to save time and just hand out the nits directly to anyone who asks, if they like.

Monday's a holiday, isn't it?

George Mason U., huh? Law school, huh?

Perhaps his instructors spent so much time on "murdering doctors and blowing up hospitals" that they had to skip the chapter on "fundamental principles of American jurisprudence". Textbooks can be really annoying that way.

If people are eager to nitpick me, I'll be happy to save time and just hand out the nits directly to anyone who asks, if they like.

I’m not proud. 2 nits please.

Damn – I’m loving my new Staples Easy Button.

Whose side are you motherf*****s on?

Disbar this man for what?

Speaking the truth?

Oh, I forgot....truth is antithical to "the law."

I KNOW Leahy is a friend of Al Qaeda.

Were you all high-fiving on Sept. 11,2001?

Jaha, men vad har vi här?

Trollen är så tråkig.

Megadittoes Graywolf!

[Senator] GRAHAM: ...
I really do worry that in the future that if we up here start holding who you represent against you, that young lawyers in the future will pass on the hard cases.

What's your thoughts about that?

[Then Judge, now Chief Justice] ROBERTS: You know, it's a tradition of the American bar that goes back before the founding of the country that lawyers are not identified with the positions of their clients.

The most famous example probably was John Adams, who represented the British soldiers charged in the Boston Massacre. And he did that for a reason, because he wanted to show that the revolution in which he was involved was not about overturning the rule of law, it was about vindicating the rule of law.
...

http://www.senate.gov/~lgraham/index.cfm?mode=speechpage&id=245705>GRAHAM: Do you believe it's being eroded?

ROBERTS: I do think there is an unfortunate tendency to attack lawyers because of the positions they press on behalf of clients. And I think that's unfortunate.

Now pipe down and let the adults talk.

Yeah, what hilzoy said.

(Whatever hilzoy said!)

Liability? ...Laura Rozen links to a Huffington post

As representative of the gov't, Stimson would not be liable? But if disavowed by his superiors, he was speaking as a private citizen, therefore...?

Liability?

It’s not a new revelation of any kind. These firms highlight the information on their websites.

I’m not saying that the guy is not a bozo – just that what he said is not new information, and these firms certainly seem quite proud of their work in this area.

Out of curiosity - I understand the need to perform pro bono work – but why this? Why go out of your way to involve your firm in this? Publicity?

OCSteve: I dunno, not being one of them, but if it were me, it might have something to do with the thought: the administration is trying to do something novel and scary here, namely drop a bunch of people into a legal black hole where the courts cannot reach; and that's a sufficiently scary thing -- for reasons having nothing to do with what you think of the defendants -- that if it were me, I'd want to make very sure that it was litigated as well as it possibly could be.

I might also think: this shows enough disregard for the rule of law that I don't have a lot of confidence in their judgment, so I might be more inclined than usual to wondeer whether they had actually got the right people. (This all before I met a single detainee, and also, given that this all started a while back, so before a lot of the publicity about who the detainees were.) And, of course, the idea of an innocent person being dropped into a legal void is appalling.

But this is just "if it were me", and of course it's not me.

OCSteve, the issue isn't the revelation of information, which as you say isn't secret, or the apparently unnecessary FOIA request. The issue is a government official encouraging a boycott of law firms that defend people accused of terrorism. That goes well beyond mere bozoism.

hilzoy - I think that pretty much sums the thought process nicely (not that I'm one of the lawyers either). The administration brought this on themselves, had they treated the prisoners at Gittmo as POWs and/or put them on (a fair) trial with legal representation and due process, they wouldn't have S&S, Cleary and others breathing down their necks (or at least there would be fewer of them).

Instead, they specifically chose Gittmo because of its somewhat unique legal status ("it's Cuba's, we just lease it from them forever") and argued for years (and still do, I think), that no one could review what they had done there (and did effectively the same thing to Padilla), that they can treat the "detainees" with impunity, and that they were all presumed guilty.

It really is quite appalling.

I understand why you would do it Hil. I’m a little more cynical about large law firms though. It just makes me thing, Hmm, what’s in it for them?

KCinDC – agreed. I don’t want to come across as defending this – I don’t.

OCSteve, I suggest you put that question to charleycarp.

OCSteve:

One, I can't think of any reason why the law firms wouldn't want the public to know they're defending detainees. No good reason, anyway.

Two, a similar situation arose during the McCarthy Witchhunts. (In fact, it was worse then, since anyone could have their livelihood and liberty threatened by the merest hint they were a Communist sympathizer.) Law firms representing people accused agreed to share the caseload among one another, so no single law firm could be singled out for retaliation.

As history has shown, time and again, intimidation campaigns work best when the victims are isolated, powerless, and afraid of public reaction. By making their work on behalf of detainees public, and by agreeing to share the caseload among many law firms, the ones doing that work today are trying to head off the calumny and intimidation that the Bush Admin and its RW amen chorus have been so good at.

Three, the Bush Administration has wanted to keep its treatment of detainees out of the public eye; has not wanted the issue open to public debate. Silence and secrecy serves the Administration's ends, and those ends have nothing to do with justice, the law, or national security. The more evidence that does come out about the detainees, the more it becomes clear that the Bush Administration knew (and knows) its actions are illegal. You don't fight secret police policies by allowing them to kept secret: that only serves the interests of the perpetrators.

The question isn't "why do the law firms want the public to know what they're doing?" The question should be "Why wouldn't they?"

As a lawyer at one of the law firms identified by Stimson who represents prisoners at Guantanamo, I can tell you that my reason for devoting my own time to the representation is for the reasons Hilzoy presented. It was wrong to intern(imprison) thousands of Japanese during WWII essentially by executive fiat. It is wrong to detain (imprison) hundreds of men (and children) at Guantanamo, indefinitely, without the slightest hint of due process. Frankly, I do not think a client would hire my firm because of this representation and I do think there is a slight chance that clients would avoid the firm because of it. We also have plenty of people at the firm, including partners, who do not approve of the representation. I don't think there is any ulterior motive - I think those of us involved are involved because we believe in the Constitution and that the administration's actions are wrong.

ChrisH: Thanks for the personal insight. It meshes pretty well with what I thought might be the case.

CaseyL: One, I can't think of any reason why the law firms wouldn't want the public to know they're defending detainees. No good reason, anyway.

With most of the detainees, the ones frequently written about here, I would agree with you. It would not bother me a bit if a firm representing me was also helping those detainees. I might even find it admirable. But let’s take an extreme example: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Is someone representing him pro bono? If I found out my firm was representing him I would certainly take my business elsewhere. And I have to think that there are plenty of companies and individuals who won’t distinguish between the actual bad guys and the poor suckers just caught up in this thing. So it seems like little benefit and plenty of downside to me. I just find it curious as a business decision.

As I understand it none of the firms want to represent the 14 high-level former CIA prisoners--CCR, a non profit, is representing Majid Khan. I don't know about the rest. My guess if that anyone files habeas on their behalf it would be a federal public defender or a non profit.

This is all vague & secondhand, mind you. I find both positions understandable. I wouldn't want to represent KSM or Ramzi Bin al Shibh in my free time but I wouldn't necessarily take any firm's decision to represent a former CIA prisoner signify anything other than a commitment to certain legal principles (& perhaps factual interest in documenting exactly went on in those secret prisons.)

"Out of curiosity - I understand the need to perform pro bono work – but why this? Why go out of your way to involve your firm in this? Publicity?"

Because either civil liberties, and our Constitutional freedoms, protect and are available to the weakest and most threatened amongst us, or they are for nothing, and we should care about them not.

"But let’s take an extreme example: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Is someone representing him pro bono? If I found out my firm was representing him I would certainly take my business elsewhere."

So you're saying that you believe that American justice should not be for all, and not available for those you believe (and who are!) guilty.

Well, heck, why single out KSH? Why not just organize blackballs of all lawyers and firms who defend guilty people in court? And blackball everyone who supports them?

Where are ya going to draw the line, once you've determined that justice in our courts is only for some, but not for the really truly guilty, Steve?

"I just find it curious as a business decision."

Justice, and our Constitutional freedoms, aren't supposed to be about business decisions.

Thankfully. (Not that they're free of such considerations, of course, in the real world.)

Gary: I said “extreme example”, I don’t defend this, etc.

I'm confused, Steve. You wrote: "If I found out my firm was representing him I would certainly take my business elsewhere."

Are you withdrawing that? If not, I'm still curious to know the answer to my query: where would you draw the line beyond KSM?

Would you take your business elsewhere from a firm defending one of the other 14? As regards other accused terrorists, your criterion for judging which are worth taking your business elsewhere over would be... what, exactly? And do you distinguish terrorists from other forms of mass murderers? How so, and on what basis? What's the qualitative distinction between KSM, and, say, Ted Bundy or Jim Jones?

Completely digressively, gee, Jon Chait has volunteered to be a pinata again.

OCSteve, why would you take your business elsewhere?

Would you boycott the law firm that represented Timothy McVeigh? Sirhan Sirhan? James Earl Ray?

How about one that specializes in defending accused mobsters? Is Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, for example, more of a danger to America than people who market crack? Or who use blackmail, intimidation, and murder as routine busines practices?

if you are outraged by Stimson's comments and want the restoration of habeas corpus get involved at:

projecthamad.org

join the project!!

Gary: Are you withdrawing that? If not, I'm still curious to know the answer to my query: where would you draw the line beyond KSM?

CaseyL: Would you boycott the law firm that represented Timothy McVeigh? Sirhan Sirhan? James Earl Ray?

If nothing else you folks make me clarify my initial thoughts even to myself. That is a good thing I believe. CaseyL – yes, I would. Assuming there are 2 categories of defendants – those who are pretty much acknowledged to be guilty (in some cases because they are on tape admitting and/or claiming credit for their actions) and those whom we just don’t know. Is there doubt about KSM’s guilt? Do I think he should have the full advantage of our court system, the same rights as any US citizen? No. No way. If I am honest with myself, what I most believe is that he never should have been taken alive.

If OBL is captured tomorrow, would I refuse to do business with a firm that represented him pro bono? You bet. Would I hire Ramsey Clark under any circumstances – no.

It is not exactly black and white but it is not that shaded either. I would boycott a law firm that was representing, for free and at their own volition, a known (tricky I know, but there are cases where it is in fact known) terrorist, child molester, serial killer, OJ, etc.

If that makes me a bad person I can live with that.

I hope there's not a pile-on here on OCSteve, and I want to emphasize I'm not trying to get a sly dig in here, but I'd point out that the presence of a lawyer might not be to create the pretense that the victim is innocent, but to make sure that the appropriate procedures are followed and the appropriate penalty (which the lawyer or firm may feel should never be the death penalty, for example) is handed down. Assuming that someone who defends a person who is 'guilty' is arguing that the person is completely innocent is a bright line that may not actually exist.

But let’s take an extreme example: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Is someone representing him pro bono?

During WWII, eight German saboteurs were captured on US soil. For various reasons, not all of them admirable, FDR insisted that they be tried by a military tribunal, rather than by a civil court.

Two military attorneys were assigned to defend the saboteurs: Cols. Cassius Dowell and Kenneth Royall. They mounted a vigorous defense, including challenging the President's order for a military trial all the way to the Supreme Court. The resulting case was Ex Parte Quirin.

I'm going to go way out on a limb and guess that, in 1942, admitted German saboteurs were not sympathetic clients for US military officers. Nonetheless, they took their defense to the Supreme Court.

I will also go way out on a limb and guess that they did this because they considered the rule of law to be of greater value than their personal feelings about the matter, than the possible consequences for their military careers, and than the preferences of the President, even during wartime.

My guess is that they did it because it was the right thing to do.

Likewise, my guess is that many of the law firms representing inmates at Guantanamo Bay pro bono do so because they believe doing so is essential to the preservation of the rule of law in this country. If I were in a position to have business to give them, they are the first folks I would call.

Thanks -

I would like to point this out to both the writer and those of you making coments backing him. This is actually a matter of black letter law. None of the people being held in Gitmo are claimed as civilians or military by their respective governments, neither are they US citizens, therefore they legally dont exist and can technically simply dissapear. They were taken as enemy combatants though and again because none of their respective home governments claim them, nor does any other government claim them as military assets they do not fall under the Geneva Convention except for a little used clause concerning mercenaries put in to cover the French Foreign Legion. They claim to fight for a non-government cause and therefore fall under the rules for Spies and sabotuers who were allowed to be shot on sight. So i think our only problem is that we're allowing these bozos to keep breathing simply because we wish to get even a breathe of information from them concerning names and locations.

Now before you ask where is there any precedent for this look at acts of Piracy. Granted, its pre-Geneva Convention but it fell under what was considerd the current "rules of war" for the time and such those either caught in the act of piracy or else those suspected and caught at sea were usually either Hanged, drowned, or shot. it was only those caught in port that were allowed a trial.

Finally, lets just for arguments sake say these guys were classified as POWs. What we are doing with them is still legal under the Geneva Convention because the broad umbrella of the "war on terrorism" is still active and as i remember under the Geneva convention there was no requirements for repatriations of prisoners of war until the ceasation of ALL hostilities.

"black letter law"

In that case could you provide cites and distingush Hamdan? Thanks.

"They were taken as enemy combatants though and again because none of their respective home governments claim them"

You're specifically asserting this as a point of fact regarding all or most of the prisoners that have been held at Guantanamo?

Would cites of various governments stating otherwise about various prisoners make any difference to you over this point of fact? How do you explain the Chinese government seeking the return of the Uighur prisoners? What of the more than a hundred prisoners that have, in fact, been released back to their governments? Are you claiming that this high percentage of prisoners released from Guantanamo doesn't exist, or simply that the fact that they were claimed by their governments doesn't contradict your assertion that they are not claimed by their governments?

Would you like citations on prisoners released from Guantanamo?

from International Law and the Holocaust, a lecture by Thomas Buergenthal
(pdf)

In another part of his treatise, Oppenheim points out that whatever protection individuals enjoyed under international law was attributable to their nationality. That is, the state of the individual’s nationality had the right under international law to protect its nationals on the theory that any injury sustained by the individual was deemed to be an injury to the national’s state. One cruel consequence of this rule of law was that a stateless person, that is, a person who had lost or otherwise lacked a nationality, enjoyed no protection under international law. Here is what Oppenheim had to say on this subject in 1912:
As far as the Law of Nations is concerned, apart from morality, there is no restriction whatever to cause a State to abstain from
maltreating to any extent such stateless individuals. On the other hand, if individuals who possess nationality are wronged abroad, it is their home State only and exclusively which has a right to ask for
redress, and these individuals themselves have no such rights.

This, for all practical purposes, was the international law of the pre-World
War I era, and it remained the law until World War II.

(snip)

Moreover, outrageous as it may sound to contemporary ears, Hitler would not have violated the international law in force at the time, had he limited himself to the extermination solely of German and stateless Jews. It is important to keep this sad truth in mind, in order to fully appreciate not only how far international law has come since the days of the Holocaust, but also how much this development is the direct result of the Holocaust.

When it walks like a duck and talks like a duck...

Cecil Hunt: None of the people being held in Gitmo are claimed as civilians or military by their respective governments, neither are they US citizens, therefore they legally dont exist and can technically simply dissapear.

Even were the first half of the sentence correct (up until "respective governments") which it is not, the last section of the sentence is never true (from "therefore" to "disappear") and the whole second half is an indefensible statement besides(from "neither" to "disappear").

An old BBSing friend of mine does pro bono defense work for people he's pretty sure are guilty for exactly the reasons discussed above - justice in America shouldn't be about what anyone guesses or even knows, about what the government can demonstrate within rules that apply to all the accused. Were I looking for an attorney, that's the sort of attitude I'd like to see, because whether I'm guilty or not, having someone paying real attention to the rules whatever they think of me is likely to help.

They claim to fight for a non-government cause

But many of them claim precisely the opposite of this: they claim not to be fighters at all.

I agree on disbarment for Stimson, and posted a similar view on my Albany Lawyer blog.

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