Anant Raut, an attorney with the white-shoe (and known Aussie-employing) firm of Weil, Gotshal, and Manges, responds to the DoD’s sniveling goatfucker Charles Stimson in Why I Defend ‘Terrorists’, an open letter running in Salon. A bit:
Mr. Stimson, I don’t defend “terrorists.” I’m representing five guys who were held or are being held in Guantánamo without ever being charged with a crime, some of them for nearly five years. Two have been quietly sent home to Saudi Arabia without an explanation or an admission of error. The only justification the U.S. government has provided for keeping the other three is the moniker “enemy combatant,” a term that has been made up solely for the purpose of denying them prisoner-of-war protection and civilian protection under the Geneva Conventions. It’s a term that was attached to them in a tribunal proceeding so inherently bogus that even the tribunal president is compelled to state on the record, in hundreds of these proceedings, that a combatant status review tribunal “is NOT a court of law, but a non-judicial administrative hearing.”
[…] the question I get asked more than any other is, “How can a place like Guantánamo continue to exist?” I think it is because we as a nation are afraid to admit we’ve done something wrong.
There is a widespread belief, as well as a need to believe, that the men we’re holding in Guantánamo must be bad people. They must have done something to end up there. They couldn’t just be, in large part, victims of circumstance, or of the fact the U.S. government was paying large bounties in poor countries for the identification and capture of people with alleged ties to terror. If the bulk of the detainees are guilty of nothing but being in the wrong place at the wrong time, if there’s no evidence that some of them did the things of which the government has accused them, then it would mean that we locked innocent people in a hole for five years. It would mean not only that our government wrongfully imprisoned these men but that the rest of us stood idly by as they did it. (Emph. added.) It would mean that we have learned nothing from Korematsu v. United States, that we have learned nothing from the McCarthy-era witch hunts, and that when we wake up from this national nightmare, once again we will marvel at the extremism we tolerated in defense of liberty. It would mean that even as we extol the virtues of fairness and due process abroad, we take away those very rights from people on our own soil.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It is my belief that the true test of a nation’s commitment to liberty occurs not when it is most readily given, but rather when it is most easily taken away.
Mr. Stimson, that is why I do what I do.