Friday, April 11, 2008

Just One Article. . . (Again)

If You Haven’t Read It, Then You Don’t Know - Do You?
by By Scott Horton, Harper’s Magazine, April 8, 2008 issue.

Just found the following at This Modern World...  (Read it, then. . .
click the “The rest” link at the bottom, for the full original article.)

Rule of Law
(Via Atrios):

Matthew Diaz served his country as a staff judge advocate at Guantánamo.  He watched a shameless assault on America’s Constitution and commitment to the rule of law carried out by the Bush Administration.  He watched the introduction of a system of cruel torture and abuse.  He watched the shaming of the nation’s uniformed services, with their proud traditions that formed the very basis of the standards of humanitarian law, now torn asunder through the lawless acts of the Executive.  Matthew Diaz found himself in a precarious position—as a uniformed officer, he was bound to follow his command.  As a licensed and qualified attorney, he was bound to uphold the law.  And these things were indubitably at odds.

* * *

One of the crimes the Administration committed was withholding from the Red Cross a list of the detainees at Guantánamo, effectively making them into secret detainees.  Before the arrival of the Bush Administration, the United States had taken the axiomatic position that holding persons in secret detention for prolonged periods outside the rule of law (a practice known as “disappearing”) was not merely unlawful, but in fact a rarified “crime against humanity.”  Now the United States was engaged in the active practice of this crime.

The decision to withhold the information had been taken, in defiance of law, by senior political figures in the Bush Administration.  Diaz was aware of it, and he knew it was unlawful.  He printed out a copy of the names and sent them to a civil rights lawyer who had requested them in federal court proceedings.

* * *

Diaz spent six months in prison and left it bankrupt and without a job.  In addition to his sentence, the Pentagon is working aggressively to have Diaz stripped of his law license so he will not be able to practice his profession.  The Bush Administration has sought to criminalize, humiliate and destroy Diaz.  Its motivation could not be clearer: Diaz struck a blow for the rule of law.  And nothing could be more threatening to the Bush Administration than this.

* * *

In the week in which Diaz received the Ridenhour Prize, another Pentagon “secret” was disclosed.  This “secret” was a memorandum made to order for William J. Haynes II, Rumsfeld’s General Counsel, and the man at the apex of the Pentagon’s military justice system that tried, convicted and sentenced Diaz.  The memo was authored by John Yoo.  This memorandum was designed to authorize the introduction of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading interrogation techniques to be used upon prisoners held at Guantánamo, and ultimately also used in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The memorandum authorized waterboarding, long-time standing, hypothermia, the administration of psychotropic drugs and sleep deprivation in excess of two days in addition to a number of other techniques.  Each of these techniques is long established as torture as a matter of American and international law.  The application and implementation of these techniques was and is a crime.

* * *

Following the implementation of these techniques, more than 108 detainees died in detention.  In a large number of these cases, the deaths have been ruled a homicide and connected to torture.  These homicides were a forseeable consequence of the advice that Haynes and Yoo gave.

The rest.  [Full, original article at Harper’s Magazine.]

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =  <  B e l o w  T h e  F o l d  >  = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 

A “Below The Fold” Bonus Perspective Article - Enjoy. . .
from the independent investigative journalist Robert Perry, at The Consortium.

“Losing the War for Reality”

“When future historians look back at the sharp decline of the United States in the early 21st Century, they might identify the Achilles heel of this seemingly omnipotent nation as its lost ability to recognize reality and to fashion policies to face the real world.

Like the legendary Greek warrior – whose sea-nymph mother dipped him in protective waters except for his heel – the United States was blessed with institutional safeguards devised by wise Founders who translated lessons from the Age of Reason into a brilliant constitutional framework of checks and balances.

That is the crucial lesson for understanding the arc of U.S. history over the past three decades.”

[I'll not reproduce the article here.  Click the link above for the full article.  It is worth the read.]


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