GUANTANAMO TRIBUNALS….Although I enjoy reading op-eds, I almost never bother reading editorials themselves. But the LA Times has a powerful editorial today about the farcical Guantanamo tribunals currently underway by Supreme Court order:
The tribunal’s chief officer is a retired Army judge, the only member of the panel with legal training….the five nonlawyers were clearly befuddled last week when asked to define concepts such as due process and reasonable doubt.
The cards are stacked against detainees in other ways too. Government prosecutors got spacious quarters and their own staff to prepare for the hearings. Military defense lawyers were crowded into one room. Midway through the week, the conference table they all shared was removed. The Arab interpreters were so incompetent that the proceedings resembled a game of “telephone,” in which the message veered closer to gibberish with each repetition. Yet this game is about men’s futures.
Given the confusion, officials must feel justified in limiting reporters to pen and paper, which might as well be quill and parchment. No photographic, video or audio recordings of the hearings will ever be released. From the government’s perspective, perhaps the less that Americans know of these bumbling proceedings, the less they’ll care.
I wonder if the Supreme Court will take notice of the cavalier way in which the Bush administration is blowing them off?