Thursday, November 20, 2008

Federal Judge Orders Release of 5 Guantanamo Detainees.

It's as bad as any of us ever suspected.

A U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, a Bush appointee, has ordered the Bush administration to release five men held at Guantanamo Bay for seven years "forthwith" because the US government has failed to provide sufficient evidence to justify a continuation of their detentions.

He has even told the Bush administration that they shouldn't appeal his decision as "seven years of waiting for our legal system to give them an answer" was long enough.

This is simply scandalous. Bush, acting as if he had the power of a King, declared these men "enemy combatants" and - when asked to provide the evidence on which this decision was made - could produce nothing more substantive than a single source.

It boggles the brain to consider that these men have been held for seven years without trial and without there being any credible evidence that they had ever done anything wrong.

At first Bush, in his State of the Union Address claimed that they had plotted to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, but this claim was quickly dropped to be replaced by a claim that they had intended to attack U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The very fact that the initial charge and the later ones are so far apart leads one to conclude that a certain amount of creativity was involved here.

Leon said the government did not provide enough credible and reliable evidence during a series of closed hearings to justify the detentions of the five Algerians: Lakhdar Boumediene, Mohamed Nechla, Mustafa Ait Idir, Hadj Boudella and Saber Lahmar. He said the allegations were provided by a single source in an intelligence document. The government did not provide enough information about the source to determine whether he or she was credible or reliable, Leon ruled.
They have held these men for seven years without the Bush regime ever gaining any corroborating evidence which would hold up in a court of law. This is the exact same single sourcing technique which led this regime to come to so many erroneous conclusions regarding Iraq and Saddam's WMD.

And the judge who ordered their release is hardly a liberal lefty:
Judge Leon is a Bush-43 appointed Judge known as a right-wing ideologue and known for ruling in favor of the Government and for expansive executive power. He was Deputy Chief counsel for the Republicans on the Iran-Contra Committee in 1987, was Special Counsel to the Senate Banking Committee for the Whitewater investigation, and worked for both the Reagan and Bush 41 Justice Departments. That Judge Leon -- of all judges -- ruled that there was no credible evidence to suggest that these detainees are "enemy combatants" is as compelling a sign as one can imagine that there is no such evidence.
The Bush regime appear to have been holding these people without having any evidence that they ever did anything wrong.

This really has been one of the darkest periods in America's history when it comes to respect for the rule of law and for persons detained to be tried by a jury of their peers. Bush has suspended Habeas Corpus and decided instead that he would be judge and jury regarding the guilt or innocence of those he chose to detain.

In this case it is clear that he had done so without even requiring that there should be any corroborating evidence to support the initial charge. The charge alone was sufficient to convict.

That's reminiscent of the bad old days of the Soviet Union.

And yet that's been the official policy of the US for the past seven years from a party who claim to be anti-Communist.

And Republican supporters have argued, some of them - Tommy, Jason - on this site, that they had full faith that the government knew things that we didn't and that we should not ask questions and simply take the government at their word.

Today, one of Bush's most ideological judges has found that they were wrong. Bush had no evidence to justify holding these people and he deprived them of their liberty for seven long years. I'd say Bush and some of his supporters should be ashamed of themselves, but I am, by this point, well aware that they are incapable of such an emotion.

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