Thursday, June 16, 2005

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow 

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death:
At a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Republican Chairman Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said Congress should help to define the legal rights of the inmates at the [Guantanamo Bay] prison, which the panel's top Democrat called "an international embarrassment."

Delaware Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden asked Deputy Associate Attorney General J. Michael Wiggins whether the Justice Department had "defined when there is the end of conflict."

"No, sir," Wiggins responded.

"If there is no definition as to when the conflict ends, that means forever, forever, forever these folks get held at Guantanamo Bay," Biden said.

"It's our position that, legally, they can be held in perpetuity," Wiggins said.
Out, out brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

(Thanks to our esteemed colleague Patrick Nielsen Hayden of Making Light for the link.)

UPDATE: More on the New Justice (via our distinguished colleague Susie Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla):
A military defense lawyer told a Senate hearing on Wednesday that when military authorities first asked him to represent a detainee at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, he was instructed that he could negotiate only a guilty plea.

The lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. Charles D. Swift of the Navy, who represents a Yemeni, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, said that he regarded the effort, in December 2003, "as a clear attempt to coerce to Mr. Hamdan into pleading guilty."

Commander Swift testified that when he visited Mr. Hamdan, he discovered that the prisoner did not want to plead guilty, as the authorities had apparently believed from their earlier interrogation of him, conducted without a lawyer.

So, instead of negotiating a guilty plea, Commander Swift began a spirited defense, according to his testimony. He filed motions to ensure that he be entitled to represent Mr. Hamdan and demanded that his client be given a health examination.

The account of Mr. Hamdan's case, given at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, provides a fresh illustration of how the military's initial expectations for war crimes trials at Guantánamo went unfulfilled.
They did?

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