Reports from the Hamdan trial at Camp Justice

Ben Wizner of the ACLU is covering the _________________ (not sure what to call it) of Salim Hamdan at Camp Justice on Guantanamo Bay.  You can find his blog reports at Daily Kos.

In an interview with Glenn Greenwald at Salon Radio: ACLU at Gitmo Wizner described what he’s been allowed to see so far.   A transcript of the interview can be found here.

At least read the transcript, remembering that what the Bush administration is doing with Hamdan is being done in the name of and on behalf of the United States of America with Congressional approval.

Listening to the interview, one gets the feeling the military commission rules were approved by people who had no understanding of what they were approving and that the prosecution is following orders given by someone who deeply believes in prosecuting those at the very bottom of the chain of command.

The more citizens who know about what is going on at Camp Justice the better.

The proceedings at Camp Justice make the infamous bridge to nowhere look like an inspired creation, a wise expenditure of taxpayer dollars.  The phrase “Good job Brownie” comes to mind together with images of unimaginable destruction in the background.  Who on earth gave the order to put Hamdan “on trial?”  And who on earth came up with the name “Camp Justice,” which resonates in the same way as “Mission Accomplished?”  

Among other things, the Hamdan proceeding is no way to treat the men and women of the United States military who have been ordered to carry out a mission that seems doomed from the start.

My opinions are based on what little information is available from Camp Justice.  Additional information would be welcome.



The Dark Side by Jane Mayer: a moral obligation

I’m only on page 118 but already I feel justified in making the following recommendation.  Anyone who has any interest in what “the rule of law” means, or who has children, or who wants to know more about what America is, or who wants a clue about what may lie in store for the country and its citizens in the years to come should read The Dark Side by Jane Mayer. (links are to Amazon)

Any high school or secondary school teacher or college, university or community college professor who is interested and willing and capable of assigning a book that will generate questions about history, law, government, philosophy, morality and the obligations of being a US citizen should read The Dark Side and decide whether to use it in class.

At least one professor in every law school in the country should recommend The Dark Side to all of the school’s students and make himself or herself available to discuss the book even if not part of any class. 

Every law office – from solo practitioners to the largest firms, including public and private lawyers – should have a copy of The Dark Side in their library in the hope that at least some lawyers will make time to read it as part of CLE to deepen one’s understanding of what “the rule of law” means. Lawyers have a professional obligation to respect and to uphold the rule of law, which is only possible if one has an understanding of what the rule of law is.

In my view citizens who are lawyers have a special if not obligation then opportunity to have a basic understanding of what the rule of law means so that they can talk intelligently about it to family, friends, neighbors and to others in the community and in the profession.  

As Mayer’s superbly written book demonstrates vividly the meaning of “the rule of  law” has been drawn into question in a way that affects and that will affect the country and its citizens especially our children.

William Sloan Coffin, Yale’s Chaplain in the 1960’s and 70’s, once said in a sermon that “Every citizen has an obligation to confront the moral issues of his time.”  (Coffin’s sermon changed my life.)  The meaning of “the rule of law” is perhaps the most important moral issue confronting the United States today.  One way to begin to understand and to confront that issue is to read The Dark Side.