"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Friday, June 30, 2006
The US government said it could not find the men that Guantánamo detainee Abdullah Mujahid believes could help set him free. The Guardian found them in three days.
Two years ago the US military invited Mr Mujahid, a former Afghan police commander accused of plotting against the United States, to prove his innocence before a special military tribunal. As was his right, Mr Mujahid called four witnesses from Afghanistan.
But months later the tribunal president returned with bad news: the witnesses could not be found. Mr Mujahid's hopes sank and he was returned to the wire-mesh cell where he remains today.
The Guardian searched for Mr Mujahid's witnesses and found them within three days. One was working for President Hamid Karzai. Another was teaching at a leading American college. The third was living in Kabul. The fourth, it turned out, was dead. Each witness said he had never been approached by the Americans to testify in Mr Mujahid's hearing.
Along the same lines, my jaw dropped when I encountered this nugget from the Los Angeles Times (via Hullabaloo, to avoid the LAT registration hassles; emphasis supplied):
The U.S. Navy lawyer who challenged the Bush administration's efforts to try terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, walked a professional tightrope between fellow officers trying to gain speedy convictions and what he considered a moral imperative to buck the chain of command and vigorously defend his client....
Swift was assigned to defend Hamdan by the Pentagon in November 2003 and initially was ordered by a superior officer to secure a plea bargain so there would be a timely conviction.
I can't imagine why some people don't think that accused "enemy combatants" could get a fair trial from the administration's