Liz Cheney criticizes lawyers for defending accused al-Qaeda detainees

Grania called this tweet to my attention; it’s from Ken White who writes on the site Popehat, and he’s a civil rights and free speech attorney:

If you adhere to anything close to the ideals of American democracy, you recognize that everybody deserves a defense attorney, no matter how horrible the crime of which they’re accused. (And we now recognize that those arrested and sent to the Guantanamo Bay prison camp were often innocent or, at least, minor figures in al-Qaeda rather than big-name terrorists.) Nevertheless, we haven’t closed the Guantanamo camp (Congress wouldn’t let Obama do it), and many detainees linger there still, supposedly awaiting trial. It has now been open for 16 years, and Donald “Make American Reviled Again” Trump signed an executive order keeping it open indefinitely.

This is shameful. Prisoners were originally held there for one reason—so they wound’t be subject to American criminal law but to American military law, which doesn’t afford the accused so much protection. Things have changed now, but the prisoners’ right to a speedy trial has been violated horribly.

Now it’s not only the detainees who are demonized, but also the lawyers whose job it is, rightfully, to give them the best defense they can get. So it’s even more shameful that Liz Cheney (Dick’s daughter) runs an advocacy group that, according to ABC News, is accusing the lawyers themselves, whom they call “The Al-Quaeda 7”, of being terrorist sympathizers:

The conservative group led by Liz Cheney is having to defend itself against criticism from fellow conservatives who say that an ad attacking Attorney General Eric Holder is unfair.

The ad, launched by Keep America Safe, an advocacy group led by Cheney, criticizes Holder for not disclosing details about Justice Department lawyers who have previously defended alleged terrorists.

The video, which surfaced last week, brands the lawyers as the “Al Qaeda 7” and ridicules the Justice Department as the “Department of Jihad.” The narrator questions, “Who are these government officials?…Whose values do they share?”

Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller has called it “offensive” that the patriotism of agency lawyers is questioned by Cheney’s group.

Here’s that video:

It’s no secret that I was on O.J. Simpson’s defense team, serving as an “expert witness” without pay, because I thought that even he deserved a good defense, and I was plenty irked by the government’s slipshod use of DNA evidence (especially the population-genetic analysis and the refusal to consider lab error rates) to want to go after the prosecution’s wonky analysis. While we “won”, I wasn’t happy, and gave up my side career as defense witness expert in DNA cases (almost always defending the poor along with their public defenders).

Those accused of terrorism deserve an equally avid defense. The purpose of this, as I saw in the O.J. case, is not to protect the guilty, but to keep the principle strong that the government has to be able to prove its case “beyond a resonable doubt.”  If we stop holding the prosecution’s feet to the fire on this principle, our whole system of law will be destroyed.

Accused terrorists deserve good lawyers who will make the government prove their case, and those lawyers should not be demonized by being equated with terrorists. Defending the accused, whether guilty or not, is an honorable thing to do.

83 Comments

  1. DrBrydon
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    That’s disappointing from Cheney. As a conservative, I am ashamed at our government’s use of torture and foreign rendition. After all, we’re supposed to be the good guys.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Well, the beat goes on by the current conservative govt. much worse than this. At this moment a first class FBI employee, with an unimpeachable character may be fired just prior to retirement – Andrew McCabe. Dare I think who will be the next fool to go in the very impeachable Trump administration. Tell us…who are the good guys?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Therein lies one of the primary distinctions between principled conservatism and the right-wing fringe.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        So I am confused? Which part of this conservative party just dropped and shutdown the House investigation into Russia/Trump?

        • DrBrydon
          Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

          The other part.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

            Very smart answer. I would assume if you are a proud conservative that you would know? But apparently it all just runs together, eh.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

          The right-wing fringe that inhabits the HPSCI, under the auspices of the weak-kneed establishment wing of the Republican Party, which has become nothing but Trump’s spineless lackeys.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

            So in other words, the entire republican party. I very much doubt the HPSCI, as vile as they are would have done this without the okay from house leadership. I hear no protest. The problems I see here are people who think there is still a normal republican party out there. Just wishful thinking really.

            • Rita
              Posted March 16, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

              +1

      • Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        I appreciate that not all conservatives are of the variety that support Trump. However, there are too many of the bad kind to call them a “fringe”. Either that or the fringe has clumped in places like the House Intelligence Committee.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

          Unfortunately, what was once on the fringe — the disreputable elements that William F. Buckley, Jr., and other responsible arch-conservatives sought to purge from the conservative movement back in the ’60s — has been permitted to worm its way into the GOP base.

          There remain, however, many responsible conservatives — they’ve all be in the “never Trump” camp from the get-go. When all is said and done, I suspect, they may yet go down as the this era’s heroes, as this era’s “profiles in courage,” even more so than those of us resisting Trump from the Left.

          • Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

            Yes, we should encourage the “never Trump” crowd. They are the loyal opposition, as opposed to the traitorous opposition.

          • Historian
            Posted March 16, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

            I am ambivalent as to whether I would refer to the never Trumpers as courageous. Most of them are not politicians but pundits, so they have little to lose in criticizing Trump. No matter what happens, they will continue to opine. Being a pundit is a great job because no matter how often you are wrong it doesn’t matter. You just keep on writing because nobody seems to care what you wrote yesterday.

            In any case, there is no doubt that once was the fringe of the Republican Party is now the mainstream. And the Republican masses do no care. The vast majority still support Trump and the radicals that control Congress. Fortunately, it will only be necessary for the Democrats to peel off a small sliver of Republicans as well as get out their base (which seems to be happening) for them to take over the House of Representatives. I hope it happens. However, most Republicans appear hopeless. Mired deeply in their many grievances about the disappearance of the world of the 1950s, they will stick with Trump to the end.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted March 16, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

              Yeah, the never-Trumpers are underrepresented among Republican office-holders. There are a few in the senate, though, like McCain and Flake from Arizona. And Ben Sasse from Nebraska — he’s pretty much an arrogant asshole, and way too conservative for me to ever consider voting for, but he’s smart and he’s principled, and he’s been anti-Trump from the jump.

      • Craw
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        Yup. This crap from Cheney reminds me of the same crap we got from Hillary long ago about lawyers who defended accused child molesters.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          As I recall, during the 2016 campaign, Team Trump loudly disparaged Hillary for her court-appointed representation of an accused child molester back during her days as a young lawyer practicing in Arkansas.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted March 16, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

            Exactly. Clinton didn’t want to defend the guy, but did so because she’d been appointed to do so. Although given the opportunity, she didn’t join a flash law firm out of law school, but wanted to help the poor. Most of her early career was dedicated to helping children.

            Liz Cheney remains heartless, unprincipled, and just plain nasty. She even all but disowned her own sister because she doesn’t approve of her marriage to a woman, declaring her opposition on national TV.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      The GOP has opted out of the American Democratic Experiment. They no longer represent any broad constituency other than an Oligarchy (of which they are members) mixed in with some low information types.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Everything the GOP does these days — from gerrymandering, to voter suppressions, to abuse of the parliamentary rules of the US senate — should be viewed as a desperate effort to cling to political power in spite of its shrinking voter base.

  2. Evander Williams
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4LPubUCJv58 Surprised you didn’t post this classic video of Hitchens being waterboarded

  3. Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Meghan McCain also got into it with Cheney, tweeting at her something like, “My father doesn’t need torture explained to him.”

  4. Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Also, an attorney’s role is to ensure that his or her client (innocent until proven guilty) gets a fair trial and a fair sentence.

    • Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      I thought the first was implicit in what I said. As far as sentencing is concerned, the defense attorney (note: DEFENSE) has little leeway unless there is a death penalty hearing, or when the attorney advises his/her client whether to take a plea bargain.

      • Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        I was basing my comment on the law as practiced in Switzerland, and in Europe in general. Also, we have long no longer had capital punishment in Europe. Plea bargains do not exist outside of the USA, by the way. The concept of plea bargains is barbaric to European minds.

        • Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

          Sorry, but you’re wrong. Plea bargaining in criminal cases is used in Canada, England, Wales, India, Pakistan, and, to a more limited extent, in Australia and Singapore. See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plea_bargain#Usage_in_common_law_countries

          It’s used more widely in civil cases.

          • Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

            I stand corrected.

            However, my understanding of plea bargaining in the USA from so many articles I have read is the fact that so many innocent people are pressured into reluctantly accepting a plea bargain so as to avoid a jury trial, they are told that they would get a far longer sentence in a jury trial than from a plea bargain, even though they are innocent. This is what I meant about plea bargains not existing outside of the USA, it doesn’t happen in Europe in general, and in Switzerland in particular. I worked for many years as a top legal secretary and legal translator in several law firms in Geneva, among which for Baker & McKenzie. All the lawyers for whom I worked found this form of plea bargaining thoroughly unjust and wrong.

            • Craw
              Posted March 16, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

              In the USA the prosecutor can charge dozens of charges all with draconian penalties. I agree with you it is a much abused system.

            • Posted March 23, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

              Here in Bulgaria, a criminal is caught red-handed or there is a mountain of evidence against him, yet the prosecutor offers him a plea bargain (nobody ever asks the victim of course), the criminal gets a slap on the wrist, laughs in the face of victims and commits fresh crimes for which he will also get a slap on the wrist.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        I took it as implicit in what you said. There is, however, quite a bit of important mitigation advocacy competent defense counsel can do at sentencing — more in death-penalty cases, of course, since such cases include a separate, bifurcated sentencing phase, but in non-capital cases as well.

  5. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    “Donald “Make American Reviled Again “ Trump”[sic]

    I’d call it “Donald “Make America My Play Toy” Trump” is more like it.

    Or perhaps “Make America My Own TV Show”.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Jerry’s correct that Trump is making the US reviled again. According to Pew, there are only two countries in the world where the opinion of the US has increased since Trump became president – Russia and Israel.

      Israel is explained by the early Trump visit to that country, and the higher opinion of Netanyahu that Trump has than Obama.

      Russia is obvious, but the US is still not exactly popular there. A good opinion of Obama’s leadership was held by just 1% of Russians at his lowest point. At the end of 2017, 8% of Russians thought Trump was a good leader.

      As for countries where opinions have gone the other way, some of them are massive, such as c. 90% positive to c. 15% positive. I can’t remember country names off the top of my head, but the survey is easy enough to find.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        For the record

        The scope, limit and extent of my comment is in the crafting of the perfect slogan for the Tweetmeister General.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

          After I posted my comment I realized it sounded like a criticism of you. Sorry about that. It wasn’t. I did get the point of your comments, and it’s a good one. I like your suggestions too.

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

            That’s cool with me, No criticism taken

            However i wanted it clear that I’m not heading into the territory you brought up, but I’m glad to listen.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    This is disgusting, bespeaking an element most foul lingering in the American spirit, an element that seems destined to recrudesce once every generation or so.

    Ordinarily, I abhor as un-American visiting the sins of the father upon a child. But in this case, Liz Cheney has embraced Dick’s moral transgressions. The rotten apple here falls not far from the poisonous tree.

    • Mike Cracraft
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Yeah you right. We used to call Dick the Vice President of Torture.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Very well said. I love your words! Just right for the situation.

  7. Adam M.
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I’m glad Obama wasn’t able to “close” Guantanamo, because his idea of closing it was in the literal sense only. His plan was to move the prisoners into the US and enshrine into law the principle of indefinite detention without charge or trial of not only suspects but even those the government knows to be innocent, if the government claims it serves national security. When people say we should close Guantanamo, they mean end the injustice. Better that Guantanamo remain open as an exception and a symbol of that injustice than to be “closed” and the injustice made unexceptional.

    Anyway, regarding Liz Cheney, Hitchens had the courage to undergo waterboarding himself and he pronounced it torture. If she thinks it not that bad, she should be invited to give it a try. I completely agree about defense lawyers. Plus, how can you know someone is a “terrorist” without a trial, especially when all the evidence is secret? And if the accused is not allowed a defense – if the government can simply say “trust us. we have secret evidence” – then nothing has been proved. It’s just a sham.

    • Posted March 16, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      What’s your reference for Obama wanting to incarcerate the prisoners indefinitely? Since he’s a former lawyer, I find that hard to believe. It seemed to me that he wanted to bring them closer to the criminal justice system, where they should have been in the first place, so they could be treated less as some special “enemy combatant” class.

      Totally agreed with you on Liz Cheney and anyone else that supports torture.

      Same with “we have secret evidence”. It disgusts me that our own government flouts the rule of law, and the morality behind it, when it suits them or when they think they can get away with it.

      • Adam M.
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        Here’s the document from the Obama administration itself:
        https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/GTMO_Closure_Plan_0216.pdf

        Here’s a summary from Foreign Policy:

        For all the hype and early cries of “not in my backyard,” the plan offered no surprises. Obama administration officials have for years outlined their strategy for closing the prison: transfer all the detainees who can be safely moved to third-party countries; charge as many detainees as can be charged through the military justice system; and move those who remain — the “irreducible minimum,” or “worst of the worst,” depending on your side of the aisle — to a facility in the U.S. for indefinite detention as enemy combatants.

        Notably absent are actual trials in the US court system. Military tribunals (the same as in Guantanamo) for those the government believes it can convict there and indefinite detention without trial for the rest.

        • Posted March 16, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          What I was objecting to was the implication that Obama was ok with the “irreducible minimum” rather than simply having no other viable choice. Perhaps that was not what you were saying. He certainly could have done more in this area but I put it down as just having other fish to fry.

          • Adam M.
            Posted March 16, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

            It could be that he wished he could do more but kept presenting this plan because it’s the most he thought he could get. He didn’t really say so, but perhaps he feared saying would have undermined his plan. It’s a case of putting politics over justice, but maybe that’s the messiness of reality.

            • Posted March 16, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

              Funny! Adam, our last comments crossed in the ether and said virtually the same thing. I think we can safely say we’re on the same page on this issue.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      What’s your basis for claiming that Obama intended to “enshrine into law the principle of indefinite detention without charge or trial”?

      Before Obama took office, the Supremes had decided a line of cases, including Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006) and Boumediene v. Bush (2008), that made plain that detainees held in the US would be entitled to the full panoply of due process rights. As a former professor of constitutional law at UC law school, Obama undoubtedly understood this much better than most.

      • Adam M.
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        See above, especially the official plan document from the Obama administration. It describes the “Disposition Options for Remaining Detainees” as: 1) “Article III or Military Commission Prosecution” (i.e. military tribunals), 2) “Transfers to Third Countries”, and 3) “Law-of-War Detention in the United States” (i.e. indefinite detention without trial)

        It says “To accomplish this plan, the Administration will work with Congress to lift unnecessary prohibitions in current law.” I.e. the changes would be enshrined in law.

      • Adam M.
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        The plan also says that for future detainees they could use “prosecution in the military commission system or in Federal court; transfer to another country for an appropriate disposition there; or law of war detention, in appropriate cases”, showing that indefinite detention and military tribunals would apply not just to the existing detainees but would be an ongoing policy applied to new detainees as well.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted March 16, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          I vaguely remember one of the arguments for transfer to the US was that the prisoners would have access to the US justice system. There were people pointing out that the criminal courts had a much better record when it came to convicting alleged terrorists than military courts.

          Afaik it’s legal for the military to hold enemy combatants as long as conflict remains, and the issue was making it legal for them to be held in non-military prisons. It wasn’t because none were ever going to be charged.

          However, the problem with charging them has always been lack of evidence, and that won’t change, wherever they are. It seems to me that’s why they’re not being charged. There’s little or no evidence that would stand up in court, and they would have to be released.

          • Adam M.
            Posted March 16, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

            They might have had better prospects of accessing the US court system in the US, but that was not described as a possibility in the plan. In fact, the plan spends some paragraphs describing why the administration believes they would be ineligible for certain types of relief from the courts (apparently as a defense against those who might criticize the plan out of fear the prisoners could be set free).

            I think you’re right that a lack of evidence is part of the problem, but the response the government has been to simply hold indefinitely those they can’t convict. (Even under Obama, the government repeatedly declared that they could continue to hold them even if they were acquitted at trial.)

            It’s legal to hold them this way thanks to the passage of the AUMF under Bush, but I wouldn’t say it’s just. The point of the ‘enemy combatant’ designation was apparently to sidestep the protections normally afforded to prisoners of war under the Geneva conventions. And saying they can be held until end of the conflict in the context of the “global war on terror” seems like a way of holding people forever without being honest about it, since there’s no defined end to the conflict…

            • Posted March 16, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

              Obama might have wanted to let prisoners go if there wasn’t enough evidence to convict them but imagine the political fallout for merely mentioning that as a possibility. This was at a time when the GOP leadership publicly stated their objection to the very idea of him being president and Trump and friends were still pushing the birther BS.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted March 16, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

              Yeah, my understanding is it comes from the Geneva Convention too. But, as you say, they were thinking of conventional war there. A peace treaty is signed, and prisoners are returned. The so-called global war on terror is a battle against an ideology, so it can’t ever really end,

              And I wholeheartedly agree it’s it’s unjust.

              But I’ve got a bit of a problem with the US prison system in general anyway. Too many people are imprisoned. Sentences are too long. There’s too much solitary confinement. Private prisons. The stuff Joe Arpaio got away with. etc.

              Not that NZ is much better. We need major prison reform too. I think the whole world should be looking at the Norwegian example.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 16, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

          Actual “prisoners of war” (in the Geneva convention sense) have never been entitled to criminal trials — not in any nation at any time, to the best of my knowledge (and certainly not in this nation during WW2, when German POWs were held in the territorial US). Had the Gitmo prisoners been moved to the US proper, however, they would have been entitled to full-fledged habeas corpus review in the US courts, to challenge their status and the legality of their confinement — something they’ve been denied while in Cuba. The document you’ve cited does not support the broad assertion in your initial comment that Obama wished to “enshrine into law the principle of indefinite detention without charge or trial of not only suspects but even those the government knows to be innocent” (emphasis added).

  8. Jeff Chamberlain
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Many lawyers take the “everyone deserves a defense attorney” ideal seriously, and
    Cheney’s comments may be an extreme case, but “demonizing” lawyers who represent unpopular clients is not uncommon. Representing terrorists (even the “alleged” kind), or child molesters, or Nazis, or organized crime figures, can reduce the ability of even the most idealistic lawyer to attract less controversial clients, and may also limit other opportunities, such as social invitations or opportunities to participate in communal or political affairs.

    • Posted March 16, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Perhaps someday we can appoint artificial intelligence entities as defense attorneys for such people. One of the many dirty jobs we can make robots do. Of course, they may eventually rise up in protest.

      • Posted March 16, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Technically,, you don’t know they are “such people” until the trial is over and the guilty verdict is delivered.

        • Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

          True, but representing an ACCUSED child molester is still a pretty dirty job.

          • Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

            No it’s not a dirty job, it’s upholding the rights of the accused (still presumed innocent) in the face of a lot of hostility. It’s noble rather than dirty.

            Actually, even if they’re guilty, the above still applies. Everybody has a right to legal representation.

            • Posted March 18, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

              Perhaps you misunderstand me. I am totally in favor of everyone getting legal representation. Yes, it is noble of those that do it partly because it is such a detestable job.

  9. Posted March 16, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Right on Jerry!

  10. nicky
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Indeed, casting aspersions on and demonising lawyers for defending -even the indefensible- criminals and terrorists is the hall-mark of totalitarian dictatorships. I could not agree more that it is totally indefensible and unconscionable to attack these lawyers. And whether they sympathise or not with their clients is irrelevant, should not play any role.
    I think trial by jury is a monster. If I were guilty I’d go for a jury, but if innocent I’d rather not (I think Richard Dawkins elaborated on that).
    Plea-bargains as such are maybe not wide-spread in Europe, but the idea of leniency when cooperating with the justice system is not a totally alien concept in nearly all European countries, to put it mildly.

  11. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    It is surprising how readily critics of the lack of legal rights under ‘foreign regimes’ will throw these same rights under the bus in the US (or UK etc) when they relate to some group they disapprove of. I remember John McCain giving a talk here in the UK some years ago and during the Q and A session at the end, when asked about what should happen about prisoners languishing at Guantanamo Bay he expressed the view that terrorists don’t deserve a trial! It seems that people can’t separate the process of determining if someone is guilty from the decision about how they should be punished. It is fair enough to argue that people found guilty of the most reprehensible crimes need to be severely punished but the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is applicable irrespective of the nature of the crime a person is accused of (indeed the more serious the crime the more important that they get a fair trial, given the high stakes).

    • nicky
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, +1. And when emotions are running high, the call for capital punishment is high, but inevitably the risk of making mistakes is high too. We do not want ‘the rule of law’, ‘innocent until proven guilty’ , ‘defense in court’ etc. etc. for spurious reasons.

  12. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    THe spat between Liz Cheney and the McCain family on this issue is quite interesting.

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/15/politics/meghan-mccain-liz-cheney/index.html

  13. Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Like with free speech, the “worst cases” are the most crucial, in a way.

    In another way, of course, the innocent are the most crucial. Abuse of process is horrible, but to the innocent? Beyond awful.

    Also, I note in passing that I’m very skeptical of the means by which many of the prisoners were obtained. We know that people implicate and such, we know that the CIA kidnaps from allies (Italy) and other nasty tricks. So IMO the whole thing is a terrible business.

    Legally, I don’t know one would go about handling it.

    • Posted March 16, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Yes, surely some of the prisoners were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. No one would expect soldiers on the front lines to accurately separate the good guys from the bad guys. This is why there needed to be real trials.

      • Adam M.
        Posted March 16, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Some (not many) were even determined to be innocent. Doesn’t mean they got released, though. For example, Sami Abdul Aziz Salim al Laithi. From Wikipedia:

        Prior to the Invasion of Afghanistan Al Laithi was teaching English and Arabic at Kabul University.
        During his stay at Camp Delta Al Laithi was rendered a paraplegic… during a beating administered in the prison hospital, a guard threw him on the floor, and stomped on his back… Al Laithi says the beating crushed two of his vertebrae, confining him to a wheelchair…
        Al Laithi is one of the small percentage of Guantanamo detainees who, during his Combatant Status Review Tribunal, was determined not to have been an “enemy combatant” after all…
        Al Lathi remained in solitary confinement, after he had been determined to have been an innocent bystander…

        • Adam M.
          Posted March 16, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          “Some” turns out to be 38. Al Laithi was eventually returned to Egypt after ~4 years in confinement.

  14. Mark R.
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t agree more PCC(e). Ms. Cheney has no idea what the 6th Amendment is…no surprise, really.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      +1. A strong, independent justice system is at the core of any democracy. The right to a free trial cannot be compromised.

  15. Monika
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Spot on! Without real legal representation and truely independent judges we’d be back to the Volksgerichtshof of Nazi Germany with predetermined verdicts and everything.

    • nicky
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Not to mention the purges and ‘show trials’ under Stalin

  16. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 16, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    This WEIT post doesn’t make it clear that the info in paragraph 4 onwards is eight years old. That ABC story is from 2010, the embedded video is from 2010 & Liz Chaney’s bullshit site, KAS [Keep America Safe] closed in 2013

    Also some of the links do not work

  17. Posted March 16, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I realise the most important thing here is the right to legal representation.

    But that’s so self-evident it’s not really worth a comment. What truly shocked me was “It’s slander to call waterboarding torture”.

    WTF.

    • nicky
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Yes, we all know waterboarding is torture, don’t we? Even Mr McCain, who is an expert on the receiving side one could say, as well as a staunch Republican, considered it so. Who are those to refute him?

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 16, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Right

      I’m out of it today, but I want to say I honestly do not understand the statement in any way – it is certainly English, but seems not to have any meaning in it….?

  18. Posted March 16, 2018 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    What would Mz. Cheney and her fellow travelers say about defending Nazi German and Imperialist Japanese War Leaders? If they deserved legal representation, shouldn’t those being detained at Gitmo receive the same? “The Nazi defendants received their indictments on 19 October 1945, and the trial was set to begin on 20 November. The trial was initially scheduled to begin in September but had to be pushed back to November because the defendants had no counsel. All the defendants had to have access to their defense counsel for at least thirty days before their individual trials could
    commence. The judges were actually shocked to learn that the German war criminals had been
    held in prison for three months without the benefit of counsel. Such action could have been grounds for a mistrial if the proceedings had occurred in the US.” – pg. 3-4, Göring’s Trial, Stahmer’s Duty: A Lawyer’s Defense Strategy at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, 1945-46. http://commons.lib.jmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1031&context=mhr

  19. Hempenstein
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Um, does Liz have any law background whatsoever? Guessing not.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Exactly my thought. I’ll have to look up her education.

      If a nobody said what she said, it’d get buried. But her claim to fame allows otherwise.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      She graduating from law school & worked private sector at White & Case – 15 years before that nonsensical tweet: “It’s slander to call waterboarding torture”

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Oh dear :

      Colorado College (B.A.)
      University of Chicago (J.D.)

      … is this the right Liz Cheney?

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liz_Cheney

      • Hempenstein
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        Oy! Can a JD be rescinded?

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Doesn’t matter
      If Steven Pinker, Stephen Hawking, or even PCC(E) (PBUH^*) said those less-than-10-words, I’d chalk it up to “nobody’s perfect”.

      *Paws Be Upon Him

  20. jaxkayaker
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Liz Cheney: objectively anti-U.S. Constitution, objectively pro-war crimes.

  21. Hempenstein
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    So it’s not OK to defend al Qaeda detainees but it’s OK for Boss Tweet to have attorneys?


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