Defense Department photo
Brad Wizner, an ACLU lawyer, has been blogging from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo where he has been observing Bush's "military tribunals" as a human rights monitor. His writing gives a very immediate sense of this strange place, full of the trappings of law but containing no sign of any actual justice.
Here's a sample about the appearance of Ali Hamza Ahmad Sulayman al Bahlul who refused to cooperate with the proceedings:
Despite his refusal, al Bahlul was assigned a military lawyer. That lawyer immediately attempted to have himself removed for the case on the grounds that his client did not want him as counsel. Legal ethics forbade him to play that role against his client's instructions. The court did not allow him to withdraw.
This episode points to one of Wizner's core observations on these bizarre proceedings. He writes:
Since we seem to be living through a slow motion coup by the authoritarians in the executive, this sort of resistance based on professional tradition is important. It is not enough to break their power, but any friction in the system improves our chances of living to fight another day.
Wizner is also quite fascinating on what Gitmo is like as an environment for the U.S. forces stationed there. Like many prisons, but even more so because it is intentionally walled off from the mainland, it is also a controlled, brainwashing environment for its working class. Like any other military post, it is well supplied with McDonalds and Subways, as well as some better class restaurants and bars, much frequented. The troops have been given a reinforcing mantra:
Arbeit Macht Frei had already used up its punch, I guess -- besides, there is no indication that anything will ever set either inmates or jailers free.
Do read all about it at the ACLU blog. Thanks to Just World News for pointing me to Wizner.