Saturday, January 13, 2007

Repulsive Government Criticism of Lawyers Representing Guantanamo Detainees

As reported by the Washington Post, Cully Stimson (also described as Charles Stimson), deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, said in an interview with Federal News Radio on January 11, 2007 that law firms representing those detaineed in Guantanamo are law firms that are "representing terrorists" and suggests that companies consider boycotting those law firms. Mr. Stimson also made another unprofessional comment that the companies working pro bono for free might even have a shady source of unreported payments to work on the cases they are doing for free.

It is shocking and scandalous for a government attorney to accuse law firms that are representing the accused of representing terrorists. The traditional rule used to be that the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty, so the law firms are representing people who are presumed innocent. Also, news articles have reported that many held in Guantanamo are actually innocent. To top it off, the process in Guatanamo has been fiercely criticized as a sham, so it might be fair to say that the law firms are representing people who aren't even being given a fair shot in a real court.

Mr. Stimson's criticism makes absolutely no sense. Under his illogical view, Americans should start boycotting the federal government because some of its prosecutors are representing the government in cases where the defendants are actually innocent. Mr. Stimson criticizes those who represent people based on his suspicion of what the result of a fair trial will be. If we believe some people accused of crimes are actually innocent, then under his illogical stance we should boycott whoever is paying the prosecutors in those cases. Under his illogic, we also should boycott whoever is hiring the judges that are hearing those cases.

I wonder whether it is clearly unethical for Mr. Stimson to make his repulsive comments. A basic right in the United States should be legal representation for those accused of crimes. It seems that Mr. Stimson believes nobody should represent those accused of crimes and that we should punish anyone who is trying to help those accused of crimes (regardless of whether the accusations are correct or justified). Wouldn't it be so much easier to convict people if we scared away everyone from helping them defend themselves in court? What a shameful tactic that Mr. Stimson and by extension the Bush Administration and the military are taking.

In fact, we should put Mr. Stimson to the ultimate test of his own logic -- he should make a promise that if anyone held in Guantanamo is cleared of all terrorism charges, then the Bush Administration and Congress should boycott (or close) the Guantanamo Bay detention center. After all, who would ever want to pay for the people who are falsely accusing others of terrorism and trying to argue what ultimately is a losing proposition before the tribunals? Mr. Stimson should promise to resign if any Guantanamo detainee is cleared of terrorism charges -- and because some have already been released without any terrorism conviction, Mr. Stimson should resign immediately and urge the closing of Guantanamo. Also, the Bush Administration should clear the air and award medals for lawyers who are bravely volunteering time to represent the detainees.

Mr. Stimson also suggested that CEOs should boycott because their bottom line supposedly suffered from terrorist activity. By that illogic, the military contractors and security firms that have been making billions off of security fears should be donating millions of dollars to law firms representing the Guantanamo detainees. But Mr. Stimson doesn't want people to know all the corporations that are profiteering from the war and security anxiety.


Post a Comment

<< Home