The new McCarthyism

In The American Prospect, Adam Serwer writes:

The “Gitmo Nine” aren’t terrorists. They weren’t captured fighting for the Taliban. They’ve made no attempts to kill Americans. They haven’t declared war on the United States, nor have they joined any group that has. The “Gitmo Nine” are lawyers working in the Department of Justice who fought the Bush administration’s treatment of suspected terrorists as unconstitutional. Now, conservatives are portraying them as agents of the enemy.

In the aftermath of September 11, the Bush administration tried to set up a military-commissions system to try suspected terrorists. The commissions offered few due process rights, denied the accused access to the evidence against them, and allowed the admission of hearsay — and even evidence gained through coercion or abuse. The Bush administration also sought to prevent detainees from challenging their detention in court. Conservatives argued that the nature of the war on terrorism justified the assertion of greater executive power. In case after case, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the administration’s critics.

“These lawyers were advocating on behalf of our Constitution and our laws. The detention policies of the Bush administration were unconstitutional and illegal, and no higher a legal authority than the Supreme Court of the United States agreed,” says Ken Gude, a human-rights expert with the Center for American Progress, of the recent assault on the Justice Department. “The disgusting logic of these attacks is that the Supreme Court is in league with al-Qaeda.”

The New York Times reports:

A former Justice Department official who led the Bush administration’s courtroom defense against lawsuits filed by Guantanamo detainees is denouncing attacks on Obama administration appointees who previously helped such prisoners challenge their indefinite detention without trial.

Peter D. Keisler, who was assistant attorney general for the civil division in the Bush administration, said in an interview that it was “wrong” to attack lawyers who volunteered to help such lawsuits before joining the Justice Department.

“There is a longstanding and very honorable tradition of lawyers representing unpopular or controversial clients,” Mr. Keisler said. “The fact that someone has acted within that tradition, as many lawyers, civilian and military, have done with respect to people who are accused of terrorism – that should never be a basis for suggesting that they are unfit in any way to serve in the Department of Justice.”

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2 thoughts on “The new McCarthyism

  1. Norman Morley

    I am not surprised any more when we hear that the Government is to continue down the path of being wrong. The justice Department has continually let the American People down since the 80’s. The P.O.T.U.S., holding the Bully Pulpit, seems unable or unwilling to follow up on his “Pep Talks”, preferring instead, to try and appease a smaller segment of the population. Whether this is done out of the inability to stand by his convictions, or is just a ruse, which seems to be gaining more momentum each day, somewhat akin to that “Snow Ball” rolling down a steep hill, has left those of us who helped bring him to office, wallowing in the dirt. I’m sure others will take issue with my take, but @ 71 years old, I think that I can be of the opinion with a confidence of having observed quite a bit of History. So, the P.O.T.U.S. defies the public again, wasting time on the so called Military tribunals, continuing the failed process of the Bush years, along with everything else Bush. What a disappointment this is turning out to be. More of the same.

  2. warren schaich

    The disappointment with the Obama admisistration is at least an indication that we know and understand that the Bush policies are to be continued. That Obama is there to defuse the
    the anger against what Bush and company were doing for world military domination.
    Obama’s job is to continue lying, cover up the Bush crimes and continue with wars against third world people. He is the new hired gun. He answers to Wall Street and the military dictates for more war and bloodshed.

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