Defense Lawyers at Guantánamo Bay

Powerful GQ article on military lawyers defending detainees at Guantánamo Bay. An excerpt:

Which is why the commissions were designed to appear to be fair. The rules required each defendant to be provided a JAG officer who would be bound by personal and professional honor to present as robust a defense as possible. It would all look very proper, but the outcome would be preordained, the defendant utterly doomed, because of all the other rules….

“Only the government benefits if we do a bang-up job,” Fleener says. “The administration believes the commission process will ultimately justify the detentions. They know they can’t just hold people; they don’t want to take the political heat. So they rigged the rule of law. And because it’s rigged, the only thing that’s in play is the appearance.” And the detainees know it, which is why they don’t want to go along with a charade. “At the end of the day,” he says, “that’s how these guys look at it: ‘If I’m going to get a life sentence—or a death sentence—I’d rather get one in this weird, disgusting system that everyone knows is a weird, disgusting system than have some military lawyer up there dancing and juicing it up and making it look like it’s not rigged.’”

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