Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cornered Rats On A Sinking Ship

Several blog commenters (not on this blog, which has no readers) have noted that members of the Bush administration are beginning to behave like cornered rats.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Of Defense For Detainee Affairs Charles Stimson, the man who rules Guantanamo, recently called for the business community to put pressure on the law firms - and he listed them - who provide volunteers to represent the prisoners detained in his prison. But his statements didn't represent his core beliefs, he later said. He didn't go into detail about his core beliefs or whether they include fair trials.

At least it's nice knowing he has core beliefs, even though he contradicts them in his daily life. Since he has sworn to uphold the Constitution, his actively seeking to deny prisoners legal counsel may not end well for him.

Here are some comments:

"What Stimson did in the radio interview was far worse than "question the integrity" of lawyers attempting to defend Guantanamo prisoners. In fact, Stimson urged Americans to punish these attorneys by threatening their income. Without income, few attorneys can afford to take on pro bono work. Who, then, will ensure that the prisoners' rights are upheld? Who will ensure that our system of government is -- and is perceived as being -- just?

The issue of integrity is a red herring. The real issue is whether the Executive branch believes in the rule of law. Stimson clearly does not." - DonQ

"He apologizes for making it seem that he questions their integrity. But that is the least of the problems with his original comments. The rule of law in the United States is based on the notion of a confrontational process, where both sides work diligently to establish their case in the hope that truth and justice will emerge from that crucible (yeah, reality may be far from the poetic theory, but still...) Stimson is basically saying that if we "know" some people are guilty, then nobody should defend them, or at least, not beyond a pro forma defense. In other words, let us get back to the years where guilt or innocence was decided by royal fiat and mob mentality. While we hear that every so often from the mob itself in emotionally charged cases, to have an official from the government say it... The "apology" is exactly the same as the kind of defense he is advocating for those the administration accuses: weak, pro forma, and worthless." -Arturo.

"what you have reported leaves out the KEY point in this entire episode: THE DAMAGE HAS BEEN DONE.

the most important thing in all this is the fact that stimson LISTED NO LESS THAN SIX FIRMS IN THE INTERVIEW! he read all these firms out loud for the world to hear! you can't leave that part out of your reporting here!

this was hitting below the belt, and i have no doubt it was orchestrated. along with the firings of all those US prosecutors this week.

they're cornered rats, folks, and they know it, and they're going to be on the no-holds-barred offensive for the duration.

read glenn greenwald's reasons why we should be very worried about what these folks will do as bush's house of cards collapses." - Dr. Elsewhere.

"Any lawyers out there?

Are there any legal rules against what he said? could he be disbarred for this? i.e.,interfering with another lawyers client? Retailiating against another law firm?" - braim122.

"Sure, the ABA can certainly pursue a number of actions against Stimson for any number of ethical violations: calling into question the integrity of fellow Bar members absent any justification; failing to maintain decorum in the legal profession; attempting to subvert justice by intimidation; seeking to subvert the attorny/client relationship by suggesting that corporate counsel should fire their lawyers; seeking economic reprisals against members in good standing of the Bar, for merely zealously representing their clients, as is their DUTY to do so; etc. etc.

He has revealed himself to be a partisan rat with no appreciation for the integrity of the legal profession, the constitution, other members of the bar, etc. - which he SWORE to uphold when he was admitted. He sought nothing more than to improve his own position by threatening lawyers in good standing vis a vis their corporate clients.

The best outcome is for this snake to be exposed to public scrutiny and held to account for his actions - they really hate that." -Legalize.

Herewith, this snake is exposed to one more drop of scrutiny.

Finally, to put it in context, a historically knowledgeable commentator notes:

"Historical trivia: Not only did John Adams volunteer to defend the British soldiers who were prosecuted for the Boston Massacre, he won them accquitals!" - Dasher

Here are the rest of the comments. Many thanks to Josh Marshall.


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