The Talking Dog

November 25, 2008, News from the Gulag Archipelago

The Grey Lady issues a lead editorial calling for the United States Supreme Court to take review of the Ali Al Marri case; Mr. Al Marri, you will recall from, inter alia, our interview with his attorney Jonathan Hafetz, was a lawful resident of the United States who was picked up at his home in Peoria on criminal charges, and like Jose Padilla, magically declared an "enemy combatant" and whisked off the very same brig in Charleston, SC where Padilla languished. As noted in our interview with Jonathan Hafetz, the issues and stakes are the same: it matters not under the Bush Administration position whether citizen, lawful alien or unlawful alien... the President can detain you, in camera (for motives ex cathedra), the courts be damned. With luck, the Supreme Court will take review and signal that it will reverse this outrage; if it does not, certainly this is one policy that the new President should consider undoing on his first week, if not his first day, in office, and testing Mr. al-Marri's guilt in an actual court, with actual due process of law .

And down GTMO way (h/t to Candace), it looks like Salim Hamdan is going to serve out the remainder of his sentence in Yemen (you will recall that Hitler's chauffeur bin Laden's occasional driver and motor pool mechanic was sentenced to 66 months, but given credit for nearly 60 with time served). This is an acknowledgment by the Bush Administration that, having failed to obtain the desired life sentence in its own kangaroo court, it could not disavow the sentence without toppling the entire GTMO house of cards in one fell swoop, much as it wants to hold Mr. Hamdan forever, just to show it can.

Meanwhile, near and dear to my heart, Candace tells us she has filed her latest petition for review to the Supreme Court over her client al-Ghizzawi's request for release of his medical records (which, because they would embarrass the government, are the deepest of state secrets, never to be revealed, especially to the ill detainee or his counsel.)

And finally, President-elect Obama appears poised to renominate Gulag-meister and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to another term, of which he is expected to serve at least a year. Sec Def. Gates has certainly said he's with the program on closing GTMO; we'll see if that really comes to pass. Like our friends from Missouri, I suspect you'll have to show me, on that one. We shall see.

This has been... News from the Gulag Archipelago.


You don't sound quite as hopeful about this one as you did in your last posting. But as you say, we shall see. I too am still willing to suspend disbelief and wait to be shown. At least until Obama is president in-fact and has a chance to actually do something.

Posted by Michael L at November 26, 2008 11:38 AM

I remain cautiously optimistic; Obama has shown everyone that he is a conventional politician, albeit a better than usual campaigner and organizer. And there is no reason to believe he will not be more progressive than his 1,2,3,4,5...6 predecessors, that is to say, that he won't be comparable to our last liberal President (that would be Nixon, and by comparable, I mean in the "good" way of being a progressive, rather than in the bad way, of engaging in criminal subversions of the Constitution)... but there isn't much reason to believe that he will be that progressive either.

Again, Obama has studied and taught Constitutional law, and I believe, his heart is in the right place... but once you get in the big chair, and realize that you are getting wildly conflicting advice and that there might be political pressures and prices to be paid for certain actions... well, we'll just have to see. I remain hopefuly that the courts may help him out on this by culling the GTMO population down to the "the terrorists" who number maybe 10% or 15% of the GTMO census, and release the poor innocent bastards who make up the rest... but that's not how you bet either. In the end... the perfect remains the enemy of the good, and none of this is even Obama's call for the next 8 weeks.

Posted by the talking dog at November 26, 2008 12:41 PM

Obama has studied and taught Constitutional law...extremely Rich, oh pardon me.
Well, W studied business. Worked out pretty well.

Posted by Crab at November 28, 2008 6:10 PM

Crab-- you leave Eric Holder out of this!

Posted by the talking dog at November 28, 2008 9:54 PM