Gitmo Puppet Theater

[Patrick Appel]

Scott Horton looks at the media coverage of the Guantánamo trials:

But while the American mainstream media presented the story with the main spotlight on the Pentagon and its announcements and some trivial sideshows in which bickering lawyers raised quibbles about vexatious technicalities like the hearsay rule, access to exculpatory evidence and the ever-present torture, overseas the Guantánamo proceedings got a different treatment. Outside of the United States, “Guantánamo” is a by-word for torture, authoritarian abuse and injustice. And the fact that the U.S. had elected to put these six detainees on trial before a military commission in Guantánamo drew a predictable review. “There will not be six persons on trial, but seven,” editorialized the predictably pro-American German newspaper Die Zeit. The seventh, of course, is the Bush Administration and its hopelessly corrupted concept of justice.

...the military commissions crafted by the Bush Administration are an embarrassing stain compared to Nuremberg. One of the main reasons is that they have been crafted by political hacks out on a partisan agenda, and the experts who could have done a credible job–first among them the military lawyers in the JAG corps–have been ignored or overruled at each turn. The ability of defense counsel to conduct a meaningful defense has been impeded, with gains coming grudgingly only after the Supreme Court overturned the first, colossally incompetent structure in Rasul. Most menacingly, the specter of torture hovers over the current military commissions proceedings, with the acknowledgement that many of the defendants were subjected to techniques which the entire world (excluding only the Bush Administration) considers to be torture.