Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Bureaucracy FTW!

The kangaroo courts are in trouble. The last incarnation of the unconstitutional tribunals declared the detainees were "enemy combatants," but the legislation authorizing the new incarnation of the sham courts only allows for trial of "unlawful enemy combatants". A military judge has now ruled that an "enemy combatant" is not the same thing as an "unlawful enemy combatant," and tossed out the government's charges in two separate cases.

That missing "unlawful" in the description does not appear for any of the 380 detainees, meaning that cases against all of them can be thrown out on the same grounds. Of course, as bureaucracy giveth, so it taketh away. If the government holds an administrative hearing to change the status to add the missing "unlawful", it can refile the charges.

The government has 72 hours to appeal the decision. However, it turns out that they have not yet bothered to even set up the appeals court (the military commissions review) for this process. If they choose to file an appeal, they'll find that court to which they must appeal doesn't actually exist. I would imagine that this whole "failure to exist" thing may cause some problems for them.

Still, given their ability to find nonexistent voters in the last election, filing briefs with a nonexistent court should be a walk in the park... a nonexistent park.


Johnny Yen said...

Great post.

If there have been heros in the situation, it's been the military lawyers assigned to the detainees, who went public about the attempted railroadings, at risk to their careers.

We need to send a bunch of copies of "The Battle of Algiers" to Washington, D.C.

Flannery Alden said...

Speaking as a bureaucrat, I think some of the most fascinating parts of my work are time travel and black holes.

BTW: Stop making me think. It's Wednesday for crying out loud!

deadspot said...

Yeah, Johnny, I really liked the military defense lawyer who said "We don't need any more evidence that it's a failure - this system should just stop."

That sounds like fun, Flan. Can I come with? (I hope Thursday's post was less thought provoking.)

Flannery Alden said...

I think next week is "Take Deadspot To Work" Week. Join me anytime!