16 October 2006

U.S. Marine Corps shoots the messenger to cover up war crimes

You're investigating the prison conditions at Guantanamo Bay. You uncover clear evidence of torture and other forms of abuse. Gitmo guards even bragged to you about beating detainees. There is no question that laws have been broken.

So you're threatened. You must not reveal your findings, or you will be punished.

This is exactly what's happening today in the U.S. Marine Corps. According to an article in yesterday's Los Angeles Times, this "has heightened fears among the military defense lawyers for Guantanamo prisoners that their careers will suffer for exposing flaws and injustices in the system."

According to an American University law professor quoted in the article, "In one fell swoop, the government is gagging a defense lawyer and threatening retaliation against a whistle-blower. It really points out what is wrong with the detainee legislation that Bush is scheduled to sign on Tuesday: It permits the abuse of detainees to continue, immunizes the wrongdoers and precludes the detainees from ever challenging it in court."

In other words, we have to shoot the messenger. To the Bush administration, this is apparently a preferable alternative to doing the right thing.

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