[Marxism] Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift speaks on Gitmo Supreme Court decision

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jul 1 08:20:44 MDT 2006


(This is from Hardball, a cable news show run by the obnoxious Chris Matthews.)

Lt. CMDR. Charles Swift speaks out
By: John Amato on Friday, June 30th, 2006 at 3:01 PM - PDT

MATTHEWS: Today the United States Supreme Court pushed back hard against 
President Bush and ruled that his policies regarding Guantanamo Bay 
prisoners went against both U.S. and international law. Lieutenant 
Commander Charles Swift, the Judge Advocate General‘s Corps JAG, was 
appointed by the military to represent the Gitmo detainee in the case of 
Hamdan versus Rumsfeld. He had a big win today and he joins us now.

Mr. Swift, let me ask you, what was at stake here in this case decided by 
the court?

LT. CMDR. CHARLES SWIFT, SALIM AHMED HAMDAN‘S LAWYER: At stake was the rule 
of law. The president had staked out a position that was contrary both to 
international law and to our domestic statutes in the Uniform Code of 
Military Justice. What the court did was say that even the president has to 
follow the law. And that if we‘re going to try people, we‘re going to do it 
under the law, not under an ad hoc system.

MATTHEWS:  Does this mean now that our prisoners at Gitmo are going to have 
lawyers and rules of evidence that they can use to defend themselves?

SWIFT:  Well, in a manner of speaking, yes, and one would hope so, because 
what the court was addressing is a trial wherein you could actually be 
executed.  One would hope in an American system that you have lawyers, that 
you have rules of evidence.

In a trial as politically charged as these, that‘s what the rules of 
evidence were developed for.  What it says is that these individuals be 
able to be present during their trials and confront the evidence against them.

MATTHEWS:  What about the charge made recently, just a couple minutes ago 
by Kate O‘Beirne of the “National Review,” that people who fight us who are 
not in uniform, who do not represent countries who are party to the Geneva 
Convention shouldn‘t be free riders?  They shouldn‘t get Geneva Convention 
treatment.  They should be treated like thugs.

SWIFT:  Well, you know, if you‘re looking at it from that way, we have a 
lot of criminals here in this country.  And to prejudge anyone that we 
capture outside the country as a thug, why are we having a trial in the 
first place?  We‘ve already decided they were guilty.

What the Supreme Court said is you have the trial first, you use the 
procedures that are set up under international law, and then you decide 
whether they‘re a thug.  You don‘t make the thug determination going in.

MATTHEWS:  But what happens now if we‘ve got a real—let‘s assume—not your 
client who is a driver for bin Laden.  Let‘s talk about we‘ve got a Luca 
Bratsi down there somewhere in Guantanamo, a real bad guy who 
systematically and cruelly killed a bunch of Americans.

If that guy says now, I want all the rules of evidence applied, I want to 
know about all this classified information the government has at hand, I 
want it in discovery, I want to act like I have F. Lee Bailey down here 
with me, what happens to that prosecution?  This guy is never going to go 
to face any punishment at all, is he?

SWIFT:  Well, you know, you could have said all those things about

Moussaoui.  Moussaoui was part of a plot, that if not on 9/11, somewhere

thereafter would killed maybe thousands.  He wanted access to classified

information.  I think everybody agrees he‘s a real bad guy, and he‘s in a -

in the supermax penitentiary.  We convicted him.

The perverse idea here is that if you can make it to the United States, if 
you can get that far into an attack, then you get all the rights.  It 
seems, you know, the most dangerous people would get all the rights and the 
least dangerous people who are basically like my client, hiding from bombs 
in Afghanistan, get no rights.  That doesn‘t make any sense at all.  And 
that‘s what the court said.

MATTHEWS:  I only have a minute here, sir, and I appreciate your position, 
and I‘m being tough with you because there is another side to this 
argument.  Let me ask you, do you believe that people who fight us as 
terrorists deserve Geneva Convention treatment?

SWIFT:  It‘s not whether they deserve it or not.  It‘s how we conduct 
ourselves.  It has to do where if we say that our opponent can cause us not 
to follow the rules anymore, then we‘ve lost who we are.  We‘re the good 
guys.  We‘re the guys who follow the rule and the people we fight are the 
bad guys and we show that every day when we follow the rules, regardless of 
what they do.  It‘s what sets us apart.  It‘s what makes us great and in my 
mind, it‘s what makes us undefeatable, ultimately.

MATTHEWS:  Well, Commander Swift, I‘m sure you‘re going to have a place in 
history and you deserve it.  What a great job you did, I‘ve been tough on 
you, but somebody has to defend the law and you‘ve done it.  Thank you very 
much Lieutenant Charles Swift of the U.S. Navy.

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