[Marxism] Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift speaks on Gitmo Supreme Court decision
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 Generals 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
LT. CMDR. CHARLES SWIFT, SALIM AHMED HAMDANS 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 were going to try people, were 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, thats 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 OBeirne 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 shouldnt be free riders? They shouldnt get Geneva Convention
treatment. They should be treated like thugs.
SWIFT: Well, you know, if youre 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? Weve 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 theyre a thug. You dont make the thug determination going in.
MATTHEWS: But what happens now if weve got a reallets assumenot your
client who is a driver for bin Laden. Lets talk about weve 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 hes a real bad guy, and hes 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 doesnt make any sense at all. And
thats what the court said.
MATTHEWS: I only have a minute here, sir, and I appreciate your position,
and Im 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: Its not whether they deserve it or not. Its 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 weve lost who we are. Were the good
guys. Were 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. Its what sets us apart. Its what makes us great and in my
mind, its what makes us undefeatable, ultimately.
MATTHEWS: Well, Commander Swift, Im sure youre going to have a place in
history and you deserve it. What a great job you did, Ive been tough on
you, but somebody has to defend the law and youve done it. Thank you very
much Lieutenant Charles Swift of the U.S. Navy.
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