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Thursday, January 18, 2007

In Defense of ‘Cully’ Stimson over Guantanamo

By Circles Robinson

The recent “gaff” by Deputy Defense Secretary Charles ‘Cully’ Stimson, who wants prisoners at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo, Cuba to be held without legal representation, was one of the most honest statements coming out of the Bush administration.

As the Pentagon gears up for a “last” attempt to pacify Iraq at cannon barrel and Defense Secretary Robert Gates considers more troops for Afghanistan, Simpson, 43, said he found it shocking that US law firms could represent penniless Guantanamo prisoners.

The outcry from US law deans and civil rights groups to Stimson’s requesting corporations "to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists and representing reputable firms," is understandable, but unfair to Cully, who was just mouthing administration policy.

Taking on the cases of some of the detainees rotting in GITMO is a NO NO for a government that doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on to justify its handling of prisoners. Stimson’s only error was to publicly voice Washington’s policy of the last five years: Jail whoever it wants for indefinite periods at clandestine sites or established offshore prisons like Guantanamo.

There, in the name of protecting democracy in the USA, the tricks of the trade of extracting confessions are practiced. See the docudrama The Road to Guantanamo to get a glimpse.

The blacklisting of law firms is consistent with the revived Joe McCarthy bullying tactics of the post 9/11 years. Instead of being forced to distance himself from his candid statements, Stimson should be receiving a bonus for having leveled with the voters that reelected Bush in 2004.

Around 400 prisoners from a host of countries still remain at the Guantanamo prison camp located on occupied Cuban territory. Calls to shut it down from US civic groups, the United Nations and human rights groups around the globe have failed to budge the Bush administration, which maintains the camp is an essential tool in its "war on terror."

In sharp contrast, two men Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada, who bragged of blowing up a plane with 73 people on board, are happily in the United States. Bosch is free on the streets of Miami, while Posada is fighting an illegal entry charge and hoping to join him. Neither has ever been charged in the US for their horrendous crime.

Charles Cully Stimson deserves another chance. We know where he stands and let’s hope he continues to tell it like it is. I prefer his style to the doublespeak of those that criticize the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and then vote to finance them.


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