Keeping America in the Dark
JURIST Guest Columnist Benjamin Davis of the University of Toledo College of Law says a recent effort by a conservative advocacy website to besmirsch the reputations of current DOJ lawyers who previously represented detainees should not distract the US government from criminally prosecuting DOJ lawyers from the past administration who made torture possible….
I recently came across an effort by a group calling itself Keep America Safe to pressure DOJ lawyers who once represented detainees by outing them as the “Al Qaeda 9”. This new twist smacks of the “Cully” Stimson’s effort in the last administration to “pressure” law firms that had lawyers working pro bono for the defense on those cases. After an uproar, Stimson resigned.
Keep America Safe and its surrogates appear to be conducting a thinly veiled effort to question the patriotism of those lawyers who represented detainees in resisting violations of the Geneva Conventions and bringing to light, in FOIA requests and litigation, the torture in the prior administration.
This kind of chilling effect on dissent from outrageous policy is nothing new under the sun. Its natural impact is to attempt to intimidate both those who take on these cases and those who would hire such people after they take on these cases, especially those entering the government to serve the public trust. Too much “controversy” about them.
A further twist is an open letter in “support” of the lawyers, recently described here. Among the signatories are a laundry list of persons who in the prior administration’s time were strong advocates for torture (whatever the euphemism used at the time). Of course, the zen of this letter is to try to put the current DOJ lawyers who defended detainees on the same level as the former DOJ lawyers who advocated for torture and thus rehabilitate the former DOJ lawyers.
Sorry folks, even here in Toledo we can see that game and it will not work. The former DOJ lawyers clearly advocated for a crime to be committed (though the OPR report glaringly did not even look at that canon of ethics in any meaningful sense). The current DOJ lawyers advocated for the defense in adversarial proceedings. These are fundamentally different animals and no effort at equivalence should be allowed to succeed to keep Americans in the dark.
Short URL: http://tinyurl.com/yhthnqq