Friday, October 31, 2008

Keeping secrets

Is it any wonder that the military tribunal system being used for Guantanamo inmates has been widely panned and discredited? Friday's verdict in the trial of a man accused of being Osama bin Laden's media director, Ali Hamza al Bahlul, is another amazing example. The military jury in the case of Al Bahlul, who could face life in prison, reached its verdict on Friday but officials have decided not to announce it until Monday because the judge, Air Force Col. Ron Gregory, wanted to give the military guards the weekend off, according to the Reuters international news service. While everybody needs a day off once in awhile and the process of moving a detainee from the prison to the court is said to be laborious, it certainly seems astonishing disrespectful to the suspect and disrespectful of his inalienable right as a human being to deprive him of the knowledge of what his future is going to be because of convenience. And this is no exception. The history of the Guantanamo Bay prison for terrorism suspects and, indeed, its very creation, illustrates a profound lack of respect or understanding of societal principles on the part of the Bush administration and, to the rest of the world, the United States.

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