Defense Attorneys Can Meet Their Internee Clients — But It’s Still All Their Fault
Following up on my previous post, the military commander in charge of Guantanamo Bay, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, has announced that he no longer supports limiting defense attorneys to three visits with their internee clients:
But in an interview with The Miami Herald and Saudi Press Agency on Wednesday evening, Rear Adm. Harry Harris, the commander, was supportive of the ongoing meetings between detainees and lawyers, known as habeas corpus counsel. He said they contributed to an image of transparency at the prison camps on this remote U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.
“I have no issue with habeas visits,” he said. “The detainees ought to have an opportunity to visit with lawyers to discuss their cases.”
He called handling the visits “a lot of work” for his sailor-soldier guard force. “But it’s good work.”
Why the sudden change of heart? The article doesn’t say, but it does mention that the proposed rules have “roiled America’s legal establishment, drawing condemnation from newspaper editorials, the American Bar Association and other legal groups.” Regardless, it’s still clear who Admiral Harris blames for internees’ problems at Gitmo:
The filing in August was made in the shadow of a riot in Camp 4, a mass attempted suicide attempt on that same day, and the suicides of three detainees less than a month later.
The provisions sought in the new Protective Order were considered reasonable at the time. However, we have since been able to adopt procedures to better monitor the detainees and better facilitate attorney visits. Therefore, we would have no objection to the court ordering more than the number of visits that were suggested back in August.
Get that? The mass suicide attempt and successful suicides were caused by defense attorneys providing internees with information about the outside world, not by the brutal and dehumanizing conditions at Gitmo. So now that new rules have been enacted to keep the internees in line, unrestricted defense attorney visits are permissible again.