In defence of the defence

What do you do with a lawyer who attacks detention without charge, who defends habeus corpus, denies that retrospective legislation should apply, and criticises the thinness of evidence against his client?

You'd give him a legal award, wouldn't you? After all, he is defending not only his client, but the entire jurisprudence on which liberal democracy is founded, right?

Not so in Amerika today. Maj. Michael Mori, who is the militarily-appointed defence lawyer for David Hicks, the Australian who stupidly went to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan to train as a freedom fighter before 9/11, is now being threatened with legal charges himself for these statements. By the prosecutor.

Even our Peerless Leader has his worries about this. So should you.

Later note: The chief military prosecutor, Col. Morris Davis, says that he never made that threat. But one wonders if this is like the Abu Ghraib case, where senior commanders never told their troops to torture anyone. A lot can be left unsaid, and pressure can be brought to bear in backdoor ways in the military (as elsewhere). I simply do not believe him. The invoking of the military code was done by someone. The Australian media aren't that smart or familiar with the US military code.

The Age

The Australian

The International Herald Tribune

The New York Times [subscription]

The News Limited feed

Crikey! has a different view


More like this

It looks like the administration is continuing to use one of their favorite tactics in the war on terror - handicap the defense by intimidating their lawyers before they get into the courtroom. Ed Brayton calls this the "Tonya Harding strategy," and he's right - the government wants to win, and…
What would you say if a government kidnapped someone in a foreign country, who had by their own admission done nothing against their own country, nor broken laws in the country they were kidnapped from, nor of the country they came from, locked them up in solitary confinement for 5 years, tortured…
In the 1960s military strategists promoted the "domino theory" as a rationale for why the United States needed to intervene in what later turned out to be a Vietnamese civil war. The logic was that, as communist influence extended from Russian and China, every country that fell before the "Reds"…
One of the most astonishing things about the Bush administration, in my view, is how many former officials have come out and criticized things the administration has done, and how little impact it has had politically. This can partially be chalked up to an uninformed populace, of course, but also…

I don't see any answer to one vital question: what did Major Mori say?

I went through every link you gave, except the NYT one. They all seem to be based on a single original story which talked in generalities about the threat and the relevant article of the UCMJ. None of them gives any details about what Mori said that brought on the threat. Reading between the lines suggests that he said something overtly critical of the Bush administration at one or more of his Australian speaking engagements. But there are no details. Which means there's no way to tell whether the threat was justified. If what he said was really over the line, then he'd have to be smacked down to maintain discipline. There are some things even a lawyer can't be allowed to say.

What did Major Mori say?

By wolfwalker (not verified) on 05 Mar 2007 #permalink