Tuesday, January 16, 2007

GITMO Legal Aid

If a soldier is accused of a UCMJ punishable crime, the gummint provides a gummint lawyer to counsel and defend him. If a soldier is accused of a civil crime, he must either pay out of pocket for legal aid, or have a public defender represent him. On the other hand, if a Terrorist, who would do everything in their power to behead you (after raping your daughters and sons in front of you) and then skin your children alive; or set off a bomb in a plane, mall, tunnel, or other public place killing whomever is there, without regard for their status as a "combatant"; these folks receive pro bono representation from some of the most prestigious firms in the country. (Insert joke about Jewish lawyers here.)
A list of lead counsel reads like a who's who of America's most prestigious law firms: Shearman and Sterling; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr; Covington & Burling; Hunton & Williams; Sullivan & Cromwell; Debevoise & Plimpton; Cleary Gottlieb; and Blank Rome are among the marquee names.
(I provided links to all the firm for your nastygrams.)

Here's the rub: The majority (if not all) of these firms represent America's largest corporations. Many of their clients are Fortune 100, 500, and 1000 companies. Many of these companies lost money after the 9/11 attacks due to the depressed economy, the $15 billon bail-out of the Airlines, and they continue to spend money on anti-terrorism measures which would otherwise be channeled to profit margins. These companies all keep their law firms on retainer. They have legal funds and fees; and these accounts are what allow law firms to operate pro bono.

So, in effect, many of your Fortune-listed companies are supporting the terrorists. They should ask their law firms if they are doing any legal work for anyone accused of terrorism by any nation, (which is vague enough not to violate attorney-client nonsense) and the lawdogs should have to choose between the account of the company and "mercy missions" for those poor, underrepresented terrorists at GITMO.

Will it happen? No. In a perfect (read: Chuck's) world, these lawyers would make lots of headlines and get lots of great publicity for representing these terrorists. They would get many of them released, either by loophole or just really good defense. And then they and their families would suffer the fate listed above when their "clients" come over for a "we hate America" party.

Because they will come, when we show weakness, when we become complacent, when we give up security for convenience, they will strike at us again. It isn't a matter of if, it's a matter of when. And they won't demand we be given our rights.


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