Over at BU on Monday afternoon, Naval Commander Suzanne Lachelier delivered the annual Shapiro Lecture, titled “Ground Zero for Justice: Guantanamo Military Commissions and the Future of Our Legal Rights.”
From the BU School of Law description:
CDR Lachelier currently represents Ramzi bin al Shibh, one of the five men accused in the planning of the 9/11 attacks, and Ibrahim al Qosi, who faces charges on conspiracy and material support for terrorism. Both men are detained at Guantanamo Bay. Notably, CDR Lachelier petitioned for and won access to Guantanamo Bay’s Camp 7, the secret prison site where Ramzi bin al Shibh is held. She has worked as a defense counsel on active duty for nearly seven years.
CDR Lachelier turned out to be young, energetic, and passionate about defending the rights of anyone in – or potentially in – the crosshairs of the justice system.
But first, some handy statistics (compliments of CDR Lachelier):
Gitmo opened: January 11, 2002
Last known detainee arrival: March 14, 2008
Current population of Gitmo: 195 (roughly)
Adjudicated military commission cases in 8+ years: Three
Pending military commission cases: Four
CDR Lachelier described defending Gitmo detainees as an Alice in Wonderland experience. During her lecture she implied but never said outright:
• That the Department of Justice and the Pentagon are obstructionist in the extreme;
• That the conditions at Gitmo’s “Camp 7” are classified for a reason;
• That the rules of the legal game are entirely rigged, with even the federal government’s concessions to the Constitution containing poison pills;
• That everything that has transpired in the legal tug-of-war points to the justice system’s having an overt intention of keeping Gitmo going.
CDR Lachelier ended with these two cautionary notes:
1) Executive power in government is out of whack
2) Words (“Camp Justice,” “Camp America,” etc.) and symbols (the American flag, for instance) don’t belong to any particular branch of government
So much for the Shapiro Lecture.
For an alternative view, see “The Real Gitmo” in the Weekly Standard from several months ago.
Sample text (re: Camp 7):
I never do get to see Camp 7. The military personnel who escort me around the island all insist that they do not know where it is located. I believe them–that is just how secure Camp 7 is.
The bigger issue is: Do you believe them?