Via Spencer Ackerman, a brilliant report from Tom Lasseter about folks sent to Gitmo on terrorism charges who turn out not to be terrorists at all. Unless you’re George W. Bush or John McCain, you’re going to believe that even guilty men are entitled to the due process of law. But as we debate the Bush/McCain position in favor of arbitrary detention, it is worth recalling that one major reason for our procedural rights is that arbitrary and unaccountable power turns out not to be omniscient. Lots of the “terrorists” Bush and McCain want to keep in legal limbo aren’t terrorists at all, but if Bush and McCain had their way, we’d never know that and folks in their situation would have no recourse.
In related news, Lasseter also has a story about systematic abuse at the Bagram detention center where “guards kicked, kneed and punched many of the men until they collapsed in pain,” hung them by their wrists, etc., among other things. Maybe you think this is just terrorists getting what they deserve, but again you can consider the case of Nazar Chaman Gul who was imprisoned and tortured because “When U.S. soldiers raided the house he was visiting, acting on a tip from a tribal rival who was seeking revenge against another man, they apparently confused Gul with a militant with a similar name — who was also imprisoned at Guantanamo, according to an Afghan intelligence official and Gul’s American lawyer.”