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Bush’s War on the Rule of Law

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In the current issue of Harper’s, I described how the Bush Administration has waged a relentless war against the Rule of Law in connection with the Guantánamo detainees—attempting to overturn every value and norm, and always holding itself above the law, accountable to no person and no court. I recount dozens of incidents which follow a consistent pattern and leave no doubt whatsoever that this is not a series of random incidents, but an organized practice of thuggery, approved and directed at the highest level of the government, involving the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, among other agencies. And today the Toronto Star reports another chapter which fits perfectly in with the others:

[Canadian attorney] Dennis Edney was on his way home Saturday from a visit with Khadr at the U.S. detention centre in Cuba when his military flight stopped at a small Fort Pierce, Fla., airport to refuel. U.S. customs agents ordered him to retrieve his bags from the plane and hand over his notes and reveal any material on his laptop relating to Khadr, Edney says. He was then brought to a separate room where everything was removed, including the business cards in his wallet.

“I’m indignant because it’s an invasion on my solicitor-client privilege. It wasn’t a random search of some guy who you’re thinking is going to be bringing in drugs. This was a direct search into all matters pertaining to my client. That’s a violation. That’s harassment,” Edney charged yesterday.

Before Edney was permitted to meet with Khadr on Friday, Guantanamo guards also searched his notes. “They’re not just thumbing through, they’re reading the documents,” said Khadr’s military lawyer Lt. Commander William Kuebler, who was also present.

Don’t blame the customs agents. They’re doing as they have been instructed. Blame Michael Chertoff, the man who runs the Department of Homeland Security, and who constantly manipulates the resources at his command for partisan political purposes. How do I know this? My gut just tells me.

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