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Mr. Repulsive: Charles Stimson

The Defender of Due Process Award goes to Charles Stimson, deputy assistant secretary of defense (which sounds more important than it probably is, but still indicates a politically motivated appointment), who suggested that companies/corporations should consider boycotting law firms who have partners working as lawyers for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The CNN article is titled Pentagon won't back official who blasted Gitmo lawyers: “The Pentagon on Saturday disavowed a senior official's remarks suggesting companies boycott law firms that represent detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”

To quote Stimson from the article:

“And I think, quite honestly, when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms,” Stimson said.

There are so many things wrong with such a statement it is hard to know where to begin. Let's start with terrorists. Stimson's (rhetorical) move is to equate those held at Guantanamo with terrorists, whether or not they have actually been involved in an act of terrorism, even the type so broadly defined by this U.S. regime.

The thrust of his argument is that these people (sorry, terrorists) are already guilty. Furthermore, as terrorists (which they are guilty of being by virtue of being at Guantanamo, because we would never make a mistake and have someone there who isn't a terrorist, or an enemy combatant, which is, evidently, the same as terrorist, etc.). In addition, it appears that Charles “Cully” Stimson believes, based on his remarks, that if you are guilty and/or a terrorist you do not deserve legal representation.

He might, of course, counter that you do deserve legal representation, but not necessarily good representation ... not expensive or highly regarded or famous representation. Overworked public defenders might be okay. After all, you're already guilty, so why waste time and money with good counsel.

And to continue:

Asked who might be paying the law firms to represent Guantanamo detainees, Stimson hinted at wrongdoing.

“It's not clear, is it? Some will maintain that they're doing it out of the goodness of their heart—that they're doing it pro bono, and I suspect they are,” he said. “Others are receiving monies from who knows where and I'd be curious to have them explain that.”

Since when is it his business who pays the legal bills? Since when is it his business what the lawyer's motivations are?

Why don't we just rename him Charles “Cully” McCarthy?

—January 13 2007