He said the government’s case, which contended that the five men planned to travel to Afghanistan and take up arms against the United States, relied exclusively on information obtained from the single unnamed source.
Judge Leon, who was appointed by President Bush, ruled in 2005 that the men had no habeas corpus rights, and he had been expected to be sympathetic to the government in the current case.
As he read his decision in a quiet courtroom, he seemed to bridle at the Supreme Court’s ruling, saying its effect was “to superimpose the habeas corpus process into the world of intelligence gathering.”
He said his decision, which involved men first detained in Bosnia far from the war in Afghanistan, should not be read as a reflection on the strength of the cases against other detainees, more than 200 of whom have filed habeas corpus cases. “This is a unique case,” he said.
Still, there was a buzz in the gallery when he announced that the government had not proved its case against the five men. In urging the government not to continue to fight the case, he noted that an appeal could take as long as two years. " NY Times
Life tenure on courts does funny things to and for people. This judge says that he had not expected to be sympathetic to these appellants. Nevertheless, the "thinness" of the government’s case offended him and he ruled as he did. Good.
A few nights ago at the Q&A session after my lecture in Norman, Oklahoma, a young man asked a related question. He said he was a National Guardsman. He had heard me say that I thought that the detention facility at Guantanamo should be closed and that those prisoners against whom the government has a solid case should be transferred to the custody of US courts either civilian or military for a speedy trial. He asked if that meant that I "wanted to give these prisoners the rights of American citizens."
I was taken aback by that question and its predicate. I told him that I had served in the US Army and government for a long time and that I thought him to be mistaken in believing that such features of American justice as; the right to confront one’s accusers, the right to a speedy trial, the right of Habeas Corpus, etc., are rights attached to the citizenship of the United States. I told him they are, in fact, rights that the founders of the country and the framers of the Constitution sought to guarantee to all those who were within the grasp of the power of the United States.
He looked surprised at that. As I watched him, I imagined that I could see the opinion forming behind those eyes that he was dealing with yet another lefty softy.
"When they are through trying these defendants," I told him, "it is of no interest to me what sentence the condemned might receive…"
Perhaps he will think that exchange through… pl
PS Yes, I know. The slavery thing…