It’s nice to be reminded, from time to time, that Georges Clemenceau didn’t say “military justice blogs are to blogs…,” but instead said “military justice is to justice what military music is to music.”
The new commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison wants a team of government and law enforcement officials to be allowed to review all communications between lawyers and inmates accused of helping organize the Sept. 11 attacks, The Associated Press has learned.
We’ve covered such efforts to review correspondence between detainees and their counsel before, including consideration of the professional responsibility implications. However, Steve Vladeck over at Lawfare Blog takes it to a whole different level:
Separate from the policy side of this story, there’s a critical legal issue here that hasn’t yet been resolved: The AP story reports that one of the objections lodged by counsel for the defendants is that the new rules violate the defendants’ constitutional right to counsel. Of course, that assumes that the Guantanamo detainees, as non-citizens detained outside the territorial United States, have a Sixth Amendment (or perhaps a Fifth Amendment) right to counsel. Below the fold, I attempt to explain why this is, at minimum, an open question (albeit one that I think should be answered in the affirmative).
If nothing else, this provides good context for the NCO who thinks he’s being railroaded.