Heightening the Contradictions

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In a fine statement during today’s presser, Pres. Obama said:

I have made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not at all interfering in Iran’s affairs. But we must also bear witness to the courage and dignity of the Iranian people, and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.

On the other hand:

Mohammed Jawad may have been as young as 12 years old when he was seized by Afghan police and turned over to U.S. authorities in December 2002, according to a recent letter from the Afghan attorney general, who is requesting his return. Jawad is accused of throwing a hand grenade into a U.S. military vehicle and injuring two servicemen and their translator. But the primary evidence against him — his own confessions — were obtained by torture. Although the U.S. military commission created by President George W. Bush eventually charged him with war crimes for the attack in October 2007 — almost six years after the crime — a judge ruled in October 2008 that because they were tortured, his confessions were unreliable and inadmissible.

By all accounts, Jawad’s military commission case has been a fiasco. In September 2008, military prosecutor Lt. Col. Darryl Vandeveld resigned from the case and from the military commissions altogether, saying he could not in good conscience prosecute someone for an act allegedly committed as a child and where virtually the only evidence against him is his tortured confessions.

In January, five human rights groups sent President-elect Barack Obama a letter urging him to stop the prosecutions of child detainees.

The U.S. government is scheduled to appear before Judge Huvelle to defend its continued imprisonment of Jawad at Guantanamo and its reliance on tortured evidence on August 5.

In Obama’s defense, he can do this and still say “we deplore violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place,” since, legally speaking, Guantanamo is nowhere.

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