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Bush offical makes it clear that the adminstration does not want fair trails

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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/13/washington/13gitmo.html?ei=5087%0A&em=&en=7891524ddd2fcf3b&ex=1168837200&pagewanted=print

January 13, 2007

Official Attacks Top Law Firms Over Detainees

By NEIL A. LEWIS

 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 — The senior Pentagon official in charge of military detainees suspected of terrorism said in an interview this week that he was dismayed that lawyers at many of the nation’s top firms were representing prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and that the firms’ corporate clients should consider ending their business ties.

 

The comments by Charles D. Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, produced an instant torrent of anger from lawyers, legal ethics specialists and bar association officials, who said Friday that his comments were repellent and displayed an ignorance of the duties of lawyers to represent people in legal trouble.

 

“This is prejudicial to the administration of justice,” said Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University and an authority on legal ethics. “It’s possible that lawyers willing to undertake what has been long viewed as an admirable chore will decline to do so for fear of antagonizing important clients.

 

“We have a senior government official suggesting that representing these people somehow compromises American interests, and he even names the firms, giving a target to corporate America.”

 

Mr. Stimson made his remarks in an interview on Thursday with Federal News Radio, a local Washington-based station that is aimed at an audience of government employees.

 

The same point appeared Friday on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, where Robert L. Pollock, a member of the newspaper’s editorial board, cited the list of law firms and quoted an unnamed “senior U.S. official” as saying, “Corporate C.E.O.’s seeing this should ask firms to choose between lucrative retainers and representing terrorists.”

 

In his radio interview, Mr. Stimson said: “I think the news story that you’re really going to start seeing in the next couple of weeks is this: As a result of a FOIA request through a major news organization, somebody asked, ‘Who are the lawyers around this country representing detainees down there?’ and you know what, it’s shocking.” The F.O.I.A. reference was to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Monica Crowley, a conservative syndicated talk show host, asking for the names of all the lawyers and law firms representing Guantánamo detainees in federal court cases.

 

Mr. Stimson, who is himself a lawyer, then went on to name more than a dozen of the firms listed on the 14-page report provided to Ms. Crowley, describing them as “the major law firms in this country.” He said, “I think, quite honestly, when corporate C.E.O.’s see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those C.E.O.’s are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms, and I think that is going to have major play in the next few weeks. And we want to watch that play out.”

 

Karen J. Mathis, a Denver lawyer who is president of the American Bar Association, said: “Lawyers represent people in criminal cases to fulfill a core American value: the treatment of all people equally before the law. To impugn those who are doing this critical work — and doing it on a volunteer basis — is deeply offensive to members of the legal profession, and we hope to all Americans.”

 

In an interview on Friday, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said he had no problem with the current system of representation. “Good lawyers representing the detainees is the best way to ensure that justice is done in these cases,” he said.

 

Neither the White House nor the Pentagon had any official comment, but officials sought to distance themselves from Mr. Stimson’s view. His comments “do not represent the views of the Defense Department or the thinking of its leadership,” a senior Pentagon official said. He would not allow his name to be used, seemingly to lessen the force of his rebuke. Mr. Stimson did not return a call on Friday seeking comment.

 

The role of major law firms agreeing to take on the cases of Guantánamo prisoners challenging their detentions in federal courts has hardly been a secret and has been the subject of many news articles that have generally cast their efforts in a favorable light. Michael Ratner, who heads the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based human rights group that is coordinating the legal representation for the Guantánamo detainees, said about 500 lawyers from about 120 law firms had volunteered their services to represent Guantánamo prisoners.

 

When asked in the radio interview who was paying for the legal representation, Mr. Stimson replied: “It’s not clear, is it? Some will maintain that they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart, that they’re doing it pro bono, and I suspect they are; others are receiving moneys from who knows where, and I’d be curious to have them explain that.”

 

Lawyers expressed outrage at that, asserting that they are not being paid and that Mr. Stimson had tried to suggest they were by innuendo. Of the approximately 500 lawyers coordinated by the Center for Constitutional Rights, no one is being paid, Mr. Ratner said. One Washington law firm, Shearman & Sterling, which has represented Kuwaiti detainees, has received money from the families of the prisoners, but Thomas Wilner, a lawyer there, said they had donated all of it to charities related to the September 2001 terrorist attacks. Mr. Ratner said that there were two other defense lawyers not under his group’s umbrella and that he did not know whether they were paid.

 

Christopher Moore, a lawyer at the New York firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton who represented an Uzbeki detainee who has since been released, said: “We believe in the concept of justice and that every person is entitled to counsel. Any suggestion that our representation was anything other than a pro bono basis is untrue and unprofessional.” Mr. Moore said he had made four trips to Guantánamo and one to Albania at the firm’s expense, to see his client freed.

 

Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, wrote to President Bush on Friday asking him to disavow Mr. Stimson’s remarks.

 

Mr. Stimson, who was a Navy lawyer, graduated from George Mason University Law School. In a 2006 interview with the magazine of Kenyon College, his alma mater, Mr. Stimson said that he was learning “to choose my words carefully because I am a public figure on a very, very controversial topic.”

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geez i am liberal but even i would occasionally find a moderate source. all u use is nation and ny times. find something moderate.

 

I almost never quote the nation. Not that there is anything wrong with it, it's just incredibly and completely factually inaccurate to say I do. Almost all of my posts come from three of the five major US dailies: Washington Post, LA Times, and the NY Times. Honorable mention goes to The Guardian and Solan.com.

 

But all of that aside, how the hell is the ny times not moderate?! What the hell is a moderate source, then?

 

And I guess lastly, what does it matter for what I posted? Is any of the facts in the times article in question or dispute?

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i read an article earlier, and will now attempt to find it...talking about how the rest of the government is not supporting that one guy's statement....but its still fucked that he said it.

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Woah. You newbies aren't really criticizing The Scu, are you?

 

And algore, what kind of evidence do you have that the NYTimes is biased? Come on. If you're going to claim something, be a good debater and back it up.

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I can't find an ungated version, but when I read the NY Times January 8th article "Working hard for the man" I got a pretty clear feeling of bias. They made it appear that the big banks received bonuses as large as everyone else's compensation when in reality they were just comparing the increases in bonuses (ie. yes wall street bonuses were increasing by larger amounts, but the total compensation paid to everyone else is highly significantly larger). As long as pieces like that continue to be published by the NY Times, I'm gonna ignore it and keep reading the WSJ. It's barely more tolerable, but doesn't distort the world nearly as bad as the NYT does. Look to their earlier coverage of Mike Nifong if you doubt this at all. It's not that they were duped. Any reasonable person looking at the evidence would have immediately raised some red-flags.

 

The NYT gets it right often, but they are pervaded by a statist, do gooder (read: yankee) bias that generally surrounds all of NYC. I live in New York and I can safely say that the reason this occurs is because they cater to their statist, do gooder audience. They occasionally are perfect, but often times the articles are just confirmations of their readerships' bias.

 

(If anyone out there questions a statist, do gooder NYC bias, they can move to my city and dispute me. I'll tell you right now my first piece of evidence is the transfat ban.)

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I have a news flash for all of you people shouting bias: Everyone/Everything is biased. Everybody writes from a given perspective, there is no such thing as a completely unbiased report, even when its the AP just trying to report the facts. The question you ought to be asking yourself is does any potential "liberal" bias in the NYT versus any potential "conservative" bias in the WSJ actually impact the facts of the article. Sure the editorials might seems one sided, but thats usually because they are editorials. If you can't dispute any of the facts in the NYT article, then the bias of the NYT does not affect the quality of the reporting. If you have a problem with/dispute something in the article then find a different article to back your point up. Until then, the facts as the NYT reported them stand.

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It's almost impossible for the press to be perfectly 'moderate' in it's reporting. The entire point of the press is that it's a mechanism of free speech, and people's fascinations with things that are not going right means that most press is going to be anti-government, anti-administration, anti-policy in nature. Even conservative networks like Fox News base their program not really on pro-conservative, but of anti-liberal.

 

Like, I think if you let every network center have at this story, CNN would probably give a pretty overall, moderate view of it. Fox News would probably swing the story that it's the liberals going all crazy over one comment. CBS would probably swing it as "oh shit - the guy's a fascist." It's inevtiable in press, but I think that press bias that occurs naturally is somewhat checked by the diversity of press that exists - if you think that CBS is crossing the line in 'that there lieberal agender', you can watch Fox News.

 

Where the press really relies on public viewership to stay alive, it will always kinda change it's angle to appeal to those people. The press has grown to the point of being more entertainment-oriented than even information oriented. Stuff, like the above article, is really meant to appeal to a lot of the fanaticism attributed to the Bush Administration and the WOT. That is a huge viewership base.

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