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The Courtly Gore of Gitmo

What amazes me about this case, what I suspect most people don’t know about this case, is that it originates with six Algerians picked up, of all places, in Bosnia, not in Afghanistan, not long after the 9/11 attacks, when the American embassy there heard “chatter” that an attack was being planned. One of the Algerians supposedly had the phone number of an al-Qaeda higher-up in his rolodex. The others knew the Algerian. That’s all. The Bosnian justice system actually let them go, telling the Americans that they couldn’t be held for lack of evidence. The Americans, as usual, would not release what they allegedly knew. They had Bosnian police pick them up again, shackled, and sent off to the concentration camp at Guantanamo. And so goes just one of the preludes to this lurid chapter in American jurisprudence. The lawyer for one of the Algerian today pointed out, as one of the reasons the court should intervene, that the charade had been going on six years. To which his indifferent eminence Chief Justice Roberts said: so what? Let’s not raise our hopes. If Congress could abolish habeas corpus, as it did, and this court could actually hear arguments, as it did on Wednesday, without giving an absolute clear sense of its outrage over Congress’ insanity (which it didn’t), we’re in more trouble than we know.

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