Thursday, January 18, 2007

Core Beliefs

Remember Cully Stimpson, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs? He's the one who launched an attack on law firms representing prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and encouraged the media to join in. It was a small object lesson in the Bush administration's cosy relationship with the right-wing media and the way they try to exploit that relationship. This time, fortunately, it backfired badly. The administration has had to deploy their plausible deniability defence.

Stimson has even apologised. Sort of.

There's an audio link to the original interview here (wma). He said:
Actually you know 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 [Freedom of Information Act] 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.
He then listed a number of firms and went on:
I think, quite honestly, when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs 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.
It was an outrageous suggestion and has quite rightly been shouted down.

Note that there's no messing around with words like "alleged" or "suspected" for Stimson. The "very terrorists" he said. That this man has any involvement in the process of giving the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay a "fair trial" is a farce.

Now he says his comments didn't reflect his "core beliefs".

There's a good sign of the sincerity of this apology in the way he addressed the other allegation he made concerning payment. He now says:
During a radio interview last week, I brought up the topic of pro bono work and habeas corpus representation of detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Regrettably, my comments left the impression that I question the integrity of those engaged in the zealous defense of detainees in Guantanamo. I do not.
Nice use of the word "zealous" there in his apology.

But that's not the point. The point is to compare his apology with what he's actually apologising for. When asked who was paying the firms, he said:
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 monies from who knows where, and I'd be curious to have them explain that.
The implication couldn't be clearer, particularly in the context of his previous remarks. The only impression these comments left was the one that they were specifically intended to leave. Regrettably, my comments left the impression... It is probably not the most honest apology you've ever encountered.

He has not been sacked.

But then, that'd be no way to repay a deniable lackey who walked up to the plate, sucked it up and took one for the team. He'll probably be promoted.

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