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Yep, still nothing wrong at Gitmo

By See-Dubya  •  January 12, 2007 07:22 PM

We’ve seen this before, but now the WSJ’s Rob Pollock writes up a junket to Gitmo. (It’s subscriber-only at this point, but will probably show up on Opinionjournal.com in a day or two.) The terrorists are fat and happy, sittin’ in La-Z-Boys, watching Harry Potter. It tracks pretty well with Patterico’s extensive interviews with former Gitmo psychiatric nurse “Stashiu” about the high standard of care offered to the inmates.

(Pollock spotted one grossly obese fellow in the yard and thought it was KSM. Actually, it turned out he was Saifullah Paracha, who according to Michelle’s July 12th Vent was already rather hefty. He’s getting state of the art medical care, as are all the prisoners there.)

What struck me as new about Pollock’s piece was this argument about how corporate America–and their white shoe law firms–are effectively subsidizing the terrorists:

Guantanamo detainees don’t lack for legal representation. A list of lead counsel released this week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request reads like a who’s who of America’s most prestigious law firms: Shearman and Sterling; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr; Covington & Burling; Hunton & Williams; Sullivan & Cromwell; Debevoise & Plimpton; Cleary Gottlieb; and Blank Rome are among the marquee names.

A senior U.S. official I spoke to speculates that this information might cause something of scandal, since so much of the pro bono work being done to tilt the playing field in favor of al Qaeda appears to be subsidized by legal fees from the Fortune 500. “Corporate CEOs seeing this should ask firms to choose between lucrative retainers and representing terrorists” who deliberately target the U.S. economy, he opined.

I find it scandalous, yes. Look, of course these guys ought to have lawyers. But there’s nothing that says they deserve the best lawyers in the country. Why they have top-flight attorneys falling all over themselves to represent them, though, I’ve no idea. It’s almost like it’s some sort of tony corporate status symbol to defend a terrorist…but the result of that mentality is that the Gitmo prisoners end up getting far better legal representation than, say, the average out-of-luck schlub with a court-appointed lawyer on a drunk-driving beef.

Exit Question: I wonder if any of these corporations are clients of any of those law firms?

Extra Bonus Exit Question: When Marine Lt. Ilario Pantano was facing court martial–and potentially, the death penalty–over his conduct on the battlefield, did any of these law firms offer to send down a pro-bono attorney for him?

Posted in: Gitmo

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