When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

10 October 2006

An appreciation of Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift

Over at Mountain Philosopher, John deVille writes an appreciation of Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, a Franklin County (NC) classmate of his youth who went on to become a Navy JAG officer (attorney.)

It so happens that Lt. Cmdr. Swift was appointed to represent Salim Hamdan in Hamdan v Rumsfeld, 126 S.Ct. 2749 (2006), in which the Supreme Court recently held that military commissions set up by the Bush administration to try Guantánamo detainees "violate both the UCMJ and the four Geneva Conventions."

Charles had been tapped for the tough duty of defending Hamdan in the spring of 2003. As he told Esquire Magazine: "The guy who gave me the job said he wanted fighters."

They got the right guy.

Civilian attorney Neal Kaytal actually argued the case in front of the Court but it was Charles who had gotten it that far. Hamdan, a Yemeni national (with a fourth-grade education who claims he never joined Al Qaeda and never fought anyone), was Osama bin Laden's former driver and was charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism. The case was about the nature of the military commissions set up by the Bush Administration to try the Guantanamo detainees. Specifically, Swift and his co-counsels argued that the commissions violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the four Geneva Conventions.

The Supreme Court agreed with Charles Swift.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lt. Cmdr. Swift was recently passed over for promotion to Commander.

Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift: Defender of the US Constitution (Mountain Philosopher)

Update: Chap (in a related post at Mudville MilBlogs) thinks that the Hamdan case is unlikely to have affected Lt. Cmdr. Swift's chances of promotion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lt. Cmdr Swift's actions bolster me at a time when my supervisors are ostracizing me for exposing improper, covered-up, financial actions. His actions are ethical, courageous and important. My dilemma pales in comparison. I thank him for standing up for justice.