Iguana See My Lawyer ~ Bad Knock Knock Jokes on the White House Door

Iguana LawyerAn interesting question has been raised for the Supreme Court to answer: if Cuban iguanas get protections under United States law, then why don’t “enemy combatant” detainees?

With the Guantanamo Bay naval base, the United States has controlled part of the island nation of Cuba for over a hundred years. The Bush administration strategically chose to house detainees there knowing that the chances of the detainees getting appeals approved were slim to none since it could be argued that Gitmo is not technically a sovereign part of the United States.

The merits brief in the KHALED A. F. AL ODAH, ET AL., PETITIONERS, v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ET AL., RESPONDENTS is available online. The following is an excerpt from page two:

In 1903, the United States entered into a lease for Guantanamo with the newly formed Republic of Cuba. While recognizing Cuba’s “ultimate sovereignty” over Guantanamo, the lease expressly states that the United States shall exercise “complete jurisdiction and control” over the area with the right to do so permanently if it so chooses. U.S. law applies at Guantanamo. Animals there, including iguanas, are protected by U.S. laws and regulations, and anyone, including any federal official, who violates those laws is subject to U.S. civil and criminal penalties.* The U.S. Navy web site describes Guantanamo as a “Naval reservation, which, for all practical purposes, is American territory. . . . [T]he United States has for [over one hundred years] exercised the essential elements of sovereignty over this territory, without actually owning it.” [emphasis added]

* See Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1536(a)(2), 1538(a)(1)(F); 50 C.F.R. §§ 17.11 (extending protection to Cuban iguanas), 17.21(f), 17.31(a).

Let’s see where the Supreme Court takes this case. It is very important, and the Executive Branch, whose job it is to enfore the laws, should have no trouble locking these people up with the proper evidence if they are as bad as they say they are—no torture necessary.

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Posted on August 26, 2007
Filed Under Animals and Pets, Government, Law, Military | Leave a Comment

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