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A true hero.

"As a military officer," explains Lt. Cmndr. Charles Swift, "I deeply respect the president. But I also believe it's my duty as a military officer to point out when he is wrong." Swift, a 12-year veteran of the Navy's Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, was appointed as legal counsel for Salim Ahmed Hamdan, an inmate at Guantanamo Bay, in December 2003. His assignment, reported Bloomberg News on March 28, was "to help the Yemeni man plead guilty" before a military tribunal on terrorism-related charges.

However, after meeting Hamdan, Swift "concluded the man wanted to fight any charges against him." He later told a Senate panel that he saw the tribunal's actions as "a clear attempt to coerce Mr. Hamdan into pleading guilty" by threatening him with the loss of his legal representation. As a Naval officer and patriot, Swift was committed to upholding the principles of our constitutional system, which he believes are severely compromised by the Bush administration's special military tribunals because they operate with none of the due process guidelines found in any properly constituted judicial body.

Acting as "next friend" on behalf of Hamdan (since the tribunal would not permit Hamdan to act on his own behalf), Swift filed a lawsuit against the military tribunal system; the case was argued before the Supreme Court on March 28.

"I am incredibly proud of military justice as a whole," states Swift, despite conflicts he has experienced with his superiors. "If you start thinking about your career over your duty," he concludes, "it's time to get out."
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Title Annotation:Charles Swift
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2006
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