COMMUNITY VOICES | Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid embarrasses itself

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A “News of the Weird” section would be a more appropriate site for this post.
 
On Thursday evening, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid (Minneapolis and a few non-metro offices), held a “Legal Aid Centennial Law Day Testimonial Dinner” at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. At $175 a plate, this was a major fundraising event for Legal Aid.
 
The liberal elite of the legal profession was well represented — lawyers and legal workers who have lent their skills to extend to the disenfranchised legal rights that others take for granted, board members of eminent local organizations that have fought for human rights for decades, lawyers who have represented Guantanamo prisoners.
 
And who was the keynote speaker, speaking on “Why Democracy Matters”? None other than Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor during George W. Bush’s first presidential term. That was when it was decided to house prisoners in the “war on terror” at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, to keep them out of the clutches of the U.S. legal system and the rights it grants such prisoners. That was also when Ms. Rice says she attended meetings — the Bush administration’s “Principals Group” — where interrogation “techniques” were discussed and approved. Those “techniques” the world legal community and virtually all human rights groups agree were torture.
 
Also offering remarks at the dinner was Senator Amy Klobuchar, who has said high government officials in the Bush administration authorized and ordered a program of torture,  but accountability is up to the Justice Department. Apparently, as a member of the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Senate, her role is to appear on the same platform as and to make comments on a keynote speech by one of those high Bush administration officials.
 
To top it all off, the honorees at this dinner were the Legal Aid staff.
 
By featuring Ms. Rice, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, its board, and the liberal elite of the Minneapolis legal community have dishonored the Legal Aid staff and have embarrassed themselves.

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