Chris's Rants

Monday, August 01, 2005

Kangaroo Court?

From ABC down under (you don't think for a moment that we'll hear about this in the U.S. MSM, do you!?) we get this story -- Leaked emails claim Guantanamo trials rigged. (emphasis mine):
Leaked emails from two former prosecutors claim the military commissions set up to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay are rigged, fraudulent, and thin on evidence against the accused.


The first email is from prosecutor Major Robert Preston to his supervisor.

Maj Preston writes that the process is perpetrating a fraud on the American people, and that the cases being pursued are marginal.

"I consider the insistence on pressing ahead with cases that would be marginal even if properly prepared to be a severe threat to the reputation of the military justice system and even a fraud on the American people," Maj Preston wrote.

"Surely they don't expect that this fairly half-arsed effort is all that we have been able to put together after all this time."

Maj Preston says he cannot continue to work on a process he considers morally, ethically and professionally intolerable.

"I lie awake worrying about this every night," he wrote.

"I find it almost impossible to focus on my part of mission.

"After all, writing a motion saying that the process will be full and fair when you don't really believe it is kind of hard, particularly when you want to call yourself an officer and lawyer."

Maj Preston was transferred out of the Office of Military Commissions less than a month later.


The second email is written by another prosecutor, Captain John Carr, who also ended up leaving the department.

Capt Carr says the commissions appear to be rigged.


Capt Carr says that the prosecutors have been told by the chief prosecutor that the panel sitting in judgment on the cases would be handpicked to ensure convictions.

"You have repeatedly said to the office that the military panel will be handpicked and will not acquit these detainees and that we only needed to worry about building a record for the review panel," he said.


But the Pentagon's Brigadier General Thomas Hemingway, who is a legal advisor to the military commissions, says an investigation has found the comments are based on miscommunication, misunderstanding and personality conflicts.
Clearly, if these emails are being leaked, it's more than just a couple of "rogue" prosecutors with "personality conflicts" that feel this way, despite the white-washing that the Pentagon gave the tribunal process.

Former president Carter is absolutely correct in his observations:
Carter also criticized the U.S.-led war in Iraq as "unnecessary and unjust."

"I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A.," he told a news conference at the Baptist World Alliance's centenary conference in Birmingham, England. "I wouldn't say it's the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts."
Frankly, everything that this administration does is a disgrace to the U.S.A. Maybe that's why Shrub's approval ratings are tanking. You can fool some of the people some of the time but, you can't fool all of the people all of the time. Americans are finally awakening from their post 9/11 fugue and are finally seeing that the emperor has no clothes.

Update: Will wonders never cease? Apparently, the NYT was the outlet to which the e-mails were leaked. Their coverage includes this tidbit that I hadn't heard before (emphasis mine):
The Bush administration and the Pentagon have faced criticism about the legitimacy of the military commission procedures almost since the regulations describing them were announced in 2002.

The rules, which in essence constitute a new body of law distinct from military and civilian law, allow, for example, witnesses to testify anonymously for the prosecution. Also, any information may be admitted into evidence if the presiding officer judges it to be "probative to a reasonable person," a new standard far more favorable to the prosecution than anything in civilian law or military law. It is unclear whether information that may have been obtained under coercion or torture can be admissible.

The trials of the first four defendants began last August in a secure courtroom in a converted dental clinic at the naval base at Guantánamo. Before they could start in earnest, the trials were abruptly halted in November when a federal judge ruled they violated both military law and the United States' obligations to comply with the Geneva Conventions.

But a three-judge appeals court panel that included Judge John G. Roberts, President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, unanimously reversed that ruling on July 15.


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