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August 1, 2005

Rigging Guantanamo

ABC News Australia is reporting claims by two former prosecutors that the military commissions set up to try Guantanamo detainees are rigged:

Two emails, which have been obtained by the ABC, were sent to supervisors in the Office of Military Commissions in March of last year - three months before Australian detainee David Hicks was charged and five months before his trial began.
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.
… The second email is written by another prosecutor, Captain John Carr, who [also…] says the commissions appear to be rigged.
“When I volunteered to assist with this process and was assigned to this office, I expected there would at least be a minimal effort to establish a fair process and diligently prepare cases against significant accused,” he wrote.
“Instead, I find a half-hearted and disorganised effort by a skeleton group of relatively inexperienced attorneys to prosecute fairly low-level accused in a process that appears to be rigged.”

Predictably, Preston was transferred out of the Office of Military Commissions shortly after he wrote his email; Carr also left the department.

And—equally predictably—a Pentagon legal advisor, Brigadier General Thomas Hemingway, says the two prosecutors’ comments were “based on miscommunication, misunderstanding and personality conflicts.” He also says that “changes have now been made” in the prosecutors’ office.

Unnecessary changes, clearly. Given that there wasn’t a problem.

Posted by Stephen at 12:02 AM in War | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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