It’s unfortunately not unusual anymore to hear about the politicization of American legal and intelligence institutions under the Bush administration, but, even so, this report by The Nation’s Ross Tuttle about how the trials of six key prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have allegedly been rigged from the get-go is disturbing.
Now, as the murky, quasi-legal staging of the Bush Administration’s military commissions unfolds, a key official has told The Nation that the trials have been rigged from the start. According to Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for Guantánamo’s military commissions, the process has been manipulated by Administration appointees to foreclose the possibility of acquittal.
Colonel Davis’s criticism of the commissions has been escalating since he resigned in October, telling the Washington Post that he had been pressured by politically appointed senior Defense officials to pursue cases deemed “sexy” and of “high interest” (such as the 9/11 cases now being pursued) in the run-up to the 2008 elections. Davis, once a staunch defender of the commissions process, elaborated on his reasons in a December 10, 2007, Los Angeles Times op-ed. “I concluded that full, fair and open trials were not possible under the current system,” he wrote. “I felt that the system had become deeply politicized and that I could no longer do my job effectively.”
Then, in an interview with The Nation in February after the six Guantánamo detainees were charged, Davis offered the most damning evidence of the military commissions’ bias—a revelation that speaks to fundamental flaws in the Bush Administration’s conduct of statecraft: its contempt for the rule of law and its pursuit of political objectives above all else.
Update: Col. Morris Davis has told the Associated Press that he would be willing to testify on behalf of the defense in an upcoming trial:
AP via My Way News:
In a stunning turnaround, the former chief military prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay said Thursday he would be a defense witness for the driver of Osama bin Laden.
Air Force Col. Morris Davis, who resigned in October over alleged political interference in the U.S. military tribunals, told The Associated Press he will appear at a hearing for Salim Ahmed Hamdan.
“I expect to be called as a witness ... I’m more than happy to testify,” Davis said in a telephone interview from Washington. He called it “an opportunity to tell the truth.”
At the April pretrial hearing inside the U.S. military base in southeast Cuba, Hamdan’s defense team plans to argue that alleged political interference cited by Davis violates the Military Commissions Act, Hamdan’s military lawyer, Navy Lt. Brian Mizer, told the AP.