Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Show trials at Guantanamo Bay?

This popped up over at Daily Kos. We reprint in its entirety:

This was very much how it was done in the bad old days of the Soviet Union:

Secret evidence. Denial of habeas corpus. Evidence obtained by waterboarding. Indefinite detention. The litany of complaints about the legal treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay is long, disturbing and by now familiar. Nonetheless, a new wave of shock and criticism greeted the Pentagon's announcement on February 11 that it was charging six Guantánamo detainees, including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, with war crimes--and seeking the death penalty for all of them.

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 are 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 in an attempt to foreclose the possibility of acquittal....

When asked if he thought the men at Guantánamo could receive a fair trial, Davis provided the following account of an August 2005 meeting he had with Pentagon general counsel William Haynes--the man who now oversees the tribunal process for the Defense Department. "[Haynes] said these trials will be the Nuremberg of our time," recalled Davis, referring to the Nazi tribunals in 1945, considered the model of procedural rights in the prosecution of war crimes. In response, Davis said he noted that at Nuremberg there had been some acquittals, something that had lent great credibility to the proceedings.

"I said to him that if we come up short and there are some acquittals in our cases, it will at least validate the process," Davis continued. "At which point, [Haynes's] eyes got wide and he said, 'Wait a minute, we can't have acquittals. If we've been holding these guys for so long, how can we explain letting them get off? We can't have acquittals, we've got to have convictions.'"

Haynes was a legal adviser to Rumsfeld and Gates. Bush nominated him to a federal bench position, but his nomination was actually blocked by Republican Lindsey Graham because of Haynes involvement in developing the Pentagon's torture policies. He was bad enough for Lindsay Graham to block him, and he's in charge of the Gitmo trials.

The Gitmo detainees have no hope of a fair trial, and even if they should be acquitted (against the apparent rules the administration has imposed) the government has already said they can be held indefinitely because they've already been deemed "enemy combatants." Those who survive the show trials will never breathe free air if the Bush administration has anything to say about it.

To read the piece as it was originally blogged (and to see the many comments that have been left) go here.

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