Former Guantanamo Bay prosecutor becomes defense witness

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Larkinn, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. Larkinn
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    Larkinn Senior Member

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    These trials are an absolute joke. When you have prosecutors resigning and becoming defense witnesses, you know something is going terribly wrong.


    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20080221/D8UUVTMG0.html

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - 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.

    Davis alleges, among other things, that Pentagon general counsel William Haynes said in August 2005 that any acquittals of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo would make the United States look bad, calling into question the fairness of the proceedings.

    "He said 'We can't have acquittals, we've got to have convictions,'" Davis recalled.

    A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, denied that Haynes made such a comment. Gordon also denied the former prosecutor's allegations of political interference, which he has repeated in newspaper opinion columns and in interviews in recent months.

    If the judge rejects the motion to dismiss, Mizer said the defense will seek to remove two top officials in the military commissions system - legal adviser Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann and Convening Authority Susan Crawford - from Hamdan's case. This would likely result in further delays to a trial that has been stalled by legal challenges.

    It is not clear whether the Pentagon - which defends the commission system as fair - will allow Davis to testify. In December, two months after he resigned as the chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals, the Defense Department barred Davis from appearing before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

    The U.S. holds about 275 men at Guantanamo and plans to prosecute about 80 before military commissions. The Pentagon this month charged six detainees with murder and war crimes for the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and said they could be executed if convicted.

    Hamdan faces up to life in prison if the tribunal convicts him of conspiracy and supporting terrorism. His lawyers admit he was a driver for bin Laden, but say he had no significant role in planning or carrying out attacks against the U.S.

    Davis, now head of the Air Force judiciary, said he believes "there are some very bad men at Guantanamo and some of them deserve the death penalty." But he says civilian political appointees have improperly interfered with the work of military prosecutors.

    "I think the rules are fair," he said. "I think the problem is having political appointees injected into the system. They are looking for a political outcome, not justice."

    He alleges, for example, that senior officials pushed for a plea bargain in March 2007 for Australian David Hicks, allowing him to serve a nine-month sentence in his homeland for aiding the Taliban.

    Davis said the sentence was too lenient and was orchestrated to help Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who was under criticism domestically for his support of President Bush and U.S. policies.
     
  2. Larkinn
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    Larkinn Senior Member

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    Only problem with this justification? Every single international court after Nuremberg has ruled the death penalty out. ICC, ICTY, ECCC, etc. Every single one of them.


    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking_dade/story/416516.html

    WASHINGTON --
    The Bush administration has told U.S. diplomats abroad to defend its decision to seek the death penalty for six Guantánamo Bay detainees accused in the Sept. 11 terror attacks by invoking the post World War II executions of Nazi war criminals.

    A four-page cable sent to U.S. embassies, and obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, says that execution as punishment for extreme violations of the laws of war is internationally accepted and points to the 1945-46 International Military Tribunals as an example.

    Twelve of Adolf Hitler's senior aides were sentenced to death at the trials in Nuremberg, Germany; not all were executed in the end.

    The unclassified cable was sent by the State Department to all U.S. diplomatic missions worldwide late on Monday.

    In it, the department advises U.S. diplomats to refer to Nuremberg if asked by foreign governments or media about the legality of capital punishment in the Sept. 11 cases.

    ''International Humanitarian Law contemplates the use of the death penalty for serious violations of the laws of war,'' says the cable, which was written by the office of the department's legal adviser, John Bellinger.

    ''The most serious war criminals sentenced at Nuremberg were executed for their actions,'' it said.

    The cable does not link the scale of the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis, which included the Holocaust that killed some six million European Jews and other minorities, and those allegedly committed by the Guantánamo detainees, who are accused of murder and war crimes in connection with Sept. 11, in which nearly 3,000 people died.

    But it makes clear that the U.S. administration sees Nuremberg as a historic precedent in asking for the Sept. 11 defendants to be executed.

    The decision to seek the death penalty for these defendants is likely to draw criticism from the international community. A number of countries, including U.S. allies, have said they would object to the use of capital punishment for their nationals held at Guantánamo.

    The cable is written in a question-and-answer format in anticipation of inquiries that diplomats may get from foreigners about the Defense Department's Monday announcement of the trial and charges.

    ''Posts are asked to draw from the points provided below in responding to foreign government and media requests regarding this announcement,'' it says in a one-paragraph summary under the subject heading: ``Q and A -- Guantánamo Detainees Charged for 9/11.''

    Much of the cable is taken up with descriptions of the defendants and the allegations against them as well as assurances they will receive fair trials.

    The Nuremberg reference is in the response offered to the sample question: ``Doesn't the application of the death penalty to these defendants violate international law?''

    The one-word answer provided before the explanation that invokes Nuremberg: ``No.''

    The unprecedented proceeding will be the first capital trial under the terrorism-era U.S. Military Commissions system.

    Despite the confidence of military prosecutors, the case has been clouded by revelations that the key suspect, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the attacks in which hijackers flew planes into buildings in New York and Washington, was subjected to interrogation tactics that critics call torture.

    The cable refers specifically to this and instructs diplomats to advise foreign governments that the tribunal will not accept evidence obtained through torture and that the defendants can raise objections to any statements they argue they made under coercion. Those decisions will be up to the judge, it says.

    But it notes a distinction between torture and ''cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment'' that was outlawed by legislation sponsored by Sen. John McCain, now the leading Republican candidate for the 2008 presidential nomination and a former prisoner of war during Vietnam.

    The cable informs diplomats that statements made by defendants under such conditions before the passage of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 may be considered by the court.
     
  3. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    Nice. A presumption of guilt for the side you disagree with, with no evidence to support it but one man's word.
     
  4. Larkinn
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    Larkinn Senior Member

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    Yes, there is a presumption that the Bush administration is interfering politically with the Guantanamo Bay detainees and their trials. Gee, I wonder why? Care to tell me why such a dangerous terrorist like David Hicks who the US was going to make an example of, etc, etc suddenly got a get out of jail free card? (Hint..Howards poll numbers were taking a beating).

    Or maybe it could be the incredibly specious logic concerning the death penalty as shown in the other article?

    Or maybe, even, it could be that the DoD may bar Davis from testifying.

    Or maybe it could be that oftentimes the detainees have lawyers who they have never spoken too.

    By the way...care to cite other cases where chief prosectors have resigned to become defense witnesses? Oh right...its just a coincidence that this kind of shit keeps happening in the Guantanamo Bay trials :rolleyes:
     
  5. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    A lot of talk that says nothing. Obviously, the presumption of innocence only applies to liberals and victims of the big, bad, mean, evil, dirty and nasty Bush Adminstration.:rolleyes:
     
  6. Larkinn
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    Larkinn Senior Member

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    The presumption of innocence is in a court of law, which we are not currently in.

    But thanks for the non-sequiter. It was cute, really. It is also cute the extent you will go to defend this administration. Just dismiss any stories you hear that do not fit with your narrow worldview.

    Tell me...exactly what evidence could I produce to show that these trials are show trials? What would make you believe that there is political interference here?
     

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