Monday, August 01, 2005

Trials in error?

Weldon Berger, over at BTC News, comments on Australian Broadcast Corporation reports that the trials for the Guantanamo detainees may be rigged. The report stems from emails sent by two prosecutors to their supervisors at the Office of Military Commissions.

Some quotes from the Australian report:
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.
Capt Carr 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."

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.
The Pentagon's legal advisor to the commissions, Brigadier General Thomas Hemingway, denies that the cases are being handled improperly or that the system is rigged. Hemingway ways that any potential problems with the system have been attended to.

While it may be that some of the issues addressed by the former prosecutors have been dealt with, it provides continued evidence that many legal and intelligence professionals involved in these cases have some great reservations about the path the administration is taking in dealing with detainees.

Despite Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's assertion that terrorists are evil people who operate in a vacuum, unaffected by U.S. policies, the communities that these terrorists come from may feel less inclined to facilitate U.S. actions to stem the tide of terrorists.

Examples of the U.S. failing to follow its own founding principles unlikely to inspire much love in the rest of the world.

- Murphy

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