Author Topic: "Sexy" Guantanamo hearings  (Read 3506 times)

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Lanya

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"Sexy" Guantanamo hearings
« on: October 20, 2007, 12:22:06 PM »
(This is not justice.)

Ex-Prosecutor Alleges Pentagon Plays Politics
Pressure for 'Sexy' Guantanamo Hearings

By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 20, 2007; A03

Politically motivated officials at the Pentagon have pushed for convictions of high-profile detainees ahead of the 2008 elections, the former lead prosecutor for terrorism trials at Guantanamo Bay said last night, adding that the pressure played a part in his decision to resign earlier this month.

Senior defense officials discussed in a September 2006 meeting the "strategic political value" of putting some prominent detainees on trial, said Air Force Col. Morris Davis. He said that he felt pressure to pursue cases that were deemed "sexy" over those that prosecutors believed were the most solid or were ready to go.

Davis said his resignation was also prompted by newly appointed senior officials seeking to use classified evidence in what would be closed sessions of court, and by almost all elements of the military commissions process being put under the Defense Department general counsel's command, something he believes could present serious conflicts of interest.

"There was a big concern that the election of 2008 is coming up," Davis said. "People wanted to get the cases going. There was a rush to get high-interest cases into court at the expense of openness."

Davis said he thought the military commissions could go forward as a legitimate way to try alleged terrorists in U.S. custody, but he said he had serious concerns about how the new officials were approaching the commissions. He said he felt a sense of expediency over thoroughness was taking hold and that efforts to use classified evidence -- a controversial idea that has drawn congressional concern -- could taint the trials in the eyes of international observers.

Davis abruptly resigned after complaining that his authority in prosecutions was being usurped. He argued that Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, a new legal adviser to the convening authority for military commissions, should remain a neutral and independent party and should leave prosecuting cases to prosecutors.

In his complaint, Davis alleged that Hartmann inappropriately requested detailed information on pending cases, defined the sequence in which cases would be brought forward and expressed an intent to personally conduct pretrial negotiations with defendants' attorneys.

A Pentagon review found that Hartmann did not attempt to coerce Davis's team but advised that he should "diligently avoid aligning himself with the prosecutorial function so that he can objectively and independently provide cogent legal advice" to the convening authority -- the official in charge of supervising the commissions.

J.D. Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, said yesterday that Hartmann was not available for comment. Gordon said the military commissions will provide detainees with fair trials.

"We are working closely with our interagency counterparts to ensure that prosecutions by military commission result in fair and open trials while at the same time protecting sensitive information that, if revealed, could be damaging to U.S. and allied forces still conducting combat operations against al-Qaeda and their supporters," Gordon said.

Hartmann arrived as legal adviser to the convening authority last summer, and suddenly, Davis said during a lengthy interview, his office was inundated with what he called "nano-management," including requests to oversee cases that had previously been left solely to prosecutors.

Part of the new focus, Davis said, was to speed up cases that would show the public the system was working. Davis said he wanted to focus on cases that had declassified evidence, so the public could see the entire trial through news coverage. That would defuse possible allegations that the trials were stacked against defendants.

But Hartmann said he was satisfied with putting on cases that included closed sessions, because the law allows it.

"He said, the way we were going to validate the system was by getting convictions and good sentences," Davis said. "I felt I was being pressured to do something less than full, fair and open."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/20/AR2007102000179_pf.html
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Plane

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Re: "Sexy" Guantanamo hearings
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2007, 12:28:45 PM »
Prisoners of war shouldn't generally be put on trial at all , only the most egregious behavior that mounts to war crime shold cause a prosicution.

In a War, shooting people  is the norm , putting a pow on trial for doing his duty is wrong .

Someone that is caught abuseing the defenseless needs a trial because it is no ones duty to abuse the defenseless.

Ordinary POWs should be held for the duration of the war and then released , even if in the course of their duty they killed many Americans.

Lanya

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Re: "Sexy" Guantanamo hearings
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2007, 12:35:16 PM »
Plane, I so agree. 
But....I hear the sound of  White House lawyers splitting hairs.

These people in Guantanamo are not POWs. They are "enemy combatants," unless there is another term for them and I have forgotten it.
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Plane

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Re: "Sexy" Guantanamo hearings
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2007, 12:38:00 PM »
Plane, I so agree. 
But....I hear the sound of  White House lawyers splitting hairs.

These people in Guantanamo are not POWs. They are "enemy combatants," unless there is another term for them and I have forgotten it.



You shouldn't want them to be called POWs unless you don't mind them being held for the duration.

Lanya

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Re: "Sexy" Guantanamo hearings
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2007, 01:50:26 PM »
You're right.

I don't know...probably I was thinkiing more along the lines of "Good, now they won't be tortured."
(Right? POWs are to be treated in accordance with Geneva Convention?)

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Plane

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Re: "Sexy" Guantanamo hearings
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2007, 01:54:53 PM »
You're right.

I don't know...probably I was thinkiing more along the lines of "Good, now they won't be tortured."
(Right? POWs are to be treated in accordance with Geneva Convention?)



In neither case should they be tortured.
In either case they should be strongly encouraged to give up information that aids our war effort.

So a tight definition of the word and practice of Torture is needed.
You can't forbid something you can't define.

Lanya

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Re: "Sexy" Guantanamo hearings
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2007, 10:51:32 PM »
Follow the UCMJ.
 Follow Common Article Three.  Follow the Geneva Convention.
   Good grief, how embarrassing it is now to be an American and hear that we must "tightly define" torture, otherwise we might do it, unintentionally, I guess.
  It has been defined.    Nuremberg trials sentenced people to death for very well-defined crimes.  I have posted on this before and I'm getting really tired of re-posting. 
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Plane

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Re: "Sexy" Guantanamo hearings
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2007, 01:27:47 AM »
Follow the UCMJ.
 Follow Common Article Three.  Follow the Geneva Convention.
   Good grief, how embarrassing it is now to be an American and hear that we must "tightly define" torture, otherwise we might do it, unintentionally, I guess.
  It has been defined.    Nuremberg trials sentenced people to death for very well-defined crimes.  I have posted on this before and I'm getting really tired of re-posting. 


No , it needs to be defined so that the definition makes sense and the forbidding of it really means something.

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: "Sexy" Guantanamo hearings
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2007, 05:39:05 PM »
Bah!


If torture were indeed "well defined", we would not have heard in the hearing nonsense like "IF waterboarding is torture, then it is illegal.

We would instead hear the prospective new AG say "water boarding is illegal", or "waterboarding is legal."
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Plane

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Re: "Sexy" Guantanamo hearings
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2007, 11:42:31 PM »
Bah!


If torture were indeed "well defined", we would not have heard in the hearing nonsense like "IF waterboarding is torture, then it is illegal.

We would instead hear the prospective new AG say "water boarding is illegal", or "waterboarding is legal."


Correct   , the definition is key .

Laws are words.