Thursday, July 24, 2008
Air Force Col. Morris D. Davis, who resigned last year after two years as chief prosecutor at Guantanamo, today described the military commissions system as fatally “tainted” by politics and designed to produce guilty verdicts, no matter what the costs.
The possibility of the system delivering “credible verdicts is doubtful,” Davis said Tuesday in a remarkable interview on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show.
“The process has been so tainted, such a black eye to the country, that we have to make every effort possible to have an open trial…
“I’m afraid that what has happened, though, is that we’ve had a rush, in order to get things done before the election, rather than taking the time — and getting evidence declassified in order to have an open trial is a frustrating, time consuming process, but in my view a necessary step if these things are going to have credibility.
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Morris said the politicization of the system began at the top, with the appointment of Susan Crawford, a “political appointee” with no time in uniform, to run the military commissions.
Morris also said that Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartman, senior legal advisor to the convening authority, “broke the law” by exercizing command influence on the proceedings.
“Most people were watching to see what DoD was going to do about it, to see if he’d be fired. But instead they charged six more detainees and pressed ahead.”
Morris also said that on Jan. 2, 2007, two hours after President Bush withdrew the nomination of DoD General Counsel Jim Haynes, implicated in torture policy memos, to be a federal judge, Haynes called him up to demand the quick prosecution of Australian David Hicks, a Guantanamo inmate who has since been freed.