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February 28, 2008

More on the Show Trials

Posted in: Terrorism,Unitary Executive

Two more interesting details on the upcoming show trials. First, in an interesting profile on Colonel Morris Davis, Hamdan’s lawyer reveals what Davis will testify to. Not just that Haynes told Davis no acquittals were allowed, but that the whole process is rigged.

Colonel Davis, a career military lawyer nearing retirement at 49, said that he would never argue that Mr. Hamdan was innocent, but that he was ready to try to put the commission system itself on trial by questioning its fairness. He said that there “is a potential for rigged outcomes” and that he had “significant doubts about whether it will deliver full, fair and open hearings.”

“I’m in a unique position where I can raise the flag and aggravate the Pentagon and try to get this fixed,” he said, acknowledging that he is enjoying some aspects of his new role. He was replaced as chief Guantánamo prosecutor after he stepped down but is still a senior legal official for the Air Force.

Among detainees’ advocates, there has been something of a gasp since it was announced last week that Colonel Davis would be taking the witness stand in April.

Mr. Hamdan’s chief military lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. Brian L. Mizer, said he would offer Colonel Davis to argue that charges against Mr. Hamdan should be dismissed because of improper influence by Pentagon officials over the commission process. Prosecutors may object, and it is unclear how military judges may rule.

This suggests Thomas Hartmann’s role will be exposed as well as the departing Haynes’ role. Will Hartmann stick around for the show trials?

Then, in a perhaps related development, the Attorney General decided to make his first visit to America’s gulag yesterday.

The attorney general was expected to spend only about six hours at the Naval station during his previously unannounced first trip there, said Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr.

Mukasey "is meeting with military personnel and other officials involved in the military commissions proceedings," Carr said. He said Justice Department prosecutors "have been involved in the investigation since the high value detainees were moved to Guantanamo Bay."

The Bush Administration always likes to have momentous discussions face to face. I wonder what Mukasey had to say to the show trial lawyers that he couldn’t say over a secure line?


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