Here is a story that should give you shivers if you love freedom. Col. Morris D. Davis, the head prosecutor at Guantanamo resigns. He writes an op-ed in the LA Times complaining that control of the military commissions at Gitmo has been taken from the military and given to political appointees whose agenda appears to be to run the embattled military commissions like some sort of kangaroo court. According to the former chief prosecutor
In a nutshell, the convening authority is supposed to be objective -- not predisposed for the prosecution or defense -- and gets to make important decisions at various stages in the process. The convening authority decides which charges filed by the prosecution go to trial and which are dismissed, chooses who serves on the jury, decides whether to approve requests for experts and reassesses findings of guilt and sentences, among other things.He also complains that the administration wants to run their rigged commissions in secret like some sort of Star Chamber and that one of the people above him in his chain of command is William J. Haynes.
Earlier this year, Susan Crawford was appointed by the secretary of Defense to replace Maj. Gen. John Altenburg as the convening authority. Altenburg's staff had kept its distance from the prosecution to preserve its impartiality. Crawford, on the other hand, had her staff assessing evidence before the filing of charges, directing the prosecution's pretrial preparation of cases (which began while I was on medical leave), drafting charges against those who were accused and assigning prosecutors to cases, among other things.
How can you direct someone to do something -- use specific evidence to bring specific charges against a specific person at a specific time, for instance -- and later make an impartial assessment of whether they behaved properly? Intermingling convening authority and prosecutor roles perpetuates the perception of a rigged process stacked against the accused.
Haynes was a controversial nominee for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, but his nomination died in January 2007, in part because of his role in authorizing the use of the aggressive interrogation techniques some call torture.Congress says, hey maybe we ought to call Col. Davis in for a hearing. The administration says, "Buzz off. Col. Davis works for us. You can't talk to him." In the old days the rebuked Senators would have roared, DOD heads would have rolled, careers would have been ruined, policies changed. Today, not so much.
Here is TPM's video of Senator Feinstein sounding very disappointed. Notice I didn't say outraged. In fact, Feinstein sounds more like a whipped puppy than a Senatorial lioness.
What in the name of God leads the Administration to believe they can stop Congress from talking to Col. Davis. Nothing in the Constitution or in law. Congress has a perfect Constitutional right to conduct oversight and there is no privilege applicable in this case. No, all that the administration has is chutzpa and the certain knowledge that "impeachment is off the table." The Democratic leadership is so craven and cowardly they will give in to anything the Administration says. What ever happened to the home of the brave and the land of the free? When was the coup d'état and why wasn't it reported by the consolidated corporate media?