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Another Phony?

The New York Times reports: War-Crimes Prosecutor Quits in Pentagon Clash

In the latest disruption of the Bush administration’s plan to try detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for war crimes, the chief military prosecutor on the project stepped down yesterday after a dispute with a Pentagon official.

The prosecutor, Col. Morris D. Davis of the Air Force, was to leave his position immediately, a Defense Department spokeswoman said.

Colonel Davis, a career military lawyer, had been in a bitter dispute with Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, who was appointed this summer to a top post in the Pentagon Office of Military Commissions, which supervises the war crimes trial system.

General Hartmann, an Air Force reserve officer who worked as a corporate lawyer until recently, was appointed this summer as the legal adviser to Susan J. Crawford, a former military appeals judge who is the convening authority, a military official who has extensive powers under the military commission law passed by Congress in 2006.

People involved in the prosecutions, who spoke on condition of anonymity, have said that General Hartmann challenged Colonel Davis’s authority in August and pressed the prosecutors who worked for Colonel Davis to produce new charges against detainees quickly.

They said he also pushed the prosecutors to frame cases with bold terrorism accusations that would draw public attention to the military commission process, which has been one of the central legal strategies of the Bush administration. In some cases the prosecutors are expected to seek the death penalty.

Colonel Davis filed a complaint against General Hartmann with Pentagon officials this fall saying that the general had exceeded his authority and created a conflict of interest by asserting control over the prosecutor’s office. Colonel Davis said it would be improper for General Hartmann to assess the adequacy of cases filed by prosecutors if the general had been involved in the decision to file those cases.

First off, Colonel Davis isn’t a “war-crimes prosecutor,” he is a military judge advocate assigned to the military commission. For very complicated reasons involving laws and treaties, these detainees can’t be charged with war crimes. In addition the Hedgemony refuses to call any of them prisoners of war, so that further excludes them from the war crime process. This entire charade had to be created because the US is refusing to abide by international norms.

Colonel Davis is a career military officer who felt compelled to leave his position because the Hedgemony decided to bring in an inexperienced reserve officer to oversee the process. The Colonel feels that the system has been compromised and offered the Pentagon a choice, either him or Hartman. The DoD wouldn’t get rid of Hartmann, so Davis is leaving.

11 comments

1 Steve Bates { 10.06.07 at 9:58 pm }

This is the very kind of disrespect for the law (military or otherwise) that points to an inevitable conclusion that Bush’s lackeys were appointed to behave in the most un-American way possible.

Yes, that’s what I said: un-American.

American justice finds the notion of one person or entity serving as both judge and jury (or in this case, as both the one who brings charges and the one who prosecutes charges) repugnant. The separation of roles goes to the essence of American justice. That the Bushists either do not understand this, or understand it and have decided flagrantly to disregard it, says a lot about what kind of people they are.

2 Bryan { 10.06.07 at 10:51 pm }

Actually, if you understand the normal court martial system, the general is supposed to be the first step in the appeal process. This is like an appeals court judge telling the prosecutor what to do, not just the trial judge. The general is supposed to be independently reviewing the process and judgment of the trial court.

They brought in someone with no experience in criminal or military court procedure, which is absurd on its face.

3 whig { 10.07.07 at 4:40 am }

All enemies of the constitution, foreign or domestic, includes this administration. Can that be less than obvious to anyone?

4 Bryan { 10.07.07 at 11:19 am }

I didn’t have any problem figuring it out, and based on the number of resignations and retirements among the military lawyers, they know. The Judge Advocate Generals corps of all the services have been complaining about this since the beginning, but no one is listening to them. It was a Navy JAG, LCmdr Charles Swift, who filed the appeal in Hamdi v. Rumfield an won.

These people are doing their very best to corrupt the military justice system.

5 Badtux { 10.08.07 at 11:19 am }

They’re doing their best to turn the U.S. military into a third world military led by politically connected thugs and staffed with goons who can be used to impose order upon the United States in the event that such becomes called for. One of the first things you have to do in order to do that is get all the honorable careerists to resign or force them to retire. Now that Posse Comitatus has been repealed in all but name, it is now legal to use soldiers (as vs. National Guardsmen) for internal “police actions”. Only problem is, they’re all stuck in Iraq right now. Oops, guess Dear Leader wasn’t quite as smart as he thought he was…

6 Bryan { 10.08.07 at 11:38 am }

They have broken it again, and I’m not sure they are going to be able to rebuild on a voluntary basis after this adventure in imperialism. We could end up having to establish another draft just to fill the ranks.

There are so many groups that need to be flushed out, like the evangelicals in the Air Force, the gang members in the Army and Marines, that you wonder what will be left.

Robots and mercenaries are not the magic solution that Rumsfeld envisioned.

7 hipparchia { 10.08.07 at 9:10 pm }

that would be disheartening, to be the conquered country because your robots lost to their robots.

8 Bryan { 10.08.07 at 10:29 pm }

That was part of Rummy’s vision – automated wars. The man was mental.

9 whig { 10.08.07 at 11:10 pm }

Regulate the militia, all those bearing arms, and you don’t need a draft.

10 whig { 10.08.07 at 11:13 pm }

Rummy isn’t past-tense, he’s still at liberty.

11 Bryan { 10.08.07 at 11:43 pm }

They’ve broken the National Guard, too.

First the leaders, then the underlings. Rumsfeld’s power was given to him by the Shrubbery, and he kept it long after it was obvious he was unfit.