Friday, June 22, 2007

Gitmo Panel Officer Blasts Sham Tribunals

By Cernig

Yesterday, the White House cancelled a meeting to decide the future of Gitmo for the most purile of all possible reasons - the press got wind of the meeting so they decided not to play.

Today, we get a first definitive insight into the travesty of justice being perpetrated at the gulag in the sun.
Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, a 26-year veteran of military intelligence who is an Army reserve officer and a California lawyer, said military prosecutors were provided with only ``generic'' material that didn't hold up to the most basic legal challenges.

Despite repeated requests, intelligence agencies arbitrarily refused to provide specific information that could have helped either side in the tribunals, according to Abraham, who said he served as a main liaison between the Combat Status Review Tribunals and those intelligence agencies.

``What were purported to be specific statements of fact lacked even the most fundamental earmarks of objectively credible evidence,'' Abraham said in the affidavit, filed in a Washington appeals court on behalf of a Kuwaiti detainee, Fawzi al-Odah, who is challenging his classification as an ``enemy combatant.''

Abraham ``bravely'' agreed to provide the affidavit when defense lawyers contacted him, said al-Odah attorney David Cynamon.

``It proves what we all suspected, which is that the CSRTs were a complete sham,'' he said.

Matthew J. MacLean, another al-Odah lawyer, said Abraham is the first member of a Combat Status Review Tribunal panel who has been identified, let alone been willing to criticize the tribunals in the public record.

``It wouldn't be quite right to say this is the most important piece of evidence that has come out of the CSRT process, because this is the only piece of evidence ever to come out of the CSRT process,'' MacLean said. ``It's our only view into the CSRT.''
Lt. Col. Abraham got axed from the list of panel members when one panel he was a member of found one detainee NOT to be an "enemy combatant" and then refused to bow to pressure to give the decision higher-ups wanted.

Mind you, as Jim Martin points out, for the Busheviks closing Gitmo is just a first step in a new illegal-rendition shell game where the US uses permanent and non-permanent bases around the world and the culpable co-operation of local satraps to carry on torture without oversight.

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