Saturday, March 31, 2007

Military Prosecutor Refuses To Handle Terrorist Case

Andrew Sulivan's got a must-read post today, quoting a subscription only article in the Wall Street Journal that recounts how Lt. Col. V. Stuart Couch, a Marine Corps pilot and veteran prosecutor who lost his best friend on 9/11, has refused to prosecute a Gitmo detainee. Mohamedou Ould Slahi was, according to Couch himself, "the one with the most blood on his hands" out of all the cases he had seen. So why refuse to handle the prosecution? According to the WSJ, because "He concluded that Mr. Slahi's incriminating statements - the core of the government's case - had been taken through torture, rendering them inadmissible under U.S. and international law."

Sully writes:
The critical paragraph in the story for me is the following:
In the following weeks, Mr. Slahi said, he was placed in isolation, subjected to extreme temperatures, beaten and sexually humiliated. The detention-board transcript states that at this point, "the recording equipment began to malfunction." It summarizes Mr. Slahi's missing testimony as discussing "how he was tortured while here at GTMO by several individuals."
Remember the missing critical Padilla DVD? Recall that David Hicks has been put under a gag-order against discussing the torture techniques used against him by the US? Evidence is "disappeared." Detainees are gagged. Verdicts are pronounced based on testimony procured through torture. Col Couch is not stupid. He must also know that using evidence procured by torture is a war-crime. Every military prosecutor tasked by Bush and Cheney to prosecute torture victims is being set up as a war criminal. Bush and Cheney, meanwhile, secured their own legal impunity in the Military Commissions Act last year.

Under this president and vice-president, we are beginning to live in a banana republic.

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