Gitmo Show Trials Orchestrated for Election


CAROL ROSENBERG
Miami Herald
March 29, 2008

The Navy lawyer for Osama bin Laden’s driver argues in a Guantánamo military commissions motion that senior Pentagon officials are orchestrating war crimes prosecutions for the 2008 campaign.

The Pentagon declined late Friday to address the defense lawyer’s allegations, noting that the matter is under litigation.

The brief filed Thursday by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer directly challenged the integrity of President Bush’s war court.

Notably, it describes a Sept. 29, 2006, meeting at the Pentagon in which Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, a veteran White House appointee, asked lawyers to consider Sept. 11, 2001, prosecutions in light of the campaign.

”We need to think about charging some of the high-value detainees because there could be strategic political value to charging some of these detainees before the election,” England is quoted as saying.

A senior Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, declined to address the specifics, saying “the trial process will surface the facts in this case.”

”It has always been everybody’s desire to move as swiftly and deliberately as possible to conduct military commissions,” he added. “But I can tell you emphatically that leadership has always been extraordinarily careful to guard against any unlawful command influence.”

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