Just another day at Guantanamo, I guess.
On the witness stand was the former chief prosecutor for the tribunals, Col. Morris Davis. Called to testify by defense lawyers, he told the court what he’d told the press — that he’d quit after becoming convinced that the political appointees overseeing the system were about politics first and justice second, that he was told “we can’t have acquittals,” and that he was pushed to land indictments or plea deals before the election. He also said that his superiors saw no problem with using confessions obtained through torture, including waterboarding. Everything is “fair game,” he says he was told, “let the judge sort it out.”
And then there’s Salim Ahmed Hamdan, the alleged driver for Osama bin Laden. Hamdan’s lawyers say that interrogators beat him and sexually humiliated him, among other things, and are arguing that he’s unfit to stand trial because he’s essentially been driven crazy by spending 22 hours in solitary confinement for the past several years. His lawyers say “he is suicidal, hears voices, has flashbacks, talks to himself and says the restrictions of GuantÃ¡namo ‘boil his mind.'”
Nevertheless, Hamdan was there yesterday — sort of:
But Hamdan, during the morning session, also appeared to show some evidence of mental deterioration, which his attorneys have ascribed to mistreatment and lengthy solitary confinement. He seemed in a daze as he was led into court in his khaki detention uniform.
He then engaged in a short, subdued rant to Allred about how he believes he is not being afforded human rights and would like to use the bathroom without soldiers watching him. He also tried at one point to get up from the defense table to leave the room. “I refuse participating in this, and I refuse all the lawyers operating on my behalf,” Hamdan said. He returned for the afternoon session in traditional Yemeni garb and a sport coat and agreed to continue.
And just to complete the context for the scene, the Post notes, is the fact that the Supreme Court is nearing “a decision on whether the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that laid the legal foundation for these hearings violates the Constitution by barring any of the approximately 275 remaining Guantanamo Bay prisoners from forcing a civilian judicial review of their detention.” In the meantime, the ugliness of Gitmo is on full display.