GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) – The former chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals testified on Monday that the tribunals were tainted by political influence and evidence obtained through prisoner abuse.
Air Force Col. Moe Davis, who quit the war court last year, said political appointees and higher-ranking officers pushed prosecutors to file charges before trial rules were even written.
A supposedly impartial legal adviser demanded they pursue cases where the defendant “had blood on his hands” because those would excite the public more than mundane cases against document forgers and al Qaeda facilitators, Davis said.
He said the pressure ramped up after “high-value” prisoners with alleged ties to the September 11 plot were moved to Guantanamo from secret CIA custody shortly before the 2006 U.S. congressional elections and amid the ongoing U.S. presidential campaigns.
“There was that consistent theme that if we didn’t get this thing rolling before the election it was going to implode,” Davis testified in the courtroom at the remote Guantanamo naval base in Cuba.
“Once you got the victim families energized and the cases rolling, whoever won the White House would have difficulty stopping the proceeding.”