Oct 24, 2008
Here at RagingBlog I’ve been railing against the torturers for years, trying to add my small voice to the growing chorus of people who know that the true terrorists have been running Washington for eight years. Now a really meaningful voice is being heard — that of a military prosecutor, Lt. Col. Darren Vandeveld, who was encouraged by his priest to speak out after he confessed in an email:
“I am beginning to have grave misgivings about what I am doing, and what we are doing as a country,”
What was the problem? As a prosecutor, which I once was, we learn that it is our duty to disclose any evidence that might indicate that the defendant is innocent to the defense lawyer. Vandeveld disclosed that the trials at Guantanamo being conducted pursuant to Congress’ shamelessly-enacted “Military Commissions Act” were part of a “rigged system” in which “potentially exculpatory evidence” was never being provided to the defense lawyers.
“I have observed,” he wrote, “that a number of defense requests which I considered to be reasonable and in some cases indicated support for were nevertheless rejected by the Convening Authority, presumably on the advice of the Legal Adviser.”
When Vandeveld resigned his position because he couldn’t continue in good conscience, Chief Prosecutor Col. Lawrence Morris tried to force him to take a psychological exam. Way to slander a good guy, colonel! Vandeveld’s replacement, Lt. Col. Doug Stevenson, denies there’s any problem — “There is absolutely no exculpatory evidence in this case that has not been provided to the defense,” Stevenson told the judge. Doesn’t sound right to me. Why would a career Air Force prosecutor flush his career down the toilet to make claims that he can’t back up? And Vandeveld is offering to back them up, by testifying for the defense in the case he was previously prosecuting against Mohammed Jawad, a teenager accused of throwing a grenade that wounded two American soldiers and their interpreter in December 2002. What would he testify?
Vandeveld has told defense lawyers that his office knew Jawad may have been drugged before the grenade attack and that the Afghan Interior Ministry said two other men had confessed to the same crime, according to Michael Berrigan, deputy chief defense counsel for the Guantanamo tribunals.