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Ex-Prosecutor Behind Gitmo Dismissals?

POSTED: 07:30 AM ET, 10/22/2008 by Derek Kravitz

A detainee peers from his cell at the Camp Delta detention center on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba in 2006. (AP File Photo)

The controversial resignation of a military prosecutor who made accusations of ethical and legal issues involving detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba might be a factor in the dismissals of five terrorism-related cases at the detention center.

To much fanfare, Col. Darrel Vandeveld stepped down in September, alleging that evidence found against a man he was prosecuting, 24-year-old Mohammed Jawad, who is accused of tossing a grenade into a military jeep at a bazaar in Kabul in 2002, was withheld from his defense attorneys, The Post's Peter Finn reported.

"I am highly concerned, to the point that I believe I can no longer serve as a prosecutor at the Commissions, about the slipshod, uncertain 'procedure' for affording defense counsel discovery," Vandeveld wrote in a court filing upon his resignation.

Maj. David J.R. Frakt, a military defense lawyer for other cases, told The New York Times that Vandeveld's accusations clearly had an impact. "He said there are systemic problems across the board and he's on all these cases," Frakt told the newspaper.

But Army Col. Lawrence Morris, said the dismissals were unrelated to Vandeveld but rather initiated because evidence "is being more thoroughly analyzed," according to The Associated Press.

In an August e-mail obtained by The Los Angeles Times, Vandeveld said he was having "grave misgivings about what I am doing, and what we are doing as a country."

"I no longer want to participate in the system, but I lack the courage to quit. I am married, with children, and not only will they suffer, I'll lose a lot of friends," he wrote.

He resigned the following month.

By Derek Kravitz |  October 22, 2008; 7:30 AM ET In the News
Previous: Lobbying Limits on Wall Street | Next: Election Coverage, Gov. Contracting Mistakes, Crib Safety

Comments

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Col. Darrel Vandeveld shouldn't have trouble finding a new job. Any employer seeking people with integrity will jump at hiring him.

Of course, Pres. Obama's new Secretary of Defense could call Col Vandeneld and ask him to return to service.

Posted by: Garak | October 22, 2008 2:18 PM

I'd like to suggest the reading of Andy Worthington's (author of the book ("The Guantanamo Files") post on his own blog, under the title "The Dark Heart of the Guantánamo Trials", dated October 1st, 2008.

Posted by: Maria Luis Demée | October 22, 2008 2:45 PM

Further to my comment above, link to Andy Worthington's "The Dark Heart of the Guantánamo Trials" -
http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2008/10/01/the-dark-heart-of-the-guantanamo-trials/#comment-29556

Posted by: Maria Luis Demée | October 22, 2008 2:50 PM

Colonel Vandevelde stated "I am highly concerned, to the point that I believe I can no longer serve as a prosecutor at the Commissions, about the slipshod, uncertain 'procedure' for affording defense counsel discovery." Either there were lax procedural controls or someone deliberately refused to follow the rules turning over evidence to the defense as part of discovery. If the first, he could have named the person(s) responsible and had them removed for cause. If the second, he should have charged them with a crime.

Posted by: DCeiver | October 22, 2008 5:36 PM

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