The chief prosecutor for Guantanamo Bay’s military commissions has revealed that he relinquished his position after concluding that “full, fair and open trials” for the accused were impossible.”I resigned,” writes Morris D. Davis in the Los Angeles Times, “because I felt that the system had become deeply politicized and that I could no longer do my job effectively or responsibly.”
Davis, an Air Force officer and lawyer, says “it is absolutely critical to the legitimacy of the military commissions that they be conducted in an atmosphere of honesty and impartiality.
“Yet the political appointee known as the ‘convening authority,'” a position he noted that had no civilian counterpart, “was not living up to that obligation.”
In early 2007, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates replaced Maj. Gen. John Altenburg as the convening authority with civilian lawyer Susan Crawford. “Altenburg’s staff had kept its distance from the prosecution to preserve its impartiality,” writes Davis. “Crawford, on the other hand, had her staff assessing evidence before the filing of charges” by drafting charges against the accused and assigning prosecutors, among other things.