Military Denies Rigging Guantanamo Tribunals
Tuesday, August 2, 2005
The Pentagon acknowledged yesterday that two former members of the military team handling prosecutions of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had alleged last year that the trial system was rigged in favor of the government.
A Pentagon spokesman said, however, that the prosecutors' charges had been "thoroughly investigated" and dismissed as unfounded. While declining to reveal specifics of the allegations, Lawrence T. Di Rita said an investigation determined they were "much ado about nothing."
The allegations by Air Force Maj. John Carr, who was then a captain, and Air Force Maj. Robert Preston were reported by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times in their Monday editions. The newspapers said they obtained internal e-mails written by Carr and Preston that detailed their allegations.
The Journal account of the allegations said both Carr and Preston requested that they be reassigned rather than participate in the trials. It said they accused fellow prosecutors of ignoring torture allegations, failing to protect evidence that could help defendants establish a defense and withholding information from superiors. The Times said Carr asserted that the chief prosecutor had told subordinates that the members of the military commission that would try the first four defendants would be "handpicked" to ensure that all would be convicted.