GITMO Interrogators Instructed to Destroy Notes
First the judge who felt “badgered, beaten, and bruised” by prosecutors for trying to protect Khadr’s rights was removed from the case “for personnel reasons.” Now it turns out that Khadr’s interrogators were “instructed” — read: ordered — to destroy their notes, lest anyone ever find out that Khadr had been tortured or mistreated:
Navy Lieutenant Commander Bill Kuebler said in a statement sent to reporters he considers the notes crucial to the defense of his client, Canadian Omar Khadr, during his upcoming murder trial by a special military tribunal at the US naval base.
Kuebler said the instructions were handed down to interrogators from the US Department of Defense as part of a standard operating procedure or “SOP” directive that he obtained from prosecutors last week.
If they were carried out, US interrogators may have “routinely destroyed evidence” that might have been used to defend the Khadr and other detainees, Kuebler charged.
“If handwritten notes were destroyed in accordance with the SOP, the government intentionally deprived Omar’s lawyers of key evidence with which to challenge the reliability” of alleged confessions made to military interrogators, Kuebler said.
He cited in particular one passage of the directive to military interrogators stating that “this mission has legal and political issues that may lead to interrogators being called to testify.”
“Keeping the number of documents with interrogation information to a minimum can minimize certain legal issues,” the policy statement said, according to Kuebler.
Yes, it certainly can. So can suborning perjury and fabricating evidence — but that doesn’t make them good ideas.
Can we please stop pretending that the (un)fairness of military commissions is still open to rational debate?