Monday, May 12, 2008

Political "Nanomanagement"

Besides engaging in anti-voter tactics, the other core strategy for the McCain campaign, and, FTM, for the desperate Republican attempts to hold the Senate to under 60 Dem seats (ID, TX and AK are in play!) is the Gitmo Show Trials.

They've been so blatant about the political nature of these trials that the folks in the military justice system are getting their backs up. First, the prosecutor resigns and offers to testify for the defense of Hamdan. And now a judge boots Thomas Hartmann, the commissar in charge of making sure the right trial result ("no acquittals") comes about.

The judge directed the Pentagon to appoint a replacement for General Hartmann in dealing with the Hamdan case. General Hartmann is the legal adviser to Susan J. Crawford, a Pentagon official with the title of Convening Authority, who has broad powers over the entire war crimes system, including the power to approve charges, reduce sentences and make plea bargains.

General Hartmann has described Ms. Crawford as “an independent, quasi-judicial figure” who administers the Pentagon’s Office of Military Commissions, which runs the war crimes system at Guantánamo.

It was that independence Judge Allred found that General Hartmann compromised by becoming so deeply involved in the prosecution that he was making decisions about what cases were to be prosecuted and how. Judge Allred called it a Pentagon official’s “nanomanagement of the prosecutors’ office.”

(From the "judge boots" link.)

Marcy reads the opinion and notes:

[T]op Administration officials were concerned not about complying with SCOTUS' ruling in Hamdan, but with a way to gain political advantage from the show trials. Further, I find it mighty interesting that--at precisely the same time as Bush was trying to purge DOJ of the US Attorneys who wouldn't bring politically sensitive cases on demand--Stephen Cambone was getting DOJ more involved in the Gitmo show trials.

The real crime is that these blatant manipulations of the process don't sound bite well enough to make the story onto the teevee, but the show trials will sound bite just fine. I hope Obama is planning his pushback early.