Gitmo prosecutor who quit calls system 'appalling' and 'immoral'
A former US military prosecutor, who resigned rather than continue bringing cases against terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay in a system he found "defective" and "immoral," has spoken out for the first time in an interview with the BBC.
"I know so many fighting men and women who are stained by the taint of Guantanamo," Valdeveld told the interviewer, "so I'm here to tell the truth about Guantanamo and how a few people have sullied the American military and the constitution."
Vandeveld said that he arrived at Guantanamo in 2007 as a "true believer," determined to secure as many convictions as possible, but that he found the prosecutor's office in disorder, with files and evidence scattered everywhere and no clear chain of command. Even worse, defense lawyers were not being informed when their clients had been coerced into confessing.
"I began to think, perhaps this man I'm prosecuting may be innocent," Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld explained. "The procedure was defective. In fact, there was no procedure in place for turning over evidence. ... I was convinced at that point that it was impossible to guarantee that they would get a fair trail, and I no longer thought I could ethically participate in a system like that."
"We've kept these detainees at Guantanamo for, in some cases, almost seven years," Vandeveld added," and that struck me as appalling, wrong, unethical and finally immoral."
A devout Catholic, Vandeveld wrestled with his conscience during what he called "the most anguished period of my life" and finally emailed a Catholic priest who is also a peace activist. The brief reply he received said "quit."
The full BBC story can be read here.
This video is from BBC, broadcast Dec. 2, 2008.
Download video via RawReplay.com