The farcical Guantánamo trials: charges dropped against Binyam Mohamed and four other prisoners

21.10.08

The Guantanamo Files“Guantánamo’s bleak farce” is the title of an article I wrote for the Guardian’s “Comment is free” section today, in which I looked at the significance of the Pentagon’s announcement that it had dropped “war crimes” charges against five prisoners facing trial by Military Commission at Guantánamo (the novel system of trials for “terror suspects” that was conceived by Vice President Dick Cheney and his close advisers in November 2001), including British resident Binyam Mohamed.

While this should have been cause for celebration, the Pentagon’s announcement was tempered by an extraordinary footnote: a disturbing claim that the charges would be reinstated in a month’s time. I’ll be writing more about this in the days to come, but please read the article for an explanation of why the decision to drop the charges was precipitated by the resignation a month ago of Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, the prosecutor in these cases, and what it reveals about the chaos and desperation that stalks the corridors of the Pentagon.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed, and see here for my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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