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Former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias has been appointed as a JAG prosecutor for the Gitmo cases. Iglesias, a Native American and 24-year Navy veteran with the rank of captain, rose to national prominence with the U.S. attorney’s scandal. His appointment marks a distinct upgrade to the quality and caliber of the prosecution effort, which recently has been beset with controversy concerning its independence. Six Gitmo prosecutors have resigned or requested reassignment, many noting that political officials of the Bush Administration improperly interfered with their management of the cases or suggested the existence of vital evidence which was being withheld from the defense.
Significantly, Iglesias was dismissed as U.S. attorney when he refused to bend to improper political pressure to politicize cases he was handling. His conduct was vindicated by an internal probe of the Justice Department, the conclusions of which led former Attorney General Mukasey to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate possible criminal charges against Bush Administration officials involved in his firing. Iglesias launched his career in Guantánamo in connection with a case that provided the material for Aaron Sorkin’s play “A Few Good Men,” later a motion picture. This appointment therefore marks a return to a place he knows well.
Read my interview with Iglesias for more background on the U.S. attorney’s scandal.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Freddie Gray’s relatives arrived for the trial in the afternoon, after the prep-school kids had left. By their dress, they seemed to have just gotten off work in the medical and clerical fields. The family did not appear at ease in the courtroom. They winced and dropped their heads as William Porter and his fellow officer Zachary Novak testified to opening the doors of their police van last April and finding Freddie paralyzed, unresponsive, with mucus pooling at his mouth and nose. Four women and one man mournfully listened as the officers described needing to get gloves before they could touch him.
The first of six Baltimore police officers to be brought before the court for their treatment of Freddie Gray, a black twenty-five-year-old whose death in their custody was the immediate cause of the city’s uprising last spring, William Porter is young, black, and on trial. Here in this courtroom, in this city, in this nation, race and the future seem so intertwined as to be the same thing.
Number of Turkish college students detained in the last year for requesting Kurdish-language classes:
Turkey was funding a search for Suleiman the Magnificent’s heart.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”