Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A fair trial? Not on his life

Some of you might be familiar with one Salim Ahmed Hamdan. He was Osama bin Laden's driver. His was the case the Supreme Court ruled that the President cannot invoke the law of war without being bound by the law of war (The bitter with the sweet). He was charged with conspiracy to commit a crime that didn't exist.

He won the case and so he went back to Guantanamo Bay to await a new trial, or indeterminate detention. As it turned out he went in for a new trial. The defense lawyers, seeking to bring the best possible defense to cause reasonable doubt, wished to bring a couple high profile witnesses, high level Al Qaeda operatives who could testify that bin Laden's driver was not a hard core member of Al Qaeda and should not be subjected to the military tribunals that the prisoners of war are subjected to (and for those of you who cling to the false premise that these are not prisoners of war, I can't really help you other than to say that the President invoked the law of war, and then tried to find a loophole by announcing he declared war on an idea, which is wrong. These people are still bound by Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions, as are we).

Anyway, they were denied. Why were they denied? Security obstacles. What a great, vague term to use for denying someone their best possible defense. Now, the judge did say he would allow the defense the opportunity to call another witness - a Moroccan who was arrested with Hamdan. Because we all know that one witness is as good as another.

What have we become? Are we so desperate to vindicate our detention of these people without charge and indefinitely that we need to start denying them the best defenses available?

1 comment:

photog said...

Apparently so.

So much for "land of the free and home of the brave."

More like "land of the scare tactics and home of the ideologically spineless."

At least under the current regime (Bush/Cheney), where the modus operandi is "we are right, and if you disagree with us (or even need to think about whether we are right) you must be unpatriotic and anti-American."

20 January 2009 - the Day of Liberation from the rule of ideological tyrany