Seven Years For This?
One of the most absurd trials in American history ended today when Salim Hamdan was sentenced to 5 1/2 years for "providing material support to terrorism" in his capacity as Osama bin Laden's driver. After seven years on the so-called war on terror, we have the guy who changed the oil to show for it, and we held him so long (he got time served) that he's eligible to leave in six months (not that the US government will comply). Mind you that material support for terrorism was not considered a war crime subject to a military tribunal at the time that Hamdan was bin Laden's driver. This is an ex post facto conviction based on the Military Commissions Act of 2006. And what a commission it was. ACSBlog notes:
Salim Hamdan, who is being held at the military’s detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and served as Osama bin Laden’s driver, was convicted by a military tribunal of providing material support for terrorism and acquitted of conspiracy charges, the New York Times reported. ACSBlog published reports from the trial by observers Sahr MuhammedAlly, Aaron Zissler, and Frank Kendall, who represented the organization Human Rights First.
The Associated Press reported “Hamdan's attorneys said the judge allowed evidence that would not have been admitted by any civilian or military U.S. court, and that interrogations at the center of the government's case were tainted by coercive tactics, including sleep deprivation and solitary confinement.” [...]
Yesterday evening, Military Commission Judge Keith Allred acknowledged that he “may very well have instructed the [military commission jury] members erroneously,” but the prosecution and defense apparently agreed to let the original jury instructions stand, the Times reported.
More than anything, this is embarrassing. And meanwhile, there's a whole new generation of tortured prisoners being held to this day:
The U.S. military is segregating violent Iraqi prisoners in wooden crates that in some cases are not much bigger than the prisoners.
The military released three grainy black-and-white photos of what it calls the “segregation boxes” used in Iraq. They show the rudimentary structures of wood and mesh. Some of the boxes are as small as 3 feet by 3 feet by 6 feet tall, according to military officials. They did not release a picture of a box that size.
The military said the boxes are humane and are checked every 15 minutes. It said detainees, who stand in the boxes, are isolated for no more than 12 hours at a time.
Shut up, do-gooders, the boxes are checked, what more do you want?