The Travesty Continues: Hamdan's Sentencing

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

There’s been little time for blogging, but then there’s been less need — Hamdan is front-page news worldwide today, and you can read excellent accounts of Wednesday’s remarkable proceedings here, here, and here.

There was a feeling on Wednesday — and this was evident on the faces of the prosecutors — that the jurors had struck a major blow against the Guantánamo military commissions. For the last seven years, uniformed military officers have been pushing back, sometimes dramatically, against the most extreme detention and interrogation policies of the Bush Administration. Charlie Swift, Alberto Mora, Antonio Taguba — and many more whose names are not well known — have stood up for the best traditions of military justice, and for the principle that the United States military must treat its enemies as we demand to be treated by them. We may never know why the military commission members acquitted Hamdan of the most serious charges against him, but there was no mistaking the impact of their decision. Harry Schneider, one of Hamdan’s lawyers, quipped that Hamdan’s phone call home to Yemen would likely be an easier one than the prosecutors’ call to Washington.

The sentencing phase is now underway. The prosecution sought to call one witness: an FBI agent who was on the scene at the World Trade Center on 9/11 who would describe the carnage and chaos of that day. But, having failed to convict Hamdan of participation in a terrorist conspiracy, the prosecution was unable to persuade Judge Allred that 9/11 victim testimony was relevant to Hamdan’s punishment. “Guilt is personal in the United States, sir,” argued Lt. Commander Brian Mizer, one of Hamdan’s lawyers. Judge Allred agreed, stating that Hamdan was “so little involved” in Al Qaeda’s activities, his support was “so small,” that it would be unduly prejudicial to make it appear that he was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

As has been common in these proceedings, the prosecutors did not give up, and continued to argue throughout the afternoon that the FBI agent should be permitted to testify.

“Nothing could be more closely connected,” argued lead prosecutor John Murphy, than Hamdan’s driving and bodyguard duties and the attacks of 9/11. But Judge Allred was unpersuaded. “I know you think that man, many people want some vindication for those attacks,” he said. But Hamdan’s role was so marginal and attenuated that there was simply no basis for turning the sentencing hearing into another grisly horror show.

Hamdan is expected to take the stand on Thursday and address the jurors directly. We are told that the prosecutors may attempt to close the courtroom for part of this testimony — once again pressing the outrageous argument that Hamdan is in possession of classified evidence simply by virtue of what the United States has done with him and to him since his capture. (Journalists have speculated that what the administration truly wants to conceal is that Hamdan offered to help the United States capture bin Laden in November of 2001 — an offer that was rejected. The defense has obliquely referred to a “squandered opportunity,” but will say no more.)

Today may be the final day of this historic trial. If wiser heads prevail, this first trial by unjust military commission will also be the last.

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Disgruntal American

You people make me so sick. I hope some jackass suicide bomber walks into the ACLU offices kills 50 of you scumbags and walks.

Joseph W Beverly

I feel no sympathy for this person or any of the others being held. In case you hadn't noticed they are enemy combatants who have one intention Kill Americans, innocent women and children and any one else to further their cause. I would make one suggestion to our soldiers send them to their buddy Allah and the 72 virgins they long for rather than take them prisoner. Than these gentlemen and their allies the Democratic party will not have to be worried about their rights. You see probably 95% of these "gentlemen" never served our country they only took from it. I would bet anyone of you out there if you check most of these lawyers and the DemoRats out in Washington they support, such as their new hero Barack Hussein Obama. When our brave men and women were serving our country these are the people who were protesting it.

As far as these poor souls who were just minding their own buisness when our mean soldiers threw them in jail. You all think about what happens to our Military personel when these animals capture them.

By the way do you ever see the ACLU worry about your second ammendment rights, or the rights of the unborn? Do any of you think if the DemoRats try to pass the so called Fairness Doctrine they will worry about anyone's rights?

Common Sense

Yea! What he said!


well there ya have it... three out of three murderers think the aclu sucks.


obviously the first three posters, would rather throw away the law, reason, & God...just so they can keep their bellies fed. Murder problem, bomb threats are only natural for this kind. Truth hurts their little ole feelings, and it is just sad to have to listen to the babes whine.

Grun, Norway

How can the US, and for that matter the ACLU, fail to see the bigger picture. I have looked through a number of cases within the US and can only see that most prosecutors and judges are fanatics looking to win cases and not to provide justice. This is so ingrained into the attitude of the US public, who are ignorant to what is really going on, that there is no incentive to hold these corrupt judges accountable. Looking at the exoneration cases and the US ignoring the ICJ request, the country must be happy with the dubious honour of having one of the worst human rights records in the world.

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