The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, August 14, 2006

Aw, c'mon, it's all we got.

This article from the Christian Science Monitor suggests to me that the administration is more concerned with racking up convictions of nobodies and claiming success than catching actual terrorists. But that would be totally out of character for them, wouldn't it?

Salim Ahmed Hamdan never planted a bomb, never took a hostage, never wielded a box cutter, never fired a weapon in anger, and never planned an attack of any kind.

What he is alleged to have done, according to his US military commission charge sheet, is work as Osama bin Laden's driver in Afghanistan.

So how could military prosecutors at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, charge him with being a terrorist and war criminal? The answer boils down to a single word: conspiracy. (. . .)

Four of the eight justices participating in the case ruled that the military commissions at Guantánamo did not have jurisdiction under the law of war to prosecute suspected Al Qaeda members for allegedly engaging in a conspiracy.

Conspiracy is not a war crime, said Justice John Paul Stevens in his plurality decision. And special military commissions can only try war crimes, he said.

The ruling is significant because all 10 detainees at Guantánamo slated for military commission trials have been charged with conspiracy, and seven of them (including Mr. Hamdan) face only a single conspiracy charge.