October 16, 2012, - 5:28 pm
What the bleep is wrong with this country? Why do we have such morons on the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia? It’s like they were Casey Anthony jurors. Today, they overturned the conviction of Islamic terrorist Salim Hamdan, Osama Bin Laden’s driver, ruling that terrorism “didn’t constitute a war crime” at the time that Hamdan provided material support for terrorism to Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Huh? How was that not a war crime . . . ever? It’s like saying the OctoMom doesn’t have a lot of kids. Or that Joe Biden’s plugs aren’t hair implants. Under our absurd Bush-Obama “Gitmo terrorist catch and release” program, Hamdan was long ago sent to Yemen, where he is probably planning his next attack (or planning it from elsewhere, as we now have no idea where he is). But the decision is important for the precedent it sets. And it’s ridiculous. Read the court’s decision.
The three judges who decided this case and concurred in the decision included Reagan appointees Douglas Ginsburg (yup, the guy who withdrew from Supreme Court consideration after his pot-smoking days as a Harvard prof came to light–perhaps marijuana had even longer lasting effects than we knew) and David Sentelle and George W. Bush appointee Brett Kavanaugh. I read the decision and it rests on the assertion that “providing material support for terrorism” was not a specified “war crime” and, therefore, illegal, until AFTER Hamdan committed it. Huh? How on earth would that not constitute a war crime? Who didn’t specifically include it in the delineated “war crimes”? It doesn’t make sense. I’m against ex post facto laws that charge someone for past behavior that wasn’t illegal at the time it was committed. But this is ludicrous and absurd.
What people don’t get–nor did these judges–is that the whole reason that the ACLU and other terrorist special interest groups filed this case was to prevent non-U.S. citizen terrorists, such as Hamdan and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, from being tried in military tribunals. They want them tried in circus trials in federal court. (Under federal law, providing material support for terrorism has been a felony crime for many years, so this would not have been an issue there.) And, today, they got a major victory in that direction.
A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday overturned the conviction of Osama bin Laden’s former driver and bodyguard, Salim Hamdan, on charges of supporting terrorism, in a long-running case emerging from the American military trials at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that providing support for terrorism was not a war crime at the time of Hamdan’s alleged conduct from 1996 to 2001 and therefore could not support a conviction.
Human rights activists hailed the ruling as a blow to the legitimacy of the military commission system.
Hamdan was captured at a roadblock in Afghanistan in November 2001, not long after the U.S. invasion of that country following the September 11 attacks on the United States.
In the first U.S. war crimes trial since World War Two, Hamdan was convicted in August 2008 of providing personal services in support of terrorism by driving and guarding bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader who was killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan last year.
Hamdan was sentenced to 66 months in prison but given credit for time served at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. He was returned to Yemen in November 2008 and set free in January 2009 to live with his family in Sanaa. . . .
At the trial, prosecutors said Hamdan was close to al Qaeda’s inner circle while his lawyers asserted that Hamdan was simply a driver and mechanic in the motor pool who needed the $200 monthly salary.
Hamdan won a prior victory in 2006 when the U.S. Supreme Court scrapped the first version of the Guantanamo court system.
After that Supreme Court decision, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which listed a number of specific new war crimes that could be prosecuted by a military commission, including providing support for terrorism. The government refiled charges against Hamdan under that new law.
He was eventually convicted on five counts of providing material support for terrorism. . . . The appeals court . . . concluded that the military commissions act did not authorize prosecutions for conduct that occurred before the law was passed and that was not prohibited at the time it occurred. . . .
The decision strikes a blow to the legitimacy of the military commission system and calls into question prosecutions of offenses that are not internationally recognized war crimes, said Raha Wala, a lawyer with Human Rights First. To date, most of the military commission cases have been based on charges of material support or conspiracy that were added by the 2006 statute, he said.
“All of these prosecutions are now in jeopardy,” Wala said, including the ongoing prosecution of Saudi prisoner Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri set to resume at Guantanamo next week.
Sadly, based on my reading of the decision this Muslim lawyer for Islamic terrorists is right. We have bozos for judges. Men (and women) who do not care as much about the safety of Americans as they do about the supremacy of their court system (the federal one) over military tribunals over which they should have no power or say-so.
More big-time terrorists will go free over this. And more Americans will die. Thanks, men in black robes. Thanks a lot.
Tags: al-Qaeda, Brett Kavanaugh, David Sentelle, Douglas Ginsburg, Human Rights First, Islamic Terrorism, Military Commissions Act of 2006, Military tribunals, Osama bin Laden, Raha Wala, Salim Hamdan, U.S. Court of Appeals, war crimes, Yemen