Tomorrow marks an historic occasion: the first military commission trial of a so-called ‘enemy combatant’ in the War on Terror is scheduled to take place at beautiful, sunny Guantanamo. And Osama Bin Laden’s chauffeur–a prime example of “the worst of the worst”, IMO–is the lucky duck who’s been given the opportunity to see post-9/11 justice in action:
When Salim Ahmed Hamdan, accused of ferrying weapons for al-Qaeda, enters courtroom 01-A in a former aircraft operations center, he will face court proceedings unlike any the United States has seen in decades. They will unfold before a military commission — the first since the end of World War II — with a jury of uniformed officers and rules that give great deference to the prosecution. Evidence obtained from “cruel” and “inhuman” interrogation methods is admissible in certain circumstances, as is hearsay evidence.
Unlike a civilian trial, even if the defendant is acquitted of conspiracy and material support of terrorism charges, he probably will not be released. Hamdan has been designated an “enemy combatant” by the military, a status that prosecutors said would be unchanged by an acquittal even if international pressure mounts for his release.
Kangaroo courts are judicial proceedings that deny due process in the name of expediency. Such rights include the right to summon witnesses, the right of cross-examination, the right not to incriminate oneself, the right not to be tried on secret evidence, the right to control one’s own defense, the right to exclude evidence that is improperly obtained, irrelevant or inherently inadmissible (e.g. hearsay), the right to exclude judges or jurors on the grounds of partiality or conflict of interest, and the right of appeal. The outcome of a trial by “kangaroo court” is essentially determined in advance, usually for the purpose of providing a conviction, either by going through the motions of manipulated procedure or by allowing no defense at all.
Ok, so if “justice” (such a September 10th concept, that) isn’t the end result that is being sought by going the military commission route, then why waste precious time (and taxpayer dollars)?
[T]he proceedings are…something of a dry run, a way to test the long-delayed military system on an alleged low-level al-Qaeda foot soldier so it is primed for the self-confessed terrorist leaders to come. In line behind Hamdan at Guantanamo is Khalid Sheik Mohammed, self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and other accused planners.
“It’s the first contested war crimes trial since World War II, so it’s important,” Col. Lawrence Morris, the military commissions’ chief prosecutor, said recently. “You’re looking at it primarily and appropriately as bringing Mr. Hamdan to justice, but we’re also well aware that . . . it provides the first opportunity to test and validate this mechanism.”
Ah, so, in essence, Mr. Hamdan is, in fact, a pioneer, blazing a trail for future generations to come! Well, that more-than-pertinent fact certainly kills any unpatriotic misgivings that whole predetermined outcome thing might engender. Huh–wonder how he feels about serving such a prominent role in world history?
“There is no such thing as justice here… . America tells the world about freedom and justice… . Give me a just court … give me my human rights.”
Geez, bloodthirsty America-hatin’ terrorists sure are a hard lot to please, eh?