Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Mountain in labour produces mouse

I do not agree with the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay where they hold terrorist suspects. I do realise that their activities in the War on Terror will produce prisoners who need to be held in custody and that there would be serious problems in trying to hold them in civilian establishments. Whilst two wrongs will never make one right I accept Gitmo was necessary but think it should have served its purpose by now.
My sense of indignation is heightened by the result of the first prosecution of a GB graduate. Of all the baddies they could - surely - have found they start with the guy who was bin Laden's driver. Of all the evil bstards they must have in abundance, they come up with Jeeves.
A six-member military jury found Salim Ahmed Hamdan guilty of supporting al-Qaeda by driving and guarding the terrorist leader. The jurors found him not guilty of conspiring with bin Laden in terrorist attacks. The same uniformed jurors will hold another hearing Wednesday afternoon to determine a sentence. Although the partial acquittal surprised some courtroom observers, the effect is virtually the same as a full conviction: Hamdan still faces up to life in prison. The charge required them to prove that Hamdan "knew or intended" that his support was to be used for a terrorist act. Numerous federal agents testified that Hamdan knew about attacks, if only after the fact, yet still stayed with bin Laden.
We do not know how these federal agents obtained the 'facts' to which they testified; how many gallons of water went over the board to find out if bin Laden sat in the back and whether he belted up. The rules had allowed, in certain circumstances, for evidence obtained under interrogation methods that were "cruel" and "inhuman." An observer commented "We were told that Guantanamo was necessary because these were the world's most dangerous terrorists," said Wizner, who criticized the Pentagon for revealing little in the trial about U.S. interrogation techniques. "Salim Hamdan is not one of the world's most dangerous terrorists."
Even the prosecution's own evidence portrayed Hamdan as someone who ferried weapons for al-Qaeda and knew details of terrorist attacks, but only after they occurred and often based on conversations he overheard. One FBI agent testified that Hamdan emerged from training at an al-Qaeda camp and said he had no interest in fighting. Hamdan's statements were admitted into evidence even though he had not been warned they might be used against him.
This has done nothing to encourage me to put America forward as truly a land of the free and, by the treatment of this man (even less than a pawn) as the home of the brave.

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