“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Gitmo jury gives bin Laden driver 5 1/2 years

Gitmo jury gives bin Laden driver 5 1/2 years

6 minutes ago

A military jury gave Osama bin Laden's driver a stunningly lenient sentence on Thursday, making him eligible for release in just five months despite the prosecutors' request for a sentence tough enough to frighten terrorists around the globe.

Salim Hamdan's sentence of 5 1/2 years, including five years and a month already served at Guantanamo Bay, fell far short of the 30 years to life that prosecutors wanted. It now goes for mandatory review to a Pentagon official who can shorten the sentence but not extend it.

It remains unclear what will happen to Hamdan once his sentence is served, since the U.S. military has said it won't release anyone who still represents a threat. The judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, said Hamdan would likely be eligible for the same administrative review process as other prisoners.

Hamdan thanked the jurors for the sentence and repeated his apology for having served bin Laden.

"I would like to apologize one more time to all the members and I would like to thank you for what you have done for me," Hamdan told the panel of six U.S. military officers, hand-picked by the Pentagon for the first U.S. war crimes trial in a half century.

The military has not said where Hamdan will serve his sentence, but the commander of the detention center, Navy Rear Adm. David Thomas, said last week that convicted prisoners will be held apart from the general detainee population at the isolated U.S. military base in southeast Cuba.

"I hope the day comes that you return to your wife and daughters and your country, and you're able to be a provider, a father, and a husband in the best sense of all those terms," the judge told Hamdan.

Hamdan, dressed in a charcoal sports coat and white robe, responded: "God willing."


  1. If the public wanted to express the sense that injustice was done in this case or moussaoui's, how exactly would that message sound?

    It's easy to chant "Free Mumia."

    What's the script for "lock 'em up and throw away the key?"

    Kill and capture? More like Kill or inconvenience. Hate being so snide, but this is frustrating. I don't get it.

  2. Well,
    I hope he and the Judge Burn in Hell, but that's just me.

    I guess the Judge would be sympathetic to dumb-fuck thinking like this:
    (From ANOTHER troll on the Federal Dole.)

    "When we turned Gitmo into a prison for "detainees" who would be tried under extra-constitutional rules like using classified evidence against the defendants they weren't even cleared to see, or using confessions extracted by waterboarding, our national reputation was shot so bad Lady Liberty basically laid down on the bed, hiked up her robes, and offered up any orifice. And what do we get for that sacrifice of our national honor? What's the bang for our buck? Are we getting the big guns put away? Are we putting Khalid Sheik Muhammed in a noose? No, we're saying that OBL's chauffeur is a war criminal.
    And the rest of the world is laughing at us.

  3. Are we so close to a precipice like the "clash of civilizations" that we have to spend these tender mercies to avoid seeming like what the Left accuses us of? Is this a propaganda victory because we are seen as lenient in Europe? Where exactly would this play well? How would this advantage us?

    If you were to somehow rally the "kill 'em all and burn in hell" crowd, would we be more powerful?

    Is there a formal message or anything published on this from the court?

  4. Cheer up, Adam Gadahn is "dead" and hopefully burning in hell. When an answer is "only time will tell" not much has spoken to his present biological state:

    "In February 2008, Pakistani news sources reported rumors that Gadahn was killed by a missile fired by a MQ-1 Predator drone, in the strike that killed al-Qaeda leader Abu Laith al-Libi.[28][29] [30][31][32][33] On March 2, an Al Qaeda spokesperson claimed that Gadahn was alive[34][35][36], but some doubt has been cast on this, particularly since the quality of recent Al-Qaeda videos from As-Sahab has declined considerably.[37][38][39][40]

    On May 18, 2008, Counterterrorism Blog surmised that Adam Gadahn is dead based on the latest Al Queda missive.[41]

    On June 2, 2008 ABC News reported that the U.S. Is Stepping Up Efforts to Capture California Boy Turned al Qaeda Operative [42], and MSNBC on June 13 report that 'U.S. tries to smoke out accused terrorist Adam Gadahn'[43], although Associated Press report that 'Pakistani news sources reported in February that Gadahn was killed in a missile strike, but the FBI has not received conclusive evidence of his death, Eimiller said.'[44]

    Laura Mansfield has stated that "Normally important messages from Zawahiri contain linguistic indications that they were translated by Adam Gadahn. Gadahn’s translation style is noticeably absent from this video, giving more credence to open source reports from Pakistan regarding the possible death of Gadahn in an American air strike. (However, there are other plausible explanations for Gadahn’s absence from the scene – including his quip in his January video tape that ripping up his passport would not hinder his ability to travel.)"[45]"

  5. "He told the military panel deciding his sentence that he had continued working for Mr. bin Laden after a terror attack in 2000 only because he felt he had no options and was trapped “between two fires,” fearing arrest for his ties to Mr. bin Laden or further involvement in his activities"
    Guess what?
    I've been in an analogous situation, probably several times, (perhaps others here can remember similar episodes?) and in some, if I had been in the presence of the perps when they were caught, I probably would have paid a very heavy cost.
    ...always looked back on it in terms of if I had been a more responsible person, I would have taken steps to remove myself from the environment.
    (If I knew then what I know now, I would hold myself responsible for turning some of them in.)

    No such responsibility levied on those who toil for those who murder us en masse.

  6. Is it even possible for the US to come out ahead once we exalt one of these terrorists to this level of legal celebrity?

    But consider this: isn't he one of the first for this tribunal? There are bound to be others. Maybe the rest won't receive such tender mercies. We're prepping the information context perhaps? We let the celebrity terrorist off the hook. And as for whose left, the one's who cannot all be made into profitable media darlings...

  7. How many more detainees are queued up?

  8. Hamdan is the cause of the Supremes decision with regards the Geneva Accords and the terrorists. Then the Feds advance with a case so weak that there are two aquittals and a five month sentence, when time served is factored in.

    So much bet, and lost, for nothin'.

    Team43, fails to meet even lowered expectaton with each passing day.

  9. About 15, I think.

    Would have to do some reading to know for sure

  10. Half the country and most of the world thinks that Guantanamo Bay is among the most heinous Human Rights Abuses in the world today.

    I get the feeling that someone thinks this is a win-win situation. One side gets a conviction but the hysterics are defused because of the light sentence which is not likely to be challenged on appeal.

  11. As of May 2008, approximately 270 detainees remain. More than a fifth are cleared for release but may have to wait months or years because U.S. officials are finding it increasingly difficult to persuade countries to accept them, according to officials and defense lawyers. Of those still incarcerated, U.S. officials said they intend to eventually put 60 to 80 on trial and free the rest. On February 9, 2008, it was reported that 6 of the detainees at the Guantanamo Bay facility would be tried for conspiracy in the September 11, 2001 attacks. In May 2008, the Pentagon claimed that 36 former Guantanamo inmates were "confirmed or suspected of having returned to terrorism"[

  12. "So much bet, and lost, for nothin'."
    Perfectly said, yet it's still an understatement.
    The decider's obstinancy and incompetence has given so much of this countries legacy away in 8 years, it is hard to comprehend.
    ...think how much different the illegal situation would be right now if we had had 7 years of strick workplace enforcement following 9-11, as we should have.

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  14. Look at the WAR crime the guy was convicted of - Material Support. All it appears he did was drive Binny around. Now I might be missing something here, but when you compare this guys actions to the things folks have done to be charged with war crimes, driving doesn't appear to be very high up the list. I think a lot of folks are having a sad laugh at the good ole US of A right now. Praise our glorious leader Sir Bush and all his friggin' enablers!

  15. How many Jihadists released from prisons in Israel, Europe and the USA (gitmo and iraq included) go and kill again?

    from my POV an unacceptable %...

    Mercy and Compassion being shown to those who support our mass murder only show weakness to the jihadists.

    the take a verdict of 5.5 years with 5 as timed served as ALLAH's greatness and blessing them...

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. "[edit] Role of Abdellah Tabarak
    On July 24, 2008 Michael St. Ours, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent, testified that Abdellah Tabarak had been in charge of Osama bin Laden's security detail.[36]

    According to Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald St Ours "looked stunned" when Hamdan's Defense Counsel asked him if he knew that Tabarak had been released without charge.[37]

    Andrew Cohen, a legal affairs commentator for CBS News, called the testimony that Tabarak had been released a "colossal embarrassment".[38]
    He commented:

    Oops. Bet the Administration would rather have Tabarak on trial than Hamdan.

  18. Were gonna make some impression on the world seriously trying 60 to 80 people. How brutal are some of these cases? That's an unmentioned asset in this war so far. When's the machinery going to start? Might it be a parade of total and utter incompetence on our part and actually undermine us? How would we envision proceeding best? The delay has given us a bit of initiative. These people will presumably be tried even when the prison is transitioned somehow, right?

  19. JERUSALEM, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Israel Wednesday agreed to release a number of Palestinian prisoners by the end of August, leaving many wondering about the motives of outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert grilled over corruption scandals.


    Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Israel agreed to release a total of 150 prisoners, out of some 11,000 in Israeli custody, but Israeli officials declined to provide the number and the names.

  20. judging by this editorial they've moved the best prosecutions up to be done first so I would imagine much of what is to come will be worse:

    "Col. Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor in Guantánamo, put the trial in a disturbing light. He testified that he was informed by his superiors that only guilty verdicts would be tolerated. He also said that he was told to bring high-profile cases quickly to help Republicans score a pre-election public relations coup.

    Colonel Davis gave up his position on Oct. 4, 2007. That, he wrote in The Los Angeles Times in December, was “the day I concluded that full, fair and open trials were not possible under the current system.”

    In his article, Colonel Davis described a highly politicized system in which people who were supposed to be neutral decision-makers were allied with the prosecutors. According to Colonel Davis, Defense Secretary Robert Gates pushed out a fair-minded “convening authority” — the official who decides which cases go to trial, which charges will be heard and who serves on the jury.

    That straight-shooting administrator was replaced by Susan Crawford who, Colonel Davis said, assessed evidence before charges were filed, directed the prosecution’s preparation and even drafted charges. This “intermingling” of “convening authority and prosecutor roles,” Colonel Davis argued, “perpetuates the perception of a rigged process.”

    Colonel Davis said the final straw for him was when he was placed under the command of William J. Haynes, the Defense Department’s general counsel. Colonel Davis had instructed prosecutors not to offer evidence obtained through the torture technique known as waterboarding. Mr. Haynes helped draft the orders permitting acts, like waterboarding, that violate American laws and the Geneva Conventions."

  21. Well, Ash:
    US Citizens sometimes pay a heavy price for similar levels of involvement with criminals. with the Mexican Drug dealer and our Border Guys, though, or the Mexican Army with their armed assault on our Agent on our land, citizens no longer deserve equally treatment to criminal illegals and those who toil for terrorists who have murdered us by the thousands.

    To bad we can't bring back SS members and give them all fair trials.

    TF 134 PAO

    Press Release 080801
    August 2, 2008

    Coalition Detainee Operations Release Over 10,000 Men Recommitted to Rebuilding Iraq

    Baghdad – Coalition Detainee Operations in Iraq report, the return of over 10,000 men to their communities across Iraq so far this year, eclipsing 2007’s total of 8900. Detainee releases are currently on pace to reach well over 12,000 by year’s end, according to the Multi-National Forces Iraq Deputy Commanding General of Detainee Operations, Rear Admiral Garland Wright.

  23. In some states, a driver can be convicted of murder even if his accomplices commit the murder.

    Hamdan claims he was just a poor unfortunate Yemeni working for a better wage than he could get back home. Yeah, right. You know darn well that a simple hourly employee isn't going to get that close to the boss without a proper vetting.

    (I have to restrain myself from not insulting our resident Leftist.)

    "Someday, pow! To the moon, Ashlice."

  24. I don't think the Geneva Convention or Criminal Law are adequate to the task of dealing with these thugs.

  25. Four Mexican army soldiers entered southern Arizona and pointed their rifles at a U.S. Border Patrol agent early this week, the Border Patrol said.

    The incident Sunday was the Mexican military's 43rd incursion across the U.S. border since October, the agency said. However, it was unusual because firearms were involved. The Border Patrol and the Mexican government are investigating, Border Patrol spokesman Mike Scioli said.

    Details remain sketchy, but the incident occurred at 2 a.m. on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation about 50 miles southeast of Ajo. The incident took place just north of the border in sight of the new border fence.
    The soldiers held their weapons on the agent for several minutes until he identified himself in Spanish, whereupon they lowered their guns and walked back across a gap in the fence, Scioli said.

    In Washington, D.C., State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said the encounter "stemmed from a momentary misunderstanding as to the exact location of the U.S.-Mexican border."

    The Mexican army has told the Border Patrol it knew of an incident involving its soldiers, but it did not confirm the details. In years past, the Border Patrol has arrested Mexican soldiers who crossed the border, then typically released them back to Mexico.

  26. There will be another upcoming war criminal media bonanza with Karadzic.

  27. You got it Whit:
    "My Children would not eat meat if I had not joined the SS.
    And I swear, I never turned on a single gas valve.

  28. 43 known cross border operations, by the Mexican Army, in the US since October.

    That makes for about one per week that the Border Patrol knows of and acknowledges.

    Given the amount of traffic that they do not know about, the Mexican Army can be assumed to be operating in the US almost daily.

  29. The Saddam trial worked out. Zarqawi's as well. We shouldn't forget the impressions those made.

  30. Something some of you may not have thought about in this way before.
    (I had, I think, but did not keep it clearly in mind until I heard it again recently.)

    Deportations, and arrests of Illegal EMPLOYEES are virtually worthless, as the records of repeat crimminals show.
    Illegals who murder citizens frequently are people have been deported multiple times.

    Arrests of EMPLOYERS of Illegals, otoh, has a tremendous deterence effect on millions of other employers.

    ...just as episodic enforcement of other laws on citizens does throughout our society.

  31. 'Rat,
    Any theories on WHY the Mexican Army's been doing that?

  32. Similar to the sentence that Mr Hicks of Oz recieved. A few extra months and then he was released.

    Team43 has made fools of themselves and US with this whole deal. Especially if Hamdan is/was thought to be the low hanging prosecutorial fruit.

  33. ...and 43 had the worst record of apprehending EMPLOYERS of illegals in History.

    AFTER 9-11.

  34. They provide cover the coyotes and drug smugglers, doug.

    As Stratfor reminds US

    Late on the night of June 22, a residence in Phoenix was approached by a heavily armed tactical team preparing to serve a warrant. The members of the team were wearing the typical gear for members of their profession: black boots, black BDU pants, Kevlar helmets and Phoenix Police Department (PPD) raid shirts pulled over their body armor. The team members carried AR-15 rifles equipped with Aimpoint sights to help them during the low-light operation and, like most cops on a tactical team, in addition to their long guns, the members of this team carried secondary weapons — pistols strapped to their thighs.

    But the raid took a strange turn when one element of the team began directing suppressive fire on the residence windows while the second element entered — a tactic not normally employed by the PPD. This breach of departmental protocol did not stem from a mistake on the part of the team’s commander. It occurred because the eight men on the assault team were not from the PPD at all. These men were not cops serving a legal search or arrest warrant signed by a judge; they were cartel hit men serving a death warrant signed by a Mexican drug lord.

    The tactical team struck hard and fast. They quickly killed a man in the house and then fled the scene in two vehicles, a red Chevy Tahoe and a gray Honda sedan. Their aggressive tactics did have consequences, however. The fury the attackers unleashed on the home — firing over 100 rounds during the operation — drew the attention of a nearby Special Assignments Unit (SAU) team, the PPD’s real tactical team, which responded to the scene with other officers. An SAU officer noticed the Tahoe fleeing the scene and followed it until it entered an alley. Sensing a potential ambush, the SAU officer chose to establish a perimeter and wait for reinforcements rather than charge down the alley after the suspects. This was fortunate, because after three of the suspects from the Tahoe were arrested, they confessed that they had indeed planned to ambush the police officers chasing them.

    The assailants who fled in the Honda have not yet been found, but police did recover the vehicle in a church parking lot. They reportedly found four sets of body armor in the vehicle and also recovered an assault rifle abandoned in a field adjacent to the church.

  35. Enforcers of various cartel groups such as Los Zetas, La Gente Nueva or the Kaibiles who have received advanced tactical training often pass on that training to younger enforcers (many of whom are former street thugs) at makeshift training camps located on ranches in northern Mexico. There are also reports of Israeli mercenaries visiting these camps to provide tactical training. In this way, the cartel enforcers are transforming ordinary street thugs into highly-trained cartel tactical teams.

    Though cartel enforcers have almost always had ready access to guns, including military weapons such as assault rifles and grenade launchers, groups such as Los Zetas, the Kaibiles and their young disciples bring an added level of threat to the equation. They are highly trained men with soldiers’ mindsets who operate as a unit capable of using their weapons with deadly effectiveness. Assault rifles in the hands of untrained thugs are dangerous, but when those same weapons are placed in the hands of men who can shoot accurately and operate tactically as a fire team, they can be overwhelmingly powerful — not only when used against enemies and other intended targets, but also when used against law enforcement officers who attempt to interfere with the team’s operations.

  36. Good that W is such a serene and Godly Reborn Christian:

    He can pray and excercise w/Condumb and not be troubled by such Worldly Matters.

    Too bad he gave up Drinking!

  37. And Condumb goes to bed at night dreaming of hosting parties for her Dyke Friends when she becomes NFL Commissioner.

  38. Maybe we planted a chip in him and will Hellfire his ass once he sets up a new shop with all of his Hadji pals.

  39. whit wrote:

    ""Someday, pow! To the moon, Ashlice."'


    ...thanks for the...discretion?

    Anyway, as Rat noted 'if that's prosecutorial low hanging fruit' I'd hate to see what else is rumbling down the pipe.

    The discussion over the last day or two still hangs in the air. From joy expressed at Texas staring the Federal Gov. down to outrage at Townhall meeting not pledging allegiance to said Federal Gov. to joy at a 'fair' judgement on top terrorist who will get out in about 6 months...

    ...ya really think if some high tech survellience chip were planted in our boys ass we'd get some marvelous actionable intel??? naw - the problems really revolve around shaping societies and not marshalling our forces against theirs, but hey, bomb 'em, tis the easy way, and effective, right? look out Iran...

  40. What this sentence shows is just how stupid it was for you and your damned gang of thugs to put a chauffeur on trial first, and a dumb one at that, rather than a more convincing "terrorist." Cretins.

  41. Can't say "you" and mean ME, lil'caylee:
    I've already called Bush worse than a Cretin, and unlike Cretins, he weren't borned that way.

  42. Roderick Reilly said,

    "I’ve always maintained that there are limits to the powers and endurance of fanaticism, and events in Iraq and elsewhere have proven me right.

    The notion that terror and insurgent groups can sustain the heavy losses they incurred at the hands of the U.S. military in particular indefinitely is bogus.

    The notion that the “Anbar Awakening” could happen without U.S. military might is also nonsense.

    The insurgents who turned on Al Qaeda were well-aware of the fire power and capabilities of U.S. troops, having suffered much higher losses than they inflicted, even with their effective use of IEDs.

    They had to have weighed in casualties, equipment, and property losses into their equation to switch sides.

    Also, where does the notion that the Anbar sheiks did this conversion spontaneously and independently without first being contacted by U.S. and Iraqi authorities come from?

    And what’s with giving the likes of Moqtada Al Sadr more credit than he deserves for supposedly “holding back” the Mahdi Army?

    What kind of petty, twisted, resentful minds does it take to:
    1) Deny that U.S. military power was necessary to affect this outcome in Iraq,
    2)or that, similarly, to deny that the war was more than half-won militarily in Vietnam because of Tet,
    3) first insist that the Iraqi Army was a formidable foe in the lead-up to the Gulf War, and then turn around and call them “rag-tag” and “3rd-World” when they lost decisively, or
    4) that no credit should be given to Reagan and George H. W. Bush for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Well, Rod, if you just spent some time at EB, your curiosity would be allayed:

    "ya really think if some high tech survellience chip were planted in our boys ass we'd get some marvelous actionable intel??? naw - the problems really revolve around shaping societies and not marshalling our forces against theirs, but hey, bomb 'em, tis the easy way, and effective, right? look out Iran..."

  43. Eager to hear your plan for shaping Pakistan's society, Ash.
    Hope it has better luck than the FIVE YEARS the Euros have spent trying to shape Iran's.

    (plus ours and others before that)

  44. dougo, those bombs and such really do have an effect but did we actually bomb the Soviets into submission? This outcome in Iraq, is it good in your eyes, worth the cost? and half-won ain't worth shit. Those who asserted the Iraqi military were formidible sure didn't take Gulf War I and the following years of sanctions into account. Mind you, the Bush you supported were so worried of their strength that they asserted they had WMD's. WMD's represent a lot strength.