Salim Hamdan held his head in his hands and wept Wednesday as the six-member military jury declared the Yemeni guilty of aiding terrorism, which could bring a maximum life sentence.
Hamdan was captured at a roadblock in southern Afghanistan in November 2001 and taken to Guantanamo Bay in May 2002.
The military accused him of transporting missiles for al-Qaida and helping bin Laden escape U.S. retribution following the Sept. 11 attacks by serving as his driver. Defense attorneys said he was merely a low-level bin Laden employee, a minor member of a motor pool who earned about $200 a month.You can't blame Defense attorneys for characterising Hamdan as "a minor member of a motor pool." As long as no one buys it. Not even in civilian courts is the get away driver of a bank heist considered a "member of the motor pool." We're not talking about al-Qaeda, Inc or a uniformed army of a signatory of the Geneva Conventions. Hamdan knew what he was getting into and as bin Laden's driver, he was certainly in a fairly tight and trusted circle of terrorists. He was not a common thief among thieves.
Army Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, a former Guantanamo official who has since become critical of the legal process, mocked the choice of Hamdan for the tribunal's first trial.
"We can only trust that the next subjects ... will include cooks, tailors, and cobblers without whose support terrorist leaders would be left unfed, unclothed, and unshod, and therefore rendered incapable of planning or executing their attacks," Abraham said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
As to the cooks, tailors and cobblers who provided material support to al-Qaeda, I would remind you that there were plenty of civilians providing material support in Dresden, Germany during WWII. No one read them their Miranda rights. Yesterday, was the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. I don't remember hearing about any "leaflets of indictment" being rained down on the "good" people of Hiroshima before "little man" in an instant, passed judgment on over 100,000 souls.
Apparently, in those days, people were less confused about the existential job requirements of stopping an enemy intent on killing you.