To add a bit to Christy Hardin Smith’s excellent post on Hamdan, a couple years ago I had a cup of coffee with Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Swift, Hamdan’s military lawyer. The conversation remains off the record, but I remain to this day deeply impressed with Charlie’s integrity, visceral sense of justice, and indomitable determination that the abomination of the military commissions be repudiated, even if it meant his career. And it sort of did.
So Salim Ahmed Hamdan — the Farnsworth Bentley to bin Laden’s P. Diddy — was found guilty of the lesser charge of material support to terrorism. Rather than establish Hamdan’s actual guilt, all the tribunal will bring is further appeal, and the prospect that the Supreme Court finally rules that the military commissions are unconstitutional even before President Obama scraps them.
The ACLU’s Anthony Romero released the following statement:
“Any verdict resulting from such a flawed system is a betrayal of American values. The rules for the Guantánamo military commissions are so flawed that justice could never be served. From start to finish, this has been a monumental debacle of American justice. The judgment against Hamdan undoubtedly will be challenged in legitimate courts, but there is no appeal from the judgment of future generations. This system was devised to permit the prosecution of alleged wrongdoing by detainees, while continuing to cover up the wrongdoing by government interrogators. Trials that are shrouded in secrecy and tainted by coercion are the very antithesis of American justice.”