Saturday, March 29, 2008

The trial of Osama's driver

By Libby

I suppose the law of averages would dictate that a tiny handful of the Gitmo detainees really are high value inmates, worthy of prosecution, but judging from the outcomes of the previous miltary hearings that pose as judicial review, I'd say not many of them really are players that deserved the draconian punishment they now suffer. Not that this will deter the administration from trying to make them so. Take for example, Osama's driver.

The Navy lawyer for Osama bin Laden's driver argues in a Guantánamo military commissions motion that senior Pentagon officials are orchestrating war crimes prosecutions for the 2008 campaign.
Notably, it describes a Sept. 29, 2006, meeting at the Pentagon in which Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, a veteran White House appointee, asked lawyers to consider Sept. 11, 2001, prosecutions in light of the campaign.

''We need to think about charging some of the high-value detainees because there could be strategic political value to charging some of these detainees before the election,'' England is quoted as saying.
You'll remember it was this particular political interference that led to the resignation of Air Force Col. Morris Davis, who served as former chief Pentagon prosecutor. But even leaving aside the untoward political machinations for a moment, it defies logic to cast the driver as a mastermind in any AQ plots. In any criminal enterprise, isn't the driver usually the one who's too out of the loop to be trusted with any part of the operation except driving the car? One doubts he was privy to any high level meetings. More likely he would be left waiting in the car.

I mean think about it. Isn't that like holding Hilter's limo driver responsible for the Holocaust? Maybe Hamdan was even a loyal and willing soldier in the AQ organization but the only thing high value about him is likely to be his political value to the GOP in timing his prosecution to influence the election cycle.