First Conviction Out Of Guantanamo A Farce
The title of Washington Post’s new story, “Australian’s Plea Deal Was Negotiated Without Prosecutors,” pretty much says it all.
However, let’s get into some details…
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, March 31 — The plea deal that allows Australian David M. Hicks to leave the detention facility here with a nine-month sentence was negotiated between defense attorneys and the convening authority for military commissions without the knowledge of prosecutors, lawyers from both sides said.
The deal shows that the politically appointed authority has the power to personally decide the fate of America’s most notorious terrorism suspects.
Excuse me United States, but could we get fries with that conviction?
Though Australian officials have said they were not directly involved in plea negotiations, Mori declined to answer questions about what, if any, influence they had. Australian Prime Minister John Howard, up for reelection this year, has been under public pressure to bring Hicks home. He turned to Vice President Cheney to implore that the case be resolved. Crawford was the Defense Department’s inspector general from 1989 to 1991, when Cheney was defense secretary.
“What an amazing coincidence that, with an election in Australia by the end of the year, he gets nine months and he is gagged for 12 months from talking about it,” said Australian lawyer Lex Lasry, who was in Cuba to monitor the case over the past week.
But that’s all it is. A mere coincidence. Politicians don’t ask favors from each other so they can attempt to sway elections. It just doesn’t happen. Ever.
As the deal developed in recent weeks, Air Force Col. Morris Davis, the lead prosecutor for military commissions, and his team on the Hicks case were not in the loop. Davis said he learned about the plea agreement Monday morning when the plea papers were presented to him, and he said the prosecution team was unaware that discussions had been taking place.
“We got it before lunchtime, before the first session,” Davis said at a news conference Friday night. In an interview later, he said the approved sentence of nine months shocked him. “I wasn’t considering anything that didn’t have two digits,” he said, referring to a sentence of at least 10 years.
And by the way people…that fun little bit about him not being able to talk about the torture? We were only about to do that if we send him back to Australia. Why? Because it would violate the 1st Amendment.
So let’s check the scorecard here. Not only have we given our first convicted enemy combatant a laughably short sentence, but we also imposed a condition of the sentencing that would get laughed out of court here.
What is going on with our government that they think this make us look as if we’re serious about the WoT? Seriously.