Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Seeveral Gitmo "War Crimes" Trials Falling Apart

The U.S. military abruptly dropped charges against five Guantanamo Bay detainees, including one who allegedly plotted to detonate a "dirty bomb" in the U.S., after a prosecutor accused the military of suppressing evidence that could have helped clear them.

But despite the decision, announced Tuesday, there are no plans to free the men. New trial teams are taking another look at the evidence, the military said, and after consulting with intelligence agencies will recommend whether to reinstate charges.

That means the administration of the next U.S. president will probably get to decide what to do with the cases, including that of Binyam Mohamed, accused of plotting with U.S. citizen Jose Padilla to set off a radioactive bomb and fill apartments with natural gas to blow up buildings.

Padilla was sentenced in Miami to more than 17 years in prison on charges of supporting terrorism after the "dirty bomb" allegations were discarded.

Lawyer Clive Stafford Smith has gone to U.S. and British civilian courts to obtain evidence that Mohamed, an Ethiopian who moved to Britain as a teenager, was tortured and falsely admitted to crimes to halt his agony.

Last month, Army Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, the prosecutor in all five cases, said the military was withholding evidence that could have helped clear the defendants. He resigned in what he called a crisis of conscience.

Stafford Smith said Vandeveld's accusations led to the dropped charges, though he added that the military has already said it plans to file new charges against Mohamed within a month.

"Far from being a victory for Mr. Mohamed in his long-running struggle for justice, this is more of the same farce that is Guantanamo," Stafford Smith said.

But the Pentagon denied Vandeveld's testimony had anything to do with the charges being dropped. The Pentagon reports recommending dismissal said only that the new prosecution teams taking over the cases needed more time to evaluate them.

"I find the prosecution has been unable to complete its preparation for this case," Pentagon legal adviser Michael Chapman concluded in two of his reports, copies of which were obtained by The Associated Press.

He recommended that the Pentagon official who oversees the tribunal system, Susan Crawford, dismiss the charges without prejudice, meaning they can be refiled later. She accepted the recommendations Monday.

Sixteen of the 255 men at Guantanamo Bay, a U.S. military base in southeast Cuba, now face charges in the first American war-crimes trials since the end of World War II. The military had previously dropped charges against a Saudi who allegedly had hoped to become a Sept. 11 hijacker.

al-CIA-duh in Iraq

Where did they go wrong?
... the al-Qaeda model of 4GW may be failing for inherent reasons, i.e., for reasons it cannot fix. "Tom Ricks's Inbox" in the Oct. 19 Washington Post offers some confirmation of that assessment. Ricks writes:

"Where did al-Qaeda in Iraq go wrong? In a paper prepared for the recent annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, the Australian political scientist Andrew Phillips argues persuasively that, by their nature, al-Qaeda affiliates tend to alienate their hostsā€¦."

He then quotes Phillips at some length:

"In successive conflicts ranging from Bosnia to Chechnya to Kashmir, the jihad jet-set has rapidly worn out its welcome among local host populations as a result of its ideological inflexibility and high-handedness, as well as its readiness to resort to indiscriminate violence against locals at the first signs of challengeā€¦. That this pattern has so frequently been repeated suggests that the underlying causes of al-Qaeda's defeat in Iraq may transcend the specific circumstances of that conflict. Baldly stated, the causes of al-Qaeda's defeat in Iraq can be located in its ideological DNA."

In my view, the "DNA" to which Phillips refers is the type of people drawn to al-Qaeda and other Fourth Generation entities modeled on al-Qaeda. They are mostly religious fanatics of the most extreme varieties, similar to the Levellers and Diggers of the English Civil War. Regardless of what their organization's leadership may enjoin, they will treat any locals they regard as religiously "lax" with severity. They cannot do otherwise without becoming "impure" themselves. It is useful to remind ourselves where the word "Puritan" comes from.

I suggest the reason al-CIA-duh-- TO THE EXTENT THAT IT EVEN REALLY EXISTS AS A SIGNIFICANT ORGANIZATION (!!!)-- alienates its host is because it is clearly a foreign, alien entity, controlled by foreign powers such as MI6 and the CIA.