The Corner

Guilty Verdict in Second Gitmo Military Tribunal … and Conduct Unbecoming

The second commission trial at Guantanamo Bay has resulted in the conviction of al Qaeda’s top media propagandist.  Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, 39, of Yemen, was found guilty of 35 counts of conspiracy, solicitation to commit murder and providing material support to terrorism.  One of the recruiting videos he made to inspire would-be jihadists featured scenes from the aftermath of the October 2000 U.S.S. Cole bombing, in which 17 U.S. naval personnel were killed.

Sentencing, which could be up to life-imprisonment, should occur shortly.

Bahlul refused to participate in his trial, regarding it as a political farce.  As for him, who cares?  But this, from the AP’s report, I found very disturbing:  joining Bahlul in his contemptuous demeanor was his “Pentagon-appointed lawyer [who] stayed silent during the trial, refusing to even answer questions from the judge.” 

As an attorney admitted to practice before a tribunal, and especially a military officer, one’s obligation is to lodge with all appropriate vigor the client’s objection(s) to the proceedings, but then, having thus protected the appellate record, to (a) conduct the best defense possible (understanding that one can’t force his client to cooperate) and (b) accord the judge and jury the respect and dignity to which they are entitled.

If a lawyer can’t do that, he or she should find another line of work.  They may be cheering over at the Center for Constitutional Rights, but this behavior on the part of a defense lawyer — assuming it happened as the AP says it did — is dishonorable.

Most Popular

Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Religion

Billy Graham: Neither Prophet nor Theologian

Asked in 1972 if he believed in miracles, Billy Graham answered: Yes, Jesus performed some and there are many "miracles around us today, including television and airplanes." Graham was no theologian. Neither was he a prophet. Jesus said "a prophet hath no honor in his own country." Prophets take adversarial ... Read More