Hamdan Given 66 Months, Less Time Served, Plus Life

Wait. A man was sentenced to 66 months in prison, most of which he’s already served and then when he gets out he stays in forever?


The White House-chosen military panel – not a jury – at Camp Justice at occupied Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, issued a split decision Wednesday in the case of the notorious driver of Osama bin Laden, Salim Hamdan. The panel acquitted him on the original conspiracy charges, but convicted him of material support for terrorism.

It was the first “trial” under the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Today, on the panel’s recommendation, the “judge” in the case sentenced Hamdan to a mere 66 months, minus the time he’s already spent in detention. Though the “prosecutors” had asked for 30 years to life, it would seem he would be free to go after about 5 months, according to McClatchy Newspapers who’ve apparently counted.

But as announced by the military on Tuesday, even if Hamdan had been acquitted, they would still hold him as an enemy combatant for the rest of his life anyway – as they will after he’s served his 5 months.

Hail Caesar!

Author: Scott Horton

Scott Horton is editorial director of Antiwar.com, director of the Libertarian Institute, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from ScottHorton.org. He’s the author of the 2017 book, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan and editor of The Great Ron Paul: The Scott Horton Show Interviews 2004–2019. He’s conducted more than 5,000 interviews since 2003. Scott lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, investigative reporter Larisa Alexandrovna Horton. He is a fan of, but no relation to the lawyer from Harper’s. Scott’s Twitter, YouTube, Patreon.

35 thoughts on “Hamdan Given 66 Months, Less Time Served, Plus Life”

  1. Mr. Horton should not be spreading this disinformation. There is no intention to hold Mr. Hamdan the rest of his life. On reading The Gulag Archipelago (now that it’s relevant again), Solzhenitsyn points out that some prisoners, in acts of clemency by the Revolutionary Tribunals, would only be sentenced to imprisonment “until the final victory over world imperialism!” We have repeatedly stated that we we will only hold detainees until the final victory over terrorism. Predictably, that will be multiple lifetimes of Mr. Hamdan. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that he will not be detained one day beyond that final victory over terrorism.

  2. Come on people please, this guy is obviously an Islamic Fascist Terrorist. He would eat your babies and molest your dogs. He is the ultimate scum of the earth. 10,000 years of torture would not be enough to subject this completely inhuman creaton to. In fact he should never be allowed to die, just in case he does get his 72 virgins. Lets all band together to make sure that just in case there is reincarntation he can’t come back and be somehow worse (I’m not sure how). We should also be on the lookout for anyone who might have cut the ultimate horror’s hair or toenails or God forbid took out his trash. They should all be treated like the dogs they are. I know it might not be constitutional and completely against any morral code but we should never forget, this is WAR, WAR I Say.

    God bless the NEO-AMERICA.

  3. The Bushistas will have a supremely nasty situation on their hands when Hamdan’s time is served. The “tribunal” managed a rather weak guilty verdict and then mostly a time served sentence. Wow, you’d think the brain-trust at Defense/Justice could do better than that. Oh well, back to the old judicial drawing board. Wow, maybe the Bushistas could re-recruit John Yoo! Yoo would see to it that the nasty Hamdan got his alright. Golly, it would seem that Amerika is serving time under the Bushies and not the “terrorists.” Wait a minute, isn’t one man’s terrorist another man’s freedom fighter? Seems I’ve heard that somewhere before. Wait, let’s ask the Raimondo. He’ll know!

    1. Let me get this straight – this guy was Saddam’s limo driver, right? Who else do we have at Gitmo – Saddam’s barber, his tax accountant, maybe the school crossing guard that he waved to each day? Someday, this will be funny in a sick sort of way, like how people kicked Dachshounds during the patriotic insanity of WWI. I am finding it impossible to vocalize publicly the Pledge of Allegiance anymore.

      1. I am embarrassed – I meant Osama not Saddam. Hard to keep these threats to the American way of life straight.

  4. Look, let’s think about this rationally ok? Because the issue is not as cut and dried as some on both sides of the aisle make it out to be. If all this guy was was a driver for Bin Laden, he certainly should not have to spend the rest of his life in jail. On the other hand, if he was his driver I’m sure he knew what Bin Laden was all about and so yes, that is providing material support for terrorsim, and a 66 month sentence I think would be justified.

    The issue of “enemy combatants,” however, is a very difficult one. First of all, I don’t like the term and I think everyone at Gitmo should be given POW status as prisoners of war. Normally, a POW is held until the conflict is over and then returned to his home country. But the problem is, we are in a new kind of war that we have never fought before. The Islamo Terrorists have vowed to destroy America (as well as the rest of this decadent western civilization) and they will not rest until they achieve their goal. The Muslim fanatics we are fighting owe their allegiance, not to any particular nation-state, but to their religious doctrines, to the Quran, the Hadith and the fanatics who interpret it for them. So, I know some on the left mock the point, but this truly IS a different kind of war.

    Now what is the answer? I honestly don’t know! On the one hand I certainly don’t think we can just hold these people forever without charging them. That just does not sit right with me. On the other hand I know that if they are released to soon, some of them will most likely hit us and kill Americans in the future. Ever see the movie “Saving Private Ryan?” In the movie they had mercy on one of the Germans and did not kill him. They let him go. And what ended up happening? He came back to kill American soldiers. So I think it is a very difficult issue as far as what do with them.

    1. The “War on Terror” is the biggest recruiting aid for The likes of Bin Laden. All of the Immoral and unlawfull acts we commit on behalf of this farse is only going to bring about more death and destruction on both sides. End the undeclared wars bring our troops home, man our borders and mind our own business, that’s the answer. Make peace not war, that’s the answer. do unto others as you would have done unto yourself, that’s the answer. You can believe all you want that the fanatics in the world hate us because we are free, but that does not make it so. We are hated and have become a target for the fanatics because of our behaviour. Change the behaviour and you will also take the bullseye off our backs. That is the answer. Anything else will only lead to the destruction of not only our enimies but also ourselves. We have a choice, we can live in peace or choose the path of war and destruction. Right now WE are choosing the path of destruction, and we had better change soon before it’s too late.

      1. But Brad, retreating to borders in a defensive posture does not always work. Look at France in WW2, they built the Maginot line and thought they could just have a defensive posture, look what happend to them. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. I hear what your saying and I think there is some truth to it. But do you really think we can just sit back and stay behined our borders? In an age of jet travel, anthrax and nuclear weapons? Also, do you think these fantics will stop hating us and start loving us if we just “leave them alone?” Who was bothering or occupying their lands in the 7th and 8th century when they invaded Europe, took over Spain and got as far as France before they were stopped by Charles Martel in 732? The Muslim fanatics today are part of that very SAME mentality. Their ultimate goal is to have a Muslim theocracy imposed all over the world. How do we know? Because they tell us so !

        1. Tim R is showing his ignorance of history again — as usual (is he a real person or just a neo-con drone?). In WW2, the Germans did not initiate hostilities with France. If I recall correctly, the Germans invaded Poland. Then Britain and France declared war on Germany. So the French weren't just hiding behind their Maginot Line eating croissants; they declared on Germany. So maybe if they minded their own business, they wouldn't have had a problem with Germany, which was only interested in eastward expansion. Their invasion to the west came after the western alliance declared war on them.

        2. “Their ultimate goal is to have a Muslim theocracy imposed all over the world. How do we know? Because they tell us so !”?!!

          Let rephrase this “Their ultimate goal is to have the westren views imposed all over the world. How do we know? Because they tell us so !”And they have shown us that in actions and deeds!Who are really the more fantics!? The ones that have killed few thousands,or the ones who have killed hunderds of thousands,displced millions,and advocating the murders of millions in order to stop a country such as Iran from deveolping the weapons that certain countries have!?

        3. Tim R;

          Your comparison of France 1939 and today’s USA is ridiculous like everything else you say is ridiculous. To make sense of your analogy we must assume that Canada or Mexico is the strategic, moral and military equivalent of the Third Reich. Ridiculous. By the way, France declared war on Germany.

      2. I agree, Brad. If Muslims really hated people because of their freedom, lifestyles and prosperity, why is it that they hate the U.S. but not Sweden, Japan or Hong Kong? Maybe it’s because the U.S. has an aggressive, imperialist foreign policy and the others do not? Why is that Muslims started hating the U.S. only fairly recently. We’ve been free and prosperous for a pretty long time. Why is that being noticed only now by the envious Muslims?

    2. If you have unjustly imprisoned, tortured, and destroyed someone’s life, your best bet is to kill him or at least keep him imprisoned indefinitely, because if he gets out he’s going to come after you! Sounds logical to me!

    3. Well, if it’s in “Saving Private Ryan” then the problem must be legit.

      Almost none of the Gitmoers (Gitmotists?) are even plausibly accused of terrorism. It’s not terrorism to throw a grenade at an American soldier on the battlefield. It’s not terrorism to fight the Northern Alliance one day and all of a sudden find yourself the next day fighting Americans who allied with the N.A.

      Another point: if we won’t release any Gitmoer ever–no matter how guiltless a military commission may find him–on the ground that he might cause future harm, then what you’re saying is that any person arrested for any reason in America or by Americans must be imprisoned forever, on that same ground. If possible harm is the criterion for holding a prisoner forever, why not immediately murder each person Americans arrest and be done with it?

      Hamdan you can drive my car,
      But you will not get very far.
      The Pentagon your pathway will bar
      So Hamdan don’t bother–beep beep, beep beep yeah!

    4. The fraud is in calling a counter-terror “campaign,” a war. Until this adminsitration, the U.S. military, following Clausewitz, recognized a “spectrum of conflict” on a scake of 1 to 10. All-out nuclear war was 10, conventional, non-nuclear war was 8, and counter-terrorism was at 4, due to the recognition that “war” was so costly and unpredictable, a nation should try to avoid it. This thinking was inverted in 2001, with the recognition by power seeking politicians that, with war, limitless power was available with “unitary executive theory”, or, in lay terms, one-man rule. The commander in chief claim, fallacious as it is, fit the circumstances perfecly for the one-man rule proponents. In essence, with the Commander in Chief “hat” on, rather than the Presidential “hat” on, our Commander in Chief of the land and naval forces executed a military coup de tat. The war claim, regardless of how harmful to national security was essential to carry out this veiled, non-uniformed, military coup de tat by the Commander in Chief.

    5. Overlooked in all of this nonsense is the fact that Osama Bin Laden has never admitted that he is responsible for the WTC attack or any other retaliation against the USA-mass-murder machine. He simply explained why people naturally hate the criminal USA government. So if Osama hasn’t confessed or been convicted of a crime, how can his driver be convicted of associating with or lending support to something that hasn’t gone to trial (and probably never will since we have always been at war with X and will always be at war with X).

  5. The War on Terror is the biggest fraud as this case very well illustrates.It is the same countries that claim to be fighting terrorism that are creating it.

  6. By the way, if you guys want to be upset about people being held indefinatly, without having done any harm or hurt anyone, forget Gitmo, it happens right here in the USA every day, its called “involuntary civil commitment.” The so-called patients, (in effect they are prisoners) are held on the whim and caprice of psychiatrists who get to play God and decide if and when they are safe to go back into society. Now don’t get me wrong, some people have done violence and are criminally insane and really do need to be locked away. But many others have hurt no one. They are simply held on the testimony of psychiatrists, not for what they have done, but for what the pyschiatrist says they might do in the future. Electric shocks are administered to some of their brains, they are forced to take dangerous drugs, they are beaten and sexually abused in some cases. This is happening to tens of thousands of innocent people and to me is much more of an injustice than anything going on down at Gitmo.

    1. Hey Tim, What are your visiting hours? Like to see you in person. If the guards allow it!!

    2. I am not sure what your point is. Does this mean that we ignore all injustices other than the one that we consider the worst? Do we ignore rape because it isn’t, perhaps, quite as bad as murder? Do we clear up all of the murder cases and once no more of those happen, move on to rape, and so on, until we get to shoplifting? Besides, the injustice begins when people are held against there will without having been justly committed of a crime, whether the alleged crime is murder or shoplifting.

  7. I have no problem with the sentence. He is already served his sentence on time served for Buscho and therefore, if no country will accept them, he gets a Green Card and starts the road to American Citizenship.

    We jailed them and if nobody accept them, they are our mess and we give them a Green Card and start these guys on the road to American Citizenship.

    We imprisoned him and he has done his time. Therefore, try to negotiate with a Middle East country to accept him or else he automatically gets a Green Card and the road to American citizenship begins.

    It is the fair thing to do.

    1. It seems the Green card is a more interesting topic than an innocent man given a life sentence for no crime he was aware of a the time.

  8. New America new rules to hell with Geneva convention UN protocols, Vienna morality, International Court of Justice laws, and finally the Nuremberg basics.
    Afghanistan is a stricken poor country if Hamdan wasn’t driving OBL he would’ve been cultivating poppies or begging on the street, if it wasn’t Hamdan it would’ve been someone else driving OBL, he considered himself at the time of 2001 lucky to have a job to feed himself and family. As far as any Afghani he was doing a decent job and hurting no one from close or afar.
    How would he know he was doing something illegal according to new US laws,no one told him his job would be punishable in 2008.
    Even though his 66 months punishment is futile because he will spend the rest of his life in prison for driving a car.
    If Bush is found guilty of the mass murder of Afghanis and Iraqis would the air force one pilot be prosecuted would the driver of the US prez be prosecuted.
    US Justice has long been a laughing stoke of the universe.
    AN innocent man got 66 months plus life imprisonment for the most common job on the planet.
    there are many mass criminal and most of them used cabby’s and never heard of one prosecuted because he drove a criminal to a town where the crime occurred.
    Anything is possible under an idiot watch
    Should 59 millions who voted for Bush twice be prosecuted for the crimes of one million plus Iraqis.

  9. Should 59 millions who voted for Bush twice be prosecuted for the crimes of one million plus Iraqis? Apparently Yes! I do believe that the people who voted for Bush the second time are at least the moral equivalent of the Germans who supported Hitler. I don’t feel they should be prosecuted as I don’t feel simple ignorance is a crime. However, anyone who believes the persecution of German Soldiers was correct should also support the persecution of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. What exactly is the difference?

  10. Thanks for this report, and for all the comments above, except for those from AIPAC “Tim”.

  11. Brad, I appreciate your points but I don't understand your hyperbole. You wrote

    "I do believe that the people who voted for Bush the second time are at least the moral equivalent of the Germans who supported Hitler. "

    When people lash out against President Bush and vociferously disagree with his conduct and policies, I have no problem with that. It is perfectly legitmate. But to compare the President of the United States to Adolph Hitler? That is totally beyond the pale. It is an outrage and a calumny. I really would like someone who hates President Bush to logically explain to me how they are similar. Hitler deliberatly murdered 6,000,000 Jews. He also deliberaty murdered millions of others, including gays, Poles, the mentally retarded, the mentally ill, etc etc. He invaded France, Poland, Austria, Russia (over 10 MILLION Russians killed), Belgium, Holland, Denmark, etc. He killed anyone who disagreed with him. He signed a pact with a fascist in Italy and with imperial Japan who invaded China, the Philipines and other sovereign nations. Hitler is regarded as the most evil man of the 20th century(although it certainly is a close call when you think about Stalin and Mao) So again, how does Bush compare to Hitler? Please explain and use specific facts, figures, numbers, etc.

    1. “Several disturbing analogies exist between George W. Bush and history’s most infamous fascist, Adolph Hitler: Both men assumed power in defiance of the will of the majority; both men used “great lies” to pursue their warmongering agendas; both men preyed upon humanity’s basest instincts to disseminate those “great lies”; both men were appeased by the British government, Hitler through Neville Chamberlain and Bush through Tony Blair; both men were willing to use national tragedies to justify the destruction of civil liberties, Hitler through the burning of the Reichstag and Bush through the September 11th terrorist attacks; both men were/are suspected of either participating in, or ignoring warnings about the imminence of, these tragedies in order to enhance their political stature and power; both men demonstrated no compunction about exploiting a culture of death for political self-aggrandizement, Hitler through his well-publicized genocide campaigns, and Bush who, while governor of Texas, routinely denied DNA tests to death row inmates, even though such tests could prevent wrongful executions; both men were willing to appeal to racism, Hitler through his quest for a “master race,” and Bush through his condemnation of affirmative action policies, which primarily benefit racial minorities. While denouncing such policies as “preferential treatment,” Bush predictably displayed no such aversion to the preferential treatment enjoyed by wealthy white people, like himself, through a system of nepotism and cronyism; both men reveled in war and exploited the military to satiate their personal ambitions and vendettas; both men used war to enrich their political cronies; both men demonstrated contempt for international law and the concerns of the world community; and both men believed they were/are on some holy crusade inspired by a “divine province” that placed them into power.

      Of course some may argue that Hitler clearly was compelled by evil motives, while Bush was compelled by “benevolent” ones. But this ignores the reality that the primary difference between Bush and Hitler may simply be milieu, not mind-set. In fact, actor/activist Harry Belafonte once courageously asserted that the Bush administration is “possessed of evil.” These words should not be dismissed as hyperbole. Hitler, after all, did not begin his campaign for world domination until fascism was deeply entrenched in Germany. The Bush dictatorship is still manufacturing this entrenchment. Given the analogies above, one must wonder if history would have been so radically different if George W. Bush and his
      war-crazed cronies were in power in 1938 Berlin instead of 2004 America”. (David R. Hoffman, 2004)

      Tim you ask ” So again, how does Bush compare to Hitler? Please explain and use specific facts, figures, numbers, etc.”

      Basically your arguemnet it that Bush hasn’t killed enough people yet. If he manages to kill more people then you would agree with me?

      As for hating Bush I did not say that, So don’t put words in my mouth. I don’t even say that I hate Hitler, just what he did.

      As for the German people I don’t believe they where any more “evil” than the People of the US who voted for Bush. They where as big of dupes as are the current crop of sheeple who are helping to lead our great nation into fascism and the death and destruction that comes with it.

      You can keep your head in the sand or wake up to the facts it’s up to you. The Facts are that Bush is leading us ever closer to fascism and destruction (implossion). He is at least partially responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands if not a million plus people. So yes I see a correlation between Hitler and Bush, there are also many other parralles however, I simply don’t have the time to get into it. Do some research on your own, with actual open eyes. You just might realize the danger we are now in. I for one am much more afraid of the Bush administration and what it is doing to our country than the limited threat posed by a group of fanatical Islamic people who have very limited means even though we have given them a growing motivation.


      1. You need to forget about the “leading to fascism” bit. Its been a part of America for quite some time and not simply because Junior chose to exercise its tentacles more than his predecessors. It should be self evident that regardless of party the fascist machine moves of its own accord. All the noise generated by the political panderers is simply there to distract you from your velvet covered chains.

  12. There is no such thing as hyperbole when it comes to criticising government officials. They wield power over our lives and deserve nothing more than to be treated as the scum of the Earth (while they remain in office, once they resign or retire they can be treated with respect again).

    By the way, it’s very clear that terrorists hate America the most. Australia is still a safe place to live – 0 fatalities from domestic terrorism.

    Don’t forget to vote for Bob Barr (most viable third party candidate). I guarantee Barack won’t withdraw troops from Iraq. The Democrats were elected in 2006 to cut off funding and they probably tripled the funding for the war.

  13. The Bushistas will have a supremely nasty situation on their hands when Hamdan's time is served. The "tribunal" managed a rather weak guilty verdict and then mostly a time served sentence. Wow, you'd think the brain-trust at Defense/Justice could do better than that. Oh well, back to the old judicial drawing board. Wow, maybe the Bushistas could re-recruit John Yoo! Yoo would see to it that the nasty Hamdan got his alright. Golly, it would seem that Amerika is serving time under the Bushies and not the "terrorists." Wait a minute, isn't one man's terrorist another man's freedom fighter? Seems I've heard that somewhere before. Wait, let's ask the Raimondo. He'll know!

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