REVISED & UPDATED (Sat. 09 May 2009)
Is there any surprise to how American “justice” works when it comes to American war criminals? Have there not been enough minor sentences, and enough kangaroo courts of foreign detainees, to establish this fact?
Following John Stanton, who was present for the sentencing of Ayala at the Eastern District Court division in Alexandria, Virginia (I am grateful for the notices he sent by email), the Associated Press and Wired reported that Don Michael Ayala, is to go free. The mercenary employed by the Human Terrain System, who executed a handcuffed and subdued detainee who had attacked Paula Loyd (an anthropologist and army reservist serving the Pentagon) will not serve time in jail. Instead, as Wired explained, “U.S. District Court Judge Claude Hilton sentenced Ayala, a member of the Army’s Human Terrain social science project, to five years probation and a $12,500 fine.”
While Loyd’s attacker, Abdul Salam, was handed an immediate death sentence by his unlawful executioner, that executioner, Don Ayala, walks away free.
Abdul Salam was indeed “guilty” of having the courage to rebel, to fight for his land, and to say his piece. His actions demonstrate that “liberty or death” was a philosophy that he valued and understood intimately. He attacked both the foreign military presence, and he attacked the role of mercenary anthropologists who volunteer to facilitate that domination. The attack had the intended shock value, coming back from the direction of those who have been “shocked and awed” during eight years of U.S. bombings.
Meanwhile, Don Ayala, the mercenary whose adventurism and quest for cash propelled him into someone else’s home, into the lives of strangers, in an effort to faciliate their control by an alien power, is essentially thanked and even praised at home for his services in murdering an Afghan detainee — another to be added to the dozens already murdered while in U.S. detention. What few care to note is that the man once assigned to protect Hamid Karzai, failed to protect Paula Loyd. He conducted a revenge killing, asking an interpreter to tell Salam, “I think he’s the devil,” in a desperate effort to remedy his own failure.
This sentence sends the clearest possible message: the rules of war do not apply to the United States; international law has been replaced by the law of the jungle; and, mercenaries have the freedom to execute foreigners in detention. Afghans, unable to look to U.S. investigations and courts for justice, will have to exercise their own form of justice against invaders, and all is now legitimate.
Innocent civilians who have been detained, and tortured, as prisoners in Guantanamo, ended up serving more time, for having done absolutely nothing, than a confessed killer like Ayala. The “rule of law”? NATO soldiers allegedly dying for freedom and democracy in Afghanistan? The behaviour of a “civilized” nation? There was no surprise here, this is exactly the outcome that one should have expected from this farce of a trial, as I stated in the last post.
My condolences go to the family and friends of Abdul Salam.