The whole thing looks to me, at first glance, very fishy. Here’s Andrew Sullivan’s take:
So Cheney goes to Australia and meets with John Howard who tells him that the Hicks case is killing him in Australia, and he may lose the next election because of it. Hicks’s case is then railroaded to the front of the Gitmo kangaro court line, and put through a “legal” process almost ludicrously inept, with two of Hicks’ three lawyers thrown out on one day, then an abrupt plea-bargain, with a transparently insincere confession. Hicks is then given a mere nine months in jail in Australia, before being set free. Who negotiated the plea-bargain? Hicks’ lawyer. Who did he negotiate with? Not the prosecutors, as would be normal, but Susan J. Crawford, the top military commission official. Who is Susan J. Crawford? She served as Dick Cheney’s Inspector General while he was Defense Secretary.
If you think this was in any way a legitimate court process, you’re smoking something even George Michael would pay a lot of money for. It was a political deal, revealing the circus that the alleged Gitmo court system really is. For good measure, Hicks has a gag-order imposed so that he will not be able to speak of his alleged torture and abuse until after Howard faces re-election. Yes, we live in a banana republic. It certainly isn’t a country ruled by law. It is ruled by one man and his accomplice.
Washington Post had this to say:
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.