Archive for November, 2009
Isn’t planning a show trial in a New York courtroom the same kind of mistake that led to 9/11?
Years after the circus-like trials of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, Attorney General Eric Holder, acting for the president, has asked for a repeat performance. He is ordering trials in New York of five men who finally succeeded in the original plan to bring down those towers and, in the process, kill almost 3,000 civilians.
There is every reason to believe that in these trials the government may face even more substantial Sixth Amendment hurdles than it did in the original World Trade Center case — hurdles relating to the defendants’ rights to counsel, to subpoena witnesses, and to obtain access to classified information regarding the detention abroad of terrorists. Then there is their treatment while in detention and the names of states and state actors who assisted us in bringing to heel those who murder us here and abroad.
Holder announced on Friday that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his co-conspirators in the 9/11 attacks on the United States will be tried in a New York courtroom. They are not the only detainees at Guantanamo whom the government intends to try, nor the only detainees that the government intends to try in the United States:
Of the 215 detainees who remain at Guantanamo Bay, nearly 90 have been cleared for repatriation or resettlement in third countries, according to an administration official. But more than 30 of those are Yemeni, and the administration is reluctant to send them home to a country plagued by a resurgent al-Qaeda and civil strife. A deal to send some Yemenis to Saudi Arabia for rehabilitation is all but dead, the official said. Other detainees are resisting repatriation, and the administration’s special envoy, Daniel Fried, is still searching for enough countries to resettle the rest.
As many as 40 detainees could ultimately be brought to trial — some in federal court and some in military commissions. Both federal and military prosecutors have also been discussing plea agreements with lawyers for detainees, according to sources who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
Excluding those detainees destined for transfer or trial still leaves as many as 75 inmates who will probably be held in some form of prolonged detention because they are too dangerous to release but cannot be prosecuted — a sizable category not anticipated by some in the administration until they started to read classified files, a number of government officials said privately.
The stated reason for trying the 9/11 plotters here, while the five detained USS Cole attackers will face a military tribunal, is that the 9/11 plotters attacked civilians and the Cole plotters attacked the military. It seems a flaccid argument to me. It does, as well, to the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto, who concludes:
[T]he administration is conducting a limited number of civilian trials of high-profile terrorists for show, so as to win “credibility” with the international left. These trials will differ from an ordinary show trial in that the process will be fair even though the verdict is predetermined. But people who wrongly think that either military commissions or detention without trial are unjust will not be satisfied with some detainees getting civilian trials–unless, of course, they are simply eager to be impressed by Barack Obama.
While there is ample reason to believe that these will be show trials, I believe, along with others, the show trials will inure more to the benefit of the jihadists. I think they are neither designed for the purpose nor likely to achieve the aim of persuading the Muslim world or anyone else that we are so fair we are willing to sacrifice our best interests for the world’s pat on the head. They are a naked appeal to the left here and abroad who insist on treating war as a criminal act and jihadists as individual felons not worthy of concerted military responses.
The trials will also surely be used as a platform from which to attack the Bush administration’s militant response to terrorism, which included the waterboarding of KSM. Those in the defense and intelligence communities and prior administration officials who have saved us from further outrages will surely be the targets of the defendants on a world stage. The defendants will be allowed to broadcast freely throughout the world by a press generally unsympathetic to those who nabbed these monsters and brought them to account.
To paraphrase an old friend, this would be a first: the victor dragging himself off in chains.
KSM has already confessed to being not only the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, but also to planning multiple additional attacks on Americans. He is already being held in the best possible security at Guantanamo Bay, and he has already been charged for his crimes in a military commission process where he faces the death penalty.
What possible benefit is there to bringing him into the United States for trial? There is absolutely none for the American people, but there is every benefit to KSM and al-Qaeda propagandists, who will use it as a platform to put the United States on trial and broadcast their propaganda and jihadist ideology to the world. After the Fort Hood shootings, is this propaganda really what we need on television day after day after day to incite more violence?
Rep. Hoekstra is referring to the military court proceedings at Guantanamo initiated in 2008, in which KSM refused counsel (and was joined in this refusal by his co-defendants). He stated at the time that he believed only in Sharia law and asked to be martyred by being sentenced to death. The decision to transfer the case to a civilian court begins his legal proceedings anew. It will take some time to go to trial, of course. He hasn’t even been indicted by a civilian jury yet, nor has Congress even received the requisite notice of any transfer of these men to U.S. soil.
Aside from the obvious problems of giving these thugs a world stage on which to prance and encourage more jihadists to follow them, aside from the security problems this trial will pose, and aside from the evidentiary problems in managing to keep classified information under wraps, the trial venue has a truly insidious effect. It makes us forget that we are at war with enemies who are looking for every means to breach our defenses and harm us. As Tom Maguire observes, the press is already referring to the defendants as “suspects” and KSM as “accused 9/11 mastermind,” as if they were individual bad guys, like burglars or serial murderers, and not an armed and dangerous force to be defeated on a field of battle.
Going back to this 9/10 mentality may not be so acceptable to voters these days, especially considering that we just saw where that kind of thinking can lead at Fort Hood.
Taser Cam: Speeding Grandma Tased Twice by Texas Police Officer. To protect, serve and taze..Your momma should real proud of you, son.
Give up on the Global Warming thingy, Al? Uhh, Say, how’s that other thing YOU invented going. You know, the Internet?
CHICAGO – The Obama administration may buy a near-empty prison in rural northwestern Illinois to house detainees from Guantanamo Bay along with federal inmates, a White House official said Saturday.
The maximum-security Thomson Correctional Facility, about 150 miles west of Chicago, was one of several evaluated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and emerged as a leading option to house the detainees, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because a decision has not been made.
President Barack Obama wants detainees from the controversial military-run detention center in Cuba to be transferred to U.S. soil so they can be prosecuted for their suspected crimes.
It is unclear how many Guantanamo detainees — alleged terrorism suspects, many held without charges since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan — might be transferred to Illinois or when. Obama initially planned to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by Jan. 22, but the administration is no longer expected to meet that deadline.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has been hinting at a possible new use for Thomson, and he issued a statement saying he would hold a news conference Sunday to outline those plans.
Quinn’s spokeswoman Marlena Jentz did not return a phone message from the AP Saturday.
Thomson was built by the state in 2001 with 1,600 cells, but budget problems prevented it from fully opening, and it now houses about 200 minimum-security inmates.
If the Federal Bureau of Prisons buys the facility, it would be run primarily as a federal prison, but a portion would be leased to the Defense Department to house a limited number of Guantanamo detainees, the White House official said. Perimeter security at the site would be increased to surpass that at the nation’s only Supermax prison, in Florence, Colo., the official said.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the House’s second-highest-ranking Democrat, said in a statement Saturday he would support the plan. He said the prison would house fewer than 100 Guantanamo detainees and would have a “significant positive impact on the local economy” by generating more than 3,000 jobs.
Thomson Village President Jerry Hebeler said the move would generate desperately needed revenue for the town of about 500 residents near the Mississippi River.
“It’s been sitting there for eight to nine years and our town is like a ghost town,” Hebeler said of the prison, adding that a tavern recently closed and a planned housing development fell through. “Everybody moved or got different jobs.”
Some lawmakers opposed the idea of terrorism suspects being brought to Illinois.
U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, a Northbrook Republican running for Obama’s old Senate seat, circulated a letter among elected officials asking them to write to Obama opposing the plan, saying bringing Guantanamo prisoners to the state would make it a target for terrorist attacks.
But Catch this act:
Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat, said Kirk was “pandering to irrational fears” and that closing the Guantanamo Bay facility would strengthen national security because al-Qaida used it as a recruiting tool.
What does this dumb bitch Democrat think this NEW facilty would do or be…NOT a recruiting tool?
I tell ya’ the Dems have some real jewels…lol.
Thomson is not the only U.S. town that had hoped to lure Guantanamo detainees. Officials in Marion, Ill., Hardin, Mont., and Florence, Colo., also have said they would welcome the jobs that would be generated
Eric Holder’s decision to move a trial on war crimes to American soil is morally confused, dangerous and political to a fault.