published Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

A victory for justice

Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to bring five accused co-conspirators in the 9/11 terrorist attacks to criminal trial in federal court in New York is a victory for American justice. Republican senators, of course, strenuously tried to generate baseless partisan controversy over the decision last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings. But for all their hyperbole, they could not refute the central issue: The terrorist acts charged against the defendants were criminal acts and not the acts of a hostile state in a bona fide war. The defendants should be prosecuted in a United States federal court as a matter of law and constitutional duty.

The federal court system is not just the correct judicial venue for the pending trial. It is also superior to the sort of ad hoc military commission that President Bush wrongly created in an attempt to divert the defendants from proper and public legal procedure.

That commission system is deeply flawed and has been heatedly contested by military lawyers assigned to represent the defendants. It deviated sharply from the customary due-process rights of defendants in military trials. And in the end, it failed to hold a single trial, leaving defendants in an interminable and insupportable legal limbo through all the years of their detention.

Their legal limbo status also deprived the nation, and especially the relatives of the 9/11 victims, of the legal justice that all deserved. It also tarnished the nation’s image and shamed our claim to be a nation of laws and just judicial process. In the ideological competition that America faces in winning hearts and minds away from the grasp of religious extremism and terrorism, the harm of that is greater than critics of the attorney general’s decision want to acknowledge.

Shifting the trials to this nation’s traditional civilian federal court system not only satisfies constitutional standards, it also promises, at last, to actually produce a trial and bring the alleged mass-murderers to justice. After more than eight years since the 9/11 attacks, it’s high time that was done.

Republican critics argue that a public trial under normal federal guidelines will allow defendants a public platform to recount torturous interrogations (Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was water-boarded 183 times, among many other documented abuses); to use their testimony to inflame Islamic extremists; or to drag out a civilian trial for long costly months at taxpayer expense.

All that smacks of an attempt to create another partisan wedge issue. It certainly does not suggest credible reason to sustain a secret failed system that has already brought shame on America’s lofty judicial image. In any case, there is no reason to distrust the ability of our federal court system to hold a secure, fair and expeditious trial of alleged terrorists.

The ability of federal courts to conduct trials of accused terrorists has been demonstrated previously in extremely high-profile trials. The courts have traditionally managed to protect state secrets, to honor national security and to appropriately restrain the conduct of defendants, all without jeopardizing customary legal principles and adherence to the rule of law.

Bringing the defendants to trial so near the site of the Twin Towers destruction also provides fitting symbolism. It confirms both the resilience of America and the strength of our core values. It also will help close the door on the abuses and degradation that we now know characterized the operation of the camps, the misshapen military commission system at Guantanamo Bay and the mistreatment of detainees. All are good reasons to support the attorney general’s decision.

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KWVeteran said...

Congratulations on raising the bar of stupidity for ridiculous arguments and reasoning that are presented here. With standards like these, the radical Muslim community will continue to prosper and even be multiplied. And to think that I fought for our country to preserve the rights of people who write such articles defending this idiot attorney general who is following BO's lame-brain orders.

November 22, 2009 at 12:17 p.m.
Max said...

Thanks for the well thought out and, as usual, very well written expression of patriotic feelings. Of course it has hurt us internationally to insist on military tribunals for these criminals. Let justice be done within the proper framework.

November 22, 2009 at 12:40 p.m.

"All that smacks of an attempt to create another partisan wedge issue."


We think not. What it smacks of is total disregard and disrespect for the many families of the 9-11 victims who have vehemently protested against this outrage. While the holes in the ground still sit there unfilled, there is a huge swell of concern over whether Islamicists worldwide will make New York another target if their Terrorists are convicted of the war crimes they committed.

You better pray that that does not happen, New Yorkers do not need to face another tragedy caused by the inaction and appeasement of THIS government. They found out what weak-willed dithering by our gov't last time accomplished-three thousand of their loved ones brutally murdered. This time the blood will be on Obama's and Holder's hands.

November 22, 2009 at 12:49 p.m.

Note: the last two paragraphs of the above article could have been lifted from the White House canned statement they released last week and from any of the liberal press's releases. (It would be interesting also to read the legal debates on those "high-profile trials conducted" that supposedly had such wonderful outcomes and were completed in an ethical. discreet manner. Many of us do not see that happening in today's arena of jackals and sycophants).

November 22, 2009 at 12:59 p.m.
Max said...

Whereas last time the blood was on Bush's hands. Since when do the families of crime victims choose the site and method of a trial?

November 22, 2009 at 1:16 p.m.
nucanuck said...

KW and Canary,let us hear what you believe would be the best way to deal with the prisoners at Guantanimo. Do you have any constructive ideas or just facile criticism of a sincere government effort to resolve a thorny problem?

November 22, 2009 at 3:12 p.m.
rolando said...
  1. Open the gates and set them free. Pity they would be shot in their attempt to flee. Thorny problem solved. Cost? A couple-three dozen rounds of ammo.

  2. Alternatively, give them to the Israelis.

They never should have been brought here. These "people" knowingly and willing killed or tried to kill our citizens. Return the effort in [pointed shovels].

November 22, 2009 at 4:35 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Rolando says kill them all. Anyone have a more thoughful, considered suggestion.

November 22, 2009 at 4:43 p.m.
Sailorman said...

Actually I rather like Rolando's idea. Or maybe they could be offered up for adoption by libs :)

November 22, 2009 at 4:46 p.m.
una61 said...

If I were one of the terrorists on trial I would hire, as my lawyers: Ramsey Clark, Alan Dershowitz, and Lawrence Tribe. As defense lawyers in a civilian court, given the discovery process, they should be able to publicize ALL the activities of GITMO and have any evidence gathered tossed out. This is what Holder and Obama really want to happen.

November 22, 2009 at 5:04 p.m.
nucanuck said...

So far it looks like AG Holder's plan has no serious alternatives. Come on guys,you can do better than that.

November 22, 2009 at 6:02 p.m.

nn baits us: ..."facile criticism of a sincere government effort to resolve a thorny problem?"

There is no sincere government effort. Instead, we have had the Left clamoring for the Dems and the Bush gov't to shut down Gitmo for how long? Obama's minions are just pandering to their Left base on this issue. They have no idea what should happen. A number of reasonable ideas have surfaced such as turn them over to the UN and the EU as they seem to have all the answers regarding what the US should do on just about every issue we have going on here. Trouble is the Europeans don't want more trouble, so they nixed that idea.

Turn them loose on the African continent or hand them back to the Pakistanis, Saudis, Yemenis and Afghanis. Obama can't decide because he has always been more concerned about his political future and electability than anything else that may be reasonable. Guantanamo has been Club Med for these guys compared to prisons around the world and in the countries they came from. It's costing us a fortune to spoil them.

So Holder and Obama are taking the easy way out to save their hides politically. Big problem is though, if the detractors are right and the venue is wrong, and the endgame is more innocent civilians will die, then you can bet the Obama administration will find a way to blame the Republicans and the Bush guys for all of this mess.

It sounds as if there is a vocal, deranged minority in America who would rather believe the lies these Terrorists have spewed about us and our soldiers in Gitmo, than believe our troops on the ground who have to live the reality of taking care of these beasts day in and day out. A very malicious, pernicious minority who will stop at nothing to destroy what's left of our country's psyche, never mind what our enemies on the battlefield are doing to our brave ones.

November 22, 2009 at 7:14 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Canary,the islamic detainees may be the least of our troubles. If you are correct and we have a deranged,malicious,pernicious minority running around we have to do something. How long have you known about this minority? Do they have dark skin?...hooked noses?...large breasts?...How can we recognize them?

One more question should we die. Are heaven and hell universal? That is,are we all going to be together with the Muslims,the Buddists,the Jews,the Presbyterians...in one place or another? Just wondering...I might want to behave a little differtly,you know,if we might meet up again.

November 22, 2009 at 7:53 p.m.
rolando said...

As I said, shoot them out of hand and be done with it; then bury them in pig offal. That is how all such rabid animals should be treated.

Great picture to send to their brethren with like ideas.

November 22, 2009 at 11:04 p.m.
Lightnup said...

"Their legal limbo status also deprived the nation, and especially the relatives of the 9/11 victims, of the legal justice that all deserved. It also tarnished the nation’s image and shamed our claim to be a nation of laws and just judicial process. In the ideological competition that America faces in winning hearts and minds away from the grasp of religious extremism and terrorism, the harm of that is greater than critics of the attorney general’s decision want to acknowledge."

What a bunch of politically correct hooey. "Winning hearts and minds away from religious extremism and terrorism?" Are you kidding? Why don't we just close down the TSA and do away with airport security? That would show those mis-guided terrorists that we are really just pleasant, trusting people. Think of all the hearts and minds we would win.

Heck, we couldn't even win the heart or mind of a muslim extremist in our own Army. Instead, in a foolhardy attempt to make those who hate us suddenly feel all warm and fuzzy about us, this administration is going to endanger our own citizens and turn a military issue into a civil court problem. KSM was not mirandized...defense attorneys will have a field day with that. The President declared to the world in a televised interview that KSM will be convicted and executed...defense attorney's will have a field day with that. Can't wait to see how the principle of "jury of peers' will be applied to someone whose peers are muslim extremists who aren't U.S. citizens. What a cluster this is going to be.

November 22, 2009 at 11:45 p.m.
Lightnup said...

meant to say criminal court in last post, not civil court.

November 22, 2009 at 11:47 p.m.
SeaSmokie59er said...

So far the United States Of America CAN'T:

  1. Win a war against a third world nation
  2. Grant universal health care to its citizens
  3. Try and convict known and confessed terrorist
  4. Put a man back on the moon
  5. Drill our own oil
  6. Get out of debt etc., etc...

The greatest generation we are not. When will we find the American spirit that made use the most powerful nation in the world? All I read and hear is how afraid we are and what we can't do. Time to 'grow a set' America, there is nothing we can't do!

November 23, 2009 at 1:38 a.m.
Lightnup said...

How do you ingrain the "There's nothing we can't do" attitude in a popultation that is being dragged down the "someone else should do it for me" direction?

How do you "find the American Spirit that made us the most powerful nation in the world" when your leader spends most of his time apologizing for what we have been and what we have done (that is, up until his ascendancy to the throne), making speeches to the effect that we're no better than any other country and demonizing American exceptionalism?

How do you "grow a set" when your military is required to read Miranda rights to the enemy on the battlefield and your own administration takes glee in releasing to the enemy information about your interrogation techniques?

How do you "grow a set" when depriving enemy combatants of sleep is considered being mean and condemned?

Until we replace the politicans who are more worried about whether we "win the hearts and minds of religious extremists" and whether providing the most comfortable habitat for the mottle-spotted spiny bat-toad takes precedence over our country's energy production and whether our house roofs should all be painted white and whether every last citizen has government health insurance whether they want it or are willing to work for it or not, even while we are careening toward bankruptcy as a country, we will not be able to "grow a set." Our "set" was snipped clean off in the last election.

November 23, 2009 at 6:57 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Still no one seems to have a better solution for dealing with the prisoners at Guantanimo. We created the Guantanimo gulag,now it's our problem.

Are you guys idea free?...no constructive criticism out there?

November 23, 2009 at 11:43 a.m.
Sailorman said...

Lots of criticism NC just none you would consider "constructive".

November 23, 2009 at 12:53 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Yes,Sailorman,I was hoping someone would try to define a reasonable way to deal with OUR prisoners at Guantanamo. There have to be some really bad guys there;there are probably also a few who have done nothing,just got turned in for a reward.

Other countries don't want to help,and to leave it,is to let it fester. KW and Canary were quick to condemn the announced solution,but apparently don't have thoughts about a doable alternative.

I hope my point is obvious. If you don't have a better idea,don't be so quick to critisize.

November 23, 2009 at 1:53 p.m.
una61 said...

On second thought, keep the terrorists at GITMCO and do a "try and fry" with low voltage.

November 23, 2009 at 2:21 p.m.
Max said...

Good try NC. The problem with this forum of comments so far has been that it contains a lot of Fox parroting and very little constructive thought.

November 23, 2009 at 4:45 p.m.
SeaSmokie59er said...

Lightnup wrote - "Our "set" was snipped clean off in the last election."

Maybe yours were, but neither mine nor a lot of good men and women who you might call 'real Americans' haven't been either. And tone of your post suggest we just give up and wait for a conservative "savior" to deliver us from these dark times. I guess we will have to just wait and 'hope'.

By the way, I don't think yours were snipped. Your daily input here proves that you still care about this great nation as much as I do and regardless of your views, that's good enought for me.

November 23, 2009 at 4:48 p.m.
Sailorman said...

What? Can't take criticism?

"The problem with this forum of comments so far has been that it contains a lot of administration parroting and very little constructive thought." Can

See how silly that sounds? Fox isn't needed to point out how stupid this whole gitmo issue is. Obama should never have said he was going to close without knowing the end game. Ahhh political pandering. What do YOU want to do Max?

November 23, 2009 at 5:19 p.m.
Sailorman said...

SeaSmokie

"wait for a conservative "savior" to deliver us from these dark times. I guess we will have to just wait and 'hope'." Maybe it will turn out better than the current savior that's bringing us hope and change.

Unfortunately, that's unlikely. More likely that Washington will continue to do what Washington does - spend.

November 23, 2009 at 5:24 p.m.
rolando said...

Once again, anything that solves the problem is a constructive solution...by definition.

Things that make the problem worse, such as passing it off to others, is a negative solution.

Positive? A bullet in the head, preferably two. Have his buddies bury him. Works well for the mob. Solves all kinds of problems.

Negative? Mealy-mouthed, wussy refusal to face up to reality because it is unpleasant, maybe?? Having someone else do the dirty work. Why else does the rest of the world let us solve it? Because it is our problem...we let them live, we brought them here to live in luxury...our problem.

That may be a bit blunt and way too straight-forward for some here, but these are cold-blooded, calculating killers...they are not the sweet family next door.

Know how many killers got off on the technicality of not being advised of their rights? We treat them like Americans and they get the full treatment.

November 23, 2009 at 8:09 p.m.
Lightnup said...

The general theory is that Holder et al want a public trial for the opportunity to trot out all the "atrocities" of the Bush administration.

November 23, 2009 at 9:28 p.m.
hotdiggity said...

Perhaps we should ask the current conservative mouthpiece, Mrs. Palin, what her solution would be. Sadly, I think it would mimic the more vocal conservatives on the board, and no one could consider her an intellectual giant.

Face it, Bush had years to solve this problem. What ever happened to the American idea of a trial by jury? Some of the right wingers who spout they are patriots and true Americans are more than willing to throw out our laws and judicial history in an effort to denounce Obama.

The hypocrisy is appalling.

November 23, 2009 at 10:56 p.m.
moonpie said...

nucanuck,

I admire you for trying to acquire a legitimate alternative from the conservative posters here and from people who might just oppose a judicial process for these men.

I am not surprised that you have not received much in the way of legitimate analysis or alternatives.

The problem is, as I see it, there seems to be no very good solution given our current legal framework.

I disagree with the editorial that there are not legal problems facing Holder and others who try to prosecute. In the American legal system, defendents are supposed to be read their Miranda rights. This was not done. Quite frankly, it was not reasonable. They were not allowed access to representation early on. Quite frankly, this was not realistic. The methods that we used to obtain information, quite frankly, would not play well under American law.

Just as the Republicans do not have very good solutions, Eric Holder does not have good solutions for if he loses any of these cases. He was asked this question and did not have an answer other than to say that losing was not an option.

Personally, given the special nature of how these men were captured (or in some cases, purchased) and how information on them was obtained, I don't think that either the Military Courts or the Civilian Courts are capable of handling these cases in their traditional manner.

We need new rules for discovery. We need a waiver of Miranda rights. This is not the best idea available, I'm sure.... but I would propose a special court to hear these cases. The rules of evidence should be established by a special panel of legal ethicists, military judges and civilian judges. I can hear the groans now, but I would consider asking military judges from members of NATO to serve as advisers on this process. Currently this is an American problem. One day, other countries will have this problem, too.

I think it would be reasonable for the cases to be heard in a special court comprised of similar people to those who created the special rules of evidence. There should be a team of judges, civilian and military, who decide the fate of these men after hearing the evidence.

These men do not fall easily within a legal framework.

November 24, 2009 at 1:05 a.m.
rolando said...

All those willing to take a Gitmo grad into their homes please raise your hand... ah, a little higher maybe... never mind.

As I thought. Put them on trial and they walk away. Guaranteed. No advising of rights, remember. Nothing gathered before that happened is admissible.

That's one I hadn't thought of, Lightnup. Silly me.

Bush solved the problem; they aren't out there killing us again, now, are they? Wait 'til after the trial collapses. Next time some one will hopefully take them out.

November 24, 2009 at 1:10 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Thanks moonpie for giving serious thought to a nearly impossible problem. Other responses were pretty much thought-free attempts at dark humor...the best they could do,I suppose.

I tend toward trying the 9/11 related individuals,sending the rest back to Afghanistan and treating them as POWs until...

Many could probably be processed back into the general population and would pose almost no international risk JMO. Some,as we know,were just caught up in the net and are innocent. They are the tragedy...collateral damage,I suppose.

I don't look forward to the trials,but at least we will be putting it behind us.

November 24, 2009 at 9:52 a.m.
Sailorman said...

NC says "Other responses were pretty much thought-free attempts at dark humor...the best they could do,I suppose."

And the best you could do is -- what? Other than bemoan the situation, you've presented nothing. That the best you could do? As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing "dark humor" about the what should be done with them. They are battlefield enemy combatants - quick military trial and action as required. The PC crowd complicates this situation beyond reason. Obama should have looked before he jumped.

November 24, 2009 at 11:14 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Sailorman,It's a little late for a "quick military trial",that would have been six or seven years ago. Leaving Guantanimo to fester is denial of our responsibility as a nation.Obama,to his credit,is moving a solution forward and,meanwhile,other constructive alternatives aren't being proposed.

I know that you know that the "kill'em all" answer is no answer.

November 24, 2009 at 12:03 p.m.

NN just proved my earlier points that a deranged, vocal minority exists in our communities and around the country that prefers to believe the lies of terrorists over our own fighting soldiers. The minority is YOU and I'm willing to bet you are neither "dark", "hook-nosed" or "large-breasted". Though your heart and soul may be?

You do enjoy smugly implying I'm racist, don't you? Hate to disappoint, but being unafraid to call liars and deniers on their balderdash and calling a terrorist a terrorist and an Islamic terrorist what they are, does not a racist make. The word is way overused and abused by you guys, get another label if you must. Those Muslims in the article are NOT mere criminals. And they should've faced a firing squad a long time ago. That is more humane than what they did (and do) to our people on a daily basis-with no protests from you "compassionate" types by the way.

Your feeble attempts to denigrate our thoughtful responses which of course Progressives read as "criticism" and "Fox News" inspired, is typical of what is going on in Washington these days, with the frequent attempts behind the scenes to censor and intimidate those of us who disagree with their claptrap.

I SAID send them back to their respective countries-they do have nationalities and ethnic groups, no? Dump them on the tarmac and leave. Ideally, the UN should deal with them. Is it our fault we did not shoot them when they were originally caught and now we all have to pay? I say, no "progressive" thinker here has anything close to a solution, your endgame is to demonize the rest of us, while proposing children's fantasies and appeasing our enemies.

November 24, 2009 at 12:16 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Canary,good luck dealing with all that baggage you're carrying around.

November 24, 2009 at 12:54 p.m.
Sailorman said...

NC It's never too late to do it right. That would be preferable to the drawn out circus we're about to see.

As for your response to canary. I'm not so sure he's the only one with baggage - where did you acquire this guilt complex?

"I know that you know that the "kill'em all" answer is no answer." We're wasting time here - give them the military trial they should have had years ago then carry out the sentences (if any). Quit blaming Bush - yeah he should have handled it - he didn't - so what? It was Obama who said he was shutting Gitmo down and had no plan as to what to do. World opinion? Hooey - you can't see that it doesn't matter to the world what we do? It's going to be wrong whatever the turn. If you don't like my solution, what's yours?

November 24, 2009 at 1:33 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Sailorman,thanks for the thoughtful reply. We agree that military trials would be the tidy way to handle this,but if it were easy,it would have been done long ago. There must be something we dont know.

I think world opinion DOES matter. The world is so interconnected,how can we expect to have a leadership role if we don't set an example?

To me the 9/11 individuals should be tried as international criminals. The rest,those who fought us after we arrived in Afghanistan,should be treated as POWs in theatre,not in the US.

As to my guilt complex,maybe it's a mirage. I look at things first as a member of the human race,then as an American. To many that makes me appear unAmerican,because what I see when I step back from a nationalist viewpoint is often very different from common perceptions. That's not to say that I get it right,but just that I try. I don't think a sense of guilt enters into it,but maybe I just can't see it. I'll think about that.

November 24, 2009 at 2:34 p.m.
rolando said...

It makes you appear more than simply unAmerican; it makes you a statist. Or aren't you aware that our Constitution [what is left of it] would disappear? Perhaps you don't care.

If you want to equate yourself with the world's lowest common denominator of humanity, feel free. But don't drag the rest of us down there with you; that's what our Dear Leader wants to do. I will have no part of a plan like his of world subjugation to a few self-styled wannabe elite statists.

November 24, 2009 at 3:15 p.m.
LaughingBoy said...

"Thanks for the well thought out and, as usual, very well written expression of patriotic feelings. Of course it has hurt us internationally to insist on military tribunals for these criminals. Let justice be done within the proper framework."

Who gives a damn what's thought internationally, when most at the least are severely jealous and at most would rather the nation be wiped off the map.

November 24, 2009 at 3:58 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Rolando,I won't be dragging you anywhere,as though I could. I don't advocate world governance,only taking a broader view of what's right,wrong,and best for the planet.

Try it,you might like it.

November 24, 2009 at 4:07 p.m.
rolando said...

Placing anything above our Constitution, nucanuk, is favoring world governance -- for what else is left after we are gone...the UN? Reminds me of that old James Bond flik's video game, "World Domination".

What you propose is exactly as I stated -- seeking the lowest common denominator and making that the norm through the use of judicious handicapping [tout's usage]. And no, I won't be joining you.

There is a variation in the usual global government scenario -- watch the movie, "Hardwired". Interesting premise, there. We are closer to that "governance" than it appears.

November 24, 2009 at 7:28 p.m.
Lightnup said...

The old adage, "Nice guys finish last" exists because it is rooted in reality. We're going to "nice" ourselves right out of existence as a world leader with our continued focus on whether our enemies think we're nice or not. Who give's a rat's behind about winning the hearts and minds of religious extremists. They certainly aren't ocncerned with win winning our hearts and minds, they just want to kill as many of us as they can and all we're doing is making it easier for them.

Instead of the John Wayne that we need in charge, we've got a dithering Mr. Rogers.

November 24, 2009 at 9:24 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Rolando,I don't even know what you are talking about,running on about the Constitution and world governance.You're on your own fear based journey and it is beyond my range of comprehension.

I would give you a better response if I could.

November 24, 2009 at 9:41 p.m.
Max said...

Sorry to be so late to respond Sailorman, but I posted the second comment in the list and it was in agreement with the administration position. I believe in the rule of law.

November 24, 2009 at 11:36 p.m.
rolando said...

I didn't really expect much of an answer, nucanuck.

In short, your idea, if placed into effect, would require the elimination or subordination of our Constitution in favor of something else...unless you would impose ours upon the world. [That has already been tried by force by other countries and hasn't worked well.]

But let's just let it go and move on.

November 25, 2009 at 5:58 a.m.
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