Progress in closing Guantanamo

In his campaign, president Obama famously promised to “close Guantanamo Bay prison ” early in his administration. It didn’t happen. Then Eric Holder determined that he would try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in federal court in New York City. That didn’t happen.

The death blow was struck by New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who had previously pledged his support to Holder. On January 27th, Bloomberg distanced himself from the Justice Department, saying that a trial in New York would be too expensive. For months, companies with downtown real-estate interests had been lobbying to stop the trial. Raymond Kelly, the commissioner of the New York Police Department, had fortified their arguments by providing upwardly spiralling estimates of the costs, which the federal government had promised to cover. In a matter of weeks, in what an Obama Administration official called a “classic City Hall jam job,” the police department’s projection of the trial costs went from a few hundred million dollars to a billion dollars.

Eventually, the conservative movement relaxed and concluded that the idea of granting terrorists American style civil rights had lost. Not so fast.

In another of those Obama fast moves, the concept of civilian trials just won the contest. As Mark Twain said, the lie is half way around the world, while the truth is still getting its boots on.

In the blink of an eye, the second Obama term has turned the clock back to the pre-9/11 days, when al-Qaeda was a law-enforcement problem, not a national-security challenge.

Of course, it was a Friday afternoon. That’s when Obama does his best work.

Last month, Turkey found itself in custody of longtime al-Qaeda bigwig Sulaiman Abu Ghayth, the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden and described by the FBI as the terror network’s “consiglieri.” To satisfy its Islamist base, Erdogan’s government pretended to extradite the Muslim terrorist to his native Kuwait rather than cooperate with American agencies. But the Turks conveniently shipped Abu Ghayth to Kuwait by way of Jordan . . . where the U.S. has more open, effective counterterrorism cooperation and where our government was thus able to take Abu Ghayth into custody.

So, was this high-ranking member of the enemy forces shipped to Gitmo for long-term detention and interrogation in the hope of gleaning fresh intelligence? Of course not. Because Abu Ghayth was not detained at Gitmo, he was not subject to the statutory prohibition against using government funds to transfer enemy combatants into the U.S. So, while no one was paying attention, the administration whisked him into lower Manhattan, where his indictment in civilian court was promptly announced. He thus promptly received legal representation — so much for interrogation — and is enjoying all the protections of the Bill of Rights.

So the show trial that Holder promised for KSM is now on schedule for OBL’s son-in-law. All the security braeches that would be expected in the KSM trial can be expected here.

According to a government press release, prosecutors plan to prove the overall al-Qaeda conspiracy against Abu Ghayth — going back to 1989 and “including the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, which killed approximately 2,976 people.”

Understand what this means. Other than the relative notoriety of the culprits, bringing Abu Ghayth to New York is no different from bringing KSM to New York for a civilian trial. The Obama administration’s intention is to try the same case against Abu Ghayth that it planned to present against KSM. This is a bold presidential decision to undermine military commissions and to proclaim that the civilian courts are the government’s venue of choice for all terrorism cases — even those against wartime enemy combatants.

Of course, Holder guaranteed that KSM would be convicted, proving the show trial rationale.

Moreover, as Attorney General Holder must know, by proceeding with this civilian prosecution in New York at the very moment when KSM and the other 9/11 defendants are facing a military commission at Gitmo, he has given KSM & Co. an exquisite legal argument that proceeding with their military commission would be arbitrary and unjust in light of the grade-A due process Abu Ghayth is getting. That is, the government is virtually inviting the federal courts to invalidate military commissions — which was a top goal of many Obama administration lawyers back when they were in private practice, volunteering their services to terrorist detainees.

It will be interesting to see how much this damages the, admittedly lukewarm, prosecution of the war on al Qeada by this administration. The treatment of Major Hassan is an illustrative example.

Attorneys for the suspect charged in the Fort Hood shooting spree have filed their appeal of rulings that he can have his beard forcibly shaved before his murder trial.

An Army statement says Maj. Nidal Hasan’s attorneys filed their appeal Wednesday with the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

The appeal also seeks to have the military judge presiding over his case, Col. Gregory Gross, removed, claiming he is biased against Hasan.

Last month, the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals upheld Gross’ order to shave Hasan. His court-martial remains on hold pending the appeals.

For the opposite arguments, see the Jane Mayer New Yorker link above.

Holder tried to address his critics with lawyerly detachment. Dick Cheney had equated Holder’s approach to handling terrorism with giving “aid and comfort to the enemy”—the legal definition of treason. Holder said of Cheney, “On some level, and I’m not sure why, he lacks confidence in the American system of justice.” He added that he had seen documents making clear that Cheney’s office was the driving force behind the Bush Administration’s most controversial counterterrorism policies, especially those sanctioning brutal interrogations. He said of Cheney, “I think he’s worried about what history’s judgment will be of the role that he played in making decisions about everything from black sites to enhanced interrogation techniques.” Holder said that he doesn’t know Elizabeth Cheney, but noted, with a laugh, “She’s clearly her father’s daughter.”

Holder is clearly the guy who recommended the last minute pardons that Bill Clinton signed as he left office. I have no confidence in any of the decisions of this administration.

13 thoughts on “Progress in closing Guantanamo”

  1. If you had not freaked out and gone to war with terror, an absolutely stupid thing to do, you would not be facing 1.2 million pissed off Muslims.

  2. “If you had not freaked out and gone to war with terror”

    So the Iranian hostage situation and 9/11 were us “freaking out?”

    Deep thoughts from the garbage truck today.

  3. }}} So … 9/11 were us “freaking out?”

    Of course. Didn’t you hear of all the anti-Islamic vitriol being bandied about in the succeeding 10 years? All those mosques burnt to the ground in freaked-out revenge!!?

    That kind of shit.

  4. So now now enemy combatants may get fifth ammendment protections and this administration had to be dragged kicking and screaming into admitting it can’t rain bombs from drones on American citizens. Got it. Now we know where their loyalty stands.

  5. “If you had not freaked out and gone to war with terror”

    So the Iranian hostage situation and 9/11 were us “freaking out?”

    Umm is reading a skill you use? the “gone to war with terror” bit is a clue.

    Of course I was referring to Bush’s response to 9/11. The war on terror …. an abysmally stupid thing to do. The reason your economy is on the rocks, the reason you have 1.2 billion Muslims opposed to almost anything you might propose and arming themselves against you. I could go on for a very long time.

    It is my previous experience that makes me an expert on garbage. This place is perfect for me.

  6. Arguing with you is like wrestling pigs but, the Muslims were arming themselves and opposed to ” anything we might propose” before we took any action against them. Jimmy Carter “threw the Shah out like a dead mouse,” in the words of an Iranian general, after his envoy decided Khomeini was “a saint.” Islam is in a crisis we had nothing to do with. Osama’s real war was with the Saudi royal family. It is the political left in this country and yours who conflated this with the Palestinians. The 9/11 attack was an effort to force us out of the middle east. Personally, I would prefer we drill and frack and build nuclear power plants and let the Muslims kill each other.

    Some LAPD officers once suggested, semi-seriously, that we get all the gangbangers in Los Angeles into the Colosseum and let them shoot each other, stationing LAPD to keep them there. Facetious, of course, but it is a tempting idea The same applies to the middle east.

  7. }}} It is my previous experience that makes me an expert on garbage. This place is perfect for me.

    Well, from a standpoint of sense, yes. By spouting forth your bilge HERE it gets properly treated like the mental sewage it is, and is thereby more suitable for public consumption afterwards.

    }}} The reason your economy is on the rocks,

    Yes, y’all. The war expense is what tanked the economy. NOT the massive housing bubble that Democrat mortgage policies (i.e., economic policies) produced. NAW. Too obviously demonstrable as blatant common sense. And the think keeping it there? Not the INSANELY spendthrift Keynesian BS passing off as “economic policy”. After all, the same idiocy worked SO well in the 1970s. And SO well in Japan… ever since the 90s. Yes, indeedy.

    }}} the reason you have 1.2 billion Muslims opposed to almost anything you might propose and arming themselves against you.

    Yeah, the FIRST WTC bombing wasn’t a sign of their intent at all. That was just them trying to give us a big “HOW YA DOIN’?” party favor.

    The biggest part of Pengun’s idiocy is the typical libtard “Choices in a vacuum”.

    Taking down Saddam, or not taking down Saddam. That’s the choice. In one case, Saddam stays in power, and we keep money. In the other, he doesn’t, and we lose the money.

    All the OTHER stuff that would have happened when Saddam was left in power, that stuff — you know, the terrorists armed with weaponized Anthrax and Botulin, the terrorists freed up to attack the USA instead of Iraq… all that? None of THAT happens in libtard vacuum chambers.

    Y’see, Pengun, you state that in OTHER places and it might not get properly identified as the ridiculously STUPID bilge it is. And then people get exposed to your improperly treated mental sewage and all sorts of mental diseases get spread around.

  8. }}} Awesome … point proved.

    The one on your head?

    Here, allow me to reply in your own terms: “Nanny nanny boo boo”.

    I know, it’s more substantiative a rebuttal than yours, but… someone’s gotta do it.

  9. PenGun is of the ilk of LarryG. at Coyote’s place and several commenters at Carpe Diem: Intentionally obtuse or willfully ignorant. Either way, PenGun is a troll with nothing intelligent to contribute. It is filth like him that degrades any discussion into trivialities and tangents.

    On topic, it would be interesting to examine the pathology of Americans, such as Holder, et al, that seem to have an abiding interest in defending those that hate Western civilization and who continually denigrate the United States. Obama is a fellow traveler of a broad class of self-loathing D-ooshbags that never pass on an opportunity to try to crap on our legacy of liberty while thinking that doing so will elevate his status in the minds of those that view America as the Great Satan. Theirs is a filthy ideology.

  10. }}} Theirs is a filthy ideology.

    My own term is “societal cancer”, but yeah, same thing either way.

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