Patterico's Pontifications

11/18/2009

Military Tribunals, Then and Now

Filed under: Law,Obama — DRJ @ 6:37 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Senator Barack Obama thought military tribunals were fine for KSM and he was hopeful, but not sure, of a conviction:

“The irony of the underlying bill as it’s written is that someone like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is going to get basically a full military trial with all the bells and whistles. He’s gonna have counsel. He’s gonna be able to present evidence to rebut the government’s case…. I think we will convict him. And I think justice will be carried out.”

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama endorses a civilian trial and recently passed along assurances that KSM will be convicted:

“In one of a series of TV interviews during his trip to Asia, Obama said those offended by the legal privileges given to Mohammed by virtue of getting a civilian trial rather than a military tribunal won’t find it “offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.”

Obama quickly added that he did not mean to suggest he was prejudging the outcome of Mohammed’s trial. “I’m not going to be in that courtroom,” he said. “That’s the job of the prosecutors, the judge and the jury.”

In interviews broadcast on NBC and CNN Wednesday, the president also said that experienced prosecutors in the case who specialize in terrorism have offered assurances that “we’ll convict this person with the evidence they’ve got, going through our system.”

Obama said the American people should have no concern about the capability of civilian courts to try suspected terrorists.”

What a difference a new job title makes. Overall, though, Obama seems rather pliable on this subject. Maybe Attorney General Eric Holder really is the boss. He certainly talks like it:

The attorney general said he is certain the men will be convicted, but even if a suspect were acquitted, “that doesn’t mean that person would be released into our country.

Tempers flared when Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., challenged Holder to say how a civilian trial could be the best idea, since Mohammed had previously sought to plead guilty before a military commission.

“How can you be more likely to get a conviction in a (civilian) court than that?” pressed Kyl, to applause from some in the hearing room.

The attorney general said his decision was not based “on the whims or the desires of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. … He will not select the prosecution venue. I will. And I have.”

— DRJ

PS – No, I don’t really think Holder is the boss.

9 Responses to “Military Tribunals, Then and Now”

  1. If “outing” CIA or other intellegence gathering sources becomes legal by trying the terrorist in US courts, should Scooter Libby be released?

    Mon (3c07a2)

  2. Scooter Libby is not incarcerated.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  3. What happens if he’s convicted? Does he get to appeal in the usual way? The appeals court will have to reverse the conviction for a dozen different reasons, won’t they?

    j curtis (5126e4)

  4. j curtis:

    I don’t see how he could even go to trial in civilian courts. As far as I know, he was never given his Miranda rights.

    If Holder wants to put him on trial, any competent judge would have to say no and release him on that alone.

    If he did receive Miranda notice, then his case should never have been brought before a military tribunal and it seems to me, at least, that he should be released for want of jurisdiction.

    Lawyers, help me out here if I’m wrong because I’m sure I am. I just don’t see how this will have a happy ending.

    Ag80 (3d1543)

  5. Many of us in Middle America are scratching our heads with the announcement that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his alleged underlings will be tried in New York civilian courts. After watching and listening to President Obama and Attorney General Holder justify the decision, the reasonable person is left with a very simple question: “Why?”

    It’s easy to get lost in all of the political spinning and back-peddling taking place to justify this decision, but there is only one question that needs to be answered to determine whether or not these individuals should be tried in civilian or military courts. That question is whether the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001 was an act of war or a crime. If the bombings were an act of war, then these individuals should be tried in military courts, period.

    Unfortunately, President Obama and Attorney General Holder do not consider the bombing of Americans on U.S. soil an act of war, but a crime instead. This seems out of step with Middle America, which rejects the mental gymnastics required to arrive at the conclusion that the bombings were a crime and not an act of war.

    Like many of the decisions made by President Obama, this one too is rooted in political expediency, rather than sound policymaking. President Obama has shamefully chosen to afford these terrorists all of the constitutional rights reserved to American citizens. These terrorists will now ironically and perversely cloak themselves in the very protections of the U.S. Constitution they are trying to destroy, and turn their trials into a media circus. They will portray themselves as victims of over aggressive interrogators and prosecutors, giving terrorists gasoline to pour on their fire of Islamic extremist hatred around the world as they continue to work to destroy this nation.

    The techniques used by the CIA, FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security to keep this nation safe and bring these terrorists to justice will be in full display in civilian courts and in the media for the world to see, compromising the ability of these agencies to keep Americans safe now and for years to come.

    President Obama and Attorney General Holder have placed New York in the crosshairs of the world’s highest profile assault on Islam, jeopardizing the safety of its residents and ripping the scabs off the wounds suffered by thousands of the survivors of loved ones lost on 9/11.

    What really indicates that this is a political exercise and poor policy is the fact that these terrorists will be completely unable to get a fair trial in New York, since every person in this nation experienced the horror of 9/11 to one degree or another .

    Further, the president and attorney general have given Islamic extremists exposure they couldn’t buy any where in the world—center stage in New York—to parade their message of hatred to the world.

    With the past 12 months as its guide, Middle America is cynical about President Obama’s real reason for trying these terrorists in American civil courts. This administration has been looking into the rearview mirror for the past year, running against the failed policies of George Bush and Dick Cheney, rather than looking forward and putting solid policy solutions on the table for American families. In keeping with their modus operandi, President Obama wants these trials to be an indictment on George Bush and Dick Cheney, around whose neck he plans to hang the fruits of the spectacle that will be viewed by the world when these trials commence. 9/11 was an act of war and these terrorists should be tried in a military court, off of American soil, period.

    A. Muser
    http://americanmuser.wordpress.com

    AmericanMuser (c728a1)

  6. Eric Holder didn’t make the call. Barack Hussein Obama (SoA) is the only man in the world who could have presented such a magnificient victory to the glorious sons of the faithful. Why pretend otherwise?

    It is an unmistakable testament to the monumental ignorance of the enemies of Allah that anyone would fail to acknowledge one of the greatest victories in the history of Islam!

    The jihad of Barack Hussein Obama (SoA) is the brightest shining sword now pointed at the exposed heart of the infidels in all the Islamic world. Obama the Magnificent (SoA) stands with his brother-in-arms, Osama bin Ladin (SoA) covered in glory on the highest mountain on earth.

    ropelight (d4e3b8)

  7. Khalid will not be tried for murder, the defense will be turning the tables and try the USA for war crimes, cruel and unusual punishment (water boarding), deliberate murdering of Iraqi civilians, the ruthless conduct of an undeclared war against civilians, etc. The world will shrug and say they knew we were gangsters all along. Oh yeah, and Obama loses big in 2012.

    Howard Veit (0d2b4f)

  8. And exactly where was KSM when the actions he’s going to be charged on occurred? Are Obama and Holder claiming that our civil/criminal courts have jurisdiction whenever US Citizens are involved, no matter where in the world anything takes place?

    I think a lot of “progressives” want this to be treated as crime because they can’t wrap their heads around the concepts of war. Also war shoves aside the lawyers, diplomats, politicians and bureaucrats; the military takes the lead, and they can’t stand any such loss of status, as well as loss of influence.

    LarryD (feb78b)


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