American Elephants


There is a Splendid Venue for the KSM Trial, on Beautiful Guantanamo Bay. Cheaper Too. by The Elephant's Child

Friday News Dump:  The White House asked Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department to find an alternative site to hold the federal trial of  9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NYC Police Commissioner are opposed to a New York trial.  The estimated cost for providing security alone is $200 million a year, and the trials may last for years.  It would paint a large bullseye on the city, any large noise could terrify citizens, the media circus would be hugely disruptive, as well as revealing matters of national security to the world.

Senators from both parties sent a letter to the president asking him to strongly reconsider the decision to try KSM in a Federal Court.  Yesterday Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence publicly withdrew her support.

The administration has absurdly tried to avoid seeing acts of terrorism against the United States as acts of war.  Thomas Sowell points out the mindset of the left as exposed in an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the professed mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will be tried the right way — the American way, in a federal courtroom where the world will see both his guilt and the nation’s adherence to the rule of law.

Terrorists are not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions, much less the Constitution of the United States.

The Conventions are designed to protect civilians and soldiers who observe the rules. The pious notion that KSM or Abdulmutallab “deserve their day in court” is nonsense as a matter of law or tradition.

A.G. Holder, when asked pointedly by Sen. Lindsey Graham, when in history terrorists had ever been tried in Federal Court or offered the protections of the Constitution, could not answer.  It appears that when he announced New York City as the trial venue,  he didn’t consult with anyone.

The Justice Department has been asked to “find another venue.” The American people were outraged at the inept treatment of Umar Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day panty bomber, who was questioned for only 50 minutes before he got his Miranda rights and an attorney who told him not to talk.  That was too much for Congress as well.  If the administration does not do the right thing, Congress may force their hand by denying funding.

It’s time for the administration to acknowledge the folly of deciding to try KSM in federal court and refer him back to a military commission where he belongs.

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3 Comments so far
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This topic is frought with misunderstandings. Most seem to believe that being tried as a criminal is too good for a terrorist, and that he should instead be tried as an enemy combatant. What I was taught during my 25 years in the U.S. military is that I WANTED to be treated as an enemey combatant if I were captured. That’s the classification of legal soldiers captured during war, and it affords protection under the Geneva Conventions from being treated (and tried) as a criminal. I.e., if I were shot down over enemy territory, I would be held as a P.O.W. until the end of hostilities and then returned to my country. The dreaded alternative to this status is being tried as a criminal and executed for murder.

And when Americans decry the handling of terrorists as criminals, they usually recommend instead putting them before military courts, so that the terrorists don’t enjoy the rights of criminals in America–specifally the right to counsel and the right to avoid self-incrimination. But Article 31 of the UCMJ affords defendants in military court those same rights. In fact, Article 31 predates the U.S. Supreme Court’s Miranda ruling in providing those rights to a defendant.

I agree with Mayor Bloomberg that Manhattan may not be the best place for a trial, but I trust the American judicial system to handle these criminals–don’t honor them as enemy combatants–as we always have.

Comment by Duane Bender

My understanding was that terrorists do not get the protection of the Geneva Conventions, but you as a uniformed soldier would. A military commission honors that distinction. (I’ve never been in the military, so my understanding is from what I’ve read)

Andy McCarthy, author of “Willful Blindness” was the prosecutor in the criminal case of the first World Trade Center bombing. Because it was tried as a criminal case, many national security secrets were revealed in open court and it did a lot of damage. The book comes highly recommended and lays out the case for never trying terrorists in a ordinary criminal court.

I have read a lot about this matter, but have never heard anyone make the claims that you do. I’ll do some more studying up.

You might find this article by General Mike Hayden, former CIA Director, useful.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

I couldn’t agree more.. Why let those terrorist bastards leave Guantanamo? Why let them see our beautiful New York City ever again? Keep ‘em in Guantanamo and hold the trials there, through a military tribunal! Nice post.

Comment by Martin Williams




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