Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: FrontPage.Com, Politics, War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 9:29 am

There are serious issues that the administration is apparently dismissing as they insist that trying all terrorists in federal court is the best way to combat terrorism.

I am sympathetic to the argument that whenever possible, terrorism related crimes should be tried by the regular courts. The Holy Land Foundation trial is a good example of this, where various Muslim “charities” were caught funneling money to Hamas. Other terrorist financing cases have been successfully prosecuted in civilian courts, and even FBI “stings” involving  home grown terrorists plotting mayhem might conceivably be better off being tried in federal court.

But for genuine, committed terrorists who are a danger to the entire world, a military tribunal and indefinite detention appears to be the only option. Civilization should have a trap door for these extremists, and granting them the extra protections afforded defendants in civilian courts is not only dangerous but a waste of time. As I point out in my FPM piece today, even if Mr. Warsame, the Somali captured in April and brought to New York to stand trial, is acquitted, he isn’t going anywhere. He will be sent to the “Supermax” prison in Colorado to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Is it really that important that the rest of the world will think better of us if we allow a defense lawyer in federal court to make a circus out of the proceedings?

A sample from my FPM piece:

Obama’s new policy seeks to avoid the “tainted fruit” charges made by defense attorneys for terrorists who argued that some evidence used in court or offered during the military tribunals was the result of interrogations where the suspect was not apprised of his rights, or illegal methods were used to obtain the evidence.

This was the major problem during the 2010 trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, charged with more than 280 counts of murder and conspiracy in the bombing of our embassies in Africa in 1998. A pre-trial ruling by the judge denied the prosecution the testimony of a key witness who sold the explosives to Ghailiani, because the government learned of the sale when interrogating the witness at Guantanamo. Ghailiani was acquitted of all but one charge of conspiracy to destroy government property.

There were many who argued at the time that Ghailiani had no business being tried in a civilian court anyway, and that a military tribunal would have worked much better at bringing him to justice. Whether or not that supposition is true, it is a fact that Ghailiani was sentenced to life in prison without parole and is currently incarcerated at the “Supermax” detention facility in Colorado, along with other participants in the embassy bombings. His fate was ultimately no different than if he had been tried at Guantanamo, which raises serious questions about the efficacy of civilian trials in the first place.

But by keeping Warsame’s interrogations separate, with a clear wall between the CIA’s national security interrogations and the FBI’s efforts to gather evidence for trial, the administration is hoping to avoid the problems that emerged in the Ghailiani case, and that they can satisfy critics who worry that placing a terrorist in the court system is a wasted opportunity to glean significant intelligence from suspects. They also hope to satisfy their own supporters who believe Guantanamo should be closed and all terrorism suspects tried in federal court.

Judging by the reaction from both sides to Warsame’s indictment, it appears that the administration has failed to convince anybody that their new policy is the answer.

This is Obama manufacturing a policy not based on the reality of the situation, but rather on the political calculation that he must do something differently than George Bush. I’m not sure that a defense strategy wouldn’t try to claim that Warsame should have been mirandized by the CIA and that anything from those interrogations should not be allowed. Rules of evidence is one reason why a tribunal is preferrable to a civilian trial in some cases.

In the end, it won’t matter. Warsame is going to jail for life and those so disposed to believe that holding a civilian trial for enemy combatants will meet with the approval of the world - or at least liberals in Europe - will no doubt feel better about themselves.

Asking if it is the best course for protecting ourselves doesn’t seem to enter into their heads.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress