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Justice?

WaPo:

The first former Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in federal criminal court was found guilty on a single conspiracy charge Wednesday but cleared on 284 other counts. The outcome, a surprise, seriously undermines - and could doom - the Obama administration's plans to put other Guantanamo detainees on trial in U.S. civilian courts.

After deliberating for five days, a jury of six men and six women found Ahmed Ghailani, 36, guilty of conspiracy to damage or destroy U.S. property but acquitted him of multiple murder and attempted-murder charges for his role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa.

The Obama administration had hoped that a conviction on most, if not all, of the charges would help clear the way for federal prosecutions of other Guantanamo detainees - including Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators accused of organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The administration did not want to rely exclusively on the military commissions that the George W. Bush administration had made a centerpiece of its detention policy.

President Obama's strategy, however, has run into fierce, cross-party opposition in Congress and New York, in part because of concerns that it would be harder to win convictions in civilian court.

The failure to convict Ghailani, a native of Tanzania, on the most serious terrorism charges will bolster the arguments of those who say the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should be kept open, both to host military commissions for some prisoners and to hold others indefinitely and without trial under the laws of war.

"You deserve a lot of credit," U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan told the jurors after the verdicts were announced. "You have demonstrated also that American justice can be delivered calmly, deliberately and fairly, by ordinary people - people who are not beholden to any government, including this one."

Does Judge Kaplan sound impartial to you?  Here's a bit more from the WaPo piece that should help you decide:

Analysis of the verdict is likely to focus on the decision of Kaplan to exclude a Tanzanian whom the prosecution had described as a potentially "giant witness." The man was expected to say that he sold Ghailani explosives used in the attack.

But the judge ruled that the government learned of the witness only through the use of coercive interrogations at CIA prisons and that the participation of the witness would taint the process.

I'm ruling that Kaplan has tainted the process.  I suspect the vast majority of Americans would rule similarly.


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Comments (11)

And this Kaplan would no do... (Below threshold)

And this Kaplan would no doubt be President Holder's first SCOTUS appointment after the 2016 election.

http://libertyatstake.blogspot.com/
"Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

Obama has replaced the War ... (Below threshold)
Bob:

Obama has replaced the War on Terror with a War on Travelers, and is ineffective in prosecuting our most dangerous captives. This verdict simply illustrates that the original Bush Administration plan to try the terrorists in military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay was the best - and perhaps the only really workable plan. Giving these folks civilian trials treats terrorism as a law enforcement problems and lets the defendants capitalize on the rules of evidence applicable to accused criminals. Eric Holder promised that civilian trials would result in convictions but this self-confessed terrorist got off of all the murder charges against him, being convicted of only one minor charge of damaging property.

I think this is where democ... (Below threshold)
just me:

I think this is where democrats seem to differ the most from republicans in that the democrats seem to view terrorism as a criminal matter while the GOP sees it as an act of war.

I do think there should be some kind of trial, but I think a military tribunal makes the most sense verses a civilian court that isn't equipped to handle some of the evidence.

Just another sterling examp... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Just another sterling example of our Constitutional Scholar's thinking processes.

Maybe Holder should do what he does best, and just be in charge of issuing pardons.

Obama and Holder can't even... (Below threshold)
Roy:

Obama and Holder can't even win a show trial in a kangaroo court. Now they'll have to send the guy back to Gitmo to be held indefinitely. Maybe they can slip in a waterboarding for shits and grins. Holder should be moved into the White House Office of Protocol and put in charge of their iPod inventory. If he can handle that.

Applying the same judicial ... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

Applying the same judicial system to terrorism (ie "man-caused disasters") that's used in drugstore shoplifting crimes?

What a great idea.

These people will get us all killed.

This news only would be sur... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

This news only would be surprising to those not paying attention: Kaplan was a Clinton nominee to the bench (and was confirmed prior to the GOP takeover of the Senate); moreover, the demographic of jury venires in New York City proper is incredibly stupid. You wouldn't want to trust that demographic to change a lightbulb or to tell you the correct time of day, much less to make an important decision vital to the national security of the entire country.

And now this, after all the... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

And now this, after all the bluster by Holder about how our "institutions are strong" and we're more than able to convict these terrorists in civilian courts. "Our institutions are strong, our infrastructure is sturdy, our resolve is firm, and our people are ready."

Yeah. Great job there, Holder. We'll be so much safer when this guy gets 20 years and time off for good behavior. I can't wait for KSM's trial. What are we gonna give him? A pedicure?

Permit me to take a walk ba... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Permit me to take a walk back in time.

During the 2d World War, the USA put 12 million men under arms. She ended up Courts Marshaling 1 million 200 thousand of them (10%). With the war won, the GI's returning to civilian life didn't forget this - Never Again They Said - so they changed the military - and that's how the Uniform Code of Military Justice (or the UCMJ for short) came into existence.

-Snip-

Even though warfare has changed and our military has changed, the laws governing it have not kept up. There is a reason enemy combatants from the battlefield should not be tried in civilian courts. Indulge me in picturing this exchange between Lance Corporal Smith, a Hot-Snot Civilian Lawyer, and the Judge:

HSCL: LCpl Smith, isn't it true that the defendants Achmuod and Salim were just innocent farmers, who when caught in a vicious cross-fire took shelter in your trench?

LCpl S: No Sir, they were the bastards who were trying to kill us.

HSCL: Objection! Argumentative.

Judge: Sustained, the statement will be stricken and the Jury will be reminded to disregard.

HSCL: Can you identify your assailants in your deposition in this court today without a reasonable doubt?

LCpl Smith: Sure, the fellow missing his left ear, Achmoud, he killed Private Jones during the melee in the trench. His missing ear was found in the mouth of Private Jones after the battle was over.

HSCL: But didn't Pvt Jones savagely and brutally attack Achmoud?

LCpl S: That's not true, I remember, the one you call Achmoud, he was the one throwing grenades.

HSCL: But how can you be sure, the grenade that killed Pvt Jones was actually THE ONE that Achmoud threw?

LCpl S: I'm Pretty sure.

HSCL: Now, now, LCpl Smith, this all allegedly happened six years ago -from your deposition, how can you be sure, today, beyond a reasonable doubt that it was Achmoud's grenade?

And on and on it goes...you get the picture.

-SNIP-

This just plain wont work folks. If the law today is obsolete and doesn't adequately address the means of rendering Justice. Then its time (past time in my opinion) to create new laws which will make it so. Never Again Should This Happen. When is our new generation of leaders going to get off their high-horse and get down to the legal business at hand?

Semper Fidelis-

"I'm ruling that Kaplan has... (Below threshold)

"I'm ruling that Kaplan has tainted the process. I suspect the vast majority of Americans would rule similarly."

The Judge did the right thing. As a citizen of the United States of America, I am not willing to allow the government to torture me into a false confession that will be used in a court of law. When the government chose to put this person into the civilian trial system, it was an attempt to take away my god given rights by forcing judges to take away my rights in the name of justice against a terrorist.

It is the the slippery slope argument, and this argument is used often because it is accurate. Terrorists do not deserve the rights. Then rapists do not deserve the rights. Then murderers. Thieves, and cross walk violators.

No, the judge is right, the government and you are wrong.

Mr. Astonerii,Are ... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Mr. Astonerii,

Are you a HSCL? (See 9 above for the abbreviation). Why are you so quick to jump to the defense of liberty, for someone who rejects even the idea of it and doesn't have a clue about its implicit or explicit responsibilities?

Religion of Peace says your Idol? That's Hooey, anyone who participates in mass-murder of innocents belongs to a deviant cult.

You want your rights as an American citizen? Well go ahead and proclaim them loudly; if you break our laws - you'll get your due...process.

Participate in war against your country, and prepare yourself for an extended stay in Guantanamo...at least you'll be safe from the rest of our domestic criminal population.

Show a little empathy for your fellow countrymen, and give them some credit for protecting your idealistic sorry arse.

These... what do you call them...oh, yeah, poor disturbed foreign individuals - who are really only victims - having only known the smelling end-of-the-stick all their life, so we should be sympathetic to their cause.

I mean, get real and man-up astonerii... the world is not how you wish it to be or how you would like it to be...and start being honest with yourself. Take off those special cerebral blinders you wear - and truly see how the world really is.

Semper Fidelis-




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