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Al Qaeda War Criminals In Civilian Courts

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Bloviating Zeppelin: Al Qaeda War Criminals In Civilian Courts

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Al Qaeda War Criminals In Civilian Courts

On every level imagineable, you know this is wrong.

That is, if you have any sense about you.

From the LA Times this past Friday the 13th:

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and four other top alleged conspirators have been held for years in secret detention camps overseas, and, most recently, at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba -- will be tried as terrorists and criminals in a federal court in Manhattan, just blocks from the site of one of the terrorists' targets, the World Trade Center, U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder announced today.

This will be a civilian court, as opposed to a military court or tribunal.

Which means that, of course, civilian rules of jurisprudence and law will hold -- not that of the UCMJ.

I apologize for not addressing the topic earlier but I've been otherwise distracted by personal issues.

This is a mistake. And not just a "mistake" but an error of geometric and massive proportions, setting an unwanted, corrupting, denigrating, deleterious precedent.

AG Eric Holder has already announced his confidence that there will be clear and easy convictions in each and every case. Not to worry. Eric and Barry are Large and In Charge.

The American Civil Liberties Union -- of course -- called the move a "major victory for due process and the rule of law."

Other clear-thinking individuals such as Charles Krauthammer said:

Affording terrorists access to American civilian courts is the sheerest of insanity. It makes no sense whatsoever. On almost every level imagineable.

First, these trials will occur in a federal court in New York City, mere blocks from the site where almost 3,000 unsuspecting and completely innocent Americans were literally liquified and their tissues absorbed into the hundreds of thousands of tons crushing down upon them -- that is, if they didn't jump, burned, flaming, shirtless, shoeless, from hundreds of feet in the New York air, only to impact the hard concrete below -- and then have hundreds of thousands of tons crush them into human juice.

That is an abomination itself.

New York, already Target One in the eyes of Jihadists, will only serve to make itself a more tasty morsel as various factions vie to either rescue their brethren or bring their brand of Islamic Hell to the court's doorsteps.

Second, there is a massive world of difference between the two court venues, civilian and military. Different rules of evidence, exclusionary rules, rules of time and custody.

For example, if I were a defense attorney, I'd attempt to free my clients without stepping a foot into open court. I'd first cite evidence indicating that they were held, incommunicado, for a ridiculously extended period of time, completely unrepresented -- a clear civil violation. If that petition failed, I'd cite the questioning tactics up to and including the waterboarding of my clients, attacking that point from the angle of torture -- still not firmly addressed or answered in civil court decisions. AG Holder himself has called waterboarding "illegal torture" -- yet he believes a conviction is certain?

In a civilian court venue, defense attorneys would and should make a mockery of the system. They will make the issues those of philosophy, a venue for the oppression of Islam, the ghastly treatment of the world at the hand of the evil United States, a matter of religion, a matter of fighters for freedom, paupers, standing up to the Great Satan. It will be the quintessential Show Trial, trotted out before Live Television (clearly, too juicy and salacious to remain uncovered by the Defeatist, Elitist Media, yes?).

And, moreover, civil defense attorneys will demand access to all of the evidence which may even faintly denigrate their clients to include any and all intelligence, methods, sources, all trotted out in open court for the world to see, hear, know.

That in mind, a new CNN poll showed that fully two-thirds of respondents believe Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should be tried in military court while 34 per cent agreed with the decision to try him in civilian court.

I'd also cite the inconsistency of the Government in its trial venues. The USS Cole bomber Nashiri will face a military trial. I should also like to point out that so-called "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh, faced a civilian DOJ trial only because the mechanism to support Gitmo, early in the fight, was not yet in place. He acquired a 20-year sentence. Some say he was railroaded. I say he should shut the hell up and be grateful his stupidity and naivete didn't acquire a life sentence.

9/11 was an act of war, clearly and simply. Trying its enfolders and designers is not a mission of civilian law enforcement. And, we seem to have no qualms about holding American born persons accountable under military justice. Second Lt William Calley and numerous, numerous other soldiers over the years. The UCMJ was deemed perfectly fine for those applications.

When those who fight against us violate the Geneva Convention, we should set aside any and all civilian rules. The Conventions apply to all cases of armed conflict between two or more signatory nations, even in the absence of a declaration of war. This language was added in 1949 to accommodate situations that have all the characteristics of war without the existence of a formal declaration of war, such as a police action.[7] Soldiers who fight out of uniform or commit atrocities such as the murder of prisoners or the targeting or killing of non-combatants may be executed by firing squads.

All acts committed by Jihadists under the banner of Islam.

Why do those who wish only harm to this country warrant extraordinary civilian treatment?



Blogger The Right Look said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. These guys need to be tried in a military court. Found guilty. Then placed in a very deep dark hole for the rest of their natural lives.

To hang/shoot/inject them would be turning them into martyrs! We don't need to spend a lot of money on them after they are found guilty.

They were used to wiping their a$$es with their fingers once. I'm sure they could finger, I mean figure it out again!

The Right Look

Tue Nov 17, 07:03:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

TRL: yes. Period.


Tue Nov 17, 08:51:00 PM PST  
Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

BZ, you are in a trick bag if you call 9/11 an act of war. Then they aren't terrorists but soldiers and it becomes difficult to try them as violating the rules of war.

Also, don't be like Dick Cheney and whine that our enemies won't mass to be fixed and destroyed by our massively superior arms and training.

A good counter-insurgency knows not to face an overwhelming force such as ours on our terms and will fight they way they believe will give them the best chances of success.

Wed Nov 18, 11:00:00 AM PST  
Blogger shoprat said...

The ACLU believes that economic justice is king and that in order for that to happen America must collapse so all other justice is on hold until then.

We have successfully transplanted pig hearts into humans and I think this is the way to go with them.

Wed Nov 18, 11:02:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

GEG: I don't believe that's improper to call it what it is. They are enemy combatants who do not adhere to Geneva. Calling it, essentially, a "law enforcement problem" instead of a military problem is grossly improper. Of course they'll utilize their terrorist tactics; they learned well from the Father of Terrorism, Michael Collins, as did most everyone else.

It's not about their fight; it's about our not being stupid and providing them with a wondrous venue for a show trial, an abrogation of our intelligence systems, and a mockery of our civilian courts.

Shop: wow.


Wed Nov 18, 11:15:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

War? What war?

Wed Nov 18, 11:55:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Deficit? What deficit?


Wed Nov 18, 01:54:00 PM PST  
Blogger TexasFred said...

There is no doubt that the attacks of September 11, 2001 constituted acts of war. They possessed the intensity and scale of war. They involved at least one military target, the Pentagon, and they came on the heels of a decade of attacks by al Qaida on U.S. military and civilian targets. Congress on September 18, 2001 authorized the President to use force in response to the attacks. And both the United Nations and NATO recognized that the attacks were “armed attacks” within the meaning of the UN Charter and NATO treaty. Since September 11th (and perhaps before then), we have been at war – both legally and in fact.

War implicates legal powers and rules that are not available during peacetime. Among other things, the war context gives the President the authority to detain enemy combatants at least until hostilities cease.

Enemy Combatant

An “enemy combatant” is an individual who, under the laws and customs of war, may be detained for the duration of an armed conflict. In the current conflict with al Qaida and the Taliban, the term includes a member, agent, or associate of al Qaida or the Taliban. In applying this definition, the United States government has acted consistently with the observation of the Supreme Court of the United States in Ex parte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1, 37-38 (1942): “Citizens who associate themselves with the military arm of the enemy government, and with its aid, guidance and direction enter this country bent on hostile acts are enemy belligerents within the meaning of the Hague Convention and the law of war.”


Wed Nov 18, 05:47:00 PM PST  
Blogger Maggie M. Thornton said...

The new military commissions legislation in the Defense Authorization Bill says that Military Commissions cannot mirandize those captured on the battlefield.

But civil courts are just the opposite.

This sets up the perfect mistrial. I heard an attorney on FOX last night say that by the time all the classified information is dealt with in pretrial proceedings, it can be 10 years before the trial begins.

The costs will be overwhelming, and the taxpayer is will pay for this. New York can't. They're broke already. A trial at Guantanamo - next to no cost for the taxpayer.

It's a shame.

Wed Nov 18, 07:57:00 PM PST  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Remember what happened at Charles Manson's trial when Richard Nixon pronounced him guilty to the media?

We're headed for the same three ring circus with the trial of KSM!

Thu Nov 19, 03:53:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

TF: all quite true, sir!

Maggie: again, an excellent point with regard to Miranda which, of course, never occurred.

AOW: perfectly.

All excellent points which could prove a mistrial or a vacation of charges. Or even a not guilty by jury.

If not guilty, THEN what?


Thu Nov 19, 10:57:00 AM PST  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

We once understood that an act of war is an act of war, no matter who did so. Our basis of understanding of how society is made tells us what is legitimate and illegitimate war. There is Public War, that war that is done by the Nation State as it utilizes the negative liberty we lend it to the good of society for our self-protection. As such it is the representative aspect of a Nation's Sovereignty and its people, given legitimacy by having a government that cares for that Nation (no matter if it is tyrannical or representative in nature). When a government takes a Nation to war, it just does that and announces so, puts men in uniform to the field, supplies a means to ensure that there is accountability to those in the field to the authorities who declared the war, and to generally make open what is being done with stated goals to protect the Nation involved.

On the other side there is Private War, that done by individuals against a Nation or State, and it is illegitimate war. It offends the sensibilities of all mankind that individuals should wage war without Sovereign grant by any society, wage war without uniforms, without a means of accountability, and for the personal ends of those involved be it pursuit of mayhem, simple theft, or piracy. All those who wage Private War have gotten the exact, same treatment since the first Nation States were formed, and even before that to Ancient City States and Hydraulic Empires. Reading the accounts of Egypt, the Old Hittite Kingdom, Assyria, Babylon, Alexandrian Greece, Roman Empire and through the era of pirates that touches our modern day, they have had one end when captured, and one end only: death.

Not civil death, although if any population caught such, that those who committed such acts would die at their hands, even without trial as the depradations that have been suffered allowed such vengeance. It is not the population that waged Private War, but those ravagers who did so upon them. It does not matter if that is mountain top in a desert, a ship at sea, or a populace town in the middle of a Nation's heartland. This distinction is recognized by all scholars on warfare: Grotius, Pufendorf, de Vattel, Blackstone. In America this was recognized by Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and up to Teddy Roosevelt.

Indeed, standing orders to the forces of the Union, at land and at sea, once consisted of this description for such fighters, after disposing of simple, but in uniform partisans as being different:

Art. 82.
Men, or squads of men, who commit hostilities, whether by fighting, or inroads for destruction or plunder, or by raids of any kind, without commission, without being part and portion of the organized hostile army, and without sharing continuously in the war, but who do so with intermitting returns to their homes and avocations, or with the occasional assumption of the semblance of peaceful pursuits, divesting themselves of the character or appearance of soldiers - such men, or squads of men, are not public enemies, and, therefore, if captured, are not entitled to the privileges of prisoners of war, but shall be treated summarily as highway robbers or pirates.

The President that issued those orders was Lincoln.

He understood the difference.

Apparently we have become uncivilized enough to lose the distinction. No good will come of that.

Fri Nov 20, 04:20:00 AM PST  

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