Military Commission Readings

I've been reading the pleadings filed in the Military Commission trials of the "9/11 co-conspirators." Rulings on several of the motions are also available. Two that made a lot of sense to me are the Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction (Bill of Attainder) and Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction (Absence of Armed Conflict).

The motions and responses concerning Ramzi Binalshibh's competency are also interesting.

The two themes that run through the prosecution's pleadings are: (1) Trial by military commission does not entitle the accused to protections of the Bill of Rights, only to rights authorized by the Military Commissions Act, and (2) the length to which the DOD will go to prevent anything coming up as to what may have happened while the detainees were held and interrogated in CIA black sites overseas. [More...]

If Binalshibh is crazy or incompetent, the prosecution argues, it doesn't matter why or what caused his condition. All we need to know is that he is or is not. Who cares how he got that way? It's none of our business.

The proseuction also likes to point out that under the Military Commissions Act, all statements of a defendant, including those made in court, are classified. At the hearings, only those with appropriate security clearances will be in the courtroom. There will be a delayed audio feed, so in case the accused mentions something about his treatment while in a CIA black site, it won't be transmitted to the public or media in attendance.

If you like legalese, you can read through the full Military Commissions Act and the Manual with trial rules and procedures. I found the pleadings and court rulings more interesting.

Given the rules, which allow appeal to a Court of Military Commission Review (which will be composed of three military judges) and then (only)to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, and then to the Supreme Court, it's unlikely these cases will be finished for years to come.

I wonder how President Obama is going to close Gitmo by Jan., 2010 if these proceedings are still underway. Where will they move these most dangerous of the dangerous (and by now probably crazy) detainees? They would have to move "Camp 7" to a place inside the U.S. and staff it with military guards. Could they even build one by 2010?

Another problem: Given the secrecy of the exact location of Camp 7, as evident from the pleading battle over whether Binalshibh's lawyers would be allowed to view his cell, which includes offers of counsel to be blindfolded and driven in blacked out vehicles to the location (an offer deemed insufficient to the Government), where would they build it in the US where it would remain such a secret?

Since the Government is seeking death, and given the likelihood they'll get it under the military tribunal system, maybe they will build a new camp 7 in Terre Haute, next to the federal death chamber. As to any who are acquitted (as if that would happen), since the Government will still be detaining them until the end of the war on terror, which is never, maybe those will go to Supermax in Florence, CO.

Splitting them up for trials in federal criminal courts or trials under the Code of Military Justice would be such a preferable solution. Not only for our image in the world, and for fairness to the accused, but for avoiding the years of headaches these proceedings are going to cause both practically and to our national psyche.

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    he's not. (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Sat May 16, 2009 at 02:32:33 PM EST
    wonder how President Obama is going to close Gitmo by Jan., 2010 if these proceedings are still underway.

    that's becoming abundently clear, as are so many "issues" with now president obama. issues that were glossed over by the obamabots during the primaries, because he was all about "change".

    Bots (none / 0) (#2)
    by jondee on Sat May 16, 2009 at 03:01:16 PM EST
    Im sure HRC will stand on her never-to-be-compromised principals and be resigning in protest any day now.

    that's it? (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Sun May 17, 2009 at 08:21:43 AM EST
    that's the best you got?

    it's about him, not her, he's president, she isn't.

    please accept this home version, as a lovely parting gift.