Tag: 9-11 trials

Hillary Defends Federal Criminal Trials for Terror Suspects

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today on Face the Nation:

"I don't believe so ... The terrorists who are serving time in our maximum security prisons are there because of civilian courts, what are called Article Three Courts. Our Article Three Courts have a much better record of trying and convicting terrorists than military commissions do, and in fact this defendant having been convicted will be sentenced somewhere between 20 years and life."

But she also seemed to defend military commission trials, at least in some cases:

"The civilian courts have a better record of actually convicting and imprisoning than we do yet have in the military commission. But we also don't want to have security problems or publicity problems for particularly dangerous leading terrorists. So we should look at the military commission."

So will this be Obama and Holder's final decision and justification? That security and publicity justify the use of military commissions? I hope not. Another lame idea, this time by Rep. Steny Hoyer: Holding a federal criminal jury trial at Guantanamo. Who's there to serve? Guards and their spouses? Or would they fly in a jury from New York? The security and surroundings would obliterate the presumption of innocence. Who would agree to move to Gitmo for the many months or longer the trial would take? Certainly not a cross-section of the public. [More...]

(12 comments, 412 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

WaPo: Guantanamo to Remain Open, Indefinite Detention to Replace Trials

Disheartening news, to say the least. The Washington Post reports:

  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the four other 9/11 detainees are unlikely to get a trial in federal court or by military commission before the end of President Obama's first term. Instead, they will remain in indefinite detention at Guantanamo.
  • Guantanamo will not close in the forseeable future.

The explanation:

The administration has concluded that it cannot put Mohammed on trial in federal court because of the opposition of lawmakers in Congress and in New York. There is also little internal support for resurrecting a military prosecution at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The latter option would alienate liberal supporters.

Like indefinite detention won't alienate us? [More...]

(46 comments, 307 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

AG Eric Holder: No Decision Yet on 9/11 Trial Forum or Venue

Attorney General Eric Holder testified today before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said no final decision has been made on where to try the 9/11 detainees. They have not ruled out New York and a decision is weeks away.

As to closing Guantanamo, Holder said it's still on the agenda but the plan cannot move forward until Congress approves funding to purchase Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois.

Here is Holder's opening statement. He also addressed the powder-cocaine disparity and confirmation lag for nominated U.S. Attorneys: [More...]

(5 comments, 253 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Meet Lindsay Graham, Our New Attorney General

Who put Linsday Graham in charge of the Justice Department? Now Graham's insisting on a law authorizing indefinite military detention as a pre-requisite to closing Guantanamo.

While Graham has long favored closing Guantanamo, he said Monday that his support for doing so is contingent on a new law to govern the detention of those the government wants to keep in custody outside the criminal justice system. He also said that, with such a statute in place, he could support Obama’s plan to convert a state prison in Illinois to a federal facility for former Guantanamo inmates.

“I think Thomson, Ill., in the hands of the military, could become a secure location,” he said. “My view is we can start to close Guantanamo only after we reform our laws.”

Marcy says Rahm Emanuel put him in charge.

Back in 2003, Lindsay Graham joined John McCain in asking then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to either try or free the detainees at Guantanamo. Per the New York Times back then: [More...]

(7 comments, 791 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

DOJ Says NY Terror Trials Still Under Consideration

Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler today said the Justice Department has not made a decision about holding the trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other alleged 9/11 co-conspirators in New York. He denied New York is out of consideration. He said DOJ remains committed to a trial in a federal criminal court.

"We haven't made a final decision and it's not off the table," Grindler said during a briefing Monday. Grindler said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was committed to the trial being conducted in federal court rather than before a military commission, as several lawmakers have argued.

"Our federal courts have a long history of safely and securely handling international terrorism cases and we are committed to bringing Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the other alleged Sept. 11 conspirators to justice," Grindler said.

That's good news. Obama and Holder need to stick to their promises on this one and bring these cases in federal criminal courts, which are more than capable of safely conducting them.

(27 comments) Permalink :: Comments

Obama's Budget Goes to The Hill

President Obama's $3.8 Trillion budget goes to Congress tomorrow.

Given the Republican threat to pass a bill that prevents DOJ from using funds to try terror suspects in federal court, Obama has one other option: trying them not in military commissions as the scaredy-pants Repubs want, but trying them in military courts under the Uniform Code OF Military Justice, a procedure far more fair that the military tribunals.

If that is done, the Department of Defense can use some of its bloated budget to pay for the trials, instead of the DOJ and Homeland Security.

The Republicans and right-leaning Dems can scream all they want, but Obama made a promise: Those that could be tried in civilian courts would be tried in either civilian courts or under the Code of Military Justice. [More..]

(26 comments, 607 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Gibbs: KSM Will "Meet His Maker"

Why bother with a trial? Just call out the firing squad. Here's Obama Press secretary Robert Gibbs today:

"Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is going to meet justice and he’s going to meet his maker," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told John King on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday morning. "He's likely to be executed for the heinous crimes he committed," he added.

Former SDNY AUSA Cynthia Kouril at Firedoglake weighs in on this one. (Extra props for mentioning defense counsel.) [More...]

(34 comments, 187 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Axelrod: No Decision Yet on Site of 9/11 Trials

Here's the transcript of White House Adviser David Axelrod this morning on Meet the Press:

DAVID GREGORY: First the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind 9/11. Has the administration reversed its stance and decided not to transfer him to New York for trial?

DAVID AXLEROD: We've made no decisions on that David, I've seen the reports. We've no made decisions on that yet. Look here's the situation, the attorney general and the defense department worked out protocols about how these cases should be handled. Under those protocols, the attorney general decided to bring Khalid Shaikh Mohammed back to New York to stand trial for his crime, for the murder of 3000 innocent people. And he wanted to do it near the site of the crime itself. He wanted to do what the Bush administration did over and over and over again, and try these people - try these murderers in article three court, or these uh .. and that's what he decided to do.


(15 comments, 1127 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

AP: Feds to Offer $200 Million in Security to City Hosting 9/11 Terror Trials

The AP reports that on Monday, President Obama will release a budget request that includes $200 million in security for the city that ends up hosting the 9/11 trials. While no official announcement has been made, it appears Manhattan has been scrapped.

The other day I set out the applicable constitutional and statutory provisions on venue. Most likely, the Government will pick a city in which an overt act in furtherance of the 9/11 conspiracy was committed. Here's a partial list: [More...]

(25 comments, 528 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

White House Asks DOJ to Move 9/11 Trials

Update: The New York Times reports a DOJ official tonight said they have not decided to move the trial and remain confident the SDNY can handle it.

In light of objections by New York's Mayor, Senator Schumer and other state and local leaders, the White House tonight asked the Department of Justice to find another place to try the 9/11 Defendants.

I hope they pick Denver. We've done it before and we can handle it. [More...]

(56 comments, 732 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments

Gitmo Detainee Defense Counsel Interview on 9/11 Trials

Scott Fenstermaker is the habeas lawyer for Ammar al-Baluchi, the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and one of the detainees accused of participation in the September 11th attacks. A. Scott Piraino of The Populist has a three part interview with him on the anticipated upcoming federal trials. Here's Part I, Part II and Part III, and some background on the lawyer[whose] " persistence in securing the legal rights of detainees led to his suspension, and even drove him to sue several members of the Bush administration, including the President.."

From Part II, on the soon-to-be defendants' chances for acquittal at trial: [More...]

(333 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments