Tag Archives: Attorney General Eric Holder

911 attack Civilian Trials vs. Military Tribunals – What’s the Fuss?

So now we’ve got all manner of partisan hatchetmen coming after President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder for deciding to try Khalid Shiekh Mohammad and the men charged in connection with the 9/11 attacks in a New York civilian courtroom.

Khalid Shiekh Mohammad
Khalid Shiekh Mohammad

Holder says he’s going after the death penalty, but that doesn’t seem to be good enough for the likes of Rudy Giuliani.

The so-called “hero of 9/11” took time out of his busy schedule this weekend to Fox News that the President “just doesn’t get it” when it comes to the war on terror. Rudy, of course, does get it.

He’s the guy whose recommendation for chief of homeland security will instead be going to jail after the holidays. But, no matter. He’s an expert at these things after all.

Am I the only person who gets the irony of a former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York saying the current US Attorney for the Southern District of New York can’t handle this trial? That Rudy Giuliani spews this crap on national TV is offensive.

Then there are those who whine about Khalid Shiekh Mohammad and his cronies having a platform to spout anti American rhetoric.

Whether their cases are held in civilian courts or military tribunals, they’ll do that. People may forget, but that’s just what they did at their arraignment, and virtually every appearance before a military tribunal to date. By the way, in case anyone’s forgotten, they have confessed, and say they want to be put to death. Just what else do the tribunal advocates want?

Fact is, none of these GITMO detainees have actually faced justice up to now. Trying them in New York does pose some legal obstacles, but the benefits of showing American justice in the light of day far exceeds them. I remain opposed to the death penalty for anyone, but if the nation’s bloodlust over 9/11 is to be sated, what difference does it make what type of court reaches that conclusion?

And then there is the record, which Rudy Giuliani and his ilk  avoid talking about at all costs. From a Huffington Post piece by Brian Levin from Cal State University.

“After 9/11 the government prevailed in civilian criminal courts in some high profile extremist cases like that of the “Lackawanna Six” (participation in al Qaeda terror training), attempted airline “shoebomber” Richard Reid, al Qaeda member Zacarias Moussaoui, attempted terror camp organizer James Ujaama, New York City bridge bomb plotter Iyman Faris, Al Qaeda supporter Jose Padilla, and lesser figures like Jewish Defense League leader Irv Rubin, and white supremacist Matt Hale.”

However, justice isn’t on the agenda for Rudy and his fellow travelers, partisan attacks are. He tries to tie together President Obama’s deliberations on Afghanistan (“He has delayed inordinately in making this decision about the war strategy in Afghanistan,”), the Ft. Hood massacre (“He doesn’t get the fact that there is an Islamic war against us.”) along with the civilian trial decision to make Barack Obama look soft on national security.

What a joke, coming from this man.

Rudolph Giuliani
Rudolph Giuliani

In Rudy’s world, taking the five defendants and Major Hasan together and shooting them without trial, followed by nuking Afghanistan would solve all our problems.

Maybe keeping him off TV would work better. What do you think?

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Is Dick Cheney Above the Law?

He obviously thinks he is. How else to explain his veiled threat not to co-operate with the probe of detainee interrogation? We already know he doesn’t like the probe. He’s called it partisan, says the techniques used by the CIA were legal and saved lives, blah blah, blah.

Yet when asked in a Fox News interview if he’d talk to prosecutor John Durham once the probe got started, here’s what Cheney said. “It will depend on the circumstances and what I think their activities are really involved in.” That would seem to mean he won’t talk to Durham unless he feels like it. Right now, that means he doesn’t feel like it.

What makes Cheney think he, as a former elected official, is empowered to thumb his nose at a legitimate inquiry? And why is he taking the position that anything the CIA did in the wake of September 11th was legal and warranted?

The former VP went on in the interview to mention how this investigation will demoralize the intelligence community. This is old stuff. He wants us to believe any look back at how the Bush Administration conducted the war on terror must be an organized plot by the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Some facts to keep in mind. President Obama has said only those who acted without legal authorization face the possibility of legal action. Both the president and Attorney General Eric Holder have said those who acted on legal advice from the Justice Dept. won’t be prosecuted.

And of course, there’s Cheney’s assertion that even those interrogators who went over the line provided crucial intelligence that saved the lives of Americans. Even Sen. John McCain got off the bus on that one. So you have to go back to the question, why? Why is Dick Cheney the point man on this? He wasn’t even president at the time, and the guy who was doesn’t talk nearly as much about it.

No, Dick Cheney has a personal stake in all this. Does he worry about a trail of illegality that stops at his door? Does he think there’s no way an investigation that hasn’t even begun yet can be fair to those involved? If the probe is political, what is his response to it?

Former Vice President Dick Cheney
Former Vice President Dick Cheney

Methinks this guy has much to hide, and he’s hiding behind the people at the CIA, the people who tried to do their jobs properly and legally. That is truly sad. Let me say this from the left wing of the Democratic Party. The investigation should go forward. If Cheney refuses to talk to the prosecutor, let the full weight of the law fall on his head. And if it turns out he broke the law, let him be prosecuted!

What’s wrong with that?

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Is Torture Probe Risk For Obama’s healthcare plan?

That’s how some media are describing the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to name a special prosecutor to look into CIA prisoner abuse cases. There are worries the fallout from Holder’s decision could distract attention from President Barack Obama’s continuing efforts to reform the healthcare system.

Eric Holder, President Obama
Eric Holder, President Obama

Why one would have anything to do with the other is for bigger media minds than mine. The Attorney General’s decision seems perfectly rational, and in fact the only thing he could do after new details emerged about “enhanced” interrogation techniques used after September 11th. President Obama is also correct in leaving the decision about what to do in Holder’s hands.

The AG acknowledged his decision would be controversial, but after all, that’s why he’s making the big money, isn’t it? The question now is whether those who have wanted accountability for torture during the Bush years will stand behind Holder as he takes flack for naming career prosecutor John Durham to head up this investigation.

As we’ve seen with healthcare, silence on the part of one side gives the other free rein to control the debate in the court of public opinion. And what will they say? Obama doesn’t care about national security, that he’s undermining morale at the CIA, that these allegations are old news.

And who will lead the charge? Could it be the Darth Vader of Bush era interrogation, Dick Cheney? They’ll trot him out, for sure. In fact, they won’t need to. He’ll start magically appearing on the Sunday talk shows again, and accuse the Obama Administration of offering aid and comfort to America’s enemies.

It’s all so predictable.

What can’t be predicted is whether those who side with justice on the issue of torture will be proactive, or just watch the firestorm from a distance. Let’s be clear. There is no excuse for linking healthcare to investigating torture.

Those who do so ought to be called on it immediately.

Progressives in this country don’t know their own strength. If seeing to it that suspects America detains in the future aren’t subjected to “enhanced” interrogation is important, get behind Holder and Obama. And then, push for the investigation to include not just the grunts who carried out these activities, but those who ordered them to do so, or looked the other way while it was happening.

None of this has the least little bit to do with keeping America safe. It’s about keeping America America.

What do you think? Is probing torture risky for President Obama’s healthcare reform?

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