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Ear to the Ground

9/11 Trial Site Is Up in the Air

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Posted on Mar 6, 2010
U.S. Department of Justice

Attorney General Eric Holder has said that, while he believes a civilian trial for the accused 9/11 plotters makes the most sense, justice could be achieved in a military commission, too.

After the Obama administration said it would try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a Manhattan civilian court, and after Republicans shrieked about the threat of a terrorist attack, President Obama is back to the drawing board amid speculation that he may pull the civilian option and go with a military commission instead.

Mohammed is to be tried with four others accused of conspiring in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. —JCL

The New York Times:

The Obama administration said Friday that a decision on where to prosecute Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four accused of conspiring in the Sept. 11 attacks would not be made “for weeks,” following a flare-up in the debate about whether that trial should take place in civilian court or before a military commission.

The White House sought to dampen speculation that a decision on where to hold a trial might be imminent. That speculation was fanned by a report Friday that aides to President Obama might recommend that he pull the prosecution out of civilian court and send it back to a military commission, where the Bush administration had planned to hold it.

“No decision has been made,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said Friday.

Still, in a conference call with reporters, three retired military officers said Friday that holding a Sept. 11 trial in a military commission would be a mistake. All three supported Mr. Obama last year when he signed an order calling for the closing of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

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By gerard, March 6, 2010 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

Samson, I would agree with you except for one thing:  The way the Republican Right is exploiting the race theme any way they can not only to defeat what Obama tries to do but to demean him personally.
  Given that fact, of course the very hardest thing to reform would be the treatment of “enemy combatants” because the “race card” applies there too—and works as a double whammy. Add to that the reluctance of Democrats and others to defend him, and you have a virtually impenetrable stone wall. 
  If Democrats would be a bit more public in their support for what they want, the right wing hate groups would not be increasing, as recently reported statistically by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Don’t kid yourself.  They feed off of Democratic criticism of Obama.

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By Carla, March 6, 2010 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By Samson, March 6 at 7:04 pm #

Everyone has to remember that Obama and the Democrats have strongly supported these policies of torture camps and indefinite detentions without charges.  They never challenged Bush when Bush was president, and when other court challenges did so, the Democrats always jumped quickly and passed new laws that made what Bush (and American corporations) was doing legal.

~+~+~

You’re really wrong on this samson. WAYYYY off the mark. Just a marginal acknowledgment of historical facts might help you.

Specifically, Obama made the violation of the Torture Convention a very big deal during his campaign, and followed thru on gitmo and the trials that were in place at the time, the day after his formal inauguration.

But maybe far MORE importantly is how passionately President Obama argued, (as a Senator) against the passage of the MCA, (Military Commissions Act) and the fools passed it anyway. It is specifically THAT legislation that basically provided legal cover for a whole host of issues involving torture and the treatment of so-called ‘enemy combatants’.

You can find a multiple sources for these FACTS all over the Internet, even if Fox News wasn’t likely to pay much attention.

Meantime, when I read the title, it made me wonder if somebody was trying to set-up a trial in the sky. Now that’s a novel idea….a court room in the sky.

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Samson's avatar

By Samson, March 6, 2010 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

Everyone has to remember that Obama and the Democrats have strongly supported these policies of torture camps and indefinite detentions without charges.  They never challenged Bush when Bush was president, and when other court challenges did so, the Democrats always jumped quickly and passed new laws that made what Bush (and American corporations) was doing legal.

So, its no surprise that Obama and the Democrats are failing to deliver on another campaign promise.  Anyone who’d watched what they’d done in Congress during this decade knew they wouldn’t deliver on this.  Because the campaign promise was directly opposite from what they’d been doing in Washington the whole time.

This whole thing was another Obama sham.  He simply went out and made a nice statement about actually living up to American ideals of justice.  Then he did nothing to make it actually happen, while leaving the proposal out there for the Republicans to take free shots at.

Obama never really defended the idea once he put it forward. And, since he could have at any time just ordered the civilian trials to occur by executive order, its safe to say he never really wanted them.  He certainly never made any stirring speeches to the nation about America’s long history of honoring justice and rights and how any who deny this are attacking America’s core values and are plainly anti-American.

Nope, Obama and the Democrats never wanted to do this, and it shows from how they approached this.  Now, yet another Obama campaign promise lies trampled in the dust, and the Democrats will of course lie to their base (who actually believes in justice and rights and other arcane concepts) that its all the Republicans fault.

Obama and the Democrats didn’t ‘inherit’ a front seat in hell.  They supported its creation, voted for its funding, and fully backed the idea from day one, then Obama and other Democrats eagerly campaigned to get that ‘front seat in hell’ for themselves.

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By diman, March 6, 2010 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

What a farce this trial is going to be.

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By gerard, March 6, 2010 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

What a gruesome dance over Guantanamo and its aftermath! Anyone who doesn’t understand that Obama inherited a front seat in hell is blind.

The nation has moved from following principles of justice and equality to partisan deal-making, exoneration of torture and trial by prejudice.

No one is safe until habeas corpus is restored and the principle of innocent until proven guilty rules the day.

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By bogi666, March 6, 2010 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just where were the Repubican shriekers on 9/10/2001? They just continue to conjure up imaginary fears,thoughts, construing their thoughts to be facts for the purpose of creating fear to obscure the truth of the 9/11 victory of 19 men and the defeat of the Republican lead USG of Bush/Cheney.Creating imaginary fears to obstruct the truth was used by the NAZI’s, Himmler especially.

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By PatrickHenry, March 6, 2010 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

So much for speedy trials.

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