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March 05, 2005

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Indonesia has it's problems with corruption, it has only been democracy for a short time, before that it was a dictatorship. I wouldn't read much into this apart from the fact that Bashir was able bribe the judge/prosecution into being nice.

If the NYT is right, he was brought to trial because of pressure from us and others, but:

"The prosecution's case was hampered because the administration refused to make available to the Indonesians two important Qaeda members who are in American custody, Riudan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, who was seized by the Central Intelligence Agency in Bangkok in August 2003, and Omar al-Faruq, who was picked up here and turned over to the agency in June 2002.

The two men, who are Indonesian nationals, have given their American interrogators strong evidence directly linking Mr. Bashir and Jemaah Islamiyah, a radical Islamic group, to terrorism, American and Australian officials say. But the Americans will not allow Indonesian officials to interrogate either man, and that diminishes the ability to use their statements in court. (...)

Australian officials have also urged the Bush administration to make Hambali and Mr. Faruq available to the Indonesians. "It's hypocrisy," said an Australian official. He said the United States could not ask the Indonesians to prosecute Mr. Bashir and others alleged to be terrorists, but then not help them."

Partly because of that, Bashir was acquitted on all counts but one. "On Thursday, an Indonesian court essentially rejected all of the American accusations, acquitting Mr. Bashir, 66, of all terrorism charges in the bombings in the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, in August 2003, and of having directed the bombings of nightclubs in Bali in October 2002. In what appears to be a concession to the American pressure, the five judges did convict Mr. Bashir of one of eight counts, of criminal conspiracy in connection with the bombings of the Bali nightclubs, because the judges said he "knew the perpetrators," and his words may have encouraged them."

If in fact he was acquitted of everything but 'knowing' the perpetrators and of possibly encouraging them, 30 months seems harsh. (Note: NOT harsh given what we know; harsh given what he was convicted of.) And if part of the reason for his acquittal on all the other charges was that we wouldn't make witnesses available, then I certainly hope we had a good reason.

You mean Indonesian courts aren't willing to convict someone on hearsay, or on lack of any evidence whatsoever? Gee, maybe they need some advice from US Attorney Generals John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzalez on how to get around those pesky restrictions.

Hilzoy, we probably had excellent reasons not to allow Riudan Isamuddin and Omar al-Faruq out of security detention. They might show signs of having been tortured for years - hell, they might be dead.

To me, the main issue here is that, in the long run, it is scarier to try to fight terrorists in jungley places than in deserty places. If Al Quaida cells can hide for years in the parched desolate moonscape of Afganistan, think how long could they hide in rural Indonesia, whether the government helped or not!

Hillzoy's update sounds familiar -- the Germans have been frustrated in their attempts to prosecute terrorists by, among other things, lack of cooperation from the Americans (refusal to release terror suspect-witnesses and transcipts of interrogations to German courts).

American behavior is "incomprehensible," according to the Germans. It certainly is puzzling.

"The two men, who are Indonesian nationals"

Hmmm..

Okay, there might be a fear of info exchange (bank accounts & arms caches), and might be fear of setting precedents and losing custody, but most likely is torture and mistreatment, making the testimony inadmissable anyway. This is really messed-up, there are maybe three alternatives:

1)Play WoT as a police action, following all the rules and enduring the hassles and sometime bad results.

2)Play it the way Bushco has played it, halfway between war(tho not really) and police, and not only get messes like this, but endure other consequences of playing outside Int'l law. Of which I may speak later.

3)Declare WWIII, go crazy, full mobilization, and tell everyone they are with us or against us, and mean it. Have the world devote everything to WoT for 5-10 years. For instance, send a squad to Indonesia, and shoot this sucker in the courtroom if he is a danger. If Indonesia arrests the Seals, bomb them. Make it stark, make it harsh, make nations choose. Use our power. Would be very ugly and expensive, but over faster, with permanent positive changes.

#3 may no longer be an option, but could have been.

(PS:Steve Gilliard is outraged by the weak response the Dutch Gov't is giving to threats against representatives by Muslim extremists. There is a wider war going on. CB may have made a bad mistake which was corrected, but there is a wider war.)

I really don't understand why this Administration refuses to cooperate with other countries in keeping terrorists in prison. The explanations given make no sense and show no regard for the law or for other countries.

Steve Gilliard is outraged by the weak response the Dutch Gov't is giving to threats against representatives by Muslim extremists.

tnxs Bob, I read and commented there

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