« This Constitution Kills Fascists | Main | When Hawks Collide »

November 20, 2009

Comments

I'll repeat my question from the other thread, why is everyone assuming KSM et. al. are going to plead not guilty? He, and possibly the others, wants his martydom and wants it now. Best way is to plead guilty, waive all rights to appeal, and have the Great Satan execute him.

Also, what fafnir says here and the medium lobster says here.

Fair question Ugh. We'll wait and see.

"...Best way is to plead guilty, waive all rights to appeal, and have the Great Satan execute him."

And then President Obama can score even more propaganda points by graciously commuting his death sentence to LWOP in some SuperMax facility. Justice done; seen to be done; and no "martyrdom"! Ponies for all!!

And Ugh makes an interesting point: in all the public/online discussion I've read about the proposed terrorism trials, no one (least of all the pants-wetting Right) seems to have considered the possibility that any of them might actually plead "guilty".

What they mean by "give him a soapbox" to "propagandize" is "reveal to the world and the US public that yes, he was tortured horribly AND pointlessly".

They are not afraid of him grandstanding, they are afraid of the truth -- that US leaders (and, by extension, US voters) committed war crimes.

And then President Obama can score even more propaganda points by graciously commuting his death sentence to LWOP in some SuperMax facility.

That would be my preferred end state. But it was pointed out to me that Obama would not be re-elected were he to do so.

I agree with these points. I agree that overreaction does no good.

"In the case of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alternatives — indefinite incarceration without trial, or a military tribunal closed to the public followed by execution — are far more likely to inspire militant recruits."

While one trial (or ten trials) is strictly not-worse than zero, this is not going to make a difference in recruitment.

The government still intends to use both of these alternative on other prisoners, does it not?

Will those secretive executions and imprisonments not inspire recruits?

Like I said before, trying KSM in civilian courts is mere sanity.

"While one trial (or ten trials) is strictly not-worse than zero, this is not going to make a difference in recruitment... Will [other] secretive executions and imprisonments not inspire recruits?"

While, yes, they will, KSM is a much bigger face for the organization and movement; hence, this combination should have a noticable negative impact on AQ and overall jihadist recruitment.

The Nuremberg trials were a classic case.

If this is true, then why argue for a regular criminal trial in New York? That is not what Nuremberg was at all.

And let's be straight about "due process." There is due process as defined by SCOTUS. But was the process at Nuremberg not "due process" in the broader sense? The rules at Nuremberg were amazingly short. No complaints about a lack of Miranda before interrogation.

I think you make good arguments for a prosecution in New York. I agree that our top flight fed prosecutors will probably do a bang up job and the trial won't be as much of a soap box as some think. And we will get to see great color pencil sketches of KSM on the stand or at counsel table as a side benefit.

Yet I don't see the need. Too much risk to civilians. Huge incentive to make KSM a martyr on the spot.

Obama said it well in his speech at the national archives:


“Military commissions have a history in the United States dating back to George Washington and the Revolutionary War. They are an appropriate venue for trying detainees for violations of the laws of war. They allow for the protection of sensitive sources and methods of intelligence-gathering; they allow for the safety and security of participants; and for the presentation of evidence gathered from the battlefield that cannot always be effectively presented in federal courts.”

So if all your arguments are correct, why exactly is Holder going to try al-Nashiri in front of a military tribunal? Not that you are Holder. Maybe you think both should be tried in New York.

I'm now more politically aware than in my youth, but was there always this much stupid going on? ("Stupidity" is too good a word for it.) I can remember being annoyed with Moral Majority types during my college days, but that seemed to be more a matter differring values, even if I thought my annoyers were completely wrong. Now it looks like pure bat-crappery. It's not even that people disagree with trying KSM in a civilian court; it's the reasons for the disagreement that make it completely absurd. (I blame the internet.)

And let's be straight about "due process." There is due process as defined by SCOTUS. But was the process at Nuremberg not "due process" in the broader sense? The rules at Nuremberg were amazingly short.

I don't understand why you waste so much time rebutting arguments that nobody has made. Try reading the sentence that immediately preceded the one you quoted. To wit:

Historically, the public exposure of state-sponsored mass murder or terrorism through a transparent judicial process has strengthened the forces of good and undercut the extremists. The Nuremberg trials were a classic case.

Citing Nuremberg had nothing at all with the argument about due process. It was clearly being offered as an example of the good that comes from exposing evil in a transparent, public trial, not of American due process rights.

Yet I don't see the need. Too much risk to civilians. Huge incentive to make KSM a martyr on the spot.

It is truly stunning how many conservatives abandon all faith in our shared principles and system of justice and turn into gibbering, bed-wetting cowards when the subject of terrorism comes up. I don't know how they manage to get over their fear of the brown guy who runs the Kwik-E-Mart down the street long enough to get out of bed in the morning.

It never seems to occur to them that with all the time they spend trying to subvert our institutions, keep Americans in fear of terrorism, and use that fear for political gain, GOP pols these days have more in common with the terrorists they claim to hate than they do with us. I'm quite done with being told how afraid I should be all the time, and thankfully most of the country seems to be sick of this song and dance too.

As to the possibility that KSM might get to use the trial as a way to spout his ideology and brag about what 9/11, I say: let him. I can think of no quicker way to make evidence gained under torture irrelevant and secure a slam-dunk conviction than to let KSM run his mouth on the record. As Ugh noted upthread, he wants to be a martyr. I am happy to grant his wish.

I like the idea of the trial being out in the open, not behind closed doors.

However, we either believe the atrocities comitted on 9-11 were either part of a war on terror or not.

If they were, then trying the accused as war criminals in a military tribunal seems fitting.

That said, since the acts of terror were part of a larger international movement by AQ, I'd like to see a trial modeled after Nuremberg.

If this is true, then why argue for a regular criminal trial in New York? That is not what Nuremberg was at all.

I would think there are more ways to have "a transparent judicial process" of which Nuremberg was a classic example. But are you arguing for an international tribunal to try KSM and the rest? (or just domestic military tribunals?)

I don't think the international tribunal is a bad idea, but holy moses, I can't imagine the right wing hysteria if Obama ceded jurisdiction in such a manner (even to an international military tribunal).

And we will get to see great color pencil sketches of KSM on the stand or at counsel table as a side benefit.

This should not be undervalued ;)

Yet I don't see the need. Too much risk to civilians. Huge incentive to make KSM a martyr on the spot.

I'm not overly concerned about this. Security will be tight, and as such, pulling off an attack will be exceedingly difficult. In fact, if AQ were to invest time and resources trying to plan an attack with such tight security, that would be a big waste on their part. Terrorism works best on soft targets, not super hardened targets.

The benefits outweigh the risks in my opinion.

Whatever their motivation, cooler heads must prevail.

I missed this the first time around, and got a good laugh upon re-reading. There will always be politicians who are telling the people they are being attacked, and denouncing the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the U.S. to greater danger. They might not know who they're emulating, but they'll like the results such fearmongering produces.

Has there been any history of terrorists in general, and al Qaeda specifically, attacking the forum in which their compatriots are being tried? Has this ever happened? Like, say, in Egypt maybe?

However, we either believe the atrocities comitted on 9-11 were either part of a war on terror or not.

Well, our response would be the war on terror. The question is, was the attack an act of war. I think there are many good reasons to remove the "war" label from the predicament. Not only does it muddle our thinking in terms of responses, but it aggrandizes the terrorists themselves, when we want to be doing the exact opposite. Treat them like thugs, common criminals. Diminish their stature, don't build it up.

Has there been any history of terrorists in general, and al Qaeda specifically, attacking the forum in which their compatriots are being tried? Has this ever happened? Like, say, in Egypt maybe?

AQ never has. Admittedly my knowledge is incomplete to say the least, but I know of no other examples.

Has there been any history of terrorists in general, and al Qaeda specifically, attacking the forum in which their compatriots are being tried? Has this ever happened? Like, say, in Egypt maybe?

AQ never has. Admittedly my knowledge is incomplete to say the least, but I know of no other examples.
============================
Right, but...
Think of all the prison breaks of the worst of the worst in movies and TV. "24 Hours" comes to mind.

I mean, that's where all these conservative weenies learn their history, right?

efgoldman: Indeed.

What if they had Nixon masks, machine guns, and a helicopter?

What if they recruit Godzilla to attack the Federal Courthouse?

What if Nightcrawler from X-Men Bampffs in, grabs Mohamed, and Bampffs out?

What if they can stop time?

What if they have mind-control powers?

Can you imagine what would have happened if we'd tried high-ranking Mafioso or Manuel Noriega in Federal Court?

Obviously there's no possible way to prove these things can't happen.

What if they have mind-control powers?

These aren't the terrorists you're looking for...

Has there been any history of terrorists in general, and al Qaeda specifically, attacking the forum in which their compatriots are being tried? Has this ever happened? Like, say, in Egypt maybe?

A few years ago, one of my relatives died, which is a shame since he'd be able to answer this question because he was an Egyptian judge. As I understand it, islamist groups have not generally tried to attack their compatriots trials in Egypt. However, they have attacked judges (outside of trials). It is important to note though that islamists facing justice in Egypt generally don't go to normal courts with normal rules of evidence. I believe they go to special national security courts where the proceedings are locked down tighter than a drum. In fact, their actual court dates might be kept secret.

Overall, I'm not sure the experience of Egypt tells us much about how things will go in NYC. Things are very different when you have a fairly open public legal process versus the kangaroo courts of a dictatorial regime. Which isn't to say that the "process" we've set up is acceptable: I'm mostly in agreement with elm.

Overall, I'm not sure the experience of Egypt tells us much about how things will go in NYC.

Well no, I was just wondering if there was any evidence that terrorists were prone to attacking the trials of the compatriots, which appears to be "no." But I'm sure such a lack of evidence isn't going to stop the mindless fearmongering.

Bampffs

Ah, the memories that word (onomatopoeia?) conjures.

I'd like to see a trial modeled after Nuremberg.

We do have an International Criminal Court. Well, WE don't, because we're the U!S!A! and the only thing that scares hardcore conservatives as much as swarthy people is the idea of our people being held accountable for war crimes. But it is out there.

There's a pattern in conservative/republican thinking which, I think, reflects the fundamentalist Christian background many of them have. They think KSM has Jesus Powers. They think his honeyed words will inspire the poor to rise up against us.

Isn't our position that this guy is a delusional murderer? Why are we afraid of what he has to say? Are his arguments going to be convincing?

We passed the PATRIOT ACT largely by arguing that no one innocent has anything to fear from ubiquitous and invisible surveillance; so what is the U.S. government so afraid of here?


". . .but it aggrandizes the terrorists themselves, when we want to be doing the exact opposite. Treat them like thugs, common criminals. Diminish their stature, don't build it up."

This argument is an aspect of the civilian court trial that appeals to me. Reduce the AQ true believers to common criminals. They want to be many things -- but not common.


Unfortunately, the Republican Party is either locked in that mindset, or cynically manipulating those sentiments for political gain.

Label this axis 'Fear'. Now label this axis 'Seats in the House of Representatives'.....

Davis X -
I'd like to think, based on last year's elections, that enough of the US polity has enough common sense to get past the bullbleep.

I'd like to think so.

I'd...
like...
to...

damn.

The opposition to this is just more crazy governing-by-opinion-polls-on-things-that-haven't-happened-yet.

People don't know what they think about things until they happen. Most people do not have the vivid imagination necessary to visualize what something like this will look like.

When they see the architect of the murder of 3,000 people on trial in a US federal court, what they will actually feel is a furious righteousness and great pride in their system of government and justice. The previous policy of miserably secreting these people away without trial will look puny and cowardly.

And what can KSM possibly say in response to the evidence and case presented to him? He didn't do it? The victims deserved it? That's supposed to be a rousing cry for terrorists around the globe? Give me a break.

So I couldn't care less about the polling. It's as worthless as polling on the deficit. You're asking people who don't know how to answer the question. The results are meaningless.

(And I think the OJ trial did more damage than anything else ever has to the esteem of the US justice system. Televising it was a mistake so spectacular I still find it hard to believe it actually happened.)

So, are we at war with Al Qaeda?

What does it mean to be "at war" with an organization that has no state, no national identity, can be found in no particular location?

Al Qaeda has, in fact, publicly and explicitly declared war on us, but how much, and what form of, credibility do we want to give that declaration?

I have no idea how this is going to play out, but I give Holder credit for trying to at least partially un-sh*t the bed that he inherited from Ashcroft and Gonzales.

Here, for what it's worth, is the transcript of the sentencing comments from Richard Reid's trial.

Catsy:

on't understand why you waste so much time rebutting arguments that nobody has made.

I hadn't read EM's prior post and read it from the link he put in this post. I was referring to this part of his prior post:

ording to many voices on the right like Senators Jeff Sessions and Lindsey Graham, there is something we lose by granting due process rights to accused terrorists:

As for the rest of your comment, (1) I'd say risk assessment is different that being afraid; and (2) I'm not opposed to a tribunal as transparent as a federal civil trial, or even more.

Eric:

an't imagine the right wing hysteria if Obama ceded jurisdiction in such a manner (even to an international military tribunal).

Lol. You have that right. I had a similar thought thinking about Nuremberg and the representatives on any such international tribunal: Britian, sure; France, no way unless it's Sarkozy; Russia, are you kidding?

russell, I took the liberty of excerpting what I felt was the most relevant part of the transcript you linked. The words are Judge William Young's:

We are not afraid of any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here. And I say that to everyone with the utmost respect.

Here in this court where we deal with individuals as individuals, and care for individuals as individuals, as human beings we reach out for justice.

You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or that happens to be your view, you are a terrorist.

And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists.

We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You're a big fellow. But you're not that big. You're no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders.

In a very real sense Trooper Santiago had it right when first you were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were and you said you're no big deal. You're no big deal.

An interesting legal perspective.

To treat members of Al Qaeda as "unlawful combatants", or as people who commit "war crimes", we elevate them to the status of people who do a legitimate thing badly.

In other words, we seem to assume that there could be a lawful version of an Al Qaeda member, or one who could act in compliance with the laws of war.

If Al Qaeda, having "declared war" on the US, decides to adopt some kind of uniform and insignia and confine their targets to US military, are they then entitled to status as lawful combatants?

What does that imply for, frex, the attack on the Cole?

Net/net, I think our interests and the interests of justice are better served by treating them as criminals.

I think the oppostion from the right to the trial in New York is mostly a knee jerk tghey're again it because a Democrat is for it. There might also be an element of jealousy since a successful conviction of a major terrorist will be a political coup for Obama.

An amusing side note: I heard a Republican talking head on TV push the talking point that no sucessful prosecution for terrorism had been carried out in the US courts. He then sited a string of cases--which ahd all been prosecuted under the Bush adminstration. Of course he didn't mention that.

Judge Young's eloquent and spot-on words certainly convinced me: These guys should be tried in a criminal court.

They are criminals.

The worst kind of criminals, but criminals just the same.

"I love how this blog is dying. I don't even have to troll anymore."

Obsidian ZombieLand....
The Movie!!!

See 200 Progressives March In Lockstep As Their Brains Are Eaten By News Hungry Parasite Bloggers!!!

Starring Woody Harrelson, in search of Twinkies (ie Obamaites in suspended animation, covered by frozen vanilla creme icing).

Coming Soon To a Theater Near You!!!

The official reasoning behind using military tribunals for some and civilian courts for others is that the former attacked military targets (like the USS Cole) while the latter targeted civilians. I have my doubts about the honesty of that reasoning (and think it has to do more with the amount of untainted eveidence) but it makes sense at least outwardly. The only reason I see against using NY as location is that it could be difficult to get a neutral jury.
---
What about converting an old very deep mine into a special prison, so the US can tell that it buries convicted terrorists a mile underground? Should also make any helicopter rescues impractical. In case of attempted prison breaks the lower levels are to be simply flooded ;-)

I don't even have to troll anymore.

Works for me.

Obsidian ZombieLand....
The Movie!!!

What I don't get is why folks hang out in places where they find the company so uncongenial.

Nobody's making you spend your time here. If it bugs you, leave.

Thanks -

"Nobody's making you spend your time here. If it bugs you, leave."

Are you kidding? And miss all the fun? It's the fascination you have watching a demolition derby, or a thundering herd of buffalo chased by Native Americans off a cliff!!

Whoops -- there goes russell, once again, into the progressive philosophical abyss: splat!!!

Shorter Jay -- "What, leave? I'm having too much fun yanking everybody's chain."

Everybody gets their jollies in their own peculiar way. Enjoy yourself.

That's all pretty funny coming from someone who was so wrong about the outcome of the Democratic primaries and the election. And can't tell a Filipino from a Puerto Rican.

But continue lecturing everyone on all the stuff they're wrong about -- it's amusing in the same way that some of the crazy people I see in downtown Cleveland are entertaining. Which is to say, entertaining on the surface, but ultimately just wearying and pathetic.

Troll-tracks deleted. Sorry if that causes confusion.

Jay, please come up with comments that have some redeeming content other than taunting, or we may decide we can do without your company altogether.

...it's amusing in the same way that some of the crazy people I see in downtown Cleveland are entertaining.

I'll be in Cleveland over T-giving. I'll have to check that out, Phil.

Russel, thanks for that link. HSH: thanks for the excerpt.

HSH, if you're interested in/have time for a drink, feel free to email me. I've got my 40th birthday coming up this weekend so I'll be doing much drowning of sorrows.

Oh, and an example: Over the summer I was cycling in to work one morning when I was approached at the corner of Euclid and 30th by one of the many homeless people you'll find in the neighborhood. (There's a shelter at Lakeside & 18th, and the City Mission is nearby.)

He asked me, "What time does it say on your watch?"

I replied, "I'm not actually wearing a watch," and pulled up my sleeves to show him.

He yells, "Well, it's about time! F**k you, time man!" and continued on an angry tirade that went from briefly funny to "I could get hurt" in about 2 seconds.

Luckily the light changed, so I just pedaled away. Could still hear him 2 blocks away.

Cool, Phil. (We're roughly the same age. I turned 41 in September.)

My wife's aunt and uncle own a fairly dive-ish bar in a semi-crappy neighborhood, so I'm sure we'll be there Friday or Saturday night. I couldn't tell you where it is, though. I've only been there once and couldn't find it again to save my life. They live close to Rocky River and the airport, but the bar's a ten or fifteen minute drive from there.

My e-mail is wquesada at the major site starting with a "y" and ending with an exclamation point. Hope to catch up.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad