Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Judge Bars Key Witness From Civilian Terrorism Trial

Judge Bars Key Witness From Civilian Terrorism Trial - NYTimes.com
Minutes before a major terrorism trial was about to begin, a federal judge barred prosecutors in Manhattan on Wednesday from using a key witness. The government had acknowledged it learned about the witness from the defendant, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, while he was being interrogated and held in a secret overseas jail run by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The ruling by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan would seem to be a setback for the Obama administration’s goal of trying former detainees in civilian courts, because it would limit the kinds of evidence that prosecutors could introduce. Mr. Ghailani became the first former detainee to be moved into the civilian court system for trial.

...

Judge Kaplan added that Mr. Ghailani’s status as an “ ‘enemy combatant’ probably would permit his detention as something akin to a prisoner of war until hostilities between the United States and Al Qaeda and the Taliban end, even if he were found not guilty.”

Wow. Who could have possibly seen that coming?

Well, anyone who stopped and thought about if for two seconds. Like I did, and I certainly wasn't alone in this position.

What if, just theoretically, you get a whacked out jury, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is actually found not guilty. Are we then going to release him? Answering "yes" to that question is unthinkable, but what about "no?" It's one thing to hold him indefinitely as an enemy combatant, but after all the wailing that those on the left have done about our prestige overseas being damaged by detention, what's going to happen if we continuing holding someone that a jury has found "not guilty?"

The fact is, there is no possible benefit that accrues to the United States of America by the President and Attorney General taking this course of action. It's all downside for national security, for national prestige, for international relations. But they get to pander to their base while continuing to use the Bush administration as a bogeyman to frighten the children with. Short-term political gain for the Obama administration is the only benefit, and they're harming the country to do it.

Just a terrible idea...
Obviously, it isn't KSM that they're trying to try here, but lets face it - this wasn't only easy to predict, this is one of the easiest political predictions that there's ever been. There really isn't any other feasible scenario.

Just a terrible idea...

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