Monday, November 16, 2009

The Problem With... Terrorists And Guys Named Rudy.

Poor Rudy Guiliani. Imagine, if you will, for a moment how this guy must feel.

He does a generally good job cleaning up the streets and bringing money into NYC, but he's such a douchebag that nobody likes him until 9/11. He unsuccessfully tries to push for an end to term limits (something his successor actually gets passed) so he can milk the 9/11 cow a few more months, but by then, folks are handing him a one way ticket out of town. His ill-fated run for President doesn't even make it past Florida. And to make it worse, his own estranged kids actually voted for that Obama fella.

Yeah, that's gotta burn.



So it's no shocker that Rudy sees the possibility of another 15 minutes or relevance now that Eric Holder made the risky decision to try Sept 11th mastermind, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, in lower Manhattan.
Rudolph W. Giuliani, mayor of New York at the time of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said on Sunday that the Obama administration’s decision to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the attacks, in a civilian court in Manhattan would unnecessarily cost millions of dollars for security, create legal advantages for the defense and symbolically deny that the United States is at war with terrorism.

“It gives an unnecessary advantage to the terrorists and why would you want to give an advantage to the terrorists, and it poses risks for New York,” Mr. Giuliani said in an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He also interviewed on ABC’s “This Week” and “Fox News Sunday.”

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced on Friday that the United States would try Mr. Mohammed in the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan, just blocks from where the World Trade Center towers were brought down by the attacks, which killed almost 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Mr. Holder said that a military commission would try five other detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, because they are accused of committing crimes overseas.

Mr. Giuliani that said Mr. Mohammed and four other accused Sept. 11 co-conspirators should have also be tried by a military tribunal. But his criticism was shrugged off by Mrs. Clinton and David Axelrod, a top adviser to President Obama, in an appearance on the same program. He suggested that Mr. Giuliani was contradicting himself since he had on previous occasions voiced praise for trials for suspected terrorists in civilian courtrooms. “He may have changed his views but we haven’t changed ours,” Mr. Axelrod said.

Mr. Axelrod also pointed out that since 2001, 195 cases of terrorism have been prosecuted in civilian courts and 91 percent of them have resulted in convictions.
Also duly noted: terrorists have been tried in NYC since 2001, and 100% of them have resulted in convictions, so it's not like these guys are gonna get off scott free under any circumstances. Gucci Mane, Lil' Boosie, and Lil' Wayne have a better collective shot and avoiding jail time than these idiots. Besides, let's face it, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's trial is going to cause a big kerfuffle regardless of where it takes place. You could try him in Topeka, and folks there would complain too.

That said, I suppose I could see the potential for controversy here. I didn't have a relative die in the Twin Towers, but if I did, chances are I might not be too crazy about the guy who more or less planned the whole thing getting due process just a block away from the scene of the crime.

So, I guess you could play it both ways.

On a somewhat related note, the usual suspects are all up in arms over a plan to ship some Gitmo detainees to various prisons throughout the US.
Obama administration officials will visit a virtually empty Illinois prison this week as a possible location to house foreign terrorism suspects moved from the Guantanamo Bay prison President Barack Obama has vowed to shut, the state's governor's office said on Sunday.

"They are weighing their options and Illinois is among them," said Robert Reed, a spokesman for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat.

The plan being considered for the Thomson Correctional Center, pitched by Quinn in a recent meeting with Obama, calls for the Federal Bureau of Prisons to operate it as a maximum-security prison and lease a portion to the Defense Department to house fewer than 100 Guantanamo detainees.

A preliminary economic impact analysis found that federal operation of the facility could generate between 2,340 and 3,250 ongoing jobs. The analysis estimates that the overall injection of funds into the local economy would be between $790 million and $1.09 billion over the first four years.

Many Republicans have been harshly critical of the idea of moving Guantanamo prisoners to the United States, saying it could encourage further terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

"I can't imagine the people of Illinois would like to have these prisoners incarcerated in their state. There may be some local officials who are going to support it, but I expect it will be a huge issue up in Illinois, probably in the U.S. Senate race up there next year," U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told "Fox News Sunday."

Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and a facility in Standish, Michigan, were other sites officials have said were also being considered.
I don't particularly care for this specific plan to purchase a prison and house as many as 100 detainees in a single facility. Why? Sure, this might result in some jobs, but why not simply disperse a small number of detainees across several dozen facilities nationwide? Call me crazy, but it seems like these guys have strength in numbers. Why then, pool them together in facility that they'll more or less occupy by themselves? Isn't that somewhat counterproductive? I'm not counter-terrorism expert, but I'd say you want as few of these people fraternizing as possible.

Am I right, or am I right?

Besides, SuperMax prisons are secure enough as is, there's no need to buy a prison just to bring a few hundred jobs to your home state. If it smells like cronyism, then darnit, it prolly is.

I mean, c'mon, why isolate these guys from the rest of the criminals of the United States. Would you rather have some terrorists pooled together in rural Illinois, or would you rather have them sharing a bunk with this guy?



Or this guy...



I rest my case.

Question: Do you have a problem with the upcoming terrorist trials in NYC? Where should Gitmo detainees be placed?

Giuliani Criticizes Terror Trials in New York [NYT]

Illinois prison eyed to house Guantanamo detainees [Reuters]

46 AverageComments™:

RiPPa said...

Ahhh, yes, the infamous Fleece Johnson! Every 2 or 3 months I watch Fleece's video to remind me why I do good.

Truthfully, if it were left up to "the usual suspects," these cats would stay in Gitmo indefinitely.

To answer your question...

Hell no I don't have a problem with those cats being on trial in NYC. All that talk from Rudy is just talk. And as for those detainees being on U.S. soil? I say bring them on and hurry up and close Gitmo. The problem is that "certain people" are against them receiving equal protection per the constitution, hence the push for military tribunals.

Marbles said...

I have yet to hear a single compelling argument against trying them here. It strikes me as the "usual suspects'" usual irrational paranoid hysteria. (don't they ever run out of that stuff?)

Few outbursts of right wing hysteria over the past year have made me personally more angry than this nonsense over the prisons. It is so irrational.
All these people hissy fitting about "I don't want 'em in MY state!..."---I have one question for them. Did anyone particularly care where Timothy McVeigh was imprisoned? Does anyone even KNOW where he was imprisoned? Of course not---people didn't get crazy about it because there was no angle to score cheap political points off of getting crazy about it. Yet I defy anyone to find an ounce of moral difference between McVeigh and these jihadist scum.


Ah, Rudy. The guy who will be forever burned into my brain saying "community organizer" again and again in that sneering, mocking tone to hysterical applause at the GOP convention. XP

I hate having to give Guliani credit for anything, but he DID make enormous progress in cleaning up the city and bringing crime down on its way to the historic lows that have occurred under Bloomberg. (Although Guliani partisans always leave out the fact that crime began to drop during Dinkins' final year in office...) D-bag he may be, but credit's due on that.
However, as "King" Bloomberg has shown, it's possible to maintain the improved conditions and lowered crime rates WITHOUT antagonizing the city's black/Latino populations, as this administration has a far less sour reputation in those circles than Guliani's did (at least as far as I'm aware----if anybody wants to counter that, fire away). So Guliani may have improved the city, but it wasn't necessary to be D-Bag of the Decade to achieve it.

cjames30082 said...

NOTE TO SELF: No MORE Cheating on TAXES! I can't make it in Prison. That dude said we can do this the easy way or the hard way.

The terroist trials will cost an inordinate amount of money no matter where they are. This is a small blip on the radar screen. Economy and Afghanistan are much bigger.

ch555x said...

We got a ton of prisons here, so I never understood their fascination w/ GITMO. Some of the inmates we have here are no more dangerous than these terrorists. That said, they could just spend the money doing the trial in that rural IL town...plenty of space, near-empty prison, new jobs, etc.

vanilla latte said...

Will the trial in NY be "open" to the public so that people may actually go in and view the proceedings?
(I understand seating would be limited but it would give family members of victims and the general public the opportunity to view our legal system in progress.) A war tribunal is close-doored with no opportunity for any public oversight.

I think the entire process should be handled in the light of day for all to observe. And if it's only the screaming right (Rudy & co) doing the complaining they need a big dose of STFU.

The Gitmo detainees could be scattered in various federal prisons. There should be room for that. To buy a prison just for them seems wasteful. Or put 'em in the general population in a maximum security prison in NY. Let the prisoners "take care of their own".

Paul said...

The enemy combatants ought to be excuted as they were not abiding by the Geneva Conventions and thus are not entitled to any rights. They wore no uniforms and belonged to no recognized state; therefore, they are not prisoners of war. These men are war criminals and ought to be treated as such.

We should behead them as they behead their enemies. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Anonymous said...

You might want to be careful about that "Geneva Convention" argument Paul. Seems to be a few problems on our side you really don't want to open up.

Marbles said...

Mike Lupica just had a whole big column in today's NY Daily News explaining why he doesn't think the trials should be held here. I usually like Mike Lupica, but just like all the right wing objecters, he couldn't give a single good reason.

the uppity Negro said...

While I really have no personal problems with them being tried in a federal court, I just ask the question are these men citizens of the United States? I mean we're affording them the privileges of full citizens. I mean, it's not like I'm worried about a mistrial or anything like that, but still--I just want my question answered.

On the other hand, I've been saying the same thing that ch55x is saying because these terrorists are no more dangerous than the serial rapists and murderers and child molesters and their ilk that inhabit maximum security prisons in our country. And we're acting as if prison and jail breaks are common in our country and that our prisons are incapable of containing these prisoners.

Howsumever....

I'm with AB on this one, I wouldn't even remotely recommend housing them all in the same prison, or on the same cell block.

But you're right, neither of us are counter-terrorist experts.

The Janitor said...

Was just blogging about this very question so I'd like to repeat something I said earlier on the topic:

The proper forum should be the federal court of the Southern District of New York (SDNY) where the crime took place. This is not a crime that happened on the battlefield involving soldiers, this is a crime that was perpetrated on American soil (specifically speaking, in New York) and as such, New York should have jurisdiction over that crime just as it would any other crime.

I mean, think about it, if some terrorist walked down to Wall Street and started shooting people, would we then transport him out of New York and try him in some kind of military tribunal just because he's a quote-unquote "terrorist"? That wouldn't make any sense.

And as far as Guiliani is concerned, he needs to GO SIT DOWN!!! Now all of a sudden we're "giving rights" to suspects just because we try them in US courts? Fool, Please!

I've worked in SDNY before and I've seen the conviction rate of the federal prosecutors first hand. Eric Holder would not have authorized this move if the conviction were not already in the bag so the spin-masters really need to calm down.

Am said...

The Janitor has it right on point. Re: the prisons- There are numerous fully built prisons scattered around this country that are not being used right now. One such prison was recently in the news in Montana (fake company tried to 'buy' it and all sorts of crazy stuff...) Here in IL, there is one and it might be used to hold some Gitmo detainees if they are ever brought over.

As my bf says, I don't know why people are scarred of guys with AKs on donkeys and think that they are so dangerous, but we have some of the most worst serial killers locked up with no worries...

Daedalus said...

My eyes are stuck from rolling them. One second.

As usual how dare anyone even bother to think anything contrary to anything the Baraqui's say or do.

Its racist. Blah blah blah go sit down blah blah... Got it.

Sometimes visiting here is like visiting a MARTA stop anywhere in Atlanta.

I digress.

There are more than a few lawyers lining up to defend these men. They want to (dont know if its going to happen) question the manner in which they were caught, and then question the manner in which either evidence or their confessions were obtained, which could be a problem for national security. A bigger issue still may be the hauling of CIA agents, into court. Efforts are already underway to photograph these people so the suspects can out them later on in court. (Google it before you savage me)

Please spare me the "you just hate Barak" foolishness. Its a valid concern, and while none of this has happened yet, attempts to question or even free these men, have been underway for years for these exact reasons. Getting them to US soil will embolden them.

I dont care where they are tried, but outing agents, putting them and their families in danger and possible breaching national security is kind of an issue.

While none of this has happened yet, I have yet to read of any safeguards put in place to keep it from happening either.

AverageBro.com said...

@ Daedalus

It's great to have you back. I've got a special gift coming later in the week. I hope you stop back by. It'll be a doozy.

Meanwhile, please explain to me why terror suspects have been tried in NYC several times since 9/11, yet there's been narry a peep from anyone? Why is this now suddenly such a pressing issue of national defense?

BTW, if the Bushies hadn't been so damn insistent on waterboarding people to the point of coerced admission of guilt, there might be no legal standpoint for which this case would make it more than 1/2 a day in court. As is, there is more than enough evidence of admitted guilt prior to the waterboarding to prevent any even remote chance of these folks being freed. Do you really think New Yorkers will allow that to happen, or are you simply ignoring the 100% conviction rate of terror suspects in NYC since 2001?

Much ado, meet nothing.

Oh, and by the way...

METRO >>> MARTA

AverageBro.com said...

@ Daedalus

Oh, and re: outing of CIA operatives, I have but 2 words: Valerie Plame.

Anonymous said...

Tossed salad man would indeed be the main beneficiary if the Gitmo crew were put on his block. No one sucks ass, or enjoys it more, than third world gynophobes.

The Janitor said...

@ Daedalus:

Ok we can have that debate.

1. As usual how dare anyone even bother to think anything contrary to anything the Baraqui's say or do.

Who said this has anything to do with Barack Obama? Completely irrelevant.

2. There are more than a few lawyers lining up to defend these men. They want to (dont know if its going to happen) question the manner in which they were caught, and then question the manner in which either evidence or their confessions were obtained, which could be a problem for national security.

There's this little thing called In Camera Review created to solve the exact problem you speak of here. This is a non-issue.

Moreover, even if it were, this would not be the first time CIA agents have been hauled into court over a similar issue. Yes, even the mighty CIA is not beyond reproach of the law.

3. Getting them to US soil will embolden them.

How so?

4. I dont care where they are tried, but outing agents, putting them and their families in danger and possible breaching national security is kind of an issue.

See point #2.

Daedalus said...

@Averagebro - I agree. It hasnt happened in the past.

The difference here is that the ACLU is doing the outing.

Sing it with me:

Dont blame it on the sunshine, dont blame it on the moonlight,
dont blame it on the good times,
blame it on the Bushes...

(rolls eyes, I saw that coming)

Spare me the Valerie Plame argument, I dont see her running around the middle east hunting terrorists and she doesnt either. That point is tepidly valid at best.

Personally I dont care what they did to get the information they got, even Leon Panetta (a Democrat and therefore in the minds of black people, perfect) is concerned that its going to be the agents on trial and not the terror suspects.

Now is Leon Panetta some kind of kook? Of course not. And because he is a Democrat he will remain perfect within the confines of this forum. However in spite of his ideology, he has the balls to do his job and look out for his people and point this out.

As for New Yorkers "allowing this to happen" look, you and I both know they are going down hard. I predict however, that the very people who brought him to justice in the first place will end up on trial too.

Shady_Grady said...

Re: Giuliani
Is it possible to surgically fix a lisp?

vanilla latte said...

@ Anon

Tossing salad=ass licking??

Ok, I have learned something new today. I've heard "tossing your salad" but I didn't realize it was related to butt licking. Gross.

Paul said...

@Anon
When and where did we violate the letter of the Conventions? Please be specific as Guantanamo Bay hold armed combatants loyal to no recognized state's armed forces.

Paul said...

@Anon
When and where did we violate the letter of the Conventions? Please be specific as Guantanamo Bay hold armed combatants loyal to no recognized state's armed forces.

Poopyman said...

Everything The Janitor said, plus:

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."

- Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution. Let's start to follow it again, shall we?

Antonio said...

OK I gotta jump in here and say that the tossed salad man is dead wrong. All gay men DO NOT do that. In fact, in my experience, the overwhelming majority do not do it. Maybe that's true in prison, but not out here.

Inquisitive Mind said...

I think I agree with everyone about the trials, but I'm am sitting here thinking about showing these videos to some mentees. The fact that both of these cats are just upfront and honest about how it goes down. Sad. Kinda funny, bt I'm glad I'm doing right.

Plus I don't want all of those prisoners here in Illinois. Who decided to put them here?

Marbles said...

@ Daedalus:

Uh...yeah. What the Janitor said. Who mentioned Obama?

(The "Baraquis"...? Well, that's somewhat better than "B-A-R-A-C-K Do you know what THAT means?")

And who mentioned racism? (!?!)

At least use the right straw man at the right time! XD

Paul said...

@Poppyman
Where in the NYC area will you find an impartial jury?

spool32 said...

@poopyman:
Foreign terrorists don't get US Constitutional rights.

I find it absolutely incredible how often liberals think that everyone in the world is entitled to protections granted by the US Constitution.

@marbles:
The left is engaging in a false argument to support the idea. Follow me along here:

1) There's no way these guys will walk. Obama would never risk it. No matter what happens at this trial, the defendants are getting convicted. Agreed?

2) If there's no way the guys will walk, what's the point of a trial? We already established that the outcome is predetermined.

3) if 1 and 2, what is the real point of this trial? Certainly not 'justice', as we've tried over 100 other gitmo detainees through the tribunal system since Obama took office. Did none of them get 'justice'?

4) The question shouldn't be 'why not do it?'. The answers are blatantly obvious... foreigners who committed their crimes outside the USA aren't entitled to a federal jury trial. End of discussion. The question is 'why do it?'. When changing the status quo, the burden of explanation rests on he who advocates change. I don't have to make ANY argument for why we should use the status quo Tribunal system... you have to make an argument explaining why we shouldn't.

Given 1 and 2 above, the answer is very unclear to me.

spool32 said...

Further point. If any of you disagree with point 1 above, only one of two things can be true:

1a) you think some / all of them are innocent and they SHOULD walk. This is where I tell you to stop being a Truther and learn to think critically. Moron.

2) For whatever reason, you're OK with the possibility of a travesty of justice and an insult to the memories of tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians, one that could have been avoided with the status quo Tribunal. To what end would you come to hold this opinion? The mind boggles.

AverageBro.com said...

@ Spool

It's very clear that this is a politically calculated move to show THE REST OF THE WORLD, not just America, that we aren't BS'ing around. This guy will be given a "fair" trial, but yes, the final result is very much decided already. However, considering how badly our image worldwide took a battering with waterboarding, Gitmo, forced admissions of guilt and whatnot, it's little more than a show of good faith to everyone else that we are playing by the rules.

Like it or not, the US doesn't exist on a planet of its own. The cooperation of trust of other countries is essential, and this trial is merely another link in the chain. You can like it or dislike it, and deliberate all day about whether these folks are entitled to a free trial (I think they are, many of them have been found not guilty and returned home) but it's going to happen.

Again, I think this is much ado about zilch.

Ha ha, I went a whole post and didn't mention the word "Bush" once. Nice, eh?

AverageBro.com said...

@ Spool

Here's a VERY SENSIBLE explanation of why a fair trial is necessary. Did you ever for once consider the possibility that innocent people were indeed rounded up?

30 such prisoners have been tried (and released) to date.

http://trueslant.com/rickungar/2009/11/15/30-gitmo-detainees-freed-by-u-s-district-court/

A much as it might pain me to say this, reality is, if these guys are innocent, and there isn't ample evidence to convict, send them home. In many of the cases of those tried and released, this is precisely what happened.

Then again, if you think the US is on its own planet, feel free to disregard all of this.

spool32 said...

So we do a little kabuki show to convince the world that the bad old days of waterboarding are behind us now, and in the Age of Obama we give people a proper fair trial before we reach the predetermined verdict.

That's supposed to help our image?

lololol! Which nation we care about is going to say "Well hey, they used to be bad but now they have trials and everything again!"?

Basically you're saying we're doing the wrong kind of fakery now, and so we need to go back to lying in internationally acceptable ways again.

Note: we're not talking about all the gitmo detainees here.. we're talking specifically about the 5 guys responsible for 9/11. Arguments about fair trials for the other people are beside the point here...

Do you really think these five guys are innocent?

The Janitor said...

@ Spool

I'll play.

We'll skip down to point 3, which encompasses 1 and 2: if 1 and 2, what is the real point of this trial? Certainly not 'justice', as we've tried over 100 other gitmo detainees through the tribunal system since Obama took office.

It appears you may have your facts wrong. In the 8 years since the U.S. established the military commission, we have convicted a grand total of THREE (3) terrorists. By comparison, do you know how many terrorists we've convicted in our Federal Courts? One Hundred Ninety-Five (195). And as AB pointed out, in the Southern District of New York, where the KSM trial will take place, they're batting 1000. Given those numbers, who the freak would seriously push for military tribunals as the way to go here??? That flies in the face of logic. Do you want to convict these cats or not?

foreigners who committed their crimes outside the USA aren't entitled to a federal jury trial. End of discussion.

With all due respect, that is blatantly FALSE.

First of all, it's not about being "entitled" to a federal trial, (as if being placed on trial for your life is some kind of reward people dream about). Who gives a damn what these people feel they are entitled to? It's not about entitlement, it's about being required to stand trial for crimes committed against the U.S in a U.S. court of law.

Military tribunals, by contrast, are traditionally used for captured enemy combatants who have allegedly violated the Articles of War. KSM doesn't fall into this category. He and his 4 amigos specifically killed citizens of the State of New York. This is not some foreign combat situation between our troops and the troops of some other nation; this was a crime perpetrated against the people of New York (and DC), and just like ANY crime perpetrated against the people of New York since New York came into the union, New York has the right to make the accused stand trial for those crimes in its own courts. This is somehow a brand new concept to political pundits in 2009? Would you or anybody else argue that New York has no right to bring people to justice who killed nearly 3,000 of its own citizens?

When changing the status quo, the burden of explanation rests on he who advocates change.
On this point, we agree. The charge here is MURDER. And as discussed above, there is absolutely no change to the status quo in bringing murderers to trial in a state where they murdered the citizens of that state. This is a well established principle of American law as old as the country itself.

So to answer your question:
what is the real point of this trial? Certainly not 'justice'

Damn right it is!

AverageBro.com said...

@ Spool

Well, obviously it's not a "predetermined" verdict (sorry if I used that word) or there'd be no need for due process. But I seriously doubt Holder (and ex-Fed judge, and therefore more knowledgable of the law than all us combined) would risk a trial if there weren't sufficient evidence. Clearly, we aren't privy to all of this evidence, so it's a wee bit premature to assume what it might entail. But again, the Feds usually get their guy. This ain't Judge Joe Brown.

So, yes, trying a suspect, and having a jury of reasonable adults find him guilty BASED ON EVIDENCE PRESENTED sends a message to the world about our concept of fairness. Far more than waterboarding and military tribunals. I don't need to remind you where that approach got us.

When Obama gets shoes tossed at him, maybe I'll reconsider. For now, I'll put stock in the 74% favorable rating (double Bush's final number) of the US by other countries. Whether or not you think Obama is some apologist empty suit, you can't possibly tell me that having an improved image abroad is somehow a BAD thing.

Can you?

AverageBro.com said...

Furthermore, who the hockeysticks cares what RUDY thinks? Does anyone ask/care what George Bush currently thinks about Guantanamo? No. Bloomberg says it's ok, so it's ok. Moving right along...

Strangely, a GOP Congressman is playing "right wing fearmongering 101" and suggesting that Mike Bloomberg should be against this trial because his "daughter Could be ‘Kidnapped at School by a Terrorist’". What an a-hole!!!

http://chattahbox.com/us/2009/11/17/gop-rep-shadegg-ny-mayors-daughter-could-be-kidnapped-at-school-by-a-terrorist/

The Janitor said...

@ AB - your argument is the bigger picture for sure. Andrew Sullivan (who I don't always agree with) actually has a pretty well written summary of the same argument HERE.

spool32 said...

@Janitor

Interesting angle. Your argument turns on what exactly we're charging these guys with... is it 3000+ counts of Capital Murder? Or is it a terrorism charge? That would seem to make a difference, as a terrorism charge IS an act of war committed against the USA where murder, even lots of them, doesn't rise to that level. Moreover, terrorism charges don't meet your 'requirement to stand trial' standard, though I think it's a good one and a legit argument if we're talking about murder charges.

Note also that it's Federal court... no state jurisdiction is in play here. So, do you know what these 5 will actually be charged with?

@AB:
Yes I can! It really depends on who is approving of us and why. Do 'they' like us better because we're being humble and apologetic, or we're getting our supposedly deserved comeuppance? Everybody likes seeing a winner get taken down a peg, because it makes them feel better about sucking. Are you saying you want to the USA to be less awesome so people don't look at their piece of crap spot on the globe and feel inferior?

Is that what the polls reflect?

Or is it just liking Obama? I really could give a damn how Black Jesus is polling in Greece.

Or do they like us more ecause we're trying to adopt policies they think are good even as the same policies annihilate their economies and kill their citizens?

Europe would like us even more if we stopped giving money to Colombia so that Hugo Chavez could dominate central America. Is that a good reason to do it?

There are all sorts of very legitimate scenarios where the 'approval of the world' isn't terribly desirable or very good for the USA. Nevermind the fact that a poll claiming to know the opinion of 74% of the world population any given question is inherently bullsh!t. What did they do, call five guys from each nation on the planet? I wonder how the Burmese dude voted? The guy in St. Kitts?

Please. It's just a political flag to wave, with no basis in reality.

AverageBro.com said...

@ Spool

So, this means you'd much rather be hated and despised around the world, as we have been for much of the last decade. Right?

Uhh, would you venture to tell me exactly how that's BENEFITED the US?

The Janitor said...

@ Spool:

Note also that it's Federal court... no state jurisdiction is in play here.

Actually, pursuant to the Erie Doctrine and all of its progeny (which I'll spare the readers of this blog) Federal Courts must use the State substantive law of the state in which they sit. So state jurisdiction actually does matter here.

Moreover, the State Law for Murder in New York specifically includes Terrorism among its list of acts that will get you Murder in the First Degree.

So, do you know what these 5 will actually be charged with?

Yes, the charges include 2,973 individual counts of murder - one for each person killed in the 9/11 attack.

Wave said...

As much as I hate to admit I kind of have to agree with Spool on this one. Since when terrorists captured on foreign soil get US Constitutional rights. The whole point of the jury trial seems to be a big show since everyone is already talking conviction and execution.

Wow those prison videos are crazy. Maybe we do really need a death penalty because these guys seem like their lost to humanity.

The Janitor said...

@ Wave: don't give in to the dark side, my brother.

The political pundits on the Right would have you believe that taking the terrorists to trial for murder in federal court somehow equates to giving terrorists "Constitutional Rights."

This is a misrepresentation of the facts to say the least.

By making the terrorists stand trial in US courts the terrorists:
do not get the right to vote
do not get the right to free speech
do not get the right to bare arms
the list goes on...

All we're talking about is making them stand trial for their crimes the same way anybody would stand trial in our courts, whether they are a US citizen or an illegal immigrant. It doesn't matter who you are, there is ONE law in America; our law is consistent across the board. By saying we are "giving the terrorists rights," the FoxNews machine is attempting to exploit this fact for political gain.

Marbles said...

What's this I'm seeing? Substance! A debate with substance!

Clearly, I can't possibly be watching television news....

spool32 said...

@AB:

Not all around the world. Eastern Europe has been solidly behind us all the way, as has India, most of Australia... I could go on. Basically, the "lack of popularity" boils down to Western continental Europe (mostly in the media), 60% or so of Central/South America, and Islamic nations that aren't called Dubai or UAE. The African nations that aren't utter disasters loved Bush and the USA, and continue to.

Moreover, unless you've been under a rock you might've noticed the French president pwning Obama on the national stage recently. Gordon Brown is cool to The One and David Cameron will likely be the next British PM... he's no Obama fan either. Merkel rebuffed him already before he was even elected, and he snubbed the Germans in return by not showing up for the Berlin Wall anniversary. The Polish are pissed at how we pulled out of missile defense on the anniversary of the Russian invasion, the Russians are laughing into their fur hats at us, and there are a few thousand dead Iranian democracy protesters who, if there is any justice in the world, will never know how Obama abandoned them to seal a nuclear deal that the Iranian regime promptly doublecrossed us to back out of. That's some popularity. Maybe if he falls on his knees instead of just folding himself in half when he meets the next Head of State, things will get better.

But hey. Somebody took a poll and 74% of the world loves us again! Even though we're doing basically the same thing we were doing on the world stage, except in the places where we don't hang tough and get walked over by Russia and Iran.

You're presenting a false dichotomy. I'd rather be hated for doing something worthy than loved for being a 'team player' on the wrong team.

Popularity ain't everything, especially when being popular means appeasing dictators who massacre their own people. Do you really want a President who cares if he's popular in Paraguay when that conflicts with US national interests?

If you REALLY wanted America to be popular on the world stage again, petition Hollywood to make a dozen good movies that don't portray America as the root of all evil. How many "we suck" Iraq war movies have flopped at the box office in the last 8 years? Six I think?

Our popular culture is a lot more powerful abroad than our President is.

@Janitor

Interesting link re: the Erie doctrine. So you're arguing that this is basically the most high-profile of a long string of cases already done the same way? Can you point me to some previous cases that tackle the same legal issues?

Aren't the rights to a jury trial, to face your accuser, to innocence until proven guilty, and to refuse self incrimination all Constitutional guarantees that these foreigners will be afforded in a Federal court? How does that square with your argument that they aren't being granted rights that should be reserved to US Citizens?

The Janitor said...

@ Spool:

Interesting link re: the Erie doctrine. So you're arguing that this is basically the most high-profile of a long string of cases already done the same way?

Not exactly, and my bad for not stating my point more clearly in plain English; once you raised the point about the distinction between Federal Court and State Jurisdiction I assumed I was talking to an attorney/law student familiar with this issue & the Erie Doctrine. If not the case then my bad.

With re to the state jurisdiction issue, what I am saying is that federal courts apply state law all the time. This is extremely common. Thus, the fact that this is a federal court will not matter because unless the issue is purely a federal question, federal courts, pursuant to the Erie Doctrine, must apply the state substantive law of the state in which they sit. Tort law, Contract law, Property law, Family law, Trusts & Estates law and Criminal law (ie. murder) are all state substantive laws, thus a federal court faced with a case involving a state law claim, for example, would be bound by the criminal/property/contract/etc. law of the state where it is located. Thus, state jurisdiction is key.

On a related note, this issue also goes to why the Federal Court chosen for this trial is the Southern District of New York, and why the two prosecutor's offices handling this case are the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (NYC) and the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia (Arlington). These were the two states literally hit by 9/11.

Can you point me to some previous cases that tackle the same legal issues?

As I was saying, this is extremely common. Simply google "Erie Doctrine" in parenthesis and "state substantive law" also in parenthesis and I'm sure you will find hundreds if not thousands of cases dealing with this issue. I came across one in a CLE the other day that you could look at:
In re DES Cases, 789 F. Supp. 552 - US: Dist. Court, ED New York 1992

The Janitor said...

@ Spool:

Aren't the rights to a jury trial, to face your accuser, to innocence until proven guilty, and to refuse self incrimination all Constitutional guarantees that these foreigners will be afforded in a Federal court? How does that square with your argument that they aren't being granted rights that should be reserved to US Citizens?

I am glad you phrased your question this way, because it narrows this discussion down to what we're really talking about: the basic rights associated with a CRIMINAL trial in America. When people hear "we're giving terrorists constitutional rights" they start thinking about all the freedoms that they normally enjoy in their day to day. And politicians know this!!! That's why to phrase it that way, without more, is disingenuous. You'll have every Tom Dick and Harry in middle-America believing that we are somehow elevating terrorists to full-blown U.S. citizenship status. Hardly the case.

Once we cut through all the BS soundbites and actually get down to brass tax, all we're talking about are the basic Constitutional rights associated with a criminal trial.

Two points:

(1) We apply these so-called "rights" to people accused of crimes in this country everyday, and we do so across the board and nobody in the media has ever said 2 words about it until now when politicians have made it into a soundbite. We apply these criminal trial rights to U.S. citizens, to illegal immigrants, to people we capture or abduct illegally in foreign nations and bring to stand trial in the U.S. (See U.S. v. Alvarez-Machain for a prime example of this), and yes, that includes so-called "terrorists" too. You don't get to skip trial in this country just because you label yourself a terrorist. You do the crime, you will stand trial. Period. So for those who take issue with with how we run our trials with respect to terrorists, then what they are really saying is that they have an issue with how we run our trials, period, because we don't make exceptions for anybody. Not even KSM.

(2) My second observation on this "giving terrorists rights" issue is this: If the only argument against federal court, as opposed to a military tribunal, is that there are no constitutional rights afforded in a military tribunal then there is no argument at all b/c that argument fails. Suspects standing trial for crimes in military tribunals DO have constitutional rights. In fact, in Boumediene v. Bush last year, the Supreme Court declared the military tribunals in Gitmo unconstitutional for this very reason. So in other words, if you were hoping to, for lack of a better word, "cheat" the terrorists out of any constitutional rights afforded to defendants during criminal trials by sending them to military tribunals, then save your energy. So to recap - not only are Military Tribunals slow and inefficient at convicting terrorists, they also afford terrorists constitutional rights. Go figure.

In closing, a challenge to Spool or anybody reading this blog:

How is the criminal trial of KSM in federal court today any different from the criminal trial of Ramzi Yousef in federal court that took place back in the 90's?

spool32 said...

First off, I'm not an attorney or a law 'student' though I am a student of the law... I suppose you could call me a legal hobbyist. By trade I'm an InfoSec professional, which leads me naturally to questions of law and legality, but I suppose I really began this hobby when copyright intersected with computers in the late 80s and early 90s around questions of "piracy".

To answer your last question first, Yousef was captured by a foreign government and extradited, whereas KSM was captured by US military in a nation where no legal government existed even before we invaded, and no extradition treaties governed his removal.

One interesting thing her is that you're arguing that we MUSt do this through a criminal trial in Federal court, but Holder himself has said that 9/11 was both a criminal act and an act of war, so he had his choice.

Eric Posner's argument to this point suggests a less than pleasant possibility, one that has little to do with actual considerations of justice.

I think the argument really turns on whether we think 9/11 was an act of War. The constitutional argument is a stand-in for this actual position.

I do have to concede your Constitutional Rights argument though... well put, I think I agree, even though you mostly are saying "we have done it before", not "this is why we SHOULD do it".

The Janitor said...

@ Spool

I do have to concede your Constitutional Rights argument though... well put, I think I agree, even though you mostly are saying "we have done it before", not "this is why we SHOULD do it".

Well thank you. It's always refreshing to debate with somebody knowledgeable on the subject of the law beyond what appears in the news or on talk shows.

Until the next one...

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