224 Reasons Why Military Should Try ‘Enemy Combatants’

November 20, 2010 08:46

The fact is he was acquitted of dozens of crimes of conspiracy because the “laws of evidence” in a civilian court would not allow the prosecution to enter all the evidence they had against him – even his own confession – is ludicrous.

The Americano

One does not have to delve deeply into the trial of Guantánamo detainee Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani to understand why treating him like a common American criminal in a U.S. federal court was not a good idea.

The fact that the 36-year-old Tanzanian man was convicted of one count of conspiracy in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania does not do justice in this case. The same jury that found him guilty of one crime and sentenced him “20 years to life in prison” found him “not guilty” in 224 counts of murder – 12 of them American citizens.

Who cares if Khalfan Ghailani probably will spend the rest of his life in jail. The fact is he was acquitted of dozens of crimes of conspiracy because the “laws of evidence” in a civilian court would not allow the prosecution to enter all the evidence they had against him – even his own confession – is ludicrous.

If we take the findings of this court seriously, Kalfan Ghailani is not guilty of murder. He is not guilty of terrorism. He is not guilty of having conspired to blow up two American embassies in Africa.

If all this were not so ridiculous, we might say that Kalfan Ghailani was guilty on a “technicality.”

And yet anonymous senior officials of the Obama administration defended their decision of trying these cases in civilian courts and of course finding a way to blame its outcome on the Bush administration. Shame of these always “anonymous sources.”

Jake Tapper, White House correspondent for ABC News, quoted directly from the administration sources.

“So, we tried a guy (who the Bush Admin tortured and then held at GTMO for 4-plus years with no end game whatsoever) in a federal court before a NY jury with full transparency and international legitimacy and — despite all of the legacy problems of the case (i.e., evidence getting thrown out because of Bush-Admin torture, etc,) we were STILL able to convict him and INCAPACITATE him for essentially the rest of his natural life, AND there was not one — not one — security problem associated with the trial. Would it have been better optically if he had been convicted of more counts? Sure. Would it have made any practical difference? No.”

He is wrong, dead wrong.

The fact that this Tanzanian terrorist was almost acquitted of all the charges against him should make Justice Department officials shudder. This was not an American citizen who is entitled to the due process granted under the constitution. This man was a Tanzanian, who was captured in Pakistan and who had been held as an enemy combatant for five years. He was part of an Al Qaeda group that plan and carried out the coordinated attacks against the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Has the Justice Department in the Obama administration forgotten that Al Qaeda declared war on the United States and that it has killed American in several countries, including the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.?

Maybe this embarrassment will make the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder rethink how they want to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who has admitted orchestrating the Sept. 11 attacks.

In its editorial, The New York Daily News said: “after Ghailani was acquitted on all but one count for his role in the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings by Al Qaeda, Team Obama’s hope of trying Gitmo’s worst in civilian courts has been all but dashed.”

And The New York Post recounted all the evidence that was not, or could not, be used against Gailani.

· He helped buy the truck that carried the bomb in the attack on the embassy in Tanzania.

· A detonator was linked to him.

· A key witness had told authorities that he sold Ghailani the explosives

· Indeed, Ghailani practically confessed to his role in the affair himself. But his statements weren’t introduced at trial.

“Defense lawyers had argued that Ghailani’s disclosures were inadmissible because they were coerced — and prosecutors were loath to risk having their entire case tossed by the judge,” editorial said.

“Under normal circumstances, that’s fine. But this case involved a foreigner making war on America,” the New York Post said. It came in simple language, so everyone could understand it. Ghailani may be in jail for many years, but he was found “not guilty” of murdering 12 American citizens.

The Americano / Agencies

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