Attorney General Eric Holder was going to define his career by trying the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (pictured), and the Bush Administration that “tortured” him, in a federal courtroom just blocks from where the Twin Towers fell in downtown Manhattan; rather than in a Military Tribunal held at his Guantanamo Bay prison home that President Barack Obama had promised to close. And then not just conservative Republicans, but also fellow Democrats in Congress stepped in.
Let us review the history:
– President Obama came into office in January 2009, and two days after his inauguration, he signs his first executive order, calling for the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay within one year.
– Less than five months later, Congress — controlled by Democrats — votes overwhelmingly to neutralize that executive order, and to keep Gitmo open, by choking off the funds needed to enact the executive order by building new facilities, seeking deportations, etc. The vote in the Senate was 90 to 6.
– In November 2009, the Obama administration tried another tack: they plan to move 100 remaining Gitmo detainees (not includingKSM and other 9/11 direct suspects) to an all-but abandoned, state-of-the-art prison in Illinois. The rural town wanted the deal, and the jobs that would come with it. Again, the deal was blocked, and demogogued, by Congressional Republicans, and as of today, the “Gitmo North” plan seems to be dead on arrival.
– Then, this past December, 2010, Congress went in for the kill:
Congress on Wednesday signaled it won’t close the prison at Guantanamo Bay or allow any of its suspected terrorist detainees to be transferred to the U.S., dealing what is likely the final blow to President Obama’s campaign pledge to shutter the facility in Cuba.
The move to block the prison’s closure was written into a massive year-end spending bill that passed the House on Wednesday evening on a vote of 212-206, part of a last-minute legislative rush by Democrats to push through their priorities before ceding the House to Republican control in January.
News of the Guantanamo provision brought a quick and sharp rebuke from the Obama administration Wednesday.
“We strongly oppose this provision,” Department of Justice spokesman Matt Miller said in a statement. “Congress should not limit the tools available to the executive branch in bringing terrorists to justice and advancing our national security interests.”
Current law allows the Justice Department to bring detainees to the U.S. for trial as long as the Justice Department gives Congress 45 days notice of the transfer.
Did Congress fail to close a loophole that allows their latest non-drone stunt? Yesterday:
Prosecutors unsealed an indictment against a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden on Thursday that charged him with conspiracy to kill Americans, after government sources said he was arrested overseas and brought to New York.
Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a militant who appeared in videos representing al Qaeda after the September 11 attacks in 2001, had initially been picked up in Turkey and was brought to the United States in an operation led by Jordanian authorities and the FBI, the sources said.
The Turkish government deported him to Jordan, the sources said, where local authorities and the FBI took custody of him. He was brought to the United States in the last few days, a law enforcement source said.
U.S. officials including Attorney General Eric Holder announced the indictment on Thursday, saying he would be arraigned on Friday at U.S. District Court in lower Manhattan, only blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the September 11 attacks.
Abu Ghaith becomes one of the highest-ranking al Qaeda figures to be brought to the United States for civilian trial. When Holder previously announced plans to try defendants in the September 11 attacks in the same courthouse, he was forced to back down by public opposition, and the trials were moved to the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Holder seems to share his boss’s thin skin. They never forget a slight and so now, post-relection and the morning after answering filibustering Senator Rand Paul’s 45-day old question (that his Republican dinner pals McCain and Graham deemed offensive and ridiculous) concerning his authority to use lethal drone force against non-combat-ting U.S. citizens on U.S. soil in the negative, President Obama gets his revenge against whom? The American people, including New Yorkers now put more risk of terrorist attacks.
Let the lawyering up begin as the real revenge is al Qaeda’s whose secrets are safer with dead terrorists delivered to virgins in the hereafter for Islamist martyrs under Obama’s drone strategy; and with show trials on enemy territory. Despite the killing of the show trial defendant’s father-in-law in Pakistan two years ago and well-publicized by the Administration drone assassinations over seas, things are much easier for al Qaeda now that we have surrendered getting intel from al Qaeda captures on land and sea; not to mention surrendering to al Qaeda allies in Syria, Libya and Egypt. Iraq and Afghanistan? We gave up all the gains and left hardly a footprint in the former; and have given the enemy a timetable for withdrawal in their former Taliban home in the latter.
Our remaining questions:
Was any of the intel used to capture UBL’s son-in-law obtained via waterboarding or forced listens to any of the rap tunes on BHO’s iPod? Was AbuGhaith read his Miranda rights? Will Lindsey Graham or John McCain continue to ridicule Rand Paul instead of the Administration they break bread with that couldn’t answer the “embarrassing and ridiculous” question that had been hanging out there from soon after MLK Day till less two weeks before St. Patrick’s Day? Was it their negligence that left this loophole available for Lawyer Holder to rub salt in the wounds of 9/11-ravaged NYC?
And finally, will the Attorney General prosecute the Bin Laden relation or will he return to defending terrorists in court as he did when President George W. Bush was Commander-in-Chief?
Yes, someone risks making the GOP look bad, but it ain’t Rand Paul.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson