Holder: We Must Use ‘Both Our Civilian Courts and Our Military Commissions to Defeat Our Enemies’

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Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 11:14 pm

In a packed room of civil libertarians assembled for a Constitution Project dinner, Attorney General Eric Holder gave a passionate if unpopular defense of the use of military commissions in addition to civilian courts to prosecute terrorism detainees.

Disappointing his civil-libertarian supporters, Holder said to use “one path while blocking the use of the other” — that is, trying every terrorist suspect in a civilian court — would mean the Obama administration “would undoubtedly fail at our fundamental duty at bringing every terrorist to justice. That is simply not an outcome we can accept.” But in an implicit rebuke of his conservative critics — who he said use ”language designed to scare people, rather than educated” — the attorney general told a hushed audience, “We are a nation at war.”

Holder didn’t back away from the “many successes” of civilian courts. Specifically citing his decision to prosecute would-be Northwest Airlines flight 253 bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, saying his prosecution yielded intelligence that was “not just valuable but actionable.” And as he did before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, Holder defended the hundreds of successful prosecutions the courts have yielded, and cited the  international legitimacy they enjoy as a counterterrorism asset.

“On the other hand, military commissions are also useful in the proper circumstances,” Holder said, calling them “not only appropriate but also necessary to convict terrorists.” You could hear a pin drop. “Evidentiary rules reflect the realities of the battlefield” in the commissions, a contention civil libertarians generally reject, and Holder pledged, “I expect to refer additional cases” to the commissions. He said there was “no contradiction” in using both venues for prosecution of terrorists, saying that only al-Qaeda and its allies are applicable for trial before the commissions — and neither are American citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemen-based alleged al-Qaeda provocateur.

“It is unfortunate and unhelpful that some of these facts have been obscured,” Holder said, calling for a “legitimate and robust conversation.” Holder said he would  ”not stand by as the hard work of the FBI… as well as our career prosecutors are maligned,” a reference to Keep America Safe’s attack on Justice Department attorneys who represented Guantanamo detainees. Using language that echoed a formulation used yesterday by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — who opposes Holder on trying Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 conspirators in federal courts — the attorney general ended by calling for legal approaches to terrorism that he called ”pragmatic, effective, [and] aggressive.” (Graham preferred “flexible, pragmatic and aggressive.”)

Like his testimony yesterday, Holder gave no indication whether Khalid Shaikh Mohammed would ultimately be tried before a civilian court or a military commission. Ginny Sloan, the Constitution Project’s director, got a round of applause in introducing the attorney general by saying, “Everyone in this room applauds your commitment to the rule of law and in trying these cases in federal courts.” Nor did Holder address the 48 suspected terrorists he said yesterday would neither face terrorism charges before any legal body nor be released — despite his rationale of using commissions and federal courts to “bring every terrorist to justice.”


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spo1
Comment posted April 16, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

JEEZ! I see Karl Rove is making the news show rounds selling his book instead of in a crowded holding cell wearing chains, PROSECUTED for any number of serious felonies and seditious activity? WHO could POSSIBLY BE STUPID ENOUGH TO BUY the BS Rove is dishing out? Let’s seeeeeeeee……

I know it’s a stretch… but for arguments sake lets say Americans can conveniently forget about the 5000+ dead, 30,000+ wounded US soldiers and only GOD knows how many Iraqis. Forget that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld took the good will of the world after 9/11 and turned it to HATE and mistrust.

How these chicken hawks sent our troops into battle WITHOUT PROPER ARMOR or any clear cut plan beyond George W. declaring “Mission Accomplished”. Never mind military strategists didn’t think it was a good idea to get rid of the ONE DICTATOR (Saddam Hussein) in the Middle East that had an IRON BOOT on the throat of fanatical Islam. Remember… the terrorist, Osama bin Lunatic, degenerates that caused 9/11?

The TRILLIONS of dollars wasted in Iraq or the 20 BILLION dollars missing or the 175,000 weapons misplaced or all the arms dealers and WAR profiteers that milked our national treasury. FORGET about all the Constitutional VIOLATIONS, domestic spying, bold lying, Justice Dept. bias, Walter Reed, Abu Ghraib, soldiers getting electrocuted in showers due to shoddy military contractor work…

YEAaaaaa… once again, imagine we live in a country where almost half the population is dumber than a tree full of monkeys. These citizens are so damn ignorant they allowed some of the worst criminals in history bend them over and #*~/ them in the *** for 8 years. Even worse these numbskulls LIKED IT so much they want MORE!

MORE of the waste, fraud, abuse, lies, incompetence, scandal, fear mongering, corruption, off-shore tax evasion, media consolidation, arms dealing, reckless economics, war profiteering, Bush/Paulson corporate welfare, Constitutional violations and a Corporate Crime Wave of EPIC proportions.

IF THE READER CAN POSSIBLY FORGET ALL THAT… then the WORST thing the Bush Administration DID was NOT raise taxes to pay for the WARS, tax cuts for the rich and Medicare Part iDiot. You want to hear about Fiscal Irresponsibility GRANDE?

Instead, Bush/Cheney borrowed from COMMUNIST China and Saudi Arabia (at outrageous interest rates) AND put OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN under the thumb of MASSIVE FOREIGN DEBT!

If there’s ANYONE out there who can explain away Bush/Cheney Administration CRIMES please reply because I’m NOT GETTING IT! Funny how we never heard any complaints from the so-called Tea Party crowd while Bush/Cheney were spending our national wealth like a crack HO with a credit card.

And don’t give that ridicules argument about how the Democrats took over Congress in 2006 and ruined all the good Bush/Cheney was doing. Or that President Obama spent MORE in one year than Bush spent in his last term… Are you nuts? Obama/Biden is just getting started. Maybe you Conservative wackos forgot that the last Bush/Cheney budget ended in October of 2009… Oooohhhhhh!

SEE? Conservative repeat the same old talking points over & over… Progressives present the facts, statistics and content. PLEASE tell me how any patriotic American Citizen could possibly be so shameless, misinformed, irresponsible or hypocritical to blame Obama/Biden and Democrats for the HUGE MESS this great nation is facing? It’s the MOST UN-AMERICAN THING I’VE EVER WITNESSED!

consciousmc.blogspot.com


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