Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION PROSECUTED MANY MORE TERROR SUSPECTS AS CRIMINALS THAN AS ENEMY COMBATANTS--But rightwing hypocrites ignore this fact in going after AG Eric Holder

The rank hypocrisy on the Right for cheap political points is set out here in a New Yorker article by Jane Mayer concerning the arrest of the so-called Christmas "Underwear Bomber" and the administration's plans to prosecute him in a civilian court.  In fact, the Bush Administration had done the very same thing in the past, and not one of the hypocrites now criticizing the Obama Administration said anything against what the previous administration did.  Read the facts:

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER:

“What we did is totally consistent with what has happened in every similar case” since 9/11, he said. “There’s a desire to ignore the facts to try to score political points. It’s a little shocking.” Without exception, he noted, every previous terrorist suspect apprehended inside the country had been handled as a civilian criminal. Even so, critics such as Krauthammer were denouncing Holder for failing to send Abdulmutallab directly to Guantánamo. As a senior national-security official in the White House put it, “It’s a fantasy! Under what alternative legal system can Special Operations Forces fly into Detroit, and take someone away without court oversight?”


According to Kate Martin, the director of the Center for National Security Studies, in Washington, the military can’t simply grab suspects inside the U.S. and hold them without charge or a hearing. “It violates the Constitution, which extends to everyone inside the U.S.,” she said. “You can’t be seized without probable cause. You have the right to due process, and to a trial by a jury of your peers—which a military commission is not.”


Confusion on this point may derive from the Bush Administration’s controversial handling of two suspected terrorists, José Padilla and Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri. Both men were arrested in the U.S. by law-enforcement officials, and indicted on criminal charges.


But Bush declared Padilla and Marri to be “enemy combatants,” which, he argued, meant that they could be transferred to military custody, for interrogation and detention without trial. (Neither suspect provided useful intelligence.)


The cases provoked legal challenges, and in both instances appeals courts ruled that Bush had overstepped his power. The Administration, not willing to risk a Supreme Court defeat, returned the suspects to the civilian system.


For all the tough rhetoric of the Bush Administration, it prosecuted many more terror suspects as criminals than as enemy combatants. According to statistics compiled by New York University’s Center on Law and Security, since 2001 the criminal courts have convicted some hundred and fifty suspects on terrorism charges. Only three detainees—all of whom were apprehended abroad—were convicted in military commissions at Guantánamo. The makeshift military-commission system set up by Bush to handle terrorism cases has never tried a murder case, let alone one as complex, or notorious, as that of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who will face the death penalty for the murder of nearly three thousand people.


The Bush Administration obtained life sentences in the criminal courts for two terror suspects arrested inside the U.S.: Richard Reid, the so-called shoe bomber, and Zacarias Moussaoui, who was planning a second wave of plane attacks. (Reid was read his Miranda rights four times.)


When the Bush Justice Department obtained these convictions, the process was celebrated by some of the same people now criticizing Holder. Giuliani, after the Moussaoui trial, said, “I was in awe of our system. It does demonstrate that we can give people a fair trial.”


Holder told me that he was “distressed” that people “who know better” were claiming that the courts were not up to the job of trying terrorists. He added that he found it “exceedingly strange” to hear this argument from Giuliani, who had been a zealous prosecutor. “If Giuliani was still the U.S. Attorney in New York, my guess is that, by now, I would already have gotten ten phone calls from him telling me why these cases needed to be tried not only in civilian court but at Foley Square,” Holder said.


There is no evidence suggesting that military commissions would be tougher on suspected terrorists than criminal courts would. Of the three cases adjudicated at Guantánamo, one defendant received a life sentence after boycotting his own trial; another served only six months, in addition to the time he had already served at the detention camp; the third struck a plea bargain and received just nine months. The latter two defendants—Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as Osama bin Laden’s driver, and David Hicks, an Australian who attended an Al Qaeda training camp—are now at liberty in their home countries, having been released while Bush was still in office."

Meanwhile, Gingrich keeps digging himself deeper into his own hypocritical hole (do these people have any memory left or are they merely bald-faced liars?):

"In a post on his Twitter page, Gingrich explained that when he made the Reid comment to the "Daily Show"'s Jon Stewart his reference was actually to Jose Padilla. Reid, after all, is a British citizen -- Padilla is American.


But Gingrich wasn't done there. In a dig at the Obama White House, he added to the tail end of his tweet: "Treating terrorists like criminals wrong no matter who is Pres."

That's a standard GOP talking point, and yet when President Bush moved the Padilla case from a military setting to the criminal system, it was Gingrich who came to his defense despite conservative howls of protest, a Democratic source points out.

Appearing on Fox News in November 2005, the former speaker said the following when asked whether it was "a loss" for the Bush White House to have tried Padilla in civilian courts after holding him for three-and-a-half years as an enemy combatant:

"Well, I think if they believe they have enough evidence to convict him, going through the process of convicting him and holding him, I suspect, maybe for the rest of his life without parole would not be -- would hardly be seen as a loss," Gingrich said."

19 comments:

WBBDDJ said...

Holder told me that he was “distressed” “If Giuliani was still the U.S. Attorney in New York, my guess is that, by now, I would already have gotten ten phone calls from him telling me why these cases needed to be tried not only in civilian court but at Foley Square,” Holder said.

That's because the previous administration was run by liars and supported by people like me.

A Friend from SoCal said...

shaw,

an honest r-winger? Is it snowing in hell?

lancelot83 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Griper said...

a difference of opinion does not automatically make someone a hypocrite.

there are many factors that must be taken into consideration when deciding a venue not just one or two. and each case must be decided on individually.

the fact that more terrorists were tried as criminals is irrelevant to the issue of individuals cases.

to me, the big factor would be to ascertain if the terrorist was acting as a foreign agent or as a domestic agent or even as a free agent. motive is the big factor.

TAO said...

Griper,

In todays world it seems that not only is a "difference of opinion" enough to make someone a hypocrite...but just party affiliation is enough to label someone a hypocrite before they even open their mouths....

Lets look at your hypothesis about some sort of checklist to determine venue...

What would your checklist include? What information is necessary to make a decision and then who gets to decide?

When you speak "foreign Agent" "domestic agent" or "free agent" exactly what are you referring to?

McVeigh was a terrorist but would he be a "domestic agent" or a "free agent"

Padilla, I assume since he had ties to Al Qaeda would be called a 'domestic agent'

All the rest would be 'foreign Agents"

But all of that is my guess...

But wouldn't all of them fall into the concept of 'enemy combatant?"

If you look at the history of dealing with terrorists around the world you have the Libyans who blew up the Pan Am plane...they got a trial, the Bader Meinhoff Gang in Germany they got a trial.
The terrorists that blew up the train in Spain...they got a trial.

So, what makes our terrorists different and why do we believe that somehow our law is different?

Then, who complained about civilian trials for terrorists under GWB? No one.....but now its a major "issue"

Think about that instead of trying to rig a system that shows Obama as being soft on justice in comparsion than GWB...

Stephanie said...

The Griper said...

a difference of opinion does not automatically make someone a hypocrite.


WRONG!

Republicans always think that they have the right answer. Well they don't!
And GWB along with Rudy and Reagan and the whole lot of them are a bunch of hypocrite's

Arthurstone said...

'Motive is the big factor'.

Terrorists (local, foreign, domestic, bottled, flash-frozen) all have the same motive.

Killing people and spreading terror.

Public trials are a good idea. Turning a bright light on the horrible actions and pathetic politics of folks who try and blow up jet liners and office buildings is exactly what we should be doing. Reasonable people the world over repudiate the acts of a handful of fanatics and public trials ensures we keep up to speed on the enemy.

Of course the government isn't wild about that because it far too often has trampled on suspects rights, screwed up evidence and otherwise ruined prosecutions. And they hate for us to learn additional examples of incompetence in the never ending 'war on terror'.

The other argument is giving suspects a 'platform' to spread 'propaganda'.

Too late.

We've got the internet. A superior terrorist recruitment tool.

TRUTH 101 said...

Have any terrorists walked away due to a "technicality" yet?

Why is it so important where criminals are tried as long as they're tried and convicted?


Of course we know the answer is because the republicans go to great lengths to disagree and obstruct the Obama Administration on everything. But I would appreciate a rational srgument from them sometime.

libhom said...

The whole "enemy combatants" thing is made up bs by the Bush regime to try to illegally get around the Geneva Conventions.

A Guy From Brooklyn said...

libhom said...

The whole "enemy combatants" thing is made up bs by the Bush regime to try to illegally get around the Geneva Conventions.


here we go again folks! LMAO

The Griper said...

Tao,
good questions.
"In todays world it seems that not only is a "difference of opinion" enough to make someone a hypocrite...but just party affiliation is enough to label someone a hypocrite before they even open their mouths...."

I'll agree with this and I believe it to be foolish. hypocrisy should be determined on a individual basis not a group basis.

an agent by definition is someone who is acting for the interest of a group. whether that group originates within the US or originates outside of the US would determine if it was foreign or domestic. a free agent would be one that is acting on his own without any ties to a group.

but as I said that is a big factor but not the only one.
citizenship might be another consideration.

we must remember acts of terrorism is just a tactic and can used by any group that considers an act of violence as legitimate tool. what is important is, what is the goal of that tactic?

and my post had nothing to do with trying to make Obama look soft on justice.

i was just addressing Shaw's post as written in regards to the issues she brought up that i thought was important enough to address.

in fact I'd argue that a lot of them don't even deserve to have charges against them, guys like the driver of Bin Laden would be one that I'd say that about as an example.

i guess what I'm saying is that each case must be judged on its individual basis and we have to admit that trying to make comparisons is foolish.

i could aqree with Holder in one case but criticize him for another without being a hypocrite. i could advocate a civilian trial for one person yet advocate for a military trial for another without being hypocritical. or i might not even have an opinion about one but have an opinion about another without being hypocritical also.

dmarks said...

libhom said: "The whole "enemy combatants" thing is made up bs by the Bush regime to try to illegally get around the Geneva Conventions."

It was quite legal, actually.

A Guy From Brooklyn said...

Obama is lying about not telling Holder or approving Holder's decision to have the trial in NYC. But If New York is out, that leaves 56 other states he can choose from.

Arthurstone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arthurstone said...

Re: Unlawful Combatants

'It was quite legal, actually.'

Well. Sort of.

The principle was indeed enacted into law but like any law it has been challenged in the courts and the government has suffered a number of 'defeats'.

But like 'the war on terror' itself the principle is a strictly political initiative made not to protect the nation as much as to help elect Republicans.

Arthurstone said...

Quote of the day:

"But If New York is out, that leaves 56 other states he can choose from."

libhom said...

dmarks: Take a look at the Geneva Conventions. They are on the Internet. If you do, you will not find any such designation, and our treatment of "enemy combatants" is completely illegal under the Geneva Conventions.

The Geneva Conventions are a treaty ratified by the US Senate. That means that they are binding US law under our Constitution. Any subsequent law by Congress trying to rationalize the whole thing is unconstitutional and legally null and void.

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

Frank Anthony said...

The epitome of hypocrisy is when either side uses the word against the other.