Obama Believes in Guilty Verdicts

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

If you haven’t read Glenn Greenwald’s latest, you should.  He details how the Obama administration is all about trials for alleged terrorists at Gitmo, when they even occur, that are assured of guilty verdicts.

“‘Administration officials say they expect that as many as 40 of the 215 detainees at Guantanamo will be tried in federal court or military commissions . . . . and about 75 more have been deemed too dangerous to release but cannot be prosecuted because of evidentiary issues and limits on the use of classified material’ . . . If true, that means that there are 75 so-called ‘Fifth Category’ detainees who might be subject to indefinite detention without trial” — The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder, yesterday, quoting The Washington Post.

(crossposted at Daily Kos)

Do these actions sound like the President who yesterday said:

“What I’m absolutely clear about is that I have complete confidence in the American people and our legal traditions and the prosecutors, the tough prosecutors from New York who specialize in terrorism” — Barack Obama, yesterday.

It does if you read what else he stated in the same interview:

“I said to the attorney general, make a decision based on the law,” the president told CNN’s Ed Henry. “We have set up now a military commission system that is greatly reformed and so we can try terrorists in the forum. But I also have great confidence in our Article 3 courts, the courts that have tried hundreds of terrorist suspects who are imprisoned right now in the United States.”

So, some terrorists will be tried in federal court, some tried in military commission court, and others will simply be detained indefinitely with no trial at all.  Make no doubt that where a person is to be tried, if they get a trial, is based on the ability to get a guilty verdict.

Eric Holder admitted as much:

Courts and commissions are both essential tools in our fight against terrorism . . . On the same day I sent these five defendants to federal court, I referred five others to be tried in military commissions.  I am a prosecutor, and as a prosecutor, my top priority was simply to select the venue where the government will have the greatest opportunity to present the strongest case with the best law. . . . At the end of the day, it was clear to me that the venue in which we are most likely to obtain justice for the American people is a federal court.

The fact that the Obama administration is putting the last nails in the rule of law started by George W. Bush is not lost on some of us.  President Obama is stating, as fact, that the United State’s Constitution and Bill of Rights no longer applies.  The government can, when it deems, simply imprison a person indefinitely without a trial.

It is obvious to even the most casual observer that the person touted as a constitutional law scholar has failed to remember history.  The colonies revolted against King George, and included in the reasons cited by the colonist’s were these:

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

The Constitution is the “supreme law of the land”.  The right to a speedy trial, due process, etc, is the law.

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

Before the apologist’s start on how this only applies to “terrorists”, to those who aren’t American citizens, we have already seen American citizens be denied their Constitutional rights.  It was Hamdi v. Rumsfeld in which the Supreme Court ruled that U.S. citizens held as terrorists must be given their constitutionally mandated rights.  Yaser Hamdi was being detained indefinitely and ultimately deported to Saudi Arabia without charge or trial.

Even Prof. Jonathan Turley has weighed in on this matter.

It was the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland that declared “Sentence first! Verdict afterwards.” However, President Barack Obama appears to have taken a lesson our two from her majesty. Today, President Obama assured Americans that they should not be offended by trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in federal court because he will be convicted and executed. I will be discussing this story tonight on MSNBC Countdown.(Prof. Turley is not known for spelling)

This is the restoration of the rule of law that candidate Obama promised?  This is a Democratic President using the same policies, same arguments, to get the same results, that he decried when campaigning.

This is not about whether terrorist’s should be coddled or not.  It is about whether we, as American’s, are willing to give up our Constitution, our rights, to a government that has proven it will abuse any power it is granted, much less that it simply claims it has.

How does President Obama reconcile closing Guantanamo prison with stating that he will continue to hold some terrorists indefinitely?  Where, exactly, does he intend to move those prisoners after closing Guantanamo?  Bagram AB in Afghanistan?  That, in and of itself, means we plan on staying in Afghanistan indefinitely.  If not Afghanistan, then where?  Will closing Guantanamo prison be just another broken promise?  Or, does he plan to bring those prisoners to the United States, house them in our prisons, and prove to the world that our Constitution, the one we tout to the world, is situational?

The total hypocrisy of the Obama administration on the “rule of law” was put on display for the entire world when, as an observer at the International Criminal Court at the Hague, the U.S. War Crimes Ambassador Stephen Rapp told the assembly, “the commitment of the Obama administration to the rule of law and the principle of accountability is firm.”

Unless it is George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, CIA agents that kidnapped and tortured people, GOP operatives that perjured themselves before Congress — then, there is no accountability.  

But, “trust us”, we are committed to the rule of law!

Unless you are an alleged terrorist who was tortured, forced to confess to crimes you may not have committed, and because “evidentiary rules” would forbid the chance of a guilty verdict, then you get no law at all, no trial, only an indefinite prison sentence because our government said so.

So, tell me how, in this, President Obama is different than President Numb-nuts.  And before you start to stutter out, “but, they are getting tried in federal court…”, remember, it was George W. Bush who said that first.


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  1. would get a fair trial and be found guilty. This is a paraphrase from memory. I mean basic criminal law: Everybody must get a “fair trial” with an impartial jury.  

    I hope I read wrong. I can’t believe Obama said this. He’s was a professor of constitutional law. If I remember correctly years ago in my Criminal Law Class, you don’t jeopardize someone’s “fair trial” by influencing potential jurors. And this is national news reporting what the President said! I wonder what Jury Selection will be like?

  2. constitutional duty and find KSM guilty!  One can only hope that New Yorkers are obstinate enough to kick the oligharchy low.  

    • dkmich on November 20, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Throw this in the closet, this in the basement, and this under the rug.    

  3. on msnbc, Dylan Ratigan’s morning show … I heard someone say something about… “how would all this go down if we, say, caught bin laden?” eeyow. gawd I wish they wouldnt’ve even planted that thought in my brain. Not that it will happen, but…

    why can’t people even remotely grasp… I dont know the facts or numbers, but in all kinds of places all over the globe, theres … sigh …

    An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind. ~Mohandas Gandhi

    • Fran on November 21, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Docudharma:: Obama Believes in Guilty Verdicts

    Today, President Obama assured Americans that they should not be offended by trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in federal court because he will be convicted and executed.

    might also create international complications.

    Berlin wants no part in potential 9/11 execution | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 21.11.2009

    A legal team is going to New York to prevent the use of evidence provided by Germany in seeking a death penalty. Berlin wants to ensure that promises made by the US are kept if the suspects are found guilty. 

    A team of observers from the German government is going to New York to oversee the trial of five suspects accused of orchestrating the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday.

    The federal trial of the suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-defendants was announced on November 13 by the US Justice Department. The government also asserted that it intends to seek the death penalty if the accused are found guilty.

    Germany, which does not have a death penalty, provided evidence for the trial on the condition that it could not be used to support a death sentence. Several members of the al Qaeda cell that planned and executed the attacks of September 11 were previously based in the northern German city of Hamburg.

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