KSM, Second-Tier Justice, and Obama’s ‘Principle’

John Glaser, April 05, 2012

American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony D. Romero on the upcoming trial of detainees suspected of participating in the 9/11 attacks:

The Obama Administration is making a terrible mistake by prosecuting the most important terrorism trials of our time in a second-tier system of justice. Whatever verdict comes out of the Guantánamo military commissions will be tainted by an unfair process and the politics that wrongly pulled these cases from federal courts, which have safely and successfully handled hundreds of terrorism trials,” Romero said.

“The military commissions were set up to achieve easy convictions and hide the reality of torture, not to provide a fair trial. Although the rules have been improved, the military commissions continue to violate due process by allowing the use of hearsay and coerced or secret evidence. The American people have already waited far too long for justice for the 9/11 attacks, and the administration’s use of the military commissions means that justice will never truly be achieved, in the eyes of our nation or the rest of the world.

As news of the forthcoming military trial has made headlines in recent days, there has been a predictable distortion disseminated, which is old but now being renewed. As the ACLU post says “In April 2011, the Obama administration reversed a 2009 decision to try the men in federal court and decided instead to try them at Guantánamo using military commissions that have been broadly criticized.” There is an implication that Obama was forced to adopt a two-tiered system of justice because Congress made him. In one sense – regarding this specific trial which includes Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others – that is true. But even then, Obama had not objected to military trials in principle: he had already adopted a system of military courts and indefinite detention for many other Guantánamo detainees. And anyways, a principled stand in favor of real due process in civilian courts would have been just that – and would not have been compromised by the political winds.

At the time of the Obama administration’s renewed embrace for military trials, Glenn Greenwald noted that there is “absolutely no reason, other than to pervert justice and enable easy and due-process-free convictions, to create a separate tribunal rather than use our extant judicial processes.” Actually, that is not precisely true. One other reason to embrace a two-tiered justice system is to satisfy and submit to –  and thus become party to – a blind, hysterical, mob clinging to delusional fears about giving due process to suspected terrorists.




3 Responses to “KSM, Second-Tier Justice, and Obama’s ‘Principle’”

  1. “The military commissions were set up to achieve easy convictions and hide the reality of torture……."

    "Torture" is the red herring to hide Fed Gov. complicity at best ….. or at worst: The No.1 Plan that the oilmen and their dual citizen Zio-buddies "found a way" (for) or (to) as Paul O'Neil put it in this 2004 interview that 60 Minutes "buried"… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inyCkCvqRO0

    "The American people have already waited far too long for justice for the 9/11 attacks, and the administration’s use of the military commissions means that justice will never truly be achieved, in the eyes of our nation or the rest of the world."

    Justice has fled America like rats do from a sinking ship…. It has been decided at THE highest level of government!! The nation will be looking forward, not back….. or not back at HOW we have gotten to this UNJUST place we now inhabit….. All the PAST CRIMES of our leaders, they have been declared moot… But the past lies of our leaders, those must be enshrined to live forever……. or at least outlive their perpetrators. The government wants it that way, and the people want it that way……. the shinning city on the hill -cum-empire… image of ourselves… So it's easy to do, now that the law looks forward and the inmates have taken control of the asylum… So the trials must be controlled, there are too many questions that can't be answered. There are too many lies that can't be probed.. Conveniently our NEW …No Law torture State knows how to control…… They have erected an entirely new legal edifice… One of iron fealty to every utterance of our leader's dictat. Talk to support some idea that is past, risk being snatched, disappeared, tortured and dispatched to some out of America hell… Those they already have must behave by day or live the night of a thousand hells….. All for the greater cause… the greater America sans constitution… likewise justice and rule of law,…..and the greater other places, where those to whom we have been delivered deliberate…. It's all only theater now….. and becoming much more industrial than artistic……..We are only bit players theez days. Our bit is paying the costs to enslave ourselves, and dying for the causes of our new masters……………

  2. Tragically, very few Americans realize that aside from its moral rightness, there is a practical reason for upholding the legal rights of even unpopular or apparently guilty individuals; laws circumvented or broken and principles abandoned in pursuit of them are no longer available to protect others.

  3. What do we have to show for the first-tier justice? All the prosecutor has to do is to mention 9/11 three times and he can get any verdict he pleases against the 'suspected terrorists'. Look at convictions in all the 'plots' made by FBI informants.