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Monday, November 16, 2009

Buchanan: If we are at war, what is 9/11 mastermind doing in a U.S. court?

(V Dare) -- Are we at war -- or not? For if we are at war, why is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed headed for trial in federal court in the Southern District of New York? Why is he entitled to a presumption of innocence and all of the constitutional protections of a U.S. citizen? Is it possible we have done an injustice to this man by keeping him locked up all these years without trial? For that is what this trial implies -- that he may not be guilty. And if we must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that KSM was complicit in mass murder, by what right do we send Predators and Special Forces to kill his al-Qaida comrades wherever we find them? For none of them has been granted a fair trial.

When the Justice Department sets up a task force to wage war on a crime organization like the Mafia or MS-13, no U.S. official has a right to shoot Mafia or gang members on sight. No one has a right to bomb their homes. No one has a right to regard the possible death of their wives and children in an attack as acceptable collateral damage. Yet that is what we do to al-Qaida, to which KSM belongs. We conduct those strikes in good conscience because we believe we are at war. But if we are at war, what is KSM doing in a U.S. court?...

Is the Obama administration aware of what it is risking by not turning KSM over to a military tribunal in Guantanamo? How does Justice handle a defense demand for a change of venue, far from lower Manhattan, where the jury pool was most deeply traumatized by Sept. 11? Would not KSM and his co-defendants, if a change of venue is denied, have a powerful argument for overturning any conviction on appeal? Were not KSM's Miranda rights impinged when he was not only not told he could have a lawyer on capture, but that his family would be killed and he would be water-boarded if he refused to talk? And if all the evidence against the five defendants comes from other than their own testimony under duress, do not their lawyers have a right to know when, where, how and from whom Justice got the evidence to prosecute them? Does KSM have the right to confront all witnesses against him, even if they are al-Qaida turncoats or U.S. spies still transmitting information to U.S. intelligence?...--Pat Buchanan...Cont'd...LINK


Libertarian Today editor’s note:
Obama’s quandary is mindful of the Bush administration’s conundrum over whether to apply the Geneva Convention to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. To not do so suggested the U.S. was not at war; to do so was to disallow torture, or to open up the administration to prosecution under the War Crimes Act.

These are the kinds of ambiguities that come with the territory in conducting equivocal, unnecessary, half-ass wars on the other side of the globe as a consequence of Empire overreach, and incompetent, half-wit leadership.

The Geneva Convention should have always applied, and the Bush administration been forced to abide by it. But instead, it wanted to go the sadistic Neocon route and engage in torture, thus opening up all kinds of problems for itself and for America. The Obama administration is today compounding the Bush administration’s errors in a half-ass effort to unwind some of its misdeeds, while simultaneously escalating others.

Shifty, dishonest and morally bankrupt Neocon and Neoliberal leadership (the only two choices that contemporary Americans are allowed) always gets it wrong. Bush and Obama might as well be half-brothers, and the upper-level advisers to each frat brothers and cousins. -- Chris Moore

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