9/11 suspects may be tried in civilian courts not military tribunals
By: Jim Kouri, CPP
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had requested a complete study regarding the suitability of incarcerating and trying Guantanamo terrorism detainees on the U.S. mainland and switching jurisdiction for the trials from the military courts back to the civilian courts and the U.S. Justice Department, according to Fox News Channel’s top national security correspondent on Wednesday.
According to FNC’s Catherine Herridge, the study by the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress described the civilian custody and trial of Gitmo detainees “viable.”
Herridge was successful in obtaining a Government Accountability Office document which is the result of “an investigation into whether domestic facilities could house the approximately 170 detainees remaining at the controversial facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”
After the Obama administration fought tooth-and-nail to prosecute the 9/11 co-conspirators in civilian federal courts, it was decided by President Obama that the detainees would be tried by a military tribunal in order to quell the heated controversy.
“But now with his winning a second-term, Obama and Holder no longer have to worry about criticism from conservatives and moderates and they can closedown Gitmo with the blessings of the far-left,” said political strategist Mike Baker.
Prosecutors from the Department of Justice on April 4, 2011, were ordered by a visibly upset Attorney General Eric Holder to assist the chief prosecutor from the Office of Military Commissions in making the transition from civilian to military justice systems.
“The fact that the 9-11 accused terrorists will now face military tribunals is long overdue and despite the Attorney General’s flawed logic, it is the proper venue to try these accused terrorists,” Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice said in April 2011.
Navy Captain John Murphy, chief prosecutor of the Office of Military Commissions, had said that in light of the attorney general’s decision, his office still intends to swear charges against the detainees in the near future. “I intend to recommend the charges be sent to a military commission for a joint trial,” he said in a written statement.
The trials are already taking place under the Military Commissions Act of 2009, and the captain stressed that just as in civilian trials, those accused are presumed innocent until their guilt is proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the decision reversing Obama’s policy, Holder blamed Congress for forcing him to use military tribunals to try the terror suspects — including alleged 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — and said he was reluctantly agreeing to using military commissions in order to move the judicial process along.
“What’s unimaginable is the fact that the Attorney General still believes the federal court system is the proper venue to try accused terrorists and is blaming Congress for getting involved,” said Jordan Sekulow, Attorney and Director of International Operations of the ACLJ.
“It’s clear that many members of Congress and most Americans understand the truth — President Obama’s judicial strategy to place these terror suspects in civilian courts is seriously flawed. We have heard from more than 100,000 Americans who called for these trials to take place in military tribunals — clearly the proper venue for justice,” said Sekulow.
The suspected terrorists remain scheduled to be tried at the Expeditionary Legal Complex at Guantanamo Naval Station in Cuba, a facility designed for just such a proceeding.
Attorney General Eric Holder said that he believes the trials should be held in New York or Virginia, but that Congress imposed restrictions on where the trial could be held, taking the decision from his hands.
“Those restrictions are unlikely to be repealed in the immediate future,” the attorney-general said.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.