Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama Suspends Gitmo Prosecutions

If he was going to break one campaign promise, I would prefer it was this one.

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, Jan. 20 -- In one of its first actions, the Obama administration instructed military prosecutors late Tuesday to seek a 120-day suspension of legal proceedings involving detainees at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- a clear break with the approach of the outgoing Bush administration.

The instruction came in a motion filed with a military court in the case of five defendants accused of organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. The motion called for "a continuance of the proceedings" until May 20 so that "the newly inaugurated president and his administration [can] review the military commissions process, generally, and the cases currently pending before military commissions, specifically."

My concern is what they do with figures like KSM and the 20th hijacker, Mohamed al-Qhatani. The article notes:

The legal maneuver appears designed to provide the Obama administration time to refashion the prosecution system and potentially treat detainees as criminal defendants in federal court or have them face war-crimes charges in military courts-martial. It is also possible that the administration could re-form and relocate the military commissions before resuming trials.

You put KSM and al-Qhatani in the federal court system and the possibility exists that a judge will set them free. Indeed, the fruitcakes at the ACLU are essentially asking for that:

"This is a good step in the right direction, although we still think that the unconditional withdrawal of all charges and shutting down this tainted system is warranted," said Jamil Dakwar, director of the human rights program at the American Civil Liberties Union. "The president's order leaves open the option of this discredited system remaining in existence."

Some 9-11 family members are outraged:

"We demand that this camp stay open and that the process continue," said Joe Holland, whose son was among those killed during the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and on the Pentagon in Washington.

"Right here, right now, this is a good process, they are getting a fair trial," Mr. Holland told reporters at the U.S. facility in Cuba, referring to the military commissions established by the Bush administration to try "war on terror" detainees held at the facility.

Let me make this clear. I don't care about the process, as long as the outcome is satisfactory. If KSM or al-Qhatani end up walking, then I am going to be quite outraged.

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