Entries Tagged as 'Eric Holder'

Criticizing Holder is Not Racist

December 20th, 2011 at 12:59 am 77 Comments

In a New York Times piece ostensibly characterizing Eric Holder’s Justice Department tenure as tenacity in the face of partisan beligerence, the US Attorney General gives opponents the equivalent of manna from Heaven: “This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him…both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.”

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The Gitmo Debate’s Biggest Loser

April 7th, 2011 at 8:56 am 6 Comments

U.S. President Barack Obama is being sniped at for his apparent flip-flop in now okaying military tribunals in Guantanamo instead of civilian trials in New York for certain detainees.

Instead, site Obama should be complimented for adjusting to reality.

Actually, since Republicans won command of the House of Representatives last November, the mood was overwhelmingly against civilian trials for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and four other hard line detainees. KSM is the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 attack on America.

Congress voted to refuse funding to transfer the defendants to the mainland, and Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder used this as an excuse to back off their insane desire for civilian trials.

An ungracious Holder accused Congress of taking “one of the nation’s most tested counter-terrorism tools off the table and tied our hands in a way that could have serious ramifications.”

Utter nonsense. What “serious ramifications” would these be?

New York police Commissioner Ray Kelly estimated it would cost $200 million a year to provide security for a civilian trial that could last years, and be more restrictive than a military trial.

This for the guy whose terror plan killed more Americans than the Japanese did at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Supposedly, KSM was waterboarded 183 times, during which he confessed everything the Americans wanted confessions for. The guy clearly is anxious for martyrdom, and a military trial may well grant his wishes.

That waterboarding statistic, if true, merely suggests that the “torture” isn’t that effective. More likely it’s an agreed statistic to enable KSM to confess without recriminations from his own people.

There’s irony, too, in the fact that the military trial will be held at Guantanamo Bay which Obama vowed during his election campaign to close as his first act if elected president.

In fact, Gitmo is a perfect place – both for the U.S. administration and for detainees. Security is assured, and life for detainees is a hell of a lot better than it would be in a maximum security prison on the U.S. mainland.

At Guantanamo detainees are well fed, live in a warm climate, have amble board games and perpetual access to lawyers, the Red Cross, human rights activists, with arrows painted on the floor point towards Mecca to help them pray in the right direction. When interrogated, they sit in an armchair.

None of the above would be so available in a federal prison.

Obama sometimes seems like he’s just trying to survive in a job that’s over his head. Holder is a different matter. He’s the one who wanted KSM and others tried in New York and even convened a grand jury to review the evidence – with the indictment again kept secret under seal. Curious.

That was in late 2009. Yet nothing happened. Then the Democrats lost the House in the 2010 mid-term elections, and things changed. A close call.

Obama also erred over Libya. He was shrewd, even wise, to delay decision until the European Union, Britain and the Arab League demanded action and inherited responsibility for the Libyan “no fly zone.”

Pity Obama had to say that air attacks weren’t aimed at regime change, and that America’s only goal was to save Libyan lives. More nonsense. Why, some wondered, are Libyan lives worth saving but not lives in Ivory Coast, Yemen, Syria, Iran et. al. are not?

Holder Will Be Held Accountable

November 19th, 2009 at 5:02 pm 101 Comments

On Wednesday November 18, Attorney General Eric Holder defended the administration’s decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other 9/11 plotters in U.S. criminal courts.  Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder was asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham if Osama bin Laden would be entitled to a Miranda warning.  Holder responded that the answer would “depend” on the circumstances.  At the heart of Sen. Graham’s questioning was a distinction between whether captured terrorists will be afforded the criminal protections granted to others tried in criminal courts (a law enforcement model) or not (a law-of-war model).

Sen. Graham’s focus and conclusion in this line of questioning are clearly right.  While the Miranda issue isn’t as clear as he suggests, the choice of a law-of-war model or a law enforcement model is the key issue, and there he’s right.  We live in a post-9/11 world and should act accordingly.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is not some Bond villain, an errant super-criminal finally put behind bars. He led an organized network of foreigners abroad who were at war with us long before KSM’s actions pushed us into war with them.  For those foreign terrorists, as opposed to their home-grown financiers or fellow travelers, our criminal justice system is ill-fitted.  It is both too much, in the scope of rights and platform for mischief it provides, and too little, in its incapacity to address the overseas intelligence and military issues that arise.  The trials of the World Trade Center bombers and of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called twentieth hijacker, proved how incapable our justice system is at efficiently prosecuting terrorists while safeguarding information necessary to our own war efforts.  And, the Obama administration’s rationale for providing a jury trial for the worst war criminals, while reserving to the military commissions lesser al-Qaeda members, is impossible to discern or defend.

The administration’s choice also undermines our criminal justice system.  Already, the President has publicly stated that KSM is guilty and should be put to death; Department of Justice officials have indicated that he would be held as an enemy combatant if acquitted or prematurely released; and the AG and others have said that the choice between the systems depends on the strength of the evidence at hand.  This is the language of show trial, and demeans and politicizes our criminal justice system.  As Sen. Webb observed, KSM doesn’t belong in our country, our courts, or our prisons.