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Archive for January 31st, 2010

Column: Terrorists in Civilian or Military Court? Some Are Missing the Point

Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — There’s been a lot of screaming and finger pointing lately here in Washington about charging the underwear bomber and the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court rather than a military one.

The complaints go something like this: We’re being too soft on terrorism. We’re giving up too much. We’re losing valuable intelligence. These people don’t deserve the same rights as Americans.  They should be charged in military courts. Period!

You can’t be totally dismissive of these opinions. But people are missing the point.

This isn’t about bending over backwards to be fair to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It’s not about the underwear man. Frankly, it’s  hard to care about either one.

But it is about us as a nation that prides itself on following laws, of due process, of trying to be transparent for the world to see that justice can be achieved in a fair way. A civilian court seems to be the best way to show the world transparency and the American justice system.

We did it with the shoe bomber Richard Reid , we did it with the supposed 20th 9/11 hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui during the Bush years. It worked.

Even in Iraq, a public trial was held for mass murderer Sadaam Hussein. The Americans or the Iraqis certainly could have justified putting a bullet in his head right as he popped his head out of the crawl space. Few would have complained or cared.

But a public  trial was held and a just ending resulted. There was something gratifying to see justice work. Don’t we deserve at least the same kind of justice we’ve paid so dearly for to try and have in Iraq?

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Calif. ATF Opens New Office in Imperial City to Help Combat Gun Trafficking to Mexico

govt photo

govt photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Los Angeles  has opened a new office in Imperial, Calif.,  to focus on Project Gunrunner, which targets illegal trafficking of arms to Mexico.

The ATF said the office, located  in the Southern California desert,  will include special agents, industry operations investigators and an intelligence research specialist.

“With the opening of our new office and the additional personnel assigned, ATF is significantly increasing its presence in the Imperial Valley,” Special Agent in Charge John A. Torres said in a statement. “We see ourselves as being part of this community and encourage the public to join us in a combined effort to rid our neighborhoods of gun traffickers and violent criminals.”

Column: Ex-CIA Chief Michael Hayden Says Govt. Got it Wrong With Detroit Bomber

Hayden was the CIA Director from 2006 to 2009.

Michael Hayden/gov photo

Michael Hayden/gov photo

By Michael V. Hayden
Washington Post Op-Ed Page

In the war on terrorism, this country faces an enemy whose theory of warfare ends the hard-won distinction in modern thought between combatant and noncombatant.

In doing that for which we have created government — ensuring life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — how can we be adequately aggressive to ensure the first value, without unduly threatening the other two? This is hard. And people don’t have to be lazy or stupid to get it wrong.

We got it wrong in Detroit on Christmas Day. We allowed an enemy combatant the protections of our Constitution before we had adequately interrogated him. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is not “an isolated extremist.” He is the tip of the spear of a complex al-Qaeda plot to kill Americans in our homeland.

To Read more click here.