On the day he took office, the Obama Administration put a stop on the commencement of any new military tribunal cases against terrorists. But like most of the President’s proposals, that was then…this is now. Now it it looks as if President Flip-flop are bringing those tribunals back
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to soon lift an order blocking the initiation of new cases against detainees, which he imposed on the day of President Obama’s inauguration. That would clear the way for tribunal officials, for the first time under the Obama administration, to initiate new charges against detainees.
Charges would probably then come within weeks against one or more detainees who have already been designated by the Justice Department for prosecution before a military commission, including Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi accused of planning the 2000 bombing of the American destroyer Cole in Yemen; Ahmed al-Darbi, a Saudi accused of plotting, in an operation that never came to fruition, to attack oil tankers in the Straits of Hormuz; and Obaydullah, an Afghan accused of concealing bombs.
Preparations for the tribunal trials — including the circulation of new draft regulations for conducting them — were described by several administration officials familiar with the discussions. A spokeswoman for the military commissions system declined to comment.
The Justice Department and Pentagon are already reviewing new draft regulations on how to run military commissions. The fact that they are first creating the regulations now is an indication of how surprising this change in policy is even to the people charged with executing it. They should have had an inkling, after all almost a year the WAPO reported that existing trials may be moved back into the military tribunal system.
The president’s advisers feel increasingly hemmed in by bipartisan opposition to a federal trial in New York and demands, mainly from Republicans, that Mohammed and his accused co-conspirators remain under military jurisdiction, officials said. While Obama has favored trying some terrorism suspects in civilian courts as a symbol of U.S. commitment to the rule of law, critics have said military tribunals are the appropriate venue for those accused of attacking the United States.
The first of the major terror trials that moved out of the military tribunal system turned out to be a major embarrisment for the Obama administration.
It is what everybody predicted would happen. When Attorney General
Stedman Graham er, Eric Holder announced that some of the Gitmo terrorist trials would be switched from military tribunals to civilian courts, people warned that key evidence would now be thrown out because it was obtained by enhanced interrogation techniques such as water boarding. That’s exactly what happened at the trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani whose trial was moved into the civilian system last year. The terrorist Ghailani was charged with 280 counts relating to the 1998 bombings of the United States Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya,which killed 224 people.
The witness who was banned from testifying, Hussein Abebe, says he sold TNT to Mr. Ghailani that was later used to blow up the United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Judge agreed that the government learned of Mr. Abebe through Mr. Ghailani’s interrogation when he was being held in an overseas jail run by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Because the key witness was not allowed to testify, Ghailani was cleared on all but one of the 280 Counts.
To the Daily Kos, MoveON, and George Soros it really doesn’t matter whether it will be new cases entering the tribunal system or existing trials moving back into the tribunal system, they are going to be upset.
Privately, administration officials are bracing for the ire of disappointed liberals and even some government lawyers should the administration back away from promises to use civilian courts to adjudicate the cases of some of the 188 detainees who remain at Guantanamo.
That’s the beauty of it all is that the President will continue to say any decisions on where to hold the trial will be Holder’s and Holder’s alone, its called ‘plausible deniability’ something our president has turned into an art form as his administration has changed its mind about moving the court system and location of these trials almost as often as they changed their underwear.