The post title – Time for Holder to go – says it all, but make sure to read the whole thing. He expresses what a lot of us are feeling this morning in light of the civialian trial of Gitmo detainee and admitted terrorist Ahmed Ghailani, in which the verdict was announced yesterday. Via the WaPo:
The first former Guantanamo Bay detainee to be tried in federal criminal court was found guilty on a single conspiracy charge Wednesday but cleared on 284 other counts. The outcome, a surprise, seriously undermines – and could doom – the Obama administration’s plans to put other Guantanamo detainees on trial in U.S. civilian courts.
After deliberating for five days, a jury of six men and six women found Ahmed Ghailani, 36, guilty of conspiracy to damage or destroy U.S. property but acquitted him of multiple murder and attempted-murder charges for his role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa.
The Obama administration had hoped that a conviction on most, if not all, of the charges would help clear the way for federal prosecutions of other Guantanamo detainees – including Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators accused of organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The administration did not want to rely exclusively on the military commissions that the George W. Bush administration had made a centerpiece of its detention policy.
President Obama’s strategy, however, has run into fierce, cross-party opposition in Congress and New York, in part because of concerns that it would be harder to win convictions in civilian court.
The failure to convict Ghailani, a native of Tanzania, on the most serious terrorism charges will bolster the arguments of those who say the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should be kept open, both to host military commissions for some prisoners and to hold others indefinitely and without trial under the laws of war.
“You deserve a lot of credit,” U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan told the jurors after the verdicts were announced. “You have demonstrated also that American justice can be delivered calmly, deliberately and fairly, by ordinary people – people who are not beholden to any government, including this one.”
WTH? This is maddening.
I wrote a Cliffs Notes version of a response to the verdict on Twitter last night, which I’ll repost here. Because each post can only contain 140 characters, I had to get creative with spellings:
Thnk God GWB was prez for 8 yrs rather than 4, bc we know John F. Kerry wlda treated terrorism as law enforcement issue like BO does now
How’s that “system” workin’ out for ya, Mr. Prez? #NotSoGood
The “BO Way” of dispensing justice to terrorists is the “BS Way” – this prez wants to try terrorists in civilian courts to show that …
US justice system is fair, but this is a sham bc Holder has already said that, guilty or not, the likes of KSM wld be held indefinitely
This admin is abt symbolism over substance, & “soft diplomacy” over strength. It’s way of “doing biz” that is unbefitting of a prez ..
…at any time, but especially during WARTIME. We need REAL leadership, not hand-holding and footsie-playing. Thank you.
Eric “Hold ’em” Holder has lots of legal cards he can play, but sadly, neither he nor his boss R playin’ w/a full deck #KnowWhatIMean?
I’d write more, but I have a full plate today so this will have to do. Ed’s post is far more detailed, and far more scathing. Make sure to read the whole thing.
Also, make sure to read a post my co-blogger wrote about this case a little over a month ago and how the administration more or less tried to convince the American people that the verdict would be a slam dunk for the DOJ.
Phineas jumps in: ST’s ably covered this mess (and thanks for the link, boss!), but I thought I’d provide a link to a post I wrote this morning in light of the Ghailani verdicts, one with a simple message: Impeach Eric Holder.
UPDATE (Phineas): From Big Peace, “They came within a hair’s breadth of losing the case entirely.”