Jim Kouri
Holder backs down on trials for terrorists at Gitmo
By Jim Kouri
April 5, 2011

On the same day that President Barack Obama officially announced his intention to seek re-election in 2012, his Attorney General, Eric Holder, on Monday held a brief press conference at which he announced that the terrorism cases involving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo Bay detainees accused of conspiring to commit the September 11, 2001 terror attacks have been referred to the U.S. Defense Department's Judge Advocate General in order to proceed with the military commissions.

As a result, the federal indictment against the five suspects, that was returned under seal by a grand jury in the Southern District of New York on December 14, 2009, was unsealed and dismissed.

"As the indictment unsealed today reveals, we were prepared to bring a powerful case against the 9/11 defendants in federal court, and had this case proceeded as planned, I'm confident our justice system would have performed with the same distinction that has been its hallmark for more than two hundred years," said Attorney General Eric Holder during his televised announcement.

"Unfortunately, Members of Congress have intervened and imposed restrictions blocking the administration from bringing any Guantanamo detainees to trial in the United States. While we will continue to seek to repeal those restrictions, we cannot allow a trial to be further delayed for the victims of the 9/11 attacks or their families. I have full faith and confidence in the reformed military commission system to appropriately handle this case as it proceeds," said Holder.

"This is a perfect example of why more and more Americans are dissatisfied with the Obama administration. Even when Obama and Holder cave in to the demands of a majority of Americans, the families of those killed on 9-11, and counterterrorism experts, they must blame someone. They either blame members of Congress — mostly Republicans — or the Tea Party members or other entity," said former Marine intelligence officer and NYPD detective, Sid Franes.

"They attempted to ram civilian trials for KSM and his cohorts down the throats of Americans the same way they rammed Obamacare down our throats," said Franes.

A Department of Justice statement said that Attorney General Holder, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, determined that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Bin Attash, Ramzi Bin Al-Shibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Al-Hawsawi are eligible for military commission charges and referred their cases to the Defense Department.

Earlier on Monday, federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York and the Eastern District of Virginia unsealed and moved to dismiss the indictment returned in federal court in Manhattan that charged these defendants for their roles in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that damaged or destroyed four commercial aircraft in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania; the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and surrounding property in New York; and the Pentagon in Virginia, resulting in the deaths of 2,976 persons.

A federal judge today granted the motion to dismiss the indictment.

The federal indictment specifically alleged that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was closely associated with Osama Bin Laden and, who in 1999 proposed to Bin Laden a terror plot that would use airplanes as missiles to crash into buildings, served as the operational leader of the September 11, 2001 terror plot.

The federal indictment also alleged that:

Walid Bin Attash participated in the plot, by among other things collecting information on matters related to airport and airplane security measures, according to the indictment.

Ramzi Bin Al-Shibh tried to become one of the pilot hijackers, but repeatedly failed to obtain a visa for entry into the United States and instead managed the plot by among other things sending money to hijackers in the United States from abroad.

Ali Abdul Aziz Ali facilitated the plot by among other things sending money to hijackers in the United States from abroad.

Mustafa Al-Hawsawi facilitated the plot by among other things helping hijackers travel to the United States and facilitating their efforts upon arrival.

While the Democrat Party's far-left members blasted Obama and Holder's decision, the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations slammed the President and his administration for not allowing the terror suspects access to the civilian justice system.

The military commission system was substantially reformed by the Military Commissions Act of 2009, which the administration worked with Congress to enact, as well as the 2010 revised Manual for Military Commissions.

What most Americans do not know is that Eric Holder may have personal reasons for wanting to prosecute foreign terrorists — some of whom were captured on the battlefield in foreign countries — in the U.S. federal court system. When asked about his motives for not allowing the military justice system to try Gitmo detainees, Holder and his supporters blame President George W. Bush's failure to try Gitmo terrorists in the so-called military tribunals.

However, the real reason there were so few military trials was that lawyers were continuously working to derail the military courts martial by challenging them in the civilian courts. And far too many of those lawyers are now working for Holder at the Justice Department.

In fact, during the Bush Administration, Holder's law firm, Covington & Burling, provided pro-bono services for about 20 of the enemy combatants held at Gitmo. In lawsuits Holder and his firm brought against the American people, Covington contributed more than 3,000 hours of free, top-flight legal assistance to these violent terrorists.

"From a political standpoint, Holder reserves his vitriol and passionate opposition for US intelligence officers and those law enforcement leaders who fight terrorists, or police commanders who are tough on criminal aliens," said Mike Baker.

© Jim Kouri


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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)


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