The US Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday gave final approval to a defense spending bill that includes a provision preventing Guantanamo Bay detainees from being transferred to the US for trial. The legislation would block Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other accused 9/11 conspirators from being tried in a US civilian court. The bill was approved by the House last week, prompting US Attorney General Eric Holder to send a letter (pdf) to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them not to include the provision in the spending bill. If signed into law, the ban will remain in place until September 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Also this week, reports have indicated that the Obama administration is considering implementing a periodic review process for detainees being held indefinitely at Guantanamo.
In the first civilian trial of an ex-Guantanamo detainee, a federal jury convicted Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani last month on only one of 285 counts of conspiracy, murder and attempted murder for his involvement in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. While the Obama administration viewed the conviction and 20-year minimum sentence as a victory, opponents have cited the acquittals as evidence that civilian courts are inadequate venues for trying terror suspects. Several scholars have nevertheless maintained that federal courts are capable of serving justice. Upon taking office, President Barack Obama pledged to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay by January 2010, but he has been met with strong congressional opposition to transferring detainees to US soil.Even Eric Holder knows that provision is bullshit on a stick. Prisoners deserve due process, instead of that fucking kangaroo court known as the military tribunals. Another good read on Gitmo is this piece at ProPublica which questions a federal court ruling and how one judge's opinion was whitewashed so as to weaken the judge's argument. From ProPublica:
Legal scholars and classification experts said the drafting of a second opinion was a deception. All previous opinions in Guantánamo habeas cases have noted when material has been blacked out or removed to protect security.
Stephen Gillers, who teaches legal ethics at New York University School of Law, said Kennedy may well have had a legitimate concern about "national security issues."
"But that concern then inspired him to participate in the creation of a parallel universe that fools everyone except a small circle of judges. We don't allow the justice system to create false impressions," Gillers said.
ProPublica obtained the original version of Kennedy's opinion when it appeared briefly in the court record and conducted a line-by-line comparison with what was published five weeks later. That comparison, highlighting information that was removed, can be found here.The Obama administration ain't a whole lot different that Bush's when it comes to Gitmo detainees and blaming everything on National Security or those damn terrorists.