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Thread: And the First Terror Trial of the New Era is Over

  1. #1
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    And the First Terror Trial of the New Era is Over

    Gitmo Detainee Cleared of All but One Charge

    FOXNews.com/AP

    Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Ahmed Ghailani was found not guilty on all but one charge Wednesday by a civilian jury in New York, in a case with ramifications for President Obama's policy toward Guantanamo and civilian trials for terror suspects.

    Ghailani was acquitted in federal court on more than 280 charges in connection with the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, including one murder count for each of the 224 people killed. He was found guilty for only one charge, conspiracy to destroy government buildings.

    Ghailani faces a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a possible life sentence. He will remain in custody and sentencing will take place on Jan. 25, 2011.

    The acquittal is seen as a major blow to the U.S. government, as Ghailani was the first former Gitmo detainee to be tried in a civilian courtroom. The case had been viewed as a possible test case for President Barack Obama administration's aim of putting other terror detainees -- including self-professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- on trial on U.S. soil.

    The anonymous federal jury deliberated over seven days, with a juror writing a note to the judge saying she felt threatened by other jurors.

    Prosecutors had branded Ghailani a cold-blooded terrorist. The defense portrayed him as a clueless errand boy, exploited by senior Al Qaeda operatives and framed by evidence from contaminated crime scenes.

    The judge had earlier decided that a star witness would not be allowed to testify because the witness was identified while Ghailani was held at a secret CIA camp that used harsh interrogation techniques. It is unknown what effect this witness would have had on the case.

    Prosecutors had alleged Ghailani helped an Al Qaeda cell buy a truck and components for explosives used in a suicide bombing in his native Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998. The attack in Dar es Salaam and a nearly simultaneous bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.

    The day before the bombings, Ghailani boarded a one-way flight to Pakistan under an alias, prosecutors said. While on the run, he spent time in Afghanistan as a cook and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden and later as a document forger for Al Qaeda, authorities said.

    He was captured in 2004 in Pakistan and held by the CIA at a secret overseas camp. In 2006, he was transferred to Guantanamo and held until the decision last year to bring him to New York.

    Despite losing its key witness, the government was given broad latitude to reference Al Qaeda and bin Laden. It did -- again and again.

    "This is Ahmed Ghailani. This is Al Qaeda. This is a terrorist. This is a killer," Assistant U.S. Attorney Harry Chernoff said in closing arguments.

    The jury heard a former Al Qaeda member who has cooperated with the government describe how bin Laden took the group in a more radical direction with a 1998 fatwa, or religious edict, against Americans.

    Bin Laden accused the United States of killing innocent women and children in the Middle East and decided "we should do the same," L'Houssaine Kherchtou said on the witness stand.

    A prosecutor read aloud the fatwa, which called on Muslims to rise up and "kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they can find it."

    Other witnesses described how Ghailani bought gas tanks used in the truck bomb with cash supplied by the terror group, how the FBI found a blasting cap stashed in his room at a cell hideout and how he lied to family members about his escape, telling them he was going to Yemen to start a new life.

    The defense never contested that Ghailani knew some of the plotters. But it claimed he was in the dark about their sinister intentions.

    "Call him a fall guy. Call him a pawn," lawyer Peter Quijano said in his closing argument. "But don't call him guilty."

    Quijano argued the investigation in Africa was too chaotic to produce reliable evidence. He said local authorities and the FBI "trampled all over" unsecured crime scenes during searches in Tanzania

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.
    279 Aquittals.

    1 Guilty Verdict for conspiracy to destroy Govt. Property.

    20 years to Life Sentence.

    Win for us? Loss for us? Good sign? Bad sign?

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Bad sign, I think. 280 charges against and they only got him on one? I hope he gets life or dies in prison because when he gets out, he's going to be pissed off.

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    everyone deserves a fair trial... regardless of who they are and what they've been accused of... it's a cornerstone of modern society.

    We try to be an example to the world, holding people in Gitmo for years without due process is not a good example. torturing them in unlisted CIA detention centers is not a good example.

    it should also be noted that finding someone guilty on 0, 1 or 280 counts of whatever doesn't actually bring back dead people.

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    20 years to life on the one count.

    The Judge threw out testimony that was aquired through torture. Its not a given that testimony would have been allowed in a Military court and without that you probably have a similiar result.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauliec View Post
    Bad sign, I think. 280 charges against and they only got him on one? I hope he gets life or dies in prison because when he gets out, he's going to be pissed off.
    Trials are a very risky thing, it doesn't matter what you believe (big problem with the public and terrorism), proving a crime beyone a reasonable doubt is not an easy thing.

    Getting found guilty of 20 years to life is not a bad thing.

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    it should also be noted this was somewhat of a show-trial... even if the jury acquits this man on all charges, the Obama administration would have continued to imprison him under war-time rules.

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    I think the main point here is that this man was being detained as an enemy combatant and furthermore is not an American citizen. Therefore he should not enjoy the rights that are afforded an American citizen when it comes to the legal process. Sorry, but that's just not fair to the citizenry of this country. Now, that is not to say that he shouldn't be afforded some form of trial, but treating him as a civilian citizen is a slap in the face to the people of this country.

    As to the comment regarding "bringing back the dead"; "Without justice, courage is weak" - Poor Richard's Almanack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti View Post
    it should also be noted this was somewhat of a show-trial... even if the jury acquits this man on all charges, the Obama administration would have continued to imprison him under war-time rules.
    Really? I thought this was a bell-weather case for civilian trying of terrorism suspects that would aid in the President's objective of getting Gitmo closed down. Care to enlighten me further?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetworks View Post
    I think the main point here is that this man was being detained as an enemy combatant and furthermore is not an American citizen. Therefore he should not enjoy the rights that are afforded an American citizen when it comes to the legal process. Sorry, but that's just not fair to the citizenry of this country. Now, that is not to say that he shouldn't be afforded some form of trial, but treating him as a civilian citizen is a slap in the face to the people of this country.

    As to the comment regarding "bringing back the dead"; "Without justice, courage is weak" - Poor Richard's Almanack.
    You are aware non-citizens are being charged and tried within the U.S. On a daily basis.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetworks View Post
    I think the main point here is that this man was being detained as an enemy combatant and furthermore is not an American citizen. Therefore he should not enjoy the rights that are afforded an American citizen when it comes to the legal process. Sorry, but that's just not fair to the citizenry of this country. Now, that is not to say that he shouldn't be afforded some form of trial, but treating him as a civilian citizen is a slap in the face to the people of this country.

    As to the comment regarding "bringing back the dead"; "Without justice, courage is weak" - Poor Richard's Almanack.
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Americans are created equal, that they are endowed by their Constitution with certain unalienable Rights available to those who hold a valid state-issued ID.

    Indeed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetworks View Post
    Really? I thought this was a bell-weather case for civilian trying of terrorism suspects that would aid in the President's objective of getting Gitmo closed down. Care to enlighten me further?
    it should be noted that while gitmo isn't closed, it is significantly reduced... over 700 inmates have passed through, now they are at 170... finding a place for these people is hard.

    here's why this was a show trial


    But even had he been acquitted on all counts, the Obama administration had made clear that it would simply continue to imprison him anyway under what it claims is the President's "post-acquittal detention power" -- i.e., when an accused Terrorist is wholly acquitted in court, he can still be imprisoned indefinitely by the U.S. Government under the "law of war" even when the factual bases for the claim that he's an "enemy combatant" (i.e. that he blew up the two embassies) are the same ones underlying the crimes for which he was fully acquitted after a full trial. When he banned the testimony of the key witness, Judge Kaplan, somewhat cravenly, alluded to and implicitly endorsed this extraordinary detention theory as a means of assuring the public he had done nothing to endanger them with his ruling (emphasis added):

    [Ghailani's] status as an "enemy combatant" probably would permit his detention as something akin to a prisoner of war until hostilities between the United States and Al Qaeda and the Taliban end even if he were found not guilty in this case.

    from Glenn Greenwald

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    [QUOTE=bitonti;3823670]it should also be noted this was somewhat of a show-trial... even if the jury acquits this man on all charges, the Obama administration would have continued to imprison him with a palatial residence, Halal food, and 35 virgins

    ^^^ Obama justice for Muslims and Black Panthers ^^^^

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetworks View Post
    I think the main point here is that this man was being detained as an enemy combatant and furthermore is not an American citizen. Therefore he should not enjoy the rights that are afforded an American citizen when it comes to the legal process. Sorry, but that's just not fair to the citizenry of this country. Now, that is not to say that he shouldn't be afforded some form of trial, but treating him as a civilian citizen is a slap in the face to the people of this country.

    As to the comment regarding "bringing back the dead"; "Without justice, courage is weak" - Poor Richard's Almanack.
    Are you actually implying that only US citizens are entitled to Constitutional rights when brought up on charges in the United States?

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    [QUOTE=acepepe;3823819]
    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti View Post
    it should also be noted this was somewhat of a show-trial... even if the jury acquits this man on all charges, the Obama administration would have continued to imprison him with a palatial residence, Halal food, and 35 virgins

    ^^^ Obama justice for Muslims and Black Panthers ^^^^
    fiction can be fun

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    Quote Originally Posted by Winstonbiggs View Post
    Are you actually implying that only US citizens are entitled to Constitutional rights when brought up on charges in the United States?
    Maybe Gonzalez and Yoo taught him?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti View Post
    it should also be noted this was somewhat of a show-trial... even if the jury acquits this man on all charges, the Obama administration would have continued to imprison him under war-time rules.
    History gives us at least one analogous example:

    At the end of the Second World War, the allied powers got around the 1929 Geneva Convention regarding the treatment of German POW's by simply declaring the Wehrmacht (including its attached Waffen SS branch) as disbanded, depriving its members of their rights and absolving the allies from regulations on treatment and conditions.

    Waffen SS soldiers from junior enlisted to senior officers were often imprisoned indefinitely as a result by the allies, even as the Wehrmacht prisoners were increasingly released after about 1-3 years in captivity (Soviet treatment and imprisonment was much more brutal: 1/3 of all German POW's died in captivity and most were released between 1948-55).

    When the allies in the Nuremburg and Dachau trials declared the General SS (the Nazi party organ responsible for domestic security and the administration of the concentration camp system and the ethnic cleansing operations of the Einsatzgruppen) as an illegal organization, it included the Waffen SS, the military branch which had pioneered many of the operational tactics and training used to fight the Soviets that the allies keenly sought to learn with the onset of the Cold War.

    Since the Waffen SS was under the command of the Wehrmacht and included conscripted as well as volunteer units, a lot of controversy was created in the aftermath as the new West German government refused to issue pensions for about a decade for veterans. The issue was even more complicated for the allies as many of the individuals resisting the Soviet occupation in the east were former members of the various ethnic and nationally based Waffen SS divisions constituted during the war to fight the Soviets.

    The legal quandary was exacerbated by the fact that the German General Staff was declared not criminally compliant during the Nazi regime. How could the Waffen SS, subject to orders from the staff be declared illegal when the staff had prosecuted a war against "humanity"?

    The legal quandary was resolved when the allies created legal distinctions between Waffen SS veterans along ethnic and national lines, and finally reduced the distinction between individuals who had been convicted of war crimes. Under these criteria, the West German government granted pension rights to about 95-98% of veteran claimants. Arrangements for West European veterans to receive pensions were resisted by their national governments as they were seen as "collaborators". Eastern Europeans were obviously precluded with the Iron Curtain.

    Politically, if there's a will, there's a political way.
    Last edited by Equilibrium; 11-18-2010 at 06:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cr726 View Post
    You are aware non-citizens are being charged and tried within the U.S. On a daily basis.
    No, I wasn't aware of that. I am aware that non-citizens are charged all the time, and that unless there is an extradition agreement in place, non-citizens and illegal immigrants are usually deported (which is a matter of administrative law, not criminal). The cost to try, convict and imprison just doesn't make much sense. Of course, there are exceptions, mostly due to nature of the crimes, politics etc. What's your point as it relates to a terrorist and his coordinating of the attacks against our embassies?

    Quote Originally Posted by PlumberKhan View Post
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Americans are created equal, that they are endowed by their Constitution with certain unalienable Rights available to those who hold a valid state-issued ID.

    Indeed.
    Good one. What does the Declaration of Independence have to do with how you prosecute someone, though?

    Quote Originally Posted by Winstonbiggs View Post
    Are you actually implying that only US citizens are entitled to Constitutional rights when brought up on charges in the United States?
    Winston, I said I felt he wasn't entitled to a civilian trial as he is an enemy combatant and furthermore not a US citizen. I thought my post was pretty clear on that, although now I can see how you might have inferred otherwise. The fact that this person is being held as a enemy combatant and is also a non-citizen certainly changes the way he is treated by the State.

    Quote Originally Posted by cr726 View Post
    Maybe Gonzalez and Yoo taught him?
    Too cute, CR. God forbid you keep a topic civil and non-politicized.

    Quote Originally Posted by bitonti View Post
    it should be noted that while gitmo isn't closed, it is significantly reduced... over 700 inmates have passed through, now they are at 170... finding a place for these people is hard.

    here's why this was a show trial
    Thanks for the quote, Bit. Like I was saying, this POS is an enemy combatant, so why even go through the motions of this trial? It was a waste of money and resources, failed epically in it's scope, and likely served to further reduce the perception of the American public that "the system works", while galvanizing the opposite in the minds of those who would seek to do us harm.

    I stand by my belief that this case, if much more successful, would have served as an indicator that the current administration could have pointed to in aiding the closing of Gitmo. Why else do it? What were you trying to 'show' with this trial if not that the civilian process can work for terrorists, a linchpin this administration as been looking to acquire for quite a long time.
    Last edited by Jetworks; 11-19-2010 at 09:23 AM.

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    I'd like to see an interview with the lone holdout on the jury: her thoughts, political affiliations, etc.

    I'm sure there would be no surprises.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetworks View Post
    No, I wasn't aware of that. I am aware that non-citizens are charged all the time, and that unless there is an extradition agreement in place, non-citizens and illegal immigrants are usually deported (which is a matter of administrative law, not criminal). The cost to try, convict and imprison just doesn't make much sense. Of course, there are exceptions, mostly due to nature of the crimes, politics etc. What's your point as it relates to a terrorist and his coordinating of the attacks against our embassies?




    Winston, I said I felt he wasn't entitled to a civilian trial as he is an enemy combatant and furthermore not a US citizen. I thought my post was pretty clear on that, although now I can see how you might have inferred otherwise. The fact that this person is being held as a enemy combatant and is also a non-citizen certainly changes the way he is treated by the State.


    We have a right to try him in a military tribunal because he is a combatant or at least classified that way.

    The Constitution makes an exception for combatants.

    The none citizen is a none factor. The Bill of rights in article 7 doesn't say no Citizen it clearly says no person. He can be tried by military tribunal because the Constitution provides for it.

    except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger shall be held
    None citizens in the US are entitled to the same right to trial as any citizen when accused of a crime. Of course we can deport them instead of putting them in jail without accusing them of a crime.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetworks View Post
    Like I was saying, this POS is an enemy combatant, so why even go through the motions of this trial?
    the legality is shady.

    Did the USA formally declare war? (NO). if they did, who did they declare it on (Terror?) What army does this enemy belong to? what flag does he fight under?

    W bush played fast and loose with the laws of war, which were established over 500 years ago for a good reason.

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