In what can only be described as a gross miscarriage of justice, Guantanamo detainee Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was acquitted yesterday on all but one of 285 counts in connection with the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The man who played a key logistical role in the preparations for attacks that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans and wounded thousands of others now faces a minimum of 20 years, but according to Ed Morrissey, a big chunk of his sentence will be reduced by time already served..
The administration is left with three choices in regards to Ghailani: announce that they will release him at the appointed date whenever his sentence ends, announce that they will hold him indefinitely without regard to the court’s ruling on the matter while referring the case back to a military commission despite his acquittals, or refuse to state which they will do and hope the issue falls to the next administration. The first will mean that the US will knowingly release a master al-Qaeda terrorist with more than two hundred murders under his belt; the second will mean that the trial they staged was nothing but a sham. And the third will be a cowardly dodge.
Morrissey left out the fourth choice…act pleased with the result because the one guilty verdict is all they needed to put Ghailni away for life, and blame Bush, (not the fact that the case was ill-suited to civilian courts), for the non-guilty verdicts:
A senior administration official told Jake tapper:
“He was convicted by a jury of a count which carries a 20-year minimum sentence,” the official says. “He will very likely be sentenced to something closer to life. (The judge can, and very likely will, take into account things that the jury did not, and he can and will consider conduct that the jury found him not guilty of — e.g., murder). He will never be paroled (there is no parole in the federal system). There are very few federal crimes that carry a mandatory MINIMUM of 20 years. What that means is that he was convicted of a crime that is a very big deal.”
“So, we tried a guy (who the Bush Admin tortured and then held at GTMO for 4-plus years with no end game whatsoever) in a federal court before a NY jury with full transparency and international legitimacy and — despite all of the legacy problems of the case (i.e., evidence getting thrown out because of Bush-Admin torture, etc,) we were STILL able to convict him and INCAPACITATE him for essentially the rest of his natural life, AND there was not one — not one — security problem associated with the trial.”
Thomas Joscelyn at The Weekly Standard thinks they’re putting lipstick on a pig:
It is difficult to square the DOJ’s rhetoric with the carnage that was unleashed in Africa more than a decade ago. The man who helped murder more than 200 civilians was acquitted of their murders even though he is obviously guilty.
No one should be “pleased” with that verdict, even if Ghailani will likely serve many years in prison.
Doug Powers put it this way:
The Obama Justice Department said they were “pleased” with the outcome, but in baseball terminology, they barely avoided being no-hit because they got a bloop single. If they’re “pleased” about anything it’s that they didn’t end up looking like total asses.
Here is what anonymous administration officials say:
But senior officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private discussions, conceded that the one-count conviction, combined with big electoral wins for Republicans this month, will make it harder to close the prison.
The administration had hoped for an overwhelming conviction to help ease congressional opposition to Obama’s long-stymied plan for moving the detainees to U.S. soil. The administration must notify Congress before any transfer, and Republicans have said they would block such efforts.
“They couldn’t come close to getting that done when the Democrats were in charge,” said Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican who is expected to be the next chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “There’s no way they’re going to get it now that Republicans are in charge.”
Jennifer Rubin cuts through the crap as only she can:
…what in the world was the bomber doing in an Article III courtroom? He was, quite bluntly, part of a stunt by the Obama administration, which had vilified Bush administration lawyers for failing to accord terrorists the full panoply of constitutional rights available to American citizens who are arrested by police officers and held pursuant to constitutional requirements.
Once again, the Obama team has revealed itself to be entirely incompetent and has proved, maybe even to themselves, the obvious: the Bush administration had it right. And in fact, maybe we should do away with both civilian trials and military tribunals and just hold these killers until hostilities end. You know, like they do in wars.
And Ed Morrissey has had it. He wants Holder to go:
A less arrogant — and less ideological — Attorney General would have heeded Congress’ warnings and reconsidered the wisdom of the idea of shoehorning foreign-captured war criminals into venues where they have never been adjudicated before now. And a less arrogant administration would have not defied the will of Congress, which three times set up military commission processes for these very cases, and for the very reasons that the DoJ spectacularly failed this week.
There could be no greater failure by the DoJ in this war on terror than to get these decisions wrong, especially in light of the avalanche of criticism over those decisions and the administration’s reaction to it. Holder should hand in his resignation before he makes the same mistake with the other terrorists our military and intelligence assets risked their lives to keep off the battlefield forever. His continued presence insults their work, insults Congress, and insults our desire for justice for 9/11, the USS Cole bombing, the two embassy bombings, and the other terrorist attacks and plots we’ve managed to stop through a forward strategy on the war on terror. If a resignation is not forthcoming, the Senate and House Judiciary committees should start hearings to determine why Holder remains in this position.
The problem of course, is that Holder is only a reflection of the arrogant, and leftist ideologue who appointed him. Sure, it would be nice if he were gone, but why would we imagine that Obama would replace him with anyone better?
iOWNTHEWORLD: TO ALL PROGRESSIVE MORONS REPORTING THE GHAILANI TRIAL AS A SUCCESS
Melissa Clouthier shares her thoughts on the trial at Liberty Pundits:
And really, blaming the Bush Administration was the point of the show trial, and certainly a trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, to begin with. So righteously outraged by torture, they were going to humiliate the former President and his administration by trying, and losing the suits, of hideously evil terrorists who really deserve to be dead. Yesterday.
Americans don’t care about international legitimacy and they don’t care that an evil guy such as KSM or this Ghailani were thoroughly interrogated. They DO care that America looks weak and pathetic on the world stage. They do care that a man responsible for killing our citizens will not pay with his own life.