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Obama’s Turnaround: Military Courts not Federal Courts for 9/11 co-plotters.

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Official portrait of United States Attorney Ge...

Eric Holder

In an about-face on the day President Barack Obama announced his reelection bid, a U.S. official said Monday that Attorney General Eric Holder will order military trials at Guantánamo for confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other alleged co-plotters now held there for the mass murder of thousands on Sept. 11, 2001.

Holder had sought to try the five men in civilian court in Manhattan, a move that produced an outcry from politicians and some 9/11 families who feared that the alleged al Qaeda insiders would turn the case into a forum for promoting their cause.
In announcing the change, Holder made clear that he was reversing course only because Congress had passed legislation that made it difficult to hold civilian trials in the case and that he never doubted that civilian trials would have resulted in convictions.
It was a huge about-face by Obama, a former constitutional law professor.

“I am disappointed with the decision not to prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a federal court,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. ” I believe that our justice system, which is the envy of the world, is more than capable of trying high-profile terrorism and national security cases. Federal courts have convicted hundreds of terrorists. The record in military commissions pales in comparison, with only a handful of convictions, and the ground rules still in flux.”
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I have to agree with Senator Leahy… it looks like Obama has once again pulled in with conservatives who were pushing for the military courts instead of standing up for his 2008 campaign promises. Boy, I wish he’d quit doing that.

Obama seems well on his way to closing Guantanamo as promised…

…the Congress has passed sufficient legislation to bring prisoners here and NOT release them into the general public. The Supreme Court is apparently the next hurdle. This from Salon’s War Room:
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Senate approves move of Guantanamo detainees to U.S.

The Senate voted Tuesday in favor of a measure, already approved by the House, that allows the administration to continue transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the U.S. for trial. President Obama is expected to sign the bill.

There is one big restriction included in the legislation: The detainees may not allowed to be brought to the U.S. if it the transfer is done for the purpose of releasing them. Despite warnings from people who oppose the idea of closing the detention facility at Guantanamo, the administration is also against the concept of releasing former detainees here.

Congress may not have the last word on this, however. Also on Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that will ask the justices to decide whether detainees who are not considered a security risk can be freed in the U.S. The case was brought by 13 Chinese Muslims who were cleared for release six years ago but are still imprisoned at Guantanamo.

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