Tag Archives: terrorists

Obama Outsmarts the Terrorists

Posted by: BetsM

President Obama isn’t nearly as scared of the terrorists as Bush was—and that’s precisely why al Qaeda is falling apart

Peter Beinart

Peter Beinart

The Daily Beast/Peter Beinart~Republicans think about terrorism the way Democrats think about poverty. Democrats know their anti-poverty policies don’t always work. But they tell themselves that at least their hearts are in the right place, at least they care about the problem.

That’s the way Republicans think about terrorism. In unguarded moments, honest Republicans will admit that not all of the Bush administration’s anti-terror policies worked. But they tell themselves that at least they know America is at war; at least they know the terrorists are evil; at least they really care about the problem.

In a sense, the Republicans are right: they do worry more about terrorism than Democrats. You can see it in the polls. Democrats–especially liberal Democrats—focus part of their foreign policy anxiety on things like climate change, global pandemics and financial collapse. For many Republicans, by contrast, the terrorists are today’s equivalent of the Nazis and the communists: they’re the only threat that really matters. Everything else is an afterthought.

But as conservatives used to say during the poverty debates of the 1960s and 1970s, intentions and outcomes are not the same thing. Sometimes, ironically enough, not worrying quite so much can produce better results.

Which brings us to Barack Obama’s “war on terror.” Conservatives keep saying that Obama doesn’t really believe we’re at war; that he sees terrorists as mere criminals, not the epic evil-doers that they really are. But here’s the irony: It’s precisely because he doesn’t see the terrorist threat as quite so epic that al Qaeda is falling apart.

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Filed under 9/11, Al-Qaeda, Barack Obama, Change, Conservative, Democrats, George W. Bush, Homeland Security, Media and Entertainment, Middle East, Military, News, Obama Administration, Partisan Politics, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Republicans, Robert M. Gates (Sec of Defense), Terrorism, Uncategorized, War

Just the Facts, Ma’am: Civilian Courts Versus Military Tribunals

Where are the Democrats and why aren’t they pushing back?


If you’re like a lot of people — say, Liz Cheney — you’ve been wondering why Barack Obama seems to think the rights of terrorists are more important than the lives of the American people and wants to give them civilian trials and let them get “lawyered up,” in the suddenly voguish phrase, so they can take advantage of sneaky liberal wrinkles in the law inserted in there by sneaky liberal defense lawyers and judges over the years. This is instead of hauling them before military tribunals, the current hot right-wing talking point.

Oh, you’re not one of those people? Okay, then. You might therefore be interested to know the following:
The Bush administration — in which Liz Cheney’s papa held a fairly high position, you might recall — prosecuted, after 9-11, 828 people on terrorism charges in civilian courts. At the time of publication of this excellent report from the Center on Law and Security, NYU School of Law last year, trials were still pending against 235 of those folks. That leaves 593 resolved indictments, of which 523 were convicted of some crime, for a conviction rate of 88%.

With regard to military tribunals, the Bush administration inaugurated 20 such cases. So far just three convictions have been won. The highest-profile is the conviction of Salim Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver. The Hamdan legal saga, rehearsed here, doesn’t exactly suggest that military tribunals provide swifter and surer and tougher justice. In the end, he was convicted all right, but sentenced — not by a bunch of New York City Democrats, but by a military jury! — to five and half years.

Then, the tribunal judge, a US Navy captain, gave Hamdan credit for time served, which was five years. So he served six months after conviction. Today he’s back in — guess where? — Yemen.

So here’s the situation. Bush/Cheney found civilian prosecution a perfectly acceptable path to pursue in 828 cases. They’ve won convictions at an impressive rate in those civilian prosecutions. The most high-profile military prosecution was kind of a disaster.

And yet, Obama is a weakling because Abdulmutallab is being treated the way the Bush administration treated 828 “suspects,” to use a word the right has declared reveals a girly-mannish mindset. Amazing. And again: where are the Democrats and why aren’t they pushing back on this?

source:

JAG: GOP Criticism Of Obama On Underwear Bomber Way Off-Base

“There is a similar mischaracterization over what can be done in terms of interrogating the detainee, claim Cullen and others. Republican critics of the president insist that Obama forfeited effective interrogation measures by declining to go the route of a military commission. But there are limitations to what even military interrogators could do with Abdulmutallab.”

If Republican critics of President Obama are to be believed, the administration made one of the biggest blunders in national security history when it placed the accused underwear bomber in the criminal justice system as opposed to the military alternative.

It’s simply not true, say legal experts, including officials who formerly served in the military tribunal system.

James Cullen, a retired brigadier general who served as a JAG officer, tells the Huffington Post that there are narrow differences between the legal and interrogation proceedings Abdulmutallab was subjected to and those which would have happened in a military commission.

Read More: Huffington Post

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Filed under Al-Qaeda, Conservative, Courts, Crime, Law, Military, Republicans, Terrorism

President Obama on Aviation Security at Press Conference 01/05/10

In the aftermath of the Dec. 25 attempted airline bombing, President Obama met with 20 national security officials to review security lapses that led up to the incident. The President said the meeting included an examination of terrorist watch lists, intelligence gathering and aviation security.

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Filed under Al-Qaeda, Pres. Barack Obama, Terrorism, Video/YouTube, Violence

Conservative Trio Supports Transferring Gitmo Detainees To Illinois

posted by GeoT

**Update**

In a joint statement prepared by the Constitution Project, David Keene, founder of American Conservative Union, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and former representative and presidential candidate Bob Barr say moving suspected terrorists to the Thomson, Illinois prison facility, “makes good sense.” Taxpayers, they note, have already invested $145 million in the facility, which has been “little used.” And the surrounding community, they add, could benefit from increased employment once the prison becomes filled.

“The scaremongering about these issues should stop,” they add, noting that there is “absolutely no reason to fear that prisoners will escape or be released into their communities.”

source: Huffington_Post_Logo

**Update**

CHICAGO — Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin on Sunday tried to build support and counter criticism of a proposal to sell a prison in rural northwestern Illinois to the federal government to house Guantanamo Bay detainees and other inmates.

Both Quinn and Durbin said the possibility of selling the prison to the federal government was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help create about 3,000 jobs, both at the prison and directly in surrounding communities in an area where unemployment has topped 10 percent.

source:

CHICAGO – The Obama administration may buy a near-empty prison in rural northwestern Illinois to house detainees from Guantanamo Bay along with federal inmates, a White House official said Saturday.

Thomson Correctional Center

The maximum-security Thomson Correctional Facility, about 150 miles west of Chicago, was one of several evaluated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and emerged as a leading option to house the detainees, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because a decision has not been made.

President Barack Obama wants detainees from the controversial military-run detention center in Cuba to be transferred to U.S. soil so they can be prosecuted for their suspected crimes.

It is unclear how many Guantanamo detainees — alleged terrorism suspects, many held without charges since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan — might be transferred to Illinois or when. Obama initially planned to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by Jan. 22, but the administration is no longer expected to meet that deadline.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has been hinting at a possible new use for Thomson, and he issued a statement saying he would hold a news conference Sunday to outline those plans.

Source:

More information:

Although nothing has been finalized as yet and the administration is still considering its options. However, if the government decides to shift the detainees of the Guantanamo Bay in this maximum security prison then the federal bureau would have to purchase the prison and then later lease a part of the facility to the Department of Defense so that few inmates from Guantanamo can be kept there.On Monday, officials are scheduled to visit the correctional center to inspect its conditions so that a final decision can be taken soon. At the same time, it has also been emphasized by the government, that ultimately the decision would be undertaken depending on how people in the remote town react to the relocation of the inmates.

However, the fact that administration is planning to shift the detainees has been welcomed by the residents of Thomson, as it is likely that the new venture would create a large amount of job opportunities in the small town and in turn would significantly contribute to improving the economic situation of the town. The prison in Thomson was built in the year 2001 but large part of the prison was not operational due to financial constraints.

souce: Thaindian_News_Logo

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Filed under 9/11, Al-Qaeda, Chicago, IL, FBI, Homeland Security, Illinois, Terrorism, Uncategorized

Accused 9/11 mastermind, others to be tried in N.Y.

Obama: 9/11 mastermind faces ‘the most exacting demands of justice’

At left a 2003 photo shows Khalid Sheikh Mohammed shortly after his capture during a raid in Pakistan. At right, a photo allegedly taken in July 2009 by the Red Cross.

WASHINGTON — Khalid Sheik Mohammed — the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks — and four co-defendants will be tried in federal court in New York instead of a military commission, a federal official said Friday morning.

The long-awaited decision, part of President Obama’s quest to close the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

is expected to be formally announced by the Justice Department later Friday. The federal official spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement was not yet official

The closely-held decision has been the subject of intense speculation, and comes on the same day that White House counsel Gregory B. Craig, a key manager of Obama’s Guantanamo Bay policy, is expected to announce his resignation.

Mohammed and the four alleged co-conspirators in the 9/11 plot had been facing capital charges in a military commission at Guantanamo Bay. The administration requested a series of suspensions in those proceedings while officials decided on the best forum for prosecution. But the government assured military judges that they would make a final determination by Nov. 16.

A group of Guantanamo prisoners participate in early morning Islamic prayer in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008.

The decision will not affect the vast majority of the 215 detainees who remain at Guantanamo Bay, according to sources briefed on the matter.

Administration officials expect that up to 40 of the detainees will ultimately be tried in either federal court or military commissions. Approximately 90 others have been cleared for repatriation or resettlement in a third country, according to an administration official. And that leaves up to 75 individuals remaining at Guantanamo who could continue to be held under the laws of war because they are deemed too dangerous to release but cannot be prosecuted because of evidentiary issues and limits on the use of classified material.

The announcement Friday will end months of intense internal jockeying among federal prosecutors in New York and Virginia, and between military and federal prosecutors, for the right to prosecute the high-value detainees held at the military prison. Top among them is KSM, as Mohammed is widely known.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Holder will also announce that a major suspect in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, will face justice before a military commission, as will a handful of other detainees to be identified at the same announcement, the official said.

It was not immediately clear where commission-bound detainees like al-Nashiri might be sent, but a military brig in South Carolina has been high on the list of considered sites.

Read more here:

Related:
White House counsel poised to give up post
Tenure marked by struggles over closing Guantanamo

Greg Craig

TOKYO — White House Counsel Gregory B. Craig is expected to announce his departure as early as Friday, people familiar with the situation said, ending an embattled tenure in which he struggled to lead the closure of the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Craig will be replaced by Bob Bauer, a prominent Democratic lawyer who is Obama’s personal attorney.

source:

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Passports linked to 9/11 found along Afghan border

posted by GeoT

Zeroing In?

Passport of Spanish citizen Raquel Burgos Garcia

SHERWANGAI, Pakistan – Pakistani soldiers battling their way into a Taliban stronghold along the Afghan border have seized passports that may be linked to 9/11 suspects, as they confront an enemy skilled in operating in a mountainous terrain with endless ways to wage a guerrilla war.

The military on Thursday took foreign and local journalists for a first look inside the largely lawless territory since it launched a ground offensive here in mid-October.
The U.S.-backed operation is focused on a section of the tribal region where the Pakistani Taliban are based and are believed to shelter al-Qaida.
Soldiers displayed passports seized in the operation, among them a German document belonging to a man named Said Bahaji. That matches the name of a man thought to have been a member of the Hamburg cell that conceived the 9/11 attacks. Bahaji is believed to

Said Bahaji

have fled Germany shortly before the attacks in New York and Washington.
The passport included a tourist visa for Pakistan and a stamp indicating he’d arrived in the southern city of Karachi on Sept. 4, 2001.
Another passport, from Spain, bears the name of Raquel Burgos Garcia. Spanish media have reported that a woman with the same name is married to Amer Azizi, an alleged al-Qaida member from Morocco suspected in both the 9/11 attacks and the Madrid train bombings in 2004.
Her family in Madrid has had no news of her since 2001, according to Spanish media. Her passport included visas to India and Iran, and the army displayed a Moroccan document with Burgos Garcia’s photo and other information.
It was impossible to determine whether the passports are genuine, and German and Spanish officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Full Story here:

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When Will This White House Learn You Cannot Negotiate With Terrorists?

Baratunde Thurston aka Jack Turner

Baratunde Thurston aka Jack Turner


Column by Baratunde Thurston

I spent the past several months away from politics. It was an involuntary hiatus made necessary by personal and professional commitments that demanded my utmost attention. When I left, we had a stimulus bill in place, a president with high approval ratings and some remaining afterglow from election night and inauguration day.

When I returned in mid August, it was to a country that had clearly lost its damn mind. I turned on one cable station to hear people demanding President Obama prove he’s an American citizen, an insane movement led by an Israeli citizen. I switched channels to see another group screeching in fear that Obama’s health care proposal would institute death panels to kill grandma. On yet another station, Glenn Beck accuses this president of having a deep-seated hatred for half of himself. Flip again to find parents removing their children from school because they don’t want their kids exposed to Obama’s socialist indoctrination. And yesterday, Green Jobs Czar Van Jones resigned after extreme pressure from right wing groups and extreme tepidness from the White House that hired him to do his very important work.

Great. After a brief respite, the most accessible American political discourse has returned to fearful, hate-filled, ignorant rants of a high-volume, low-intellect minority.

In such an environment, how does one govern? Does one try to “balance” such concepts as contradictory as a “public option” on one hand and “fear of death panels” on the other? Or does one realize that this is a false spectrum and to try to find a center in such a sea is a worthless and foolhardy expedition?

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Filed under Editorial, Green, Media and Entertainment, Politics, Terrorism