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Show Trial

By Margaret Kimberley | BAR | February 3, 2010

The United States government has held Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Guantanamo ever since his capture in 2003. He was one of many “enemy combatants” held there without charge or trial. Not only did he suffer from this violation of American and international law, but Mohammed suffered through water boarding torture an incredible 180 times in just 30 days.

In November 2009 the Obama administration Justice Department announced that Mohammed would finally be tried in federal court in Manhattan. The courthouse is located just blocks away from the World Trade Center site that Mohammed is now charged with plotting to destroy.

A collection of reactionary, racist politicians eager to incite hysteria, such as Rudy Giuliani and Congressman Peter King, led New Yorkers and the rest of America to believe that Mohammed and his co-defendants should have been tried by military tribunal. Mayor Bloomberg initially appeared to be supportive of the venue but recently joined his police commissioner in claiming that security measures would require a shut down of all of lower Manhattan. Now the Obama administration has back tracked and no longer promises a trial in New York City.

It probably doesn’t matter where Mohammed is tried. Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder both promised a conviction. Holder assures us. “Failure is not an option. These are cases that have to be won. I don’t expect that we will have a contrary result.” His boss said pretty much the same thing. When asked about those who might be offended by a civilian rather than military trial Obama told everyone to relax, promising that they wouldn’t find it “. . . offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.” The law professor president knew he had made a faux pas and tried to extricate himself immediately. “I’m not going to be in that courtroom. That’s the job of the prosecutors, the judge and the jury.”

While easily impressed liberals sang praises for the civil trial, the administration has chosen to continue military tribunals at Guantanamo for other defendants. Mohammed is in fact an anomaly for the Obama administration. The Bush policy continues unabated.

In the days of the Soviet Union, Americans and other westerners were quick to use the derisive term “show trial” when dissidents faced prosecution. That term can now surely be applied to the United States if a guilty verdict and execution are presented as foregone conclusions by both the president and his chief law enforcement officer.
Now Obama seems to be backing away from a commitment to civilian prosecution. His press secretary, Robert Gibbs, continues the promise of conviction and death, but not the promise of a trial in a courtroom. “He will be brought to justice and he is likely be executed for the heinous crimes he has committed in masterminding the killing of 3,000 Americans. That you can be sure of.” When pressed on the question of civilivan versus military jurisdiction, Gibbs was less than forthcoming. “The Attorney General believes the best place to do this is in an American courtroom.” (*link Gibbs) Smelling blood in the water, Republicans are determined to prevent any civilian prosecution of Mohammed. Senator Mitch McConnell has threatened to prevent the use of federal funds for a trial to be held in New York City or anywhere else.

Once again all Americans are made complicit in their government’s crimes. Phony concerns about security costs and whipped up fears of impending terror attacks are used to subvert the legal system that was once held up as a model for the rest of the world to follow.

Barack Obama and the Democratic Party still have solid majorities in the House and Senate. A few off year election defeats have given the president an excuse to cut and run before shots have been fired. Just as he announced a freeze on domestic spending programs that benefit every American citizen, he and the rest of the craven Democrats are now ready to toss the entire legal system under the back wheels of a large bus.

Bill Clinton didn’t begin his retreat away from Democratic Party principles until he actually lost control of Congress. As in all other matters, Obama is out-Clintoning Clinton. The Obama doctrine appears to be, “Why wait for defeat when you can create it yourself.”

The consequences of progressive Democratic capitulation to Obama grow more terrible every day. The military budget balloons, domestic spending vanishes and the Bush doctrine of an imperial president is continued by his predecessor. A show trial is but one symptom of what ails the Democratic Party and the nation.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

February 3, 2010 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Progressive Hypocrite

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