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Holder On KSM Trial: ‘I Know This Case In A Way That Members Of Congress Do Not’

TPM Muckraker

Ryan J. Reilly | April 4, 2011, 4:15PM

Despite his announcement today [yesterday] that the trials of five alleged Sept. 11 co-conspirators will be held in a military court, Attorney General Eric Holder is standing by his original decision to hold civilian trials for five alleged Sept. 11 conspirators in federal court and blames Congress for forcing his hand in sending them to the military system.

In a short 13-minute news conference at Justice Department headquarters on Monday, Holder came out forcefully in defense of his original decision in November 2009 to prosecute the alleged terrorists in federal court and said that he had “reluctantly” made the reversal of his original decision due to the “needless controversy” over the KSM trial and restrictions that Congress had placed on the executive branch.

Holder chastised members of Congress for setting up “unwise and unwarranted restrictions” on transferring Guantanamo detainees which could “undermine our counterterrorism efforts and could harm our national security.”

He said the trial decision had been “marked by needless controversy since the beginning” and that the prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators “should never have been about settling ideological arguments or scoring political points.”

“Had this case proceeded in Manhattan or in an alternative venue in the United States, as I seriously explored in the past year, I am confident that our justice system would have performed with the same distinction that has been its hallmark for over two hundred years,” Holder said in his prepared remarks.

But in light of the restrictions imposed by Congress on transferring detainees to the U.S., Holder said the Justice Department had to “face a simple truth: those restrictions are unlikely to be repealed in the immediate future. And we simply cannot allow a trial to be delayed any longer for the victims of the 9/11 attacks or for their family members who have waited for nearly a decade for justice.”

Asked by CNN’s Terry Frieden whether it was Holder’s belief that he “knows best and that there is just no room for the public’s view” on where a trial should be held, Holder said that he didn’t want to hold himself out as “omniscient” but said the “reality is though I know this case in a way that members of Congress do not.”

“I have looked at the files. I have spoken to the prosecutors. I know the tactical concerns that have to go into this decision,” said Holder.

“So do I know better than them? Yes. I respect their ability to disagree, but I think they should respect the fact this is an executive branch function, a unique executive branch function,” Holder said.

Despite the reversal, Holder said that the administration would continue to fight to get the restrictions on transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees lifted.

“It is still our intention to close Guantanamo. It’s still our intention to lift those restrictions,” Holder told reporters.

The Justice Department also released the December 2009 indictment against KSM and his four co-conspirators, which had been under seal until it was withdrawn this week.

Nolle and Unsealing Order – 4-4-11

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There has sure been a lot of fear mongering, of late, by the same folks that we’re spinning the facts in the Bu$h administration. The Neo Republican minions of the corporate government still speak with one voice and the choreography is all too predictable.

KSM is on trial for his involvement in the destruction of the World Trade Center and the scene of the crime is, of course in NY City. Typically criminals are tried in the jurisdiction where the crime was committed. If anyone has any objection, they should file for a change of venue. That is how the law works, not by a bunch of extremists screaming bloody murder because they don’t get their way. How about some consideration for the folks that lost relatives, shouldn’t they be able to see justice being done?

Can it be that there is more to this than the main stream media is reporting, like maybe, that admission of evidence about other possible perpetrators of the crime cold be brought up? That looking closer at the evidence at the scene of the crime might reveal a few things that could reveal that the official government story is not feasible?

This is, after-all, the crime of the century and as such deserves a fair trial witnessed by the folks who were affected by this horrible and unbelievable, even after nine years, crime that has touched every one of us.

Senator offers Guantanamo Bay deal if 9/11 trials move to military tribunals

Washington Post Monday, March 8, 2010

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) said that if President Obama agrees to try alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four accused henchmen in military tribunals, he will press fellow Republicans to vote to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Graham, interviewed Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said reversing a plan by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to try the suspected terrorists in a civilian court in New York would be seen by the public as an act of leadership.

The White House is reviewing Holder’s plan, and no new recommendation has been presented to the president. A decision is not expected for several weeks.

Beyond Mohammed’s case, Graham also said a new legal framework is needed to deal with the most dangerous detainees at the U.S. military prison.

“We need a legal system that gives due process to the detainee but also understands they didn’t rob a liquor store,” he said.

Closing Guantanamo Bay was a key promise Obama made when he took office, but it remains unfulfilled as he battles pressure from both sides of the political aisle.

In a full-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times, the American Civil Liberties Union said that if Obama does not back Holder, he will be extending the policies of the George W. Bush administration. The ad shows an image of Obama on the left and in subsequent panels moving to the right, the image morphs into a portrayal of Bush, who set up Guantanamo Bay for suspected terrorists.
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“As president, Barack Obama must decide whether to keep his solemn promise to restore our Constitution and due process, or ignore his vow and continue the Bush-Cheney policies,” the ad states.

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