The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


February 4, 2013

Other Views: Justice delayed

— If, in 2009, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other detainees accused in the 9/11 attacks had been tried in civilian criminal courts, especially the New York federal courts with their great experience in prosecuting terrorism cases, the sheikh and his co-defendants by now would have their verdicts, be deep into the appeals process and close to facing whatever fate the judiciary had in store for them.

The prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a continuing embarrassment and rebuke to our preaching about due process and the rule of law, would likely be closed, as President Barack Obama pledged to do early in his first term, and no longer a rallying cry for jihadi zealots.

Instead, the five defendants are still at the U.S. naval base and still awaiting trial by an untested military tribunal cobbled together for the occasion and still no nearer a resolution of the cases against them than they were almost four years ago.

Currently, the cases are tied up in preliminary appeals about what kind of access the defendants’ lawyers can have to their clients and interminable wrangling over how to handle classified evidence, matters that a civilian criminal court would have quickly disposed of.

An actual trial is a year or more away.

The Guantanamo legal process has become an embarrassment of political meddling and courtroom procedures seemingly made up on the fly. Guantanamo makes the notoriously slow International Criminal Court in The Hague look like a rocket docket.

The latest embarrassment, likely to confirm the view of foreign skeptics who view these proceedings as bogus, was the discovery that a censorship system was being controlled outside the courtroom, unbeknownst to the judge, blocking sound and video feeds of courtroom proceedings.

The exasperated judge has constantly battled efforts by the government, especially the CIA, to declare large volumes of evidence as classified and thus unavailable to the defendants and often their lawyers.

Seemingly confirming that Guantanamo is an embarrassment that will always be with us, the State Department closed the one-person office that was charged with repatriating or resettling those prisoners cleared for release.

Since Guantanamo opened, it has had 779 prisoners. We are basically stuck with the 165 who remain.

— Scripps Howard News Service

Text Only
Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter

A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined. Do you think those kinds of measures should be taken?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
NDN Video
EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch