Military Commissions Good Enough for Teen Acting in Self-Defense, But Not Alleged Cole Bomber

The WaPo reports that the Administration has shelved plans to try Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in military commissions.

The decision at least temporarily scuttles what was supposed to be the signature trial of a major al-Qaeda figure under a reformed system of military commissions. And it comes practically on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the attack, which killed 17 sailors and wounded dozens when a boat packed with explosives ripped a hole in the side of the warship in the port of Aden.

In a filing this week in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department said that “no charges are either pending or contemplated with respect to al-Nashiri in the near future.”

The statement, tucked into a motion to dismiss a petition by Nashiri’s attorneys, suggests that the prospect of further military trials for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has all but ground to a halt, much as the administration’s plan to try the accused plotters of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in federal court has stalled.

Only two cases are moving forward at Guantanamo Bay, and both were sworn and referred for trial by the time Obama took office. In January 2009, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates directed the Convening Authority for Military Commissions to stop referring cases for trial, an order that 20 months later has not been rescinded.

Which of course means that our government (though the article suggests this is a distinction between the Bush and Obama Administrations, since Gates–though he spans both Administrations–has not ordered the Convening Authority to start referring cases) has decided it’s okay to try Omar Khadr, who was 15 and arguably acting in self-defense for his alleged crime, in a military commission. But not to try al-Nashiri, at least allegedly a genuine terrorist.

To be fair, the WaPo suggests the Administration is holding off until it can have civilian trials for other High Value Detainees (presumably, still the 9/11 conspirators). So it may well be a supportable goal. But it all seems to add to the Kangaroo stench around the military commissions.

  1. bobschacht says:

    the Justice Department said that “no charges are either pending or contemplated with respect to al-Nashiri in the near future.”

    But they’re still going to keep him locked up, right?
    Has he had a Habeas hearing?
    Not that I suppose it matters in this justice-free zone.

    Jerry Nadler reminded me, at Netroots Nation, that our country does not do very well on human rights issues when we’re “at war,” pointing to examples during WW-I, WW-II, and other wars. So the real problem is the AUMF and the bogus “war” that we are fighting, that was never actually declared by Congress. The problem is that we have now apparently entered an Era of Perpetual War. Our present “War” has now lasted longer than any war in US history, IIRC, and there is no sign of it ending any time soon. Presidents of both parties have fallen in love with never-ending war, apparently because they can use executive authorities that they otherwise would not have. Our whole system has become corrupted, distorted, and perverted.

    Bob in AZ

    • bmaz says:

      Oh yeah they’re gonna keep him locked up, he is one of the torture tape subjects. Will be interesting to see if there is anything up with the other torture tape subject in all this….

  2. alinaustex says:

    How is this not the same as the Soviets and their Gulags – put this with the NYC cabbie getting slashed for being a Moslem no wonder that the COIN in AFPAk is going nowhere.

    Meanwhile reports continue to to trickle in that LET and other extremist Islamist organizations are really getting in full swing to help all the displaced Pakistani in Swat Valley and now even in Sind . Gee its kind of like Hizbollah in the Bekka Valley -and look how well that has turned out for the West .

  3. normanb says:

    From the time the Cole was attacked, I have suspected false-flag US involvement in the attack, because I knew that the US had already started rounding up and imprisoning Yemenis in this country based on a little-known Reefer-Madness-like law banning the herb Qat, which is popular only among Yemenis and Somalis. It is benign, even good for health in some ways. In Yemen people use it like a coffeebreak or pot break is used in this country. Qat also has a somewhat religious connotation in that many Muslims in that part of the world believe that representational depictive art violates the Ten Commandments’ ban on graven images, but the designs and geometric paterns inspired in artisans by Qat don’t violate it and have uplifted people. So, as I said, the US had already begun rounding up Yemenis on this outrageously unreasonable pretext, intentionally hurting people, possibly hoping to anger someone, then came Cole.

  4. PeasantParty says:

    Congress has NEVER legally declared war! These so-called trials and no trials for 9-11 plotters/planners is all a joke on the American Public. I am still burning because Pelosi refused to investigate and Obama declined only to look forward. Look FOrward at WHAT? More shame on America is all I see. Oh yeah, one of today’s headblinners from the repukes is that Sestak and Issa are planning tough investigations of Obama if they make gains in the midterms. OMG! They even promise it will be bigger than the Clinton fiasco.

    I say to hell with the open secrets, and cover-ups! It’s past time to go back to what started this Budget Busting Emperial outreach and investigate all the way down to the underwear Bush and Cheney were wearing when they planned it!

    • BoxTurtle says:

      I don’t argue that Obama should be investigated, though I wish they’d look at BushCo at the same time.

      It would be the apex of irony if the GOPers successfully defended the rule of law against ObamaLLP.

      Boxturtle (Yeah, I know. The rule of law is secondary to getting Obama)

  5. wavpeac says:

    That’s the funny thing about kangaroo stench…it hangs in the the air for years! Everyday, my disgust with O grows. Who will replace…can we get Elizabeth Warren to run for Pres?? E.W? E.W and E.W for pres and vice pres? (watch the b.j references however) We have to save ourselves from this fascist nightmare. The scariest thing is that my clinically paranoid husband is getting more and more valid in his perception every day. (and he lets me know it too!!)

  6. fatster says:

    WikiLeaks war logs posting ‘will lead to free speech ruling’
    US supreme court likely to have to rule on issue of balancing national security and freedom of speech, says judge [Sotomayor]


  7. SeedeeVee says:

    “at least allegedly a genuine terrorist” — WTF? Did you run out of things to say?

    Wasn’t the Cole a “WARSHIP”? Can the military be terrorized? “Genuine” terrorists?

    That bush/obama stench of lawlessness affects us all in different ways . . .