Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trying non-citizens, war criminals in U.S. civilian courts on U.S. soil

Conservatives unhappy about the KSM terrorist trials in NYC (h/t Andrew Sullivan):

[T]hese men are not citizens of the United States. Second, they’re accused war criminals. They simply should not be tried in U.S. civilian courts. Rather, they should either be held accountable in a Nuremberg-style international forum or treated as war criminals by a U.S. military tribunal under the mechanisms provided by Congress and approved by the Supreme Court.

Aside from the virtual certainty that the trial will devolve into a media circus, there’s an incredibly good chance that Mohammed and his comrades will go free. The fact that KSM was repeatedly waterboarded would seem to taint any subsequent evidence, including his own confession.

Hmmmm. Well, a few years ago we invaded this country and brought this guy back for a civilian trial on U.S. soil:

Immediately after Noriega's apprehension, the standby crew of a
USAF 8th Special Operations Squadron MC-130 Combat Talon at Howard AFB was alerted, and within 12 minutes had its engines running. Accompanied by U.S. Marshals, DEA, and other federal law enforcement agents, Noriega was flown to Homestead Air Force Base, under conditions of minimum radio communications.[21] He was tried on eight counts of drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering in April 1992. His trial was held in Miami, Florida, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

In 1992 he was convicted under federal charges of cocaine trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering in Miami, Florida. Sentenced to 40 years in prison (later reduced to 30 years), Noriega is held at the Federal Correctional Institution, Miami, Florida (FCI Miami).[22]

The prosecution presented a case that has been criticized by numerous observers.[citation needed] The prosecution's case was completely reworked several times because problems developed with the witnesses, whose stories contradicted one another. The United States Attorney negotiated deals with 26 different drug felons, including Carlos Lehder, who were given leniency, cash payments, and allowed to keep their drug earnings in return for testimony against Noriega. Several of these witnesses had been arrested by Noriega for drug trafficking in Panama.

Some witnesses later recanted their testimony, and agents of the CIA, Drug Enforcement Administration, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Israeli Mossad, who were knowledgeable about Central American drug trafficking, have publicly charged that accusations were embellished.[citation needed] Noriega was found guilty and sentenced on September 16, 1992, to 40 years in prison for drug and racketeering violations. His sentence was reduced to 30 years in 1999.

Oh well. I guess this was very manly and legitimate of us back then.

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