Keep America Safe

KSM trial non-decision angers 9/11 family members; Obama ‘changes’ stance on Gitmo tribunals

I participated in yesterday’s White House conference call briefing to 9/11 family members; they provided us nothing new as to when or where Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his lieutenant co-conspirators would be tried.

The Washington Times reported this morning:

Debra Burlingame, co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America and a board member of Keep America Safe, said she was upset at the White House after participating in a conference call with families of the victims of 9/11. “What we heard today is that despite the fact that Congress has closed every loophole for trying Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators in Article III courts, the White House is persistent in defying the will of the American people and plans to do it anyway,” she said.

The briefers stated to us, “President Obama remains committed to using Article III courts for terrorists,” and added, “The President will work with Congress to lift the restrictions imposed in December 2010.” Last month, the House passed legislation that would extend the bar to all federal agencies imposed against using DOD funding for transferring Gitmo detainees to the U.S.

All of the questions during the call came from 9/11 family members.

The White House could not say how the Justice Department would overcome objections by officials in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania to 9/11 civilian trials in those states and reconcile such a decision with 6th Amendment requirements. They could not provide information as to when the decision would be made. They dodged questions about why Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his cohorts were not being tried by Military Commission, at Guantanamo, and not being placed at that “top of the list.” They disputed one family member’s assertion that the 9/11 plotters were not being given top priority but provided no evidence to support their counter-argument. One 9/11 family member tersely told White House briefers, “This call is a waste of time.”

Many aging parents of the 2,976 slaughtered on 9/11 will not live to see justice done for the war crimes committed against their loved ones. But President Obama is “taking the issue off the table” for the 2012 election campaign; it will be “all Congress’s fault” if they do not let him bring foreign enemies onto U.S. soil and bestow them with Constitutional rights.

Liz Cheney to Obama on Shahzad sentencing: ‘Being lucky is not a responsible counterterrorism strategy’

Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad was sentenced to life in prison today after pleading guilty to charges he attempted to conduct the terrorist attack. Afterward, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said. “The case shows once again how our values and the rule of law can keep us safe against those determined to do us harm on behalf of terrorist organizations overseas.”

Keep America Safe chairman Liz Cheney responded to the Obama Administration’s reaction:

“President Obama and his administration still seem to believe they can keep this nation safe by convicting terrorists in civilian courts. We tried that policy throughout the 1990s and gained convictions of key terrorists. None of those convictions prevented the terrorists from attacking us again and again. Americans expect their government to disrupt plots and defeat terrorists before they can attack us. The Times Square bomber’s attack failed not because it was thwarted, but because his bomb failed to detonate. Being lucky is not a responsible counterterrorism strategy, and convictions in civilian courts will not keep this country safe.”

AG Holder faces tough questions at today’s Senate Judiciary hearing

Attorney General Eric Holder is to testify this morning during an oversight hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing will be carried live on C-SPAN and KeepAmericaSafe.com will have more today and this evening as events unfold.

Holder will likely face tough questions over his failure to disclose prior to his confirmation hearing that he participated in two amicus briefs on behalf of Jose Padilla. Republican senators are sure to ask him about the Department of Justice’s March 22, 2010 response letter to the committee wherein Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich all but conceded the ‘Moussaoui-fix’ to the Classified Information Protection Act had been incorporated into Military Commissions yet remained lacking in federal statute. The Washington Post writes:

Chief among the Republican targets: Holder’s announcement, since reversed, that the administration planned to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, in federal court in lower Manhattan. No new arrangements for a venue have been made. And the decision is now being managed by the White House rather than the Justice Department, putting Holder in the awkward position of having to defend a decision that has been overruled and is still in limbo.

But that well-worn territory may be the least of Holder’s concerns, according to several Judiciary Committee officials.

Republicans are livid about Holder’s failure to include in his confirmation questionnaire that he had written friend-of-the-court briefs in the terror case of Jose Padilla, arguing that civilian trials were appropriate to handle terror suspects and keep executive power in check. Holder sent a letter apologizing to the committee immediately after the amicus briefs were disclosed, but “there is still a lot of anger there,” one Republican aide said.

And there are questions about his recent public statements. The last time Holder appeared on Capitol Hill, testifying before a House Appropriations subcommittee, he had a testy exchange with Republicans over his intent to use civilian courts for terrorist trials. At one point, he declared that, far from coddling terrorists, the administration would never capture the most wanted al-Qaeda leader alive — but would instead “be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden.”

That triggered a debate within the administration over the policy for handling bin Laden, with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, contradicting Holder the following day.

Perhaps we will get some outline of the DOJ’s plan to appeal the ordered release of 9/11 hijacker recruiter Mohamedou Slahi:

A convicted Ohio terrorist had ties to an al Qaeda suspect who met with some of the Sept. 11 hijackers and told them how to reach Afghanistan to train for jihad, according to a federal court ruling.

Guantánamo Bay detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi sent Christopher Paul a fax in 1997 asking for advice on where to send would-be jihadists, or holy warriors, and later referred to Paul as “a man of great respect in al Qaeda,” according to the ruling Friday by U.S. District Judge James Robertson in the District of Columbia.

Federal prosecutors had previously acknowledged the fax but had never said who sent it. Robertson’s order referred to the fax as a key piece of the government’s evidence about Slahi’s recruitment for al Qaeda. Slahi met Paul in Afghanistan in 1992, apparently had contact with him in Germany in 1998 and then called him twice from Canada in 1999, according to Robertson’s order.

Gitmo’s Indefensible Lawyers; Legal counsel to some of the detainees went far beyond vigorous representation of their clients

In the Wall Street Journal, Debra Burlingame and Thomas Joscelyn ask the question “Doesn’t the public have a right to know?”

On the evening of Jan. 26, 2006, military guards at Guantanamo Bay made an alarming discovery during a routine cell check. Lying on the bed of a Saudi detainee was an 18-page color brochure. The cover consisted of the now famous photograph of newly-arrived detainees dressed in orange jumpsuits — masked, bound and kneeling on the ground at Camp X-Ray — just four months after 9/11. Written entirely in Arabic, it also included pictures of what appeared to be detainee operations in Iraq. Major General Jay W. Hood, then the commander of Joint Task Force-Guantanamo, concurred with the guards that this represented a serious breach of security.

Maj. Gen. Hood asked his Islamic cultural adviser to translate. The cover read: “Cruel. Inhuman. Degrades Us All: Stop Torture and Ill-Treatment in the ‘War on Terror.'” It was published by Amnesty International in the United Kingdom and portrayed America and its allies as waging a campaign of torture against Muslims around the globe.

“One thread that runs through many of the testimonies from prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq, and from Guantanamo,” the brochure read, “is that of anti-Arab, anti-Islamic, and other racist abuse.”

How did the detainee get it? More importantly, who gave it to him?

Majeed Abdullah Al Joudi, the detainee in whose cell the brochure was first found, told guards he received the brochure from his lawyer. An investigation by JTF-GTMO personnel revealed that Julia Tarver Mason, a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, had sent it to Al Joudi and eight of the firm’s other detainee clients through “legal mail” — a designation for privileged lawyer-client communications that are exempt from screening by security personnel. Worse, the investigation showed that Ms. Mason’s clients passed it to other detainees not represented by Paul, Weiss lawyers. In all, more than a dozen detainees received a copy. … READ THE REST

Those lawyers who formerly worked for Republican administrations and that are criticizing Keep America Safe for calling al Qaeda’s lawyers what they are, i.e. al Qaeda’s lawyers, ought to read it two or three times. This is far from the first time Debra Burlingame has written or spoken out about the lawyers waging lawfare upon our Nation, the one al Qaeda continues to attack.

Many of the lawyers who freely took on the task of defending al Qaeda’s killers or advocating on their behalf not only undermined the legal underpinnings for detaining their clients, but also endangered our troops in combat against them abroad. Some call that indefensible; I call it treason.

Lawyers, damn lawyers, and Al Qaeda; Mark Levin stands with Keep America Safe

Mark Levin stands with Keep America Safe and disputes “the group of leading conservative lawyers and policy experts denouncing as “shameful” Republican attacks on lawyers who came to the Obama Justice Department after representing suspected terrorists.”

“The isn’t the Boston Massacre. You have people in the position of defending this nation at the highest levels of the Justice Department who have represented the enemy, and their belief systems have clearly affected national security policy. … And in some cases, these lawyers were not just representing clients, they went out and found them, sought them out. They considered them some of the most important cases they ever had. “Due process rights for the enemy? Absolutely. Civilian justice for the enemy? Absolutely.” Now they’re in government making the same exact decisions except they are setting policy. … Ben Smith at Politico, why don’t you make a list of some lawyers like me, former Chief of Staff to Attorney General Meese; I side with Liz Cheney and Debra Burlingame and Keep America Safe.”

Here is the complete audio of Mark on this from last night:

On February 26, 2010, Mark Levin cited a factual account of the Boston Massacre and John Adams’ truly noble role in its aftermath. Mark added:

“[T]hese things get used to distort current events. … The Boston Massacre had nothing to do with overthrowing the United States — it was a tragedy and John Adams did not seek as his goal to confer special rights on people who were plotting to destroy American society through any means possible.”

I offer Mark’s commentary as further evidence that to cite John Adams as a comparable example to the allegedly altruistic work of the ‘Al Qaeda Seven‘ (among others) fractures American history. Worse, it unwittingly lends credibility to the ACLU’s vile use of that Founding Father and a great patriot’s name in their insidious attempt to undermine our national security and to criminalize America’s use of military force in the Nation’s defense.

“If lawyers choose to volunteer their services to the enemy in wartime, they are on the wrong side of that fault line, and no one should feel reluctant to say so.” — Andrew McCarthy

“If not for the vigilant work of Keep America Safe, the corruptocrat Attorney General Eric Holder’s national security stone wall on DOJ’s terror lawyers would still be standing. Asking politely, in respectful tones with bowed heads and stooped spines, did not get the DOJ to cough up the names.” — Michelle Malkin