Will federal courts release al Qaeda on bail onto American streets? “No way,” you say. Think again.
The Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) of the remaining 270 Guantanamo detainees found them to be enemy combatants yet Defense Department officials only plan on prosecuting about 80 of that number. Many of the home countries of about 125 detainees allegedly approve of torture and no country seems to want the other 65 enemy combatants said to be “eligible for release.”
Despite Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently stating that, “We are stuck with Guantanamo,” both Senators John McCain and Barack Obama have indicated they will close it down.
Ladies, gentlemen, and children of all ages, al Qaeda is coming to America on your dime — like it or not. Make no mistake, some Americans like the idea a lot; the ACLU, Center for Constitutional Rights, and Guantanamo Bay Bar Association have worked for six years to bring al Qaeda’s killers here, to a federal court and jail near you.
A few Justices on our Supreme Court have taken a liking to European law and releasing al Qaeda terrorists on bail in Europe has become fairly common. The Times Online (UK) cites the most recent example:
Abu Qatada, the radical Muslim cleric described as one of Osama bin Laden’s right-hand men, was freed from jail last night under some of the most stringent bail conditions ever imposed by a British court. A judge ruled that there were no grounds to detain Abu Qatada, 47, after previous attempts to deport him were defeated in the courts. The decision by Mr Justice Mitting at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) to release the Jordanian-born cleric was greeted with dismay by the Government.
Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, said that she was extremely disappointed. She said that she was appealing to the House of Lords to reverse a decision in April that it was not safe to deport him to Jordan. The Conservatives branded the decision “offensive”.
Abu Qatada, 47, who was once described as “Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe” left Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire at about 8.20pm last night. He was driven out of the prison at speed in a silver Peugeot people-carrier. His last known address was in Acton, West London, where he had been living with his wife and five children. He has been ordered to wear an electronic tag and live under virtual house arrest at an address which the judge said must be kept secret.
Bizarrely, the eight-page bail order states that he is not allowed to receive visits from or communicate with 22 named individuals, including bin Laden, who has eluded US special forces for years, and Abu Hamza al-Masri, who is in prison. The cleric’s release compounds the problems facing the Government’s efforts to build a coherent strategy for deporting terrorist suspects. As many as 11 other suspects awaiting deportation hearings, including Algerians and Jordanians, are likely to rely on the precedent set by Abu Qatada’s case to keep them in Britain.
The Home Secretary and the Government face difficulties in overturning a previous decision by the Court of Appeal to refuse Abu Qatada’s deportation on the ground that it would breach human rights law.
America lacks England’s preventive detention laws yet does have lots of room for al Qaeda’s terrorists to get lost in plus a ‘Real ID Act’ that has been delayed until 2013 and most states are fighting.
Bet the house that if Guantanamo closes that 1) al Qaeda is coming to America, 2) al Qaeda’s lawyers will ask for bail for their clients, and 3) at least some of the jihadists that no one else will take will be released onto American streets.
Perhaps Justices Kennedy, Souter, Stevens, Ginsburg, and Breyer will put them all up at their places and make sure they don’t go killing any of the rest of us.
Update, 10:15 AM EDT: Releasing known terrorists within America has already been proposed by two Members of Congress.