US Attorney General Eric Holder announced yesterday–on the same day his boss announced his re-election campaign–that the man and his buddies who vaporized thousands on 9/11 won’t be given a show trial three minutes away from Ground Zero. Holder lashed out at Congress for passing legislation that prevents him from doing so decrying it as,
“unfortunately, since I made that decision members of congress have intervened and imposed restrictions blocking the administration from bringing any Guantanamo detainees to trial in the United States regardless of the venue. As the President has said, those unwise and unwarranted restrictions undermine our countterrorism efforts and could harm our national security” (emphasis added)
is suddenly worried about national security and is sure that the legal system would bring about justice? Frankly, there’s a strong argument in favor of Holder recusing himself from these cases, but he did not.
Putting on the best terrorist defense is a Covington & Burling specialty. Among the firm’s other celebrity terrorist clients: 17 Yemenis held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The law firm employed dozens of radical attorneys such as David Remes and Marc Falkoff to provide the enemy combatants with more than 3,000 hours of pro bono representation. Covington & Burling co-authored one of three petitioners’ briefs filed in the Boumediene v. Bush detainee case, and secured victories for several other Gitmo enemy combatants in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Falkoff went on to publish a book of poetry, Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak, which he dedicated to the suspected terrorists: “For my friends inside the wire, Mahmoad, Majid, Yasein, Saeed, Abdulsalam, Mohammed, Adnan, Jamal, Othman, Adil, Mohamed, Abdulmalik, Areef, Adeq, Farouk, Salman, and Makhtar. Inshallah, we will next meet over coffee in your homes in Yemen.”
How sweet. One of the class of Yemeni Gitmo detainees that Falkoff described as “gentle, thoughtful young men” was released in 2005—only to blow himself up (gently and thoughtfully, of course) in a truck bombing in Mosul, Iraq, in 2008, killing 13 soldiers from the 2nd Iraqi Army division and seriously wounding 42 others.
Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Cucullu, author of Inside Gitmo: The True Story Behind the Myths of Guantanamo Bay, makes the ethical problem plain: As a senior partner, he undoubtedly had significant input on what kind of charity cases his firm picked up. He surely knew that dozens of lawyers from his firm were among the 500-plus civilian lawyers representing the 244 or so remaining detainees (on top of military-court-appointed defenders). Even now, his Covington colleagues continue to allege rampant torture at Gitmo. They’re fighting hard to have detainees tried through the US court system—essentially given the same rights as US citizens. And their arguments and plans hinge largely on having Holder issue a bad report card.
Here’s Holder’s announcment yesterday with my comments below. It’s worth noting here that KSM and his co conspirators had already pleaded guilty and wanted to move ahead with sentencing years ago–until Holder chose to give them a show trial. Please understand that. Holder claims he wants closure for the families. If so, then why did Holder delay, and then announce a needless trial to rub their noses in it? For political and ideological reasons that’s why.