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March 19, 2010

Lindsey Graham Alert! He's Getting Close To A Deal To Close Gitmo

First immigration, then Cap and Tax and now this. I guess with McCain in "Pretend to be a Real Conservative Mode" all the heavy lifting of selling out Republicans is falling to Graham.

Sadly, he seems more than up to the task.

The deal would put the alleged mastermind of the attacks of September 2001, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, his fellow plotters and other top terror suspects before revamped military commissions, rather than in civilian trials as the Obama administration had sought. These courts would offer defendants more rights than they had under the Bush administration, but fewer than they would be afforded in civilian court.

The effort, led by White House counsel Robert Bauer and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, further sidelines Attorney General Eric Holder, who at a hearing Tuesday continued to argue that the planners of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and other terrorists should be given civilian federal trials.

Any such deal would represent the final repudiation of Mr. Holder's November decision to bring the 9/11 plotters to civilian trial in New York City, and a switch for the White House, which suspended the Bush-era military commissions as one of its first acts in office. The White House and the Justice Department appear to be at loggerheads on the matter, and Justice Department officials say they are not a party to the negotiations

The framework of the deal is being led in Congress by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Mr. Graham wants civilian courts to be reserved for low-level Al Qaeda operatives and terrorist financiers, a far smaller group than previously considered.

Forty-eight Guantanamo prisoners—men who cannot be convicted in court but deemed too dangerous for release—would face indefinite detention without trial. Democrats are willing to expand the number of detainees brought before military commissions, but want more discretion than in Mr. Graham's proposal.

This is among the most idiotic 'deals' in history. Memo to Lindsey...KSM and the others aren't going to be tried in civilian court no matter what. It's far to unpopular among, well just about everyone. The reason the White House took this away from Holder is precisely because his plans were politically untenable. They were going to have to back off it anyway.

As for this the idea that you can hold people on US soil indefinitely without trial is, let me think of a technical term here. Ah yes...bat shit crazy. One of the reasons Gitmo was created was that under existing law and Supreme Court precedent (Eisentrager) people held outside the territory of the United States during the course of a war were not able to challenge their detention in US Courts. Boumediene changed that and opened the courthouse door (though it didn't say exactly how wide) to Gitmo detainees.

Does anyone really think, given the arc of modern jurisprudence on detainee issues, that courts are going to allow a two tier system of justice for people held on US soil? Okay, anyone not named Lindsey Graham that is.

I wouldn't be surprised that that's what the White House is banking on. They can say, "KSM will be tried in a military commission on the US mainland" but then the courts will say, "No, they are held in the US so they get all the rights anyone else does".

Add to that the cost and security issues involved and you see just what a great 'deal' this is.

Thanks Lindsey!


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posted by DrewM. at 11:53 AM

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