Free Markets, Free People

When Do “Show Trials” Become A Circus?

I don’t think there’s any real doubt that Eric Holder’s decision to try the 9/11 defendants in New York’s federal court was as much about politics as justice. President Obama’s remarks about KSM’s guilt and the outcome of the trial left little doubt this is to be a show trial. And while I’m certainly no fan of Sen. Lindsey Graham, I thought he made Holder look foolish during the Senate hearings into the matter. It was clear, at least to me, that this decision was not well thought out. It was also clear that Holder had no idea of the possible ramifications of his decision. He continually, but ineffectually, avoided Graham’s points – once these terrorists are brought into the federal court system there are a completely different set of rules at work. And while they may indeed get convictions with these particular defendants, it most likely won’t be pretty and it sets a precedent (criminalizing this war) that we may regret in the future.

It is now emerging that even if the administration adamantly denies that these are show trials, the terrorists in question know exactly what they are and plan on using them to propagandize what they did and why:

Scott Fenstermaker, the lawyer for accused terrorist Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, said the men would not deny their role in the 2001 attacks but “would explain what happened and why they did it.”


Mohammed, Ali and the others will explain “their assessment of American foreign policy,” Fenstermaker said.

“Their assessment is negative,” he said.

Fenstermaker met with Ali last week at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. He has not spoken with the others but said the men have discussed the trial among themselves.

But don’t worry – the feds have it all under control. This will be a fair but orderly trial:

Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, said Sunday that while the men may attempt to use the trial to express their views, “we have full confidence in the ability of the courts and in particular the federal judge who may preside over the trial to ensure that the proceeding is conducted appropriately and with minimal disrupton, as federal courts have done in the past.”

Really? So how does Mr. Boyd and the Department of Justice plan on stopping a terrorist, to whom they just gave this right, from confronting his accusers in court and taking the stand to defend himself?

I mean if this is all about justice and not about, you know, a show?



10 Responses to When Do “Show Trials” Become A Circus?

  • “This will be a fair but orderly trial:”  and according to the President, will be followed by a fair and orderly hanging.
    I have to admit, there does seem to be something President Imeme and I agree on after all.  However, I think it’s a major mistake to put them into the American criminal justice system as opposed to relying on a military court.
    Pretty much promise this will be a circus, and it shouldn’t be.  Try them, hang them.  We don’t need to replay it like the OJ trial set in New York City.

  • Maybe the terrorists will call George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Condi Rice to testify.

    Maybe that’s exactly what Imeme, Holder, and the rest of the trash want.

  • I suspect its beginning to dawn on Holder that this circus might not be a trial of Bush’s policies, but instead of the Obama Administration’s poorly thought out policies.
    Now that they’ve granted them rights, they have two choices.   Go forward and make a mockery of the US Justice system by allowing these terrorists a podium to celebrate their horrific act or make a mockery of the US Justice system by denying the terrorists the rights you just gave them in front of the world.
    Now this is pretty much just a slow motion train wreck.

  • A ‘fair but orderly’ trial resulting in certain conviction, according to Holder et al. A slam dunk.

    Anybody remember the trial of the Chicago 7? O.J. Simpson?

    • That assumes this will go to trial.  It’s possible that a judge would throw out most of the evidence on constitutional grounds.  Was KSM Marandized?  If not, his confession is out.  Were searches performed without a warrant?  If not, it’s out.  Its possible that there might not be enough evidence to proceed to trial. 

      • Heh, oh no, the smartest, most well spoken, good looking guy in the country has said they’ll get a fair trial and be found guilty.
        He also said the stimulus would fix our economy, unemployment wouldn’t exceed
        @8.5%, taxes on 95% of Americans wouldn’t go up one dime, you’d be able to keep your current health care plan, in September he said he’d make a decision, soon, on Afghanistan, he’d close Gitmo, etc, etc, etc.

      • CurtIts possible that there might not be enough evidence to proceed to trial. 

        I think quite a few people wonder about that very thing.  I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that, under normal US criminal procedures, KSM should walk out of that courtroom after about five minues of the judge “discovering” that the government’s case is based in large part on illegally-obtained evidence including a coerced confession.

        Either Holder and Imeme are the most spectacularly incompetent lawyers in history, or else they really ARE interested in this “trial” as political theatre.

      • Fer shure. I expect a blizzard of motions at the outset of the ‘trial’ including change of venue . Since it is now obvious to everyone except the terminally stupid that it is the intent of the defendants to point out the shortcomings of the
        US, I will bet that one of the motions will be to throw out the alledged confession bedcause it waws obtained by torture. I don’t think the rest of the world shares the belief that waterboarding is not torture or that the prisoners at Guantanamo are well treated. Abu Ghraib and all that, dontcha know.

  • But…but…but…Holder says failing to get a conviction is “…not an option”.

    • Perhaps he has plans for jury selection, like they did all those town hall meetings. I look forward to following this ‘trial’ (in a horrified sort of way), and the appeals process. It promises to be years of fun.