Gitmo trials halted by Obama order

posted at 8:40 am on January 21, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama didn’t take long to make an impact on the issue of Guantanamo Bay.  Within hours of assuming office, President Obama issued an order suspending all military tribunals for 120 days.  Today’s hearing for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was among those delayed until May 20th, while Obama decides what to do:

In one of his first acts in office President Obama has ordered the U.S. government to suspend prosecutions of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay for 120 days, military officials said Tuesday.

Papers filed at the U.S. prison camp said the request is made “in the interest of justice and at the direction of the president of the United States.” It seeks a delay in proceedings until May 20.

“The judges will receive the requests and review them, and we anticipate a ruling soon,” said Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Defense Department spokesman.

Tuesday’s directive was issued verbally through Defense Secretary Bob Gates, according to a military official.

Obama had vowed to close the naval prison at the U.S. base. While Obama’s order does not go that far, it will stop the prosecutions of 21 detainees currently facing war crimes charges.

Recall that the military tribunal process has twice passed Congress as the preferred manner of dealing with these terrorists.  Barack Obama opposed it as a Senator, but it received bipartisan support on both occasions.  In the second and current version, the process includes the right to appeal through the regular federal appellate courts.

In this case, justice delayed is not much of a change at all.  Did Obama not have an idea of how to proceed when he took office?  A four-month delay only means that the detainees will have to wait that much longer to see any adjudication of their status.  Why not allow the tribunals to proceed, at least to get a finding of fact from them?  If Obama wants to invalidate the process later, he can also invalidate their findings.  It’s difficult to see what Obama expects to get from a further delay, especially since one of the main complaints about Gitmo has been the length of time the men have been held without adjudication.

The delay would only be meaningful if Obama intended to free all of the Gitmo prisoners, something that the ACLU has urged.  Somehow, I don’t think Barack Obama would be that foolish.  It would be tough to win re-election as the man who set Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 actors free simply to win favor from Europe’s elite.

In the end, Gitmo really is two problems: location and process.  If the process gets changed, then there’s no reason to change location.  If the location was all that was at issue, then the process doesn’t matter.  These terrorists have to remain detained to keep Americans from getting killed, especially KSM and the 9/11 plotters.  Their guilt is not in doubt, nor is the danger they represent.


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Comments

You think that’s good, just wait until tomorrow. Shh! It’s rumored that President Obama has asked to personally review the prison menu and will make humane recommendations.

Arugula.

jeff_from_mpls on January 21, 2009 at 9:52 AM

What does he need to review that he could not review as a senator? Anyone else notice it was a verbal command? Nothing like not having the hard copy to hold him to later. Fact is he has no reason to issue a delay other then he has no clue what is going on.

Zaggs on January 21, 2009 at 9:52 AM

Their guilt is not in doubt, nor is the danger they represent.

Unless you are talking to the moonbats.

NoFanofLibs on January 21, 2009 at 9:55 AM

Blake on January 21, 2009 at 9:50 AM

Thanks, that was a true LOL!

DarkCurrent on January 21, 2009 at 9:56 AM

Obama needs to read the Geneva Convention before he acts — I mean really read it, not just pay lip service to it.. These individuals cannot be tried in our civilian court system unless our own soldiers would be tried in the same court system for the same offenses.

I’m hoping that this is just until he “gets a handle” on things, but he’s had months to read the Convention and doesn’t seem to have done so.

If he’s going where he wants to go, he ought to go all the way and just eliminate the military justice system, so that our own soldiers have the identical rights the enemy does within our system.

unclesmrgol on January 21, 2009 at 9:56 AM

I guess the “organizer” need to console his constitutes in Gitmo

grapeknutz on January 21, 2009 at 9:56 AM

He’s holding prisoners without trial!

artist on January 21, 2009 at 8:44 AM

+1!

+1

I need to get used to this new arrangement; i.e., just flat-out opposing everything with no regard for reality.

Bono fiddles while Gitmo churns! U2 endorses holding prisoners without trial! I’ve got to go hit up their fan boards. Call Amnesty International! Boycott the new U2 album.

saint kansas on January 21, 2009 at 9:59 AM

Reaching out to the terrorists.

jencab on January 21, 2009 at 10:02 AM

O crap.

hoosiermama on January 21, 2009 at 10:12 AM

Throw the leftard base some red meat without actually doing anything.

Clintonesque.

Next up: A National Dialog on Race!

jeff_from_mpls on January 21, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Just let ’em go. And give each one a complimentary AK-47 and a batch of C4 as parting gifts. I’m sure they wouldn’t use them on Americans since Obama’s president now.

aero on January 21, 2009 at 10:16 AM

What this gains him is an excuse to keep the prison there operating longer than his moonbat supporters expect. He is going to claim this is necessary in order for them to get a “fair” hearing. So he has a “humanitarian reason” for the continuing operation of the prison. It doesn’t matter that this is just a charade used to keep the prison open, his supporters are going to believe it is the humanitarian thing to do because “The One” said it is.

Buford on January 21, 2009 at 10:16 AM

already throwing his political capitol into the cesspool.

kirkill on January 21, 2009 at 10:19 AM

You actually think the Obama’s retarded followers care who or what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is? Thats cute.

Speedwagon82 on January 21, 2009 at 10:22 AM

You actually think the Obama’s retarded followers care who or what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is? Thats cute.

Speedwagon82 on January 21, 2009 at 10:22 AM

Since they believe 9/11 was an inside job by the Bush administration they won’t believe Khalid Sheikh Mohammed could be guilty of anything.

Buford on January 21, 2009 at 10:25 AM

Throw the leftard base some red meat without actually doing anything.

Clintonesque.

jeff_from_mpls on January 21, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Bingo!

catmman on January 21, 2009 at 10:32 AM

Gee weren’t these folks just complaining about the terrorists being held without a speedy trial. I wish they would make up their minds.

kanda on January 21, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Are you claiming he had all that information before he was President? I highly doubt. DeathToMediaHacks on January 21, 2009 at 8:46 AM

Isn’t “I highly doubt” under the category of Media Hackery?

kirkill on January 21, 2009 at 10:40 AM

I work with a gal whose husband is stationed at Gitmo. She asked him about what Eric Holder said about holding the trails in the US..he said “no way, won’t happen, not even on the table”…also, there are some good articles in the Miami Herald which according to my friend is the main newspaper that Gitmo staff gives info to. They had to agree to remain neutral.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/americas/guantanamo/story/861963.html

Wileygrl3 on January 21, 2009 at 10:48 AM

Whitey is the real threat, release all other prisoners!!!!!

Hening on January 21, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Why not allow the tribunals to proceed, at least to get a finding of fact from them? If Obama wants to invalidate the process later, he can also invalidate their findings. It’s difficult to see what Obama expects to get from a further delay, especially since one of the main complaints about Gitmo has been the length of time the men have been held without adjudication.

Seriously Ed? You’re smarter than this. The article you quoted goes on to say that the reason for halting of the trials is that Obama and the civil liberties community was not happy with the trials process and that before they can proceed he and his team are going to review all the evidence in all of the cases and make a determinatoin. Are you claiming he had all that information before he was President? I highly doubt. Oh and I’m going to start keeping track of the number of stories on Hot Air that are original rather than based on some other news agency. If the MSM ever really went away, what would this blog do?

DeathToMediaHacks on January 21, 2009 at 8:46 AM

Does this mean that Obama will be the judge for these cases?

Dasher on January 21, 2009 at 11:10 AM

already throwing his political capitol into the cesspool.

kirkill on January 21, 2009 at 10:19 AM

The quicker the better.

Dasher on January 21, 2009 at 11:11 AM

New York Times, June 20, 2009:

JERSEY CITY, NJ–FBI investigators, in cooperation with CIA agents who had illegally interrogated and tortured captured Afghan freedom fighters at the now-defunct Guantanamo military base under the disgraced administration of former President George W. Bush, have formally identified the body of Khaled Sheik Mohammed, among the 5,482 bodies recovered from the Holland Tunnel, which was flooded after a massive accidental explosion allowed the Hudson River to stream into the tunnel during the evening rush hour last Tuesday.

President Barack Obama declined to comment on this identification this morning during a working breakfast of Aunt Jemima waffles and Vermont maple syrup, but White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel expressed his condolences for all the victims of the explosion, including Mr. Mohammed, and has assured the Times that Mr. Mohammed’s presence in the tunnel during the incident was purely coincidental. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is currently negotiating for transfer of Mr. Mohammed’s mortal remains to Pakistan for burial.

When Mr. Mohammed’s body was identified, a small group of Republican protesters gathered near the Holland Tunnel, in support of a conspiracy theory that Tuesday’s tragic explosion was deliberately provoked by Mr. Mohammed, but they were quickly arrested by agents of the Civilian National Security Force, and charged with trespassing and interfering with rescue efforts.

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine deplored the protests, and stated that Republicans should not try to exploit the tragedy for political gain. He also declined an offer of National Guard troops to aid rescue efforts from defeated vice-presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, stating that the National Guard troops would be better used protecting Alaska from Russia, which Ms. Palin could see from her window.

Former President George W. Bush was not available for comment, as prosecutors in his pending trial for water-boarding have imposed a gag order on everyone implicated in the Guantanamo torture scandal.

Steve Z on January 21, 2009 at 11:13 AM

How long will it be before we see

Free Khalid!

No Justice No Peace!

drjohn on January 21, 2009 at 11:14 AM

Steve Z on January 21, 2009 at 11:13 AM

Well done.

drjohn on January 21, 2009 at 11:15 AM

The error of Obama begins. Soon all will know.

tarpon on January 21, 2009 at 11:15 AM

Whitey is the real threat, release all other prisoners!!!!!

Hening on January 21, 2009 at 10:50 AM

You have a point. It’s a theme.

“white will embrace what is right”

drjohn on January 21, 2009 at 11:16 AM

The tribunals (or something like them) will continue. This is so the final decision can be made on the closing of GTMO adn were everyone will go.

Squid Shark on January 21, 2009 at 11:18 AM

DeathToMediaHacks on January 21, 2009 at 8:46 AM

This means that either Obama does not believe the evidence is real or he’s using the system to score cheap dumbass political points. You’ll have to hazard a guess as to where I stand.

drjohn on January 21, 2009 at 11:20 AM

What does he need to review that he could not review as a senator?
Zaggs on January 21, 2009

well we need to cut the new POTUS some slack .i mean when did he actually do anything as a US senator besides run for the white house.

Mojack420 on January 21, 2009 at 11:21 AM

…If the MSM ever really went away, what would this blog do?

DeathToMediaHacks on January 21, 2009 at 8:46 AM

Intriguing thought. Probably it would be replaced. Perhaps 50’s-era reporting would become the standard again. You know, “Just the facts, Ma’am”. Now that would be change you could believe in!

littleguy on January 21, 2009 at 11:47 AM

So Obama’s first decision is the decision not to make a decision for 4 months?

Dick Morris would have the polls back within a week, so Clinton could make a decision.

This is not progress.

Chuck Schick on January 21, 2009 at 11:59 AM

They’ll all be guilty as hell and free as a bird soon.

Disturb the Universe on January 21, 2009 at 8:51 AM

Interesting thought! Talk about immediately taking actions that automatically foster cynicism! Obama is a gem.

I wonder . . . did he take this action in response to a request, or requests, filed with the President-Elect, by a lawyer or lawyers for the one or more of the detainees?

And even if the position of the POTUS is that he did not take such action in response to any such request or requests, did anyone within the Barack Obama chain of command ever receive any such request, either in writing or otherwise, from one or more of the lawyers at any time prior to his issuing the order? Or from any outside group or groups (e.g., ACLU)?

Was any such request received by the SecDef during lame duck, and was a response deferred at the request of the incoming POTUS?

And if so, by whom? Of equal importance, what exactly was the basis of the request?

One would think that one of our stalwarts in the press would have already filed similar questions with the Obama folks.

Oh sorry . . . typo. I meant to say,

“One would think that none of our stalwarts in the press would have already filed similar questions with the Obama folks.”

Trochilus on January 21, 2009 at 12:05 PM

Where can I go to find a list of Obama’s executive orders?

jack_in_the_box on January 21, 2009 at 12:19 PM

President Obama ordered Gitmo to be closed in one year as promised.

getalife on January 21, 2009 at 12:23 PM

OT: [During the CNN’s broadcast of this story]

While sitting in our cafeteria eating lunch, I happened to notice that CNN has explicitly given up all attempts at hiding their liberal bias. For sale now at CNN.com, mens’ and womens’ T-shirts saying, “Obama raised a hand and lifted a nation*”.

I didn’t have a barf bag handy, and I was in the company of others, so I refrained from re-delivering my lunch. However, I realized that what was really bothering me was that the whole idea of journalism being a mechanism to inform the people while monitoring the government has disappeared completely in the TV media.

Its sad that I will live during the time of America’s demise. It might not completely fall by the time I die, but it is doomed none the less. And to rub salt in the wounds, it will be blamed upon Bush, not the imbeciles that lead environut/global warming groups, socialist bureaucrats, moronic aristocratic liberal entertainment icons, and American-haters.

Everyday since November 4th, I have been getting nothing but more depressed about the direction our country is taking.

Geministorm on January 21, 2009 at 12:29 PM

My understanding of the Geneva Conventions–from U.S. Army service 45 years ago–is as follows:
***
(1) They apply only to uniformed military from countries that have signed the convention.
***
(2) They require military that capture prisoners that qualify under (1) to provide necessary medical treatment, minimum acceptable food, shelter, clothing, and living conditions for them.
***
(3) Abuse of prisoners is not permitted. They may not be forced to work in war efforts of the captors.
***
(4) They then require that the prisoners be repatriated to their home countries when the conflict is over.
***
(5) Combatants that fail to meet (1) are not given protection under the convention.
***
(6) Combatants that commit atrocities or are spies or are out of uniform can be shot on the battlefield. They may also be subject to military tribunals and summary execution.
***
(7) There are no rights to the U.S. legal system given to any prisoners–whether they are covered under the Geneva Convention or not.
***
(8) Civilians in enemy countries are to be protected against abuse and deprivation by the occupying military force.
***
(9) The occupying military must police their own personnel–abuses of prisoners or civilians must be punished. I knew a lawyer who served in WW2 trials of U.S. soldiers in Germany who raped, murdered, robbed, and abused Germans. We hung about 80 of our own soldiers for their crimes. Many others went to prison. Russian soldiers were allowed to rape and loot their way through Germany without any punishments.
***
The supposed “prisoner rights” have been made out of “whole cloth” by an out of control liberal / socialist judiciary in our country.
***
Both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan signed the Geneva Convention. Neither country followed it in WW2. The U.S. usually did follow it. No other legal requirements should exist.
***
John Bibb
***

rocketman on January 21, 2009 at 12:31 PM

The AP article has an eye-opener that the posted one didnt:

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – The judge in the Sept. 11 war crimes case at Guantanamo has agreed to President Barack Obama’s request to suspend the case pending a 120-day review.

The defendants opposed the delay. All have said they want to plead guilty to charges that carry a potential death sentence.

Army Col. Stephen Henley issued the ruling Wednesday after a brief hearing at the U.S. base in Cuba.

Any guess what they’re going to plead now?

Chuck Schick on January 21, 2009 at 12:34 PM

Buford and catman have it right. Not sure what the rest of you are going on about. Sound like a bunch of chicken littles.

dakine on January 21, 2009 at 1:12 PM

Chuck Schick on January 21, 2009 at 12:34 PM

The defendants opposed the delay. All have said they want to plead guilty to charges that carry a potential death sentence.

That may be their public posture, or should I say “propaganda” but if they really all wanted to plead guilty, then they would have. There would simply be no need for a trial. They would have made the proffer, including signing off on the basis for their plea, and their trials would be over.

There is some fly in the ointment that prevented that from occuring, one that explains exactly why the tribunals would not accept their “guilty pleas.”. There was something about their refusal to sign off on the exact charge brought —

I plead guilty to having performed my duty and waged jihad on the Great Satan!

Or, perhaps they refuse to sign off on key elements of the factual basis underscoring the charges.

They’re just playing the system and the reporter is too lazy to track it down.

Trochilus on January 21, 2009 at 1:22 PM

Today’s hearing for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was among those delayed until May 20th, while Obama decides what to do:

Present.

ThePrez on January 21, 2009 at 2:04 PM

President Obama ordered Gitmo to be closed in one year as promised.

So he’s keeping it open another year?

BUSH 3.

saint kansas on January 21, 2009 at 2:36 PM

Yep like i predicted
not even 24 hours in and obama has

1. Ordered the wholesale Killing of unborn babies all over the world with tax payer funds

2. Ordered all trials of KNOWN islamic terrorists halted

3. I am sure the next order will be to either set them all free or move them into the us..

Question is will acorn show up to register them all to VOTE??

jcila on January 21, 2009 at 3:17 PM

On reflection, I have to regard this as a good development. I don’t care if these guys rot in jail, I’m in no hurry to rush them to trial. NOw if we could only persuade Obama to put his other great plans, like Mega-Pork Stimulus, national health care and amnesty, on hold for a few months. In fact, I’d invite him to consider just shutting down the government for a few months–might be the best medicine for the economy.

james23 on January 21, 2009 at 3:22 PM

He’s holding prisoners without trial!

artist on January 21, 2009 at 8:44 AM

And are these illegal combatants that fight without uniforms and can be subjected to summary execution?
And were any prisoners taken during WW2, given a trial or released before the war was over?

Johan Klaus on January 21, 2009 at 3:43 PM

I have an idea…why don’t we give the detainees a job such as the security detail for the Obama family, the Biden family, Pelosi family, Reid family and others who do not think those being held are dangerous or a threat to anyone’s safety.

ice princess on January 21, 2009 at 4:47 PM

These terrorists have to remain detained to keep Americans from getting killed, especially KSM and the 9/11 plotters.

You know…………

………… I think Mr. Obama needs to be reminded of something.

Seven Percent Solution on January 21, 2009 at 5:09 PM

Mr. Morrissey,

Why do you continue to use that old photo of Guantanamo?

hepcat on January 21, 2009 at 5:21 PM

and others who do not think those being held are dangerous or a threat to anyone’s safety.

ice princess on January 21, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Please provide any quote from Obama where he said that.

…..

Squid Shark on January 21, 2009 at 7:26 PM

And are these illegal combatants that fight without uniforms and can be subjected to summary execution?
And were any prisoners taken during WW2, given a trial or released before the war was over?

Johan Klaus on January 21, 2009 at 3:43 PM

Then why were they not summarily executed?

Squid Shark on January 21, 2009 at 7:27 PM

Step 1 to increased terrorist attacks completed. Watch it Boo Boo, don’t make the same mistakes Slick Willy did, appeasement is not going to work. It’s been done to death already with terrible results.

Hog Wild on January 21, 2009 at 7:35 PM

Gee… I heard 2 guys at work talking today, I swear they think this order was to “close Guantánamo down”. I guess they are still listening with their pre-election ears. Slowly we turn… Step by step…

RalphyBoy on January 21, 2009 at 7:44 PM

I really believe Rahm Emmauel is running the place. How on God’s earth when the Blago thing blew up did the press, Obama team and everyone else put Rahm in an “undisclosed location” until inaugeration day? He’s hip deep in the IL crap but the MSM and others are running cover so it won’t hurt BO.

wepeople on January 21, 2009 at 7:45 PM

Maybe he’ll rent them his home on Chicago…you know…the one right up the block from Ayers.

SouthernGent on January 21, 2009 at 8:11 PM

A Word to The Dems, Isn’t this going to create some kind of a Government Back Log……oh I see never mind.

Dr Evil on January 21, 2009 at 8:16 PM

Should have ordered them all hanged and then close the place.

Fool.

profitsbeard on January 21, 2009 at 8:19 PM