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Can anyone explain the reasoning behind the US never charging Osama bin Laden for 9-11 or Anwar Al-Awlaki with terrorism before setting out to kill them?

Did it make it any easier to find bin Laden in 2001 - when he was supposedly in Afghanistan, had not yet taken credit for the 9-11 attacks, and the Taliban government suggested that instead of fighting a war, he be tried in a third country, asking for the evidence against him?  Couldn't charges and evidence have been helpful in enlisting international cooperation generally?  Of course, in 2001 the president replied, "There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty." Is that still our policy whenever it suits the president?

With US citizen Al-Awlaki, who appears never to have committed nor been charged with any violent or terrorism-related act, while drone attacks aimed at him in Yemen have killed innocent civilians, isn't the question even more serious?  Don't the current Material Support For Terror and other statutes make it easier than ever to charge real accessories when there's evidence?

Is the bottom line that if we have a president we respect, like, or voted for, these policies and actions are fine, shouldn't be questioned - are even heroic and terrific?

Thu Jun 02, 2011 at  6:07 PM PT: Readers clarified that bin Laden had been indicted for other terrorist acts prior to 9-11, but not for 9-11.  No one seemed to know evidence that would have been included in a proper 9-11 indictment against him.

Bizarrely, Al-Awlaki has only been formally accused of a passport violation and of violating the White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910 known as the Mann Act – not of anything related to terrorism.  Historically the Mann Act has been famously used to harass interracial couples and uppity negroes, including boxing champion Jack Johnson, and in political stings including the removal of former NY governor Elliot Spitzer.  No one here claimed that, if Al-Awlaki was a terrorist living in Yemen, this might be a good way to catch him or persuade Yemenis to turn him in.

Thanks to everyone who clarified these facts.

Yesterday's Criminalizing Free Speech by Glenn Greenwald at Salon suggests the reason Al-Awlaki has never been charged for terrorism is, his actual "crimes" are clearly constitutionally protected.  Five terrorism experts suggest that his primary threat to America is that he opposes US policies for a Muslim audience in fluent English.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Edger

    mind wanders, pardon, wonders....

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace- Hendrix

    by Maori on Sun May 29, 2011 at 12:02:43 AM PDT

  •  He'd have been charged.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster

    ....with somewhat over 3000 counts of first degree murder if he'd been brought in alive.  As far as the rest..... we have bin Laden on tape admitting to being behind 9/11.

  •  Trial in absentia are very difficult . . . (6+ / 0-)

    to prosecute -- this is especially true if a suspect hasn't been taken into custody.

    With an international fugitive, foreign national, and terrorist figure like Bin Laden there's even more ambiguity.  Due process considerations don't apply to foreign nationals on foreign soil in the same way that they might for U.S. nationals inside the U.S.  You have some treaty considerations that come into play, but his status as a foreign fighter who wasn't aligned with any national government created even more ambiguity.  There isn't much legal precedent to serve as a useful guide in his case.

    Al-Awlaki was actually charged under the Mann Act in connection with soliciting prostitutes across state lines (charges eventually dropped after he fled the country).  The Feds have looked at other grounds for prosecuting him.  His situation is even more complicated because of his status as a dual-national.  

    I don't think trials and evidence matter at all in terms of the willingness of a state like Yemen to cooperate in the apprehension of person like Al-Awlaki (every indication is that they've been very willing to help in locating and capturing him).  There's a reason though that these figures tend to take refuge in states where there is weak central authority.  Living within a modern state comes with certain trade-offs -- you have rights, and you also have obligations.  

    I think it's perfectly fine to question these kind of actions.  Personally, though I don't lose much sleep over these kind of extra-judicial killings.  I don't celebrate them or think they're terrific.  I'd also rather live in world where people didn't try to put explosives in their underwear on a civilian airline flight.  You still have to deal with the world as it is.

    If an American citizen declares war against the U.S. government and attempts to kill U.S. civilians -- and if the person is taken into custody -- that person should be entitled to a fair trial and due process rights.  On the other hand, if a person actively avoids apprehension and hides away in a foreign country where apprehension is a practical impossibility or at an absolute minimum poses a significant threat to the lives of law enforcement officers who attempt to take the suspect into custody, then you're dealing with a different set of circumstances.

    •  Awlaki's only charge is interstate prostitution? (0+ / 0-)

      Insightful.  Thanks for clarifying that however many prosecutors and grand juries have been convened in the time the US has targeted Awlaki, they have thus far found they can only charge him with Mann Act interstate prostitution!

      If you know the history of the boxer Jack Johnson, or have seen the award winning The Great White Hope, you know the Mann Act's infamous history as a way to harass and abuse ambitious, successful blacks and mixed couples in the early 20th century.  You're saying that is the only actual criminal complaint against Awlaki, who has been marked for death?

      When you say "I'd also rather live in world where people didn't try to put explosives in their underwear", is that a non-sequitur or a vague accusation against Awlaki?  Please be more specific about evidence of terrorism he's been involved in.  Do you suspect all the grand juries went too easy on him because they're biased in favor of politically active Muslims accused of terrorism – forcing the president into "extrajudicial killing" as his only option?

      If there's evidence Awlaki incited violence, why is he too good or too evil for a criminal complaint using the same laws that have locked up Klan leaders and others for decades?

      Your other insightful comments aside, we may need to do more than "question".  Back when only Caucasians were doing it, "extrajudicial killing" was called l*nching.   It's nice you're not losing sleep, but if that tactic and the Mann Act are our weapons against terrorism, we're losing big time - confusing the world about who the criminals are, more likely to martyr Awlaki than neutralize him, and not getting any safer.

      •  Mann Act was also used . . . (0+ / 0-)

        to pursue Elliot Spitzer (although he was not formally prosecuted); it's also used in child prostitution cases, so its invocation has merit at least somewhere.

        Those earlier attempts to prosecute in 2002 were clearly based on tangential issues, but in hindsight this sounds like one of the few instances where the Bush administration was actually pursuing a credible threat.  I see this as more akin to prosecuting Capone on the basis of tax evasion than prosecuting Jack Johnson on the basis of the Mann Act.  

        Since then Al-Awlaki's allegedly been involved in more lethal incidents.

        Awlaki's involvement wouldn't be prosecuted on the basis of some kind of amorphous "spiritual inspiration" basis -- it sounds like he could probably be prosecuted as a co-conspirator in some of these cases (e.g. printer cartridge bombs in airliners; underwear bomber; Ft. Hood shootings are less clear).  

        The biggest burden here is that his apprehension is no gimme.

        Even in the U.S., if there's a criminal suspect who is hiding with heavily armed friends and there is a reasonable basis for believing that the lives of law enforcement officers will be put in danger simply in trying to enforce the law -- then those officers are within their rights to use lethal force in the execution of their duty.  

        In this case, the guy isn't even residing within a place that falls within the U.S.'s jurisdiction, so the law has even less application.  I can definitely see a basis for abuse of this kind of power, but in this instance I see practical considerations that make the trial difficult to proceed with.  It's not like this guy is volunteering to make himself available for a prosecution.  He is not in the custody of the state right now.  

        I disagree with you about the origin of "extra-judicial killing".  The KKK case is probably more akin to the oxymoronic "vigilante justice" -- the KKK wasn't acting on behalf of a national power, or killing civilians in foreign nations.  The KKK was acting in an extra-judicial capacity as far as some of the local and state governments went.  But I see it as more akin to the thuggish behavior of vigilante groups in police states (in Iran today it's the Basij; in El Salvador there were the death squads; the Mafia in Italy has served a similar function).

        World history -- of all races, religions, and ethnicities -- is replete with incidents of assassinations, retribution killings and the like that take place outside of a legal setting -- white people didn't invent the concept.  

        What makes this situation unique is that technology, communications, and transportation innovations make it possible now for a small number of non-state actors to target civilians of a nation in a distant region in a way that wasn't possible in the past.   Technological changes also make it easier to inflict greater damage than was ever before possible.  Maybe in the future we'll have some international legal super-structure that can deal with these kind of issues, but now we don't.  What we do have are treaties between states and highly decentralized international organizations who lack the power to enforce law in a consistent, credible, and uniform way.  Against this background, each state has a degree of discretion in determining how it will respond to foreign attacks against it launched by non-state actors residing in foreign nations.

        •  "encrypted message" claims are famous hoaxes (0+ / 0-)

          Your premise that apprehension is the main problem, while finding evidence of involvement in a crime is optional, wrecks your case no matter how articulate and informed you try to be.

          Are you unaware that the Pentagon paid Dennis Montgomery $20M for pretending that Al Qaeda had placed encrypted terrorist messages into the video signal of world renowned TV news network Al Jazeera – whose coverage even Hillary Clinton recently confessed put American news networks efforts to shame?  Do you realize innocent Al Jazeera journalist Sammi Al-Hajj spent 6 years abused at Gitmo without charges, likely a result of this extended bogus encrypted message scam and compliant attitudes like yours?

          You never offer any theory of why across more than 8 years, every grand jury that has reviewed evidence against Awlaki (except perhaps the Mann Act hooker case) has found it utterly incredible and unworthy of prosecution.  Are the grand jurors using jury nullification, conspiring to keep terrorists free?  Or wasn't it simply obvious, to everyone tasked with reviewing the evidence, that he is provocative but hasn't been committing crimes?

          The idea that technology makes the law irrelevant is false too.  Terrorists have been derailing trains for over a century.  It's reminiscent of Obama's outrageous Nobel claim that he understands terror whereas firebombed, slain peace activists like King and Gandhi just didn't.

          Your link simply proves that the British catch criminals by following the law while the Americans fail by refusing to.

          •  Shifting the terms of the debate . . . (0+ / 0-)

            so we go from a question false evidence to the legality of Gitmo and around the globe in what was originally a discussion about "why wasn't Bin Laden prosecuted, and why hasn't Al-Awlaki been tried in absentia".

            In Al-Awlaki's case, you also have some basic facts wrong.  

            No grand jury has ever found him innocent of terrorism charges.  He's faced charges over two incidents.  One involved the Mann Act, which never came to trial because he fled the country.  The other involved passport forgery, which was dismissed because the 10 year statute of limitations had expired (by a judge, not a grand jury).

            There has been no grand jury convened in his case with respect to terrorism charges, so saying that he has been found "utterly incredible and unworthy of prosecution" is false.

            You also seem to have a very hard time grasping the simple fact that a trial in absentia is very, very uncommon.  When Polanski fled the U.S. for France in the early 1970s when he faced rape charges, the case against him did not proceed in his absence.  For a trial that hasn't even been initiated the prospect of a prosecution is even more unlikely.  If Al-Alwaki is in U.S. custody, or turns himself over to a 3rd party nation, there's a pretty good chance that he will face a trial.  So long as he is not in custody, the odds of a trial in his absence are unlikely.  In his case there are likely to be arguments over whether he will be tried in a civilian or military court -- or alternatively he could face a trial in some other country like the UK -- but until he is in custody it is unlikely that he will be tried.

            You aren't able to follow the technological claims argument either.  

            If you want to claim that there is a legal precedent for prosecuting this kind of issue, please go ahead and point me to the appropriate case law.  I'll take a look at it.  

            •  you're confusing secret grand jury with jury trial (0+ / 0-)

              Actually, it's you who isn't following the argument, or apparently, the rules for prosecuting felonies.

              Under our constitution, before any arrest warrant, charges, indictment in person or public trial, a grand jury meets in secret to decide whether there's any evidence of a crime to charge the citizen with -- even if (I know this is unexpected) the citizen is a radical Muslim!  It's growing clear you're eager to skip that step -- which I guess is similar to you not losing sleep over assassination attempts you approve of.

              Because grand juries are conducted in secret (to protect both the case and the accused) we don't know how many there have been for Awlaki -- only that the only ones that went forward were the sex and passport cases.  If there were actually none, that's because not even the prosecutors could find enough evidence of a crime to bring the case before a grand jury with a straight face, or conceivably for some other political reason you're not discussing (maybe the desire to make sure he winds up in Gitmo rather than an accountable, constitutional  court).

              Your own total lack of interest in having any actual criminal complaint against Awlaki involving Terrorism, combined with your illuminating facts about his evil Sex and Passport accusations instead, are making Awlaki sound more like Julian Assange than bin Laden with each comment from you.

              Do take a look at it.

              •  If a grand jury was convened . . . (0+ / 1-)
                Recommended by:
                Hidden by:
                David L

                it wouldn't remain secret for long.  

                The Assange matter is a case in point.  Part of the reason why they've proceeded with that case is because he's being held in custody.  A grand jury indictment would serve as a basis for extradition.

                In the case of Al-Alwaki he isn't currently being held in custody -- so extradition isn't a factor.  On top of this it's unlikely that he would be tried in a civilian court.

                As far as Al-Alwaki goes, I'd have no problem with him being tried in a civilian court.  As a matter of simple court procedure, it is highly unlikely that any charges will be brought against him prior to his being taken into custody.  

                I also don't think that the lives of law enforcement officers need to be sacrificed just to ensure that a guy like Al-Alwaki shows up in court.  If a suspect is determined to hide in a foreign country, and surrounds himself with armed guards, then that changes the equation.

                A prosecutor would have no difficulty at this point in bringing charges against Al-Alwaki since a simple preponderance of the evidence is enough to bring the matter to trial.  One piece of evidence that points in this direction is the fact that a guy in Texas who was in email communication with Al-Alwaki was indicted by a grand jury just last year.  

                I understand the fact that you think that American lives are expendable and that the lives of law enforcement officers should be put in danger just to ensure that this guy maybe shows up in a court someday.  Those aren't my views though.  

                •  you're getting slanderously nutty there (0+ / 0-)

                  Obviously no one in law enforcement or anywhere else would have to risk their lives to convene a grand jury and make a criminal complaint against Awlaki or anyone else.  You're the one suggesting something violent and dangerous ought to be happening in Yemen, not me.

                  Your nutty "American lives are expendable" rhetoric is entirely yours and no one else's, and I'm afraid it's my duty to Hide rate it and suggest you apologize to the community, including me.  If you don't understand why, maybe my comment below can clarify it.  I'm sorry you've run out of ideas, but that's just no excuse.

                  •  It's too bad . . . (0+ / 0-)

                    that the "tip" jar has disappeared, because I would happily return the favor.

                    You may call it "slanderous" to follow your reasoning to it's logical conclusion, but I'm simply spelling out your reasoning.

                    1. You don't grapple with the difficulties involved in trial in absentia -- there's a reason that these rarely happen.

                    2. Additionally, let's say that the in absentia trial happened and the jury achieved a conviction.  How exactly would the conviction be enforced?  It would almost certainly entail law enforcement officers putting their lives at risk in order to bring a suspect in to serve sentence.  If they can't achieve that outcome now without putting their lives in danger, how would they achieve that outcome post conviction without achieving that objective.  Do you think that the Yemeni tribes who are currently hiding Al-Awlaki would consent to the legitimacy of a foreign conviction by a foreign court?

                    i.e. you think that American lives are expendable.  

                    You may not like that answer, and you may feel obliged to "hide rate" the truth, so be it.  Precedent doesn't matter to you in the enforcement of U.S. law.

                    You still haven't cited a precedent to justify your interpretation of the law.  That another damning indictment of your nutty reasoning.

  •  Basis for your premises? (8+ / 0-)

    Not that it particularly matters to whatever point you're trying to make, but your basic facts are incorrect.

    In the US, Bin Laden was the subject of a sealed indictment before the US embassy bombings in Africa and was charged in a 238-count indictment after the bombings.

    Al-Awlaki has been charged with crimes in Yemen, including "forming an armed gang" to target foreign officers and law enforcement.

    •  charge means "criminal complaint" not "indictment" (0+ / 0-)

      in the headline and diary.  I hoped that was obvious.  

      Real criminals get accused of an actual crime before they're caught, not just after.  At first it's called a criminal complaint, based on evidence reviewed by a grand jury – the prerequisite for the suspect to be arrested, charged, and indicted in person.

      Does exploring these legal distinctions get you closer to an answer to why Awlaki has never been formally accused of anything relating to terrorism – or are you deliberately getting further away?

      Thanks for clarifying the bin Laden indictment info - though you've also made it clear he was never indicted for 9-11 in the US.  Changing a few words in the first sentence of the diary resolves the issues you raised.

  •  Why was Bin Laden never indicted over 9/11? (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    David L
    Hidden by:
    johnny wurster
    The FBI confirmed in a ... statement (July 2006) that "The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on the Usama Bin Laden's Most Wanted page is because "the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11" (See the Muckracker Report, See also Enver Masud,  FBI: Bin Laden Not Wanted for 9/11? The 'FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11', Wisdom Fund, June 2006). Rex Tom, FBI Director of Investigative Publicity stated in this regard that
    “The FBI gathers evidence. Once evidence is gathered, it is turned over to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice then decides whether it has enough evidence to present to a federal grand jury. In the case of the 1998 United States Embassies being bombed, bin Laden has been formally indicted and charged by a grand jury. He has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.”

    --link

    Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

    by Edger on Sun May 29, 2011 at 02:22:23 AM PDT

    •  HRing for truther bullshit. (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      David L

      Take it somewhere else.

      •  Blow it out your ass (0+ / 0-)

        Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

        by Edger on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:10:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually not. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Edger, David L

        Just outdated. The referenced pages were correct as of the dates of posting and only later was this updated to include read:

        Murder of U.S. Nationals Outside the United States; Conspiracy to Murder U.S. Nationals Outside the United States; Attack on a Federal Facility Resulting in Death

        Which suggests, possibly, the attack on The Pentagon, but not the WTC.

        See my full post elsewhere.

        And don't HR me as a Truther, because I'm not links are to the FBI website.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:29:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think this is HRable (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        David L, Edger

        It's a confusing issue for many people and a lot of misinformation is floating around.

        It's not clear that OBL was indicted for 9/11 and whether his indictment was updated to include it with much specificity considering that it became a matter of war rather than criminal law.

        Also, the intel on OBL's exact role is ambiguous.  The best public reporting I think was in le Monde which places him at formative meetings about the attacks.  But much of the detailed planning was done later and elsewhere.

        I think what confuses people is that OBL was a military target not just because of 9/11, but because he was part of a non-state military organization at war with the US.

      •  please stop degrading this page, Mr wurster (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Edger

        Really, you can say "Take it somewhere else" in your own diaries and censor them, but as HamdenRice, Edger and the rest of us here know, it's against the rules for you to incite flame wars this way when the rest of us are looking for and providing clear information.  Edger contributed a link and a quote; you, just your chin – or perhaps that's your wurst.

        Like responsible members here, I take pride in rarely clicking my Hide button, so please remove your inappropriate rating yourself and stop working to derail the discussion.  Such trolling is forbidden at the Daily Kos.

      •  please stop degrading this page, Mr wurster (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Edger

        Really, you can say "Take it somewhere else" in your own diaries and censor them, but as HamdenRice, Edger and the rest of us here know, it's against the rules for you to incite flame wars this way when the rest of us are looking for and providing clear information.  Edger contributed a link and a quote; you, just your chin – or perhaps that's your wurst.

        Like responsible members here, I take pride in rarely clicking my Hide button, so please remove your inappropriate rating yourself and stop working to derail the discussion.  Such trolling is forbidden in this and every other civilized community.

  •  Another bizarre myth adopted by parts of the left (7+ / 0-)

    Just recently, when bin Laden was killed, charges against him were dismissed -- ie he had been indicted:

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    Prosecutors Are Expected to Seek Dismissal of Charges Against Bin Laden
    By BENJAMIN WEISER
    Published: May 3, 2011

    It should happen with little or no fanfare, but it will still represent a moment that some thought might never occur: federal prosecutors in Manhattan are expected to file court papers this week that will formally ask a judge to dismiss all charges against Osama bin Laden.

    The move should formally close a case against the leader of Al Qaeda that began in Federal District Court in Manhattan with an indictment on June 10, 1998, and expanded over the years with later versions, adding some two dozen defendants.

    After 9/11, bin Laden was no longer just a criminal defendant, but an officer of a military organization that the US was at war with, and at that point the laws of war rather than criminal law applied.

    This has been explained dozens of times here, but basically people believe what they want to believe regardless of how much evidence is presented to them.

    •  the Times link is helpful, and it confirms (0+ / 0-)

      bin Laden was indicted, but never for 9-11.  The diary's opening sentence has been updated.

      The problem you're finding with Daily Kos people isn't denial or any factual dispute.  It's that they didn't trust the enemy combatant theory - which effectively elevated Al Qaeda from a gang into a nation and bin Laden from a murder suspect into a General or Commander in Chief.  Most Kossacks disliked it when Bush introduced it, and since they're not hypocrites – and since, like torture, it made catching the criminals harder – we don't like it any better now.  

      Evidently you feel that consistent thinking puts those Kossacks on the fringe or Professional Left, as the White House coined it.

      •  The problem is precisely . . . (0+ / 0-)

        that Al Qaeda is NOT a nation and that bin Laden wasn't accountable in the same way that a General, Commander in Chief might be in a nation state.  

        If Al Qaeda was a signatory to the Geneva Conventions as a nation state, and if the organization had formally declared war against the U.S., then the U.S. would have been bound by the treaty agreements with Al Qaeda, as a nation state.  

        1. However, Al Qaeda is clearly not a state.

        2. On the other hand, the majority of the members are NOT citizens of the United States.  

        3. Additionally, the members don't tend reside in the U.S.

        Privileges and immunities are a Constitutional grant to citizens and resident aliens within the confines of the United States.  

        It's an honest reckoning to say that the law does not account for a situation like Al Qaeda.  They are not entirely unprecedented, but they are still novel in a number of ways.

        What is the relevant precedent for dealing with this organization?  

        On the balance scale, I tend to agree that they are more like an organized crime operation than a state and uniformed military -- and so they should be treated more like an organized crime operation.   But there are still differences between them and your typical crime family.  

        In terms of armaments they're probably more akin to some of the Mexican crime families.  

        The drug war in Mexico and throughout Central America has often strayed into extrajudicial territory.  In places where the central authority is weak -- this is likely to happen.  In places where the central authority only exerts weak control -- this is likely to happen.  Groups like Al Qaeda seek out libertarian paradises where they are unaccountable to any authority other than their own.  The upshot is freedom of action.  The downside is that they lose the kind of protections that tend to come from coalitions that exist in nation states and between nation states.

        •  If that had been the problem, our "solution" (0+ / 0-)

          wouldn't have failed so totally. Over 700 people held at Gitmo for up to a decade, none a convictable 9-11 conspirator - just an apologetic chef.  Several murdered and dozens radicalized by their abuse - abuse that would be considered war crimes requiring mandatory prosecution if committed against actual prisoners of war.  

          See how it's bull?

          •  Shifting the terms of the debate, once again . . . (0+ / 0-)

            If Al-Awlaki is at Gitmo, then the issue of a trial in absentia is a non sequitor.  If Al-Awlaki is not at Gitmo, and the question pertains to why he isn't being tried in absentia, then Gitmo is a non sequitor.

            Gitmo is a whole nother animal.  Yes, there probably are Al Qaeda terrorists at the camp -- KSM is almost certainly more than tangentially connected to 9-11; there are probably even more people who were simply swept up in Afghanistan because neighbors wanted to collect a reward for turning someone in.  It's another topic entirely, but it's my own view that terrorism suspects should be tried in civilian courts, not military courts.  They shouldn't be held without charge indefinitely.  Clearly a great injustice has been done to a number of people held at the site.

            This is a separate question though from whether or not a criminal defendant who lives in a foreign country should be tried in absentia.

            •  you've said Awlaki isn't a criminal defendant (0+ / 0-)

              for any terrorism charge.  That's the actual reason he can't be extradited or tried in absentia for one.

              Gitmo was created for people who believe that step can be skipped – created for you – so you can stop pretending to believe in the civilian courts.

              Cooperation with other nations happens through numerous agencies including Interpol when governments want to follow the law.  Spain, Britain and Chile cooperated starting before Pinochet was captured – and the reason he could be extradited was due to Spain's judge Garzon first publicly accusing him of crimes of violence, of which there was plenty of evidence Pinochet committed many.  News flash – if Pinochet had only been accused of non-violent interstate sex crimes, full cooperation and extradition would have been impossible, and instead of turning him in, the world and everyone who interacted with him would question whether he was being accused and railroaded for political reasons.

              The fact that you consider all arabs savages – who could not or would not use evidence, logic and morality the way the British did to decide whether to protect an accused fugitive – is preventing you from understanding how international laws are designed to work, and have worked.  In fact, yours is exactly the same belief system that convinced George Bush that spending a year or decade killing arabs who had nothing to do with 9-11 was a better idea than presenting the Taliban and the world with the evidence against bin Laden, so they'd have to cooperate in his capture and prosecution.  That's a main point in the original diary that you've carefully ignored.

              (PS: While grownups rarely use the "The fact that you..." rhetoric you've descended to in comments above, it's clear you need to be on the receiving end if you're to abstain in the future. You seemed civil at first. Clearly you're growing desperately tired of defending the once-outrageous Bush policies.)

              •  And to be crystal clear, (0+ / 0-)

                by "so they'd have to cooperate" I mean, "so they'd have good, defensible reasons to keep their promise to cooperate rather than object or fight".  The legal term for a list of good defensible reasons approved by a judge is "warrant".

                Try to imagine a foreign leader accusing someone in the US of a crime and threatening to attack our country with the argument, "There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt.  We know he's guilty" and expecting cooperation from our president.  I realize the Golden Rule isn't your thing, but if you can run the simulation in your head you'll start making better predictions, and maybe even behave more morally.

  •  Doubt it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NotGeorgeWill
    Couldn't charges and evidence have been helpful in enlisting international cooperation generally?

    I don't see why it would.  Anyone that isn't a psychopath knew OBL was behind 9/11.  And Awlaki is in the wilds of Yemen, where no intl cooperation would help.
  •  A warrant was issued for his arrest (4+ / 0-)

    And he was on the FBI 10 Most Wanted List for years.

    Click the phot and you get this:

    USAMA BIN LADEN

    Murder of U.S. Nationals Outside the United States; Conspiracy to Murder U.S. Nationals Outside the United States; Attack on a Federal Facility Resulting in Death

    REWARD: The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Usama Bin Laden. An additional $2 million is being offered through a program developed and funded by the Airline Pilots Association and the Air Transport Association.

    Usama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world.

    Bin Laden is the leader of a terrorist organization known as Al-Qaeda, "The Base". He is left-handed and walks with a cane.

    There is also the Most Wanted Terrorist List, including:

    AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI

    Murder of U.S. Nationals Outside the United States; Conspiracy to Murder U.S. Nationals Outside the United States; Attack on a Federal Facility Resulting in Death

    REWARD: The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

    Ayman Al-Zawahiri has been indicted for his alleged role in the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya.

    Al-Zawahiri is a physician and the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ). This organization opposes the secular Egyptian Government and seeks its overthrow through violent means. In approximately 1998, the EIJ led by Al-Zawahiri merged with Al Qaeda
     

    Dude, you need to spend more time at the Post Office.

    To answer your basic question, to be charged, you must be aprehended, short of trial in absentia.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Sun May 29, 2011 at 05:19:15 AM PDT

  •  I think the main reason (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HamdenRice

    Bin Laden was not charged over 9/11 is because it would go against the Bush Administration narrative that the 9/11 attacks were an act of war, rather than a criminal incident.  Once we decided to go after al Qaeda militarily, they didn't want criminal indictments distracting the public and giving ammunition to those who consider 9/11 to have been a criminal act, as opposed to an act of war.

    Of course, other posters have noted correctly that bin Laden was already under indictment anyway, so lack of indictment for 9/11 wouldn't have prevented his trial should we have captured him.

  •  Indictment for bin-Laden? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NotGeorgeWill

    The Google is your friend.

    As for Al-Aulaqi, the ACLU said in its brief that they filed on behalf of his father that he hasn't been "publicly" charged or indicted. DOJ claimed the states secrets privilege to withhold a whole host of materials, perhaps even the indictment. But, regardless, he is free to present himself for questioning at anytime. As DOJ said in connection with Al-Aulaqi's father's case (and before):

    [I]f Anwar Al-Aulaqi "were to surrender or otherwise present himself to the proper authorities in a peaceful and appropriate manner, legal principles with which the United States has traditionally and uniformly complied would prohibit using lethal force or other violence against him in such circumstances." Id. at 2; see also Mot. Hr'g Tr. 15:2-9.

    Quoted from the court decision dismissing Al-Aulaqi's father's lawsuit. link

    Of course, Al-Aulaqi has made clear that he has no intention of submitting himself for questioning and said that if we want him we should come and get him. So...

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