The Ghailani verdict

The Ghailani verdict, in which for the first time an inmate of Guantanamo Bay was tried on terrorism charges in a civilian court, found Ghailani guilty on one conspiracy charge of 284 other charges. There is much bewailing of this verdict, many saying that it is evidence for why civilian courts can not be used for people charges with terrorism related acts.

SAY WHAT?!?!?!?! This trial proves that U.S. justice does work. The judge threw out evidence garnered during torture, and, in addition, LSW’s first private reaction was that the prosecutors threw everything they had (284 charges) at the wall figuring something would stick. LSW is obviously not privy to the details of the trial nor of the charges, but it does not seem a stretch to look at the 283 charges on which he was not convicted as either the remnants of torture elicited evidence or as charges not substantiated by evidence.

Washing Post writes in an article entitled, “Terror detainee largely acquitted”, writes that “The outcome, a surprise, seriously undermines – and could doom – the Obama administration’s plans to put other Guantanamo detainees on trial in U.S. civilian courts.”

It would seem that the verdict confirms the health and robustness of the American justice system. LSW can not see where this trial provides evidence for the unworthiness of the civilian courts. One is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. This principle seems to be been turned upside down under the reign of the Vice Presidnt of Torture, Dick Cheney, where anyone picked up anywhere in the world and called a terrorist by Dick or his henchmen are automatically guilty.

It should be noted that the one guilty charge will get Ghailani between 20 years and life.

For a more enlightening article see Glenn Greenwald’s article, “The Ghailani verdict and American “. The article is filled with details that clear up the case itself and reactions to it.

LSW cites two paragraphs –

First, the somewhat terrifying fact that the actual verdict made no difference because the President had said that he would make sure Ghailani never came out of prison. Now there’s just for you. Guilty no matter what.

“But even had he been acquitted on all counts, the Obama administration had made clear that it would simply continue to imprison him anyway under what it claims is the President’s “post-acquittal detention power” — i.e., when an accused Terrorist is wholly acquitted in court, he can still be imprisoned indefinitely by the U.S. Government under the “law of war” even when the factual bases for the claim that he’s an “enemy combatant” (i.e. that he blew up the two embassies) are the same ones underlying the crimes for which he was fully acquitted after a full trial.”


“But the most important point here is that one either believes in the American system of justice or one does not. When a reviled defendant is acquitted in court, and torture-obtained evidence is excluded, that isn’t proof that the justice system is broken; it’s proof that it works. A “justice system” which guarantees convictions — or which allows the Government to rely on evidence extracted from torture — isn’t a justice system at all, by definition.”

Alright, a third quote is warranted:

“It’s supposed to be extremely difficult for the Government to win the right to put someone in a cage for their entire lives, or to kill them. Having lived under a tyranny in which there were very few barriers impeding the leader’s desire to imprison or otherwise punish someone — and having waged a war to escape that oppression — the Founders designed it this way on purpose. And they did so with the full knowledge that clearly guilty and even extremely evil people would sometimes receive something other than the punishment they deserve. Here’s how Thomas Jefferson weighed those considerations, as expressed in a 1791 letter: “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.””

LSW American Justice page contains other information along the lines of this post.

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