Thursday, November 5, 2015

Burning Down the House

 All I want is to be left alone
in my average home;
But why do I always feel
like I'm in the Twilight Zone? 
--Somebody's Watching Me,

Confidential information
It's in a diary
This is my investigation 
It's not a public inquiry 
--Private Investigations,
Dire Straits

The United States Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, was destroyed on 11 September 2012. U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other were killed in the attack. The alleged leader of the attack, Ahmed Abu Khatalluh, was captured by a squad of U.S. commmandos, law enforcement and intelligence agents on 17 June 2014.

Khatalluh was taken to an undisclosed location, and then-Attorney General Eric Holder assured us that the prisoner would be tried in federal court. November 5 -- 16 months hence -- and no trial has come of this capture.

So what is happening at the highest levels of U.S. Justice to bring Khatalluh to the open courts of the U.S. federal justice system, as we have been promised? On 3 August 2015, the Associated Press reported that Khatallah's defense team petitioned the court to have the case dismissed; no further motions on the case have been reported.

The U.S. spends billions of dollars on intel and covert operations, going halfway 'round the world to capture those deemed to be terrorists, and then what happens? One thing we do no do is to bring them to justice.

If Khatalluh is responsible for these U.S. deaths, then bring him to trial, as required by law. Why do we not have the satisfaction of seeing high level threats like Katalluh neutralized in transparent federal court trials? Why is everything a secret?

Murder is a capital offense. Do we no longer believe in the efficacy of the federal court system to mete out justice after a crime has been committed?


  1. Well...the conspiracy theory version might be the the old rascal knows some embarrassing things about the "war on terror" that might come tumbling out in court.

    But I'm afraid that it's more likely that this is just a now-reflexive instinct on the part of our terror-warriors to avoid the civilianization of this nonsense. I mean, if the scary Evil Terrorists just get arrested and tried like some gangbanger who knocked over a stop-n-rob then what do we need that huge-ass black ops budget and all the sneaky secrecy and all those soldiers and airmen and shit?

    So I'm guessing this comes down to good old-fashioned bureaucratic power-grabbing.

  2. It's your domestic politics and I don't want to meddle much in this topic, but the caricature made me remember this good read from yesterday:

    1. Sadly, Sven, our "domestic politics" has become inextricably entwined with our "foreign policy", particularly the idiocy that characterizes most of our Middle Eastern policy. Hard to say which has done more damage; the pants-pissing paranoia over Islam in general and the "terror" label that every American politician eagerly slaps on some ME imbroglio he/she wants to spend blood and treasure farkling about in...or the required fealty to whatever Israel is up to. Regardless, trying to suss out the why of some US military or political action in the ME is nearly impossible w/o considering the domestic politics involved.

  3. jim wrote: "Murder is a capital offense. Do we no longer believe in the efficacy of the federal court system to mete out justice after a crime has been committed?"

    The courts in the US do not prosecute, they only conduct trials. A case not appearing before a judge and jury is a prosecutorial decision. While the judiciary is an independent branch of the federal government, the prosecutors are not. They are part of the Executive Branch, and serve at the pleasure of the President.

    It's not a matter of US Attorneys believing in the efficacy of the federal court system, but the political implications of a prosecution, not the least of which is the attendant rights afforded a defendant in a court of law. You've surely seen it on Law and Order, where the judge says, "I am going to have to allow it counselor. You opened that door your self." Remember, it is the defendant who is entitled to full disclosure of all evidence, be it damning or exculpatory, not the prosecutor. What the accused might offer in defense is not necessarily limited nor known to the prosecutor. Thus a cardinal rule of parenting applies - don't ask your kid a question to which the answer might be something with which you cannot cope.

    Sadly, our obsession with "national security" and politically embarrassing answers trumps justice, and since the PWOT on terror has abrogated our right to seek justice, we are stuck with this. He's a terrorist, has no Constitutional right to a speedy trial, and the band plays on. Makes you wonder why the Patriot act downplays trials in the first place, doesn't it? Sure avoids any "You opened that door, counselor" embarrassments, doesn't it. Just accuse them, lock them up and continue to march.

    It's not a conspiracy. It's just every day politics.