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The global war on terror isn't just about military combat. It's about global legal combat as well. In fact, many have argued that the primary approach should be one of law enforcement over military operations. Here's one such quote as a reminder:
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry said yesterday that he will treat the war on terror "primarily" as law-enforcement action even as he pledged to remain committed to Iraq and to personally plead for international help in policing and rebuilding that nation.There's nothing to argue with in that actual quote. Of course, there always has been a law enforcement side of the war on terror. But how well is it working? Now is as good a time as any for a progress report on that cooperative, international front.
"In order to know who they are, where they are, what they're planning and be able to go get them before they get us, you need the best intelligence, best law-enforcement cooperation in the world," the Massachusetts senator said in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press."
German High Court Blocks Qaeda Suspect's ExtraditionOne response:
BERLIN, July 18 - In a ruling seen as a sharp blow to coordinated counterterrorism efforts in Europe, Germany's highest court refused Monday to turn over to Spain a citizen suspected of aiding Al Qaeda, arguing that a recent European agreement to streamline extradition procedures violated the rights of German citizens.
The case involves Mamoun Darkazanli, 46, a German of Syrian origin suspected by Spanish authorities and independent experts on terrorism of having provided logistical and financial support to Al Qaeda.
Mr. Darkazanli, who runs a trading company in Germany, is pictured on a videotape at a wedding in Hamburg in 1999 attended by two of the pilot-hijackers in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
Judge Baltazar Garzf Spain, using the new European procedure, issued a European warrant against Mr. Darkazanli last year, accusing him of being the "permanent interlocutor and assistant" in Europe for Al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden.
But on Monday the German Constitutional Court declared the law creating the European warrant void, even though it was ratified by the German Parliament in November. The court reasoned that the law infringed on the right of every citizen of Germany, enshrined in its Basic Law, to a court hearing in this country before extradition can take place.
"It's a dark day for the terrorist hunter," said a German counterterrorism expert, Rolf Tophoven. "We need new laws to fight terror, because otherwise we will create the impression that German law is protecting militant Islamists."
''Thank God,'' said his wife Brigitte Darkazanli, reached at the couple's Hamburg apartment by telephone after the verdict. ''When one is sitting innocent in prison it's a terrible thing ? I'm going to be glad to see him home.''Speaking of going home, "progress" might be made for another who wants just that. From America:
Appeal Of Detained Terrorism Suspect To Be Heard TodaySee - they start by arresting the dirty bombers, then they come after the dirty books. Meanwhile, other long-demanded trials will soon be under way:
For more than three years, Jose Padilla, an alleged al Qaeda operative, has been held without trial, much of the time without access to a lawyer.
A former Chicago gang member and Muslim convert, Padilla was arrested at O'Hare International Airport in May 2002. A month later, he was designated an "enemy combatant" by President Bush and sent to a naval brig in South Carolina.
Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit will convene in Richmond to consider a question with vast implications for civil liberties and the fight against terrorism: whether in the absence of criminal charges the president can indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil.
Attorneys for Padilla, joined by a host of civil liberties organizations, say that his detention is illegal. If not constrained by the courts, they argue, it could lead to the military being allowed to hold anyone, from protesters to people who check out what the government considers the wrong books from the library.
Military Tribunals To Begin For Gitmo Detainees
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld announced yesterday the go-ahead to restart the first military trials of al Qaeda terror suspects, after a U.S. appeals court endorsed President Bush's policy of treating detainees at Guantanamo Bay as enemy combatants.
The Pentagon later issued a game plan, saying 12 of the 520 prisoners at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, suspected of being al Qaeda and Taliban members are in line to undergo military commissions to judge guilt or innocence. The Pentagon named Yemeni-born Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who is accused of being a bodyguard of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and Australian David Hicks, suspected of being an al Qaeda fighter, as the first to go on trial.
Mr. Rumsfeld is an architect of a major 2002 administration decision that terror suspects captured in Afghanistan would be classified as enemy combatants and not be entitled to all the legal procedures for prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention.
The policy soon came under assault from human rights groups, and a district court judge ruled that Mr. Hamdan must receive a hearing on whether he was a prisoner of war before a military tribunal is convened.
On Friday, the judge was overruled by a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia. The judges ruled that Mr. Bush had authority from Congress to set up commissions in time of war and said al Qaeda suspects are not entitled to Geneva guarantees.
In addition to Mr. Hamdan and Mr. Hicks, the Pentagon named two detainees as facing trial: Yemeni-born Ali Hamza Ahmad Sulayman al Bahlul and Sudanese Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmound al Qosi. Each is charged with murder and conspiring to launch attacks on civilians.
Mr. Rumsfeld made the announcement with one of Washington's closest allies in the war on Islamic terrorists, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, by his side during a visit to the Pentagon. Mr. Howard, whose government had raised objections about the commission process, gave his approval after changes were made in evidentiary procedures.
"Australia is satisfied that the military commission process in relation to David Hicks ... will provide a proper measure of justice," Mr. Howard said. "We welcome the appeals court decision in the United States, which removes a roadblock to a speedy adjudication of Mr. Hicks' position."
In Mr. Hicks' case, the charges say he converted to Islam from Christianity in Australia. He traveled to Afghanistan in early 2001 and attended al Qaeda terrorist training camps. He engaged in combat against U.S. forces before being captured.
Which brings us to Australia:
Military Trial 'Undermines' Hicks's DefenceThere you have it. Sleep well, citizens of the world. Elsewhere tonight rough men stand.
US Government pressure to hold a military tribunal hearing for accused terrorist David Hicks within the next few weeks is intended to undermine the Australian's defence, his US lawyer said.
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Monday announced Hicks's case would be heard as soon as possible.
His US lawyer, Major Michael Mori, said the US Government was trying to force proceedings in the knowledge that preparation for Hicks's defence had not been completed.
"I still have several months of preparation to do to get ready for a commission ... I would not be ready to go to trial to give David a proper defence in several weeks; it would take several months to get ready," Major Mori told the Nine Network.
"If they started a commission in a few weeks we would be set up to fail, that would be really what they would be putting us in, a position ... to just fail.
While Padilla is probably guilty as hell, I'm extremely uncomfortable with the idea of a US citizen being an designated an "enemy combatant" and subject to nearly unlimited detention without a trial.
I just don't trust any government to have that kind of far-reaching power.
We do believe in Liberty in this country. That definitely puts us at a greater risk at times for a terrorist attacks. Much more so for instance than if we had a totalitarian regime in power. They do security well. But I'd rather be dead than red, as they say.Posted by Patrick (Gryph) at July 19, 2005 08:45 PM
The military option is certainly more swift.Posted by Old Soldier at July 19, 2005 09:20 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(2) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)