The administration has announced the suspension of the trial of the accused USS Cole bomber, just in time for the tenth anniversary of that terrorist attack, on October 12th.
I’ve read the entire article, and it’s not exactly clear what’s going on here:
Nashiri was scheduled to be arraigned in February 2009 but the new administration instructed military prosecutors to suspend legal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay. The charges against Nashiri were withdrawn.
In November 2009, however, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. appeared to revive the case when he announced that the military would prosecute Nashiri, one of at least 36 detainees who could be tired in federal court or a military commission.
“With regard to the Cole bombing, that was an attack on a United States warship, and that, I think, is appropriately placed into the military commission setting,” Holder said.
But critics of military commissions say the Nashiri case exemplifies the system’s flaws, particularly the ability to introduce certain evidence such as hearsay statements that probably would not be admitted in federal court. The prosecution is expected to rely heavily on statements made to the FBI by two Yemenis who allegedly implicated Nashiri. Neither witness is expected at trial, but the FBI agents who interviewed them will testify, said Nashiri’s military attorney, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Stephen C. Reyes. “Unlike in federal court, you don’t have the right to confront the witnesses against you,” he said.
But I’ll hazard a couple of guesses as to what’s behind this decision:
(1) The administration doesn’t want to offend its left flank any more than it already has by using the military system of justice, even though it is eminently applicable to this case.
(2) The case is weak and the administration wants to strengthen it before going to trial (this naively assumes a good faith on their part that has not been justified by their actions so far in any of these proceedings).
The Cole families are livid. But who cares about them? Certainly not the Obama administration.
Ah, but maybe he’ll have another meeting with them. That’ll do the trick.