Beyond Guantánamo, New York Times Examines How Federal Prisons Deal with Terrorists

As the debate over the dreadful detainee provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act has demonstrated, when lawmakers, unprovoked, have unilaterally decided that what America needs is mandatory military custody for terror suspects (with the intention of holding people for life without charge or trial), something has gone horribly wrong, and a rational perspective on the success of federal court trials in prosecuting terror suspects has been shamefully discarded.

Above all, this is a sign of how lawmakers — Democrats as well as Republicans — have politicized terrorism, in their obsession with regarding terrorists not as criminals, but as “warriors” in a “war on terror” which they do not wish to end, despite the killing of Osama bin Laden this year, and despite the almost total eradication of al-Qaeda as an entity in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In this absurd climate, lawmakers are shunning federal court trials for terror suspects, even though they have a successful track record, and even though, by any objective measure, that success has been purchased at a distinctly dubious cost  — including a lamentable history of entrapment since 9/11, and the fact that the rules regarding material support for terrorism are so broadly drawn that prisoners are receiving punitive sentences for almost nothing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer (The State of London).
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