Obama's Double Standard Gives Some but Not All 9/11 Defendants Civilian Trials
Interview with Marjorie Cohn, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, conducted by Scott Harris
The decision by Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, accused mastermind of the September 11 attacks, and four other terrorism suspects in a New York City federal court has set off a heated national debate. Many Republicans have attacked the decision, declaring a civilian trial constitutes an unnecessary risk of new terrorist attacks targeting New York, gives Kahlid Shaikh Mohammed an international platform to promote jihad and al Qaeda, and will provide 9/11 defendants access to highly classified material.
Although former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has launched attacks on Holder's decision, the failed 2008 presidential candidate was himself a supporter of civilian trials in New York for those accused in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and Sept. 11th conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, who was sentenced to life in prison by a Virginia federal court.
But not all conservatives are criticizing Holder's decision. Former libertarian Party presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, all signed a letter agreeing that civilian courts were the "proper forum” for terrorism trials. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Marjorie Cohn, immediate past president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. She talks about the benefits of a civilian trial for accused 9/11 terrorists while criticizing the Obama Justice Department for selectively prosecuting other detainees in military tribunals.
Contact the National Lawyers Guild by calling (212) 679-5100 or visit their website at www.nlg.org
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