A New Yorker’s Analysis of the Politics Behind the 9/11 Trials

In the New Yorker this week, Jane Mayer analyzes the politics – and the tension – behind the debate on the Administration’s decision to try the perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in federal courts.

Human Rights First’s President and CEO Elisa Massimino looks beyond the politics, emphasizing:

Politically, these issues are poisonous. That’s what Rahm Emanuel is looking at. You can’t finesse it, and you can’t spin it. The President just has to lead the American people away from fear.

Mayer rightly points to the fact that the Bush Administration itself tried more terrorists in federal courts than in military commissions:

For all the tough rhetoric of the Bush Administration, it prosecuted many more
terror suspects as criminals than as enemy combatants.

Human Rights First’s research showed 195 terrorists convicted in federal courts since the 9/11 attacks – compared to 3 in military commissions. Other studies come to similar numbers – read Daphne Eviatar’s recent blog explaining the difference in the stats.

Whatever politics are at play, the fact is Guantanamo needs to be closed. If you haven’t signed our petition yet, sign today, and help us send that message to the White House. They could use your support.

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Published on February 5, 2010

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