I am wondering if the Obama administration made the right decision to carry out jurisprudence of the alleged enemy combatants through the civilian court and in New York City. Some critics are pointing out that this will tear open a wound while others are concerned about the platform these men will be afforded to recruit. I am not so much interested in these issues. The Obama administration would like to showcase American justice and this is seated in a deep conviction for human rights and dignity; a conviction that all men – not just American men – are created equal and are endowed certain inalienable rights – that is, these rights are secure from infringement. My concern is that by electing to forgo military trials and proceeding instead with U.S. criminal prosecution we ironically deny these suspects the basic rights of American jurisprudence. It should be noted that these men were arrested in foreign lands by military personnel and therefore were not read their Miranda rights and therefore were not aware of their rights – for instance to remain silent during interrogation or to have an attorney present during any questioning. And sense it is certain most of the evidence that will be presented in the case was collected during the – for instance – 183 times KSM was water boarded it is not clear that the evidence will be admissible during the civilian trial. Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, says that he is completely confident in a "successful outcome” and that there is significant evidence that was not collected as a result of enhanced interrogation. This may be true but we do not know if a Judge will allow any of the evidence sense it can be argued that the suspect provided information out of fear he would be water boarded thereby tainting all of the evidence. Then there is the choice of venue – NYC – where it is not clear at all whether the suspects can find a jury of their peers (I don’t believe that is possible anywhere in the US) but more specifically whether they can expect a fair trial. To be sure, a change of venue will be requested by the defense attorney and it is highly likely the case will be overturned on appeal if a change of venue is not approved by the Judge. Beyond this, there are the concerns about the specific content of the trial – that is, discussions about highly classified information that are relevant to national security. In the civilian trial this information will presumably be made public record. And then there is what should be obvious…Eric Holder’s “confidence” that these men will be “brought to justice” and his attempt to assure the American people of a “successful outcome” he promised that these men would never go free – in so doing he inadvertently demonstrates the assumption of guilt – that is to say, the Department of Justice has determined not to consider these men innocent until proven guilty. So then, in a sort of strange irony the administration’s sincere goal of offering these suspected enemy combatants American jurisprudence, complete with transparency, the assumption of innocence, a jury of peers, and qualified legal representation rather denies these.

By Cory Ruth