Obama’s Public Option for Gitmo

November 13th, 2009 Jena McNeill

The Obama Administration announced this morning that it intends to ship five Guantanamo Bay detainees to New York to be tried in civilian federal court. One of those men is the September 11th mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammad.

This decision will be seen by many liberals as paving the way for closing the Guantanamo Bay facility. It is also an olive branch by an Administration facing growing criticism from its own party for its failure to move forward on closing the facility by its January 22nd deadline. In fact, the President has been battered lately by the left for staying too close to Bush Administration terrorism policies. So close in fact, that the Obama Administration had announced its intent to continue to use military tribunals despite Obama’s feverish opposition to such an idea during the Presidential campaigns.

Obama tried to make his case today for this decision by stating that Khalid Sheik Mohammad, one of the four set to be tried, would be subject to “the most exacting demands of justice.” But this move would be anything but justice.

Civilian courts are horribly situated to handle the prosecution of these types of detainees. Not only there potential security concerns associated with transporting such high-value detainees thousands of miles away, but these five men, charged with crimes related to the attacks of 9/11 would be tried in New York City, the very same location of the attacks. Defense lawyers are sure to argue that the venue is prejudicial paving the way for multiple due process challenges.

While this decision will certainly appease those seeking to erode America’s ability to prosecute war criminals under a military tribunal, there is no reason to believe a military tribunal isn’t capable of exacting justice on these four suspects. Placing these detainees in a domestic criminal proceeding creates evidentiary, security, and procedural issues. These detainees are not common criminals—but individuals that committed an act of war against the United States. Not only does the law sufficiently provide for use of military tribunals, common sense demands it.

The Obama Administration’s scattered counterterrorism policies, littered with efforts to placate the left while recognizing the legitimacy of some Bush era policies, are an invitation for terrorists to take advantage of America’s divisions. Obama needs to be clear, forceful, and direct, sending the message that America won’t stand for terrorism.

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Iran’s Latest American Hostages

November 11th, 2009 James Phillips

Iran’s list of hostages is steadily growing despite the Obama Administration’s zealous efforts to engage Iran’s brutal dictatorship. Three young American hikers who accidentally strayed across the Iranian border last summer now face charges of espionage, which is punishable by the death penalty in Iran. Yesterday an Iranian prosecutor indicated that the three hikers, Shane Bauer, 27, Sarah Shourd, 30, and Joshua Fattal, 27, were being investigated as spies after they were arrested, allegedly on the Iranian side of the poorly-marked Iraq-Iran border on July 31. Today Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad piled on by stressing Iran’s right to punish people who illegally crossed its border and suggesting that the United States was responsible for the kidnapping of an Iranian pilgrim in Saudi Arabia.

Last month an Iranian-American scholar, Kian Tajbakhsh, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison because of alleged subversive activity. Tajbakhsh was arrested during the unrest that broke out after Iran’s sham elections last June and he never received a fair trial, which is par for the course in Iran.

Iran also still has failed to satisfactorily explain the disappearance of Robert Levinson, a retired FBI investigator who disappeared in Iran in 2007 after meeting with David Belfield, an American convert to Islam who fled to Iran after he assassinated an exiled Iranian opposition leader, Ali Akbar Tabatabai, in 1980 in Bethesda, Maryland. Levinson is believed to be held in a secret prison in Iran. Clearly, President Obama’s engagement policy has done little to help hostage Americans, let alone the millions of Iranians who are being held hostage by Iran’s criminal regime.

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Urban Conservative Officially Relaunches

October 29th, 2009 Billy Hallowell

Hello, America!  I am extremely excited to be writing to you this evening, as I officially begin my journey as editor-in-chief of UrbanConservative.com.  My name is Billy Hallowell and I am honored to introduce myself to you all.  

I have been a contributor to this site for the past two years.  I am a journalist and commentator who has been working in media for nearly 11 years (I’m 26, so I started fairly young).  In 2003, I founded Pathufind Media and I am currently the host of RENEWtv, a web show devoted to renewing American conservatism.  And now, I’m officially a member of the Urban Conservative family!

But enough about me.  You can surely read more on my Web site, but I’m guessing you’re most interested in what will be happening here on UrbanConservative.com!  Tomorrow, we will become a daily publication.  Many of you have been actively reading UC for years.  This new change will afford you even more access to valuable news and information!

You’ll notice we’ve launched a plethora of new topics.  While these subjects are of great importance to American politics, please be patient as we build our content around them (i.e. there may be a lag before all topics have streaming content).  But, we will be branching into new and uncharted news categories, as you can see.

Also, in November, my show — RENEWtv – will officially join forces with Urban Conservative.  

These are just some of the changes in store as we move forward!  Please be patient as we transition, add new blogs to the CONLIST and forge our path moving forward.  I thank you for your support and readership and I look forward to serving you!

– Billy Hallowell, Editor-in-Chief


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