Strong New York Times editorial against the shameful “terror” trials held by the US in the “land of the free”:
The Pentagon’s prosecutors formally charged Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other men last week with war crimes for planning and carrying out the murder of 2,976 people on Sept. 11, 2001, and referred their case to a constitutionally flawed military tribunal that will be convened at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, a global symbol of human rights abuses.
The conspirators have been held for more than nine years. As Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the chief military prosecutor, said in a speech at Harvard on Tuesday, the use of military commissions “has become a matter of the rule of law and of recognizing that at some point justice delayed really is justice denied.” But it is worth remembering how we got to this system and this place — the worst way to administer justice to the 9/11 terrorists.
Let’s start with the delay. All of the men could have been brought to trial years ago, but President Bush decided he could ignore the Constitution. He ordered them to be held in secret C.I.A. prisons and subjected to brutal and illegal interrogations. Mr. Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in one month alone. That torture produced no useful intelligence, according to virtually all accounts, except those offered by people like former Vice President Dick Cheney, who was the key architect of the Bush administration’s lawless detention and interrogation policies.
When Mr. Mohammed was moved to Guantánamo Bay, finally, with the four others, there were immediate questions about whether they could ever be tried legitimately, given how tainted the evidence was. Mr. Bush did nothing, content with arguing that Congress’s decision to declare a perpetual state of war with Al Qaeda gave him the right to hold prisoners indefinitely without any trial.
President Obama came into office pledging to close Guantánamo Bay and restore the rule of law to the treatment of terrorism suspects. He has largely failed.