Thursday, September 02, 2004

 

Another US "Victory" in the "War on Terror"

In the NY Times today, an expose on the "Detroit terror cell" case that has recently absolutely fallen apart for the government. What was once hailed as a major victory for the war on terror inside the US (I can only imagine the number of times the word "homeland" was used in those press conferences), will now proceed on document fraud charges only. I wonder if George W. Bush thinks that we can win the war on document fraud? The lead prosecutor in the case has been dismissed and is now filing suit against the Department of Justice.
"To have one of the department's few wins move into the loss category is pretty remarkable," said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University. "The Detroit case is like a 20-car pileup for Ashcroft. You have an open feud with the former prosecutor and ultimately the abandonment of the case."
Now to anybody who thinks that we might somehow be letting real terrorists off on a technicality, I don't think that is the case. First of all, I don't think that if these guys posed a real threat they would be even mentioning letting them go. That's not the way this DOJ operates. Also, the flimsy case against them (on which they were originally convicted) has been absolutely destroyed.
After nine months of investigation, federal prosecutors compiled a wealth of evidence that they said fatally undermined every aspect of their terror case.

[...]

The strategy relied on three strands of evidence: drawings and a videotape suggesting the men were collecting intelligence on targets in the United States and abroad; the testimony of an associate who said the men were hatching terrorist schemes, and corroborating evidence that they were using methods consistent with terror operations.

"Unfortunately, numerous developments since trial, including the discovery of significant materials not disclosed by the prosecution, have undermined each part of this three-legged stool," the government said in its filing.

One crucial piece of evidence was a day planner containing sketches that prosecution witnesses said included a military hospital in Jordan and an American air base in Turkey. During the trial, prosecutors contended that a portion of the sketch depicted an aircraft hangar at the base in Turkey. Defense lawyers said it was simply a doodle drawing of the Middle East. The government now says American investigators in Germany concluded that the supposed hangar drawing was, in fact, an outline of the Middle East.

An Air Force colonel who testified at the trial created the false impression that military officials were in agreement that the sketch represented a hangar, the government now says. And a C.I.A. official showed the sketch to various experts who doubted it was significant.

Prosecutors contended that another sketch showed a Jordanian military hospital. At trial, defense lawyers had asked for any photographs taken by the government of the hospital. Two government witnesses suggested such photographs had not been taken. But the government said Wednesday that the prosecutors did have photographs.

"It is difficult, if not impossible, to compare the day planner sketches with the photos and see a correlation," the government said.

Another piece of evidence was a videotape of what looked like tourist footage. Prosecutors contended at trial that it was interspersed with potential targets, including the MGM Grand Hotel. But prosecutors failed to reveal that F.B.I. agents disagreed the video was surveillance footage.

"Under the court's established protocol, the government should have brought this information to the court's attention," the government said.
Ah yes. Shoulda woulda coulda. John Ashcroft and George W. Bush are absolute frauds when it comes to protecting us from terrorism.

Comments:
Not to mention the fact that I don't *need* and never asked to be protected from terrorism by this bunch of clowns...
 
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