News Release

* Killing 9/11 Suspects? * Pardoning Bush Officials?


Hajjar, chair of the Law and Society Program at the University of California-Santa Barbara, said today: “The paradox is that both KSM [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] and his fellow ‘high values’ are aligned with still-President Bush and his allies in wanting the death of the former. But the difference between ‘war’ and ‘law’ includes the prohibition in the case of the latter in killing someone without ‘due process.’ So what if the suspect wants death and repudiates the system-legitimating due process? To ‘give it’ (death) to him functions as both a reward for crime for the would-be martyr, and a further discrediting of the legal system that confuses death with justice. … The deception started in November 2001 when President Bush decreed the law-deficient basis for pursuing and punishing suspects. Fast forward to Bush’s last days, and we see that his final legacy might be to give al-Qaeda the ‘bump’ they could never get for themselves from the musty caves of the Northwest province. To kill KSM or not to kill KSM? That is the question for Obama. Ironically, KSM’s talented defense team is ‘against’ their client and ‘for’ the rule of law. Which side will the new administration come down on?”
More Information

President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Ratner recently wrote the piece “Obama Should Prosecute Bush Officials Who Designed Torture Policy,” which states: “A popular refrain in Washington these days is that criminal prosecutions would be an unnecessary look backward. Some argue that in order for the new administration to move forward, presidential pardons should be granted and a Truth Commission assembled to investigate the circumstances that gave rise to the brutal interrogations and deaths of prisoners in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and CIA black sites around the world.

“But pardons would be the final refuge for an administration whose egregious violations of human rights have, for all too long, gone unpunished. And a Truth Commission is not applicable.

“This is not Latin America; this is not South Africa. We are not trying to end a civil war, heal a wounded country and reconcile warring factions. We are a democracy trying to hold accountable officials that led our country down the road to torture. And in a democracy, it is the job of a prosecutor and not the pundits to determine whether crimes were committed.

“Criminal prosecutions are not about looking to the past; they are about creating a future world without torture. They will be the mark of the new dawn of America’s leadership and our new era of accountability.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167