Yesterday, a British court convicted three terror suspects of plotting to blow up airliners between London and major North American cities. This is the second trial and first conviction of those captured through “the largest counter-terrorism investigation in Britain’s history” (1
). Many, including Salon’s Glenn Greenwald
, praised the British government for its handling of the investigation. The New York Times
mentioned that the British investigators felt pressured by the American intelligence agencies (which provided some evidence) to capture the suspects. The British officials seem to think that the convictions would have been easier and more legally sound had they been able to watch them longer.
The convictions point out some major problems with the United States’ handling of terror suspects. The suspects in the September 11, 2001 attacks have yet to be brought to justice and, furthermore, there is a lot of controversy regarding the way we treat our terror suspects. As you likely know torture memos were made public this year and former Vice President Dick Cheney has been arguing that the interrogation tactics authorized under the Bush Administration were acceptable and led to information that saved American lives. There have been questions as to the veracity of Cheney’s statements, including comments from a senior security adviser. A journalist who met with Cheney’s example prisoner, who supposedly gave up loads of information after being tortured, was, in fact, proud of his work as a terrorist and willing to tell anyone who would listen without being coerced.
It is disturbing to watch the formerly highly-touted American justice system so blatantly fail. Our terror suspects are detained in another country, often unable to see their lawyers for long periods of time
and with no set trial dates. We have recently released multiple suspects who had done nothing wrong, yet were treated as convicted criminals for years.
These are examples of problems the United States has to address and can take a cue from the British justice system.
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