It’s a long-awaited and hugely controversial decision, ostensibly the judgment of the U.S. Justice Department but certainly reflecting the thinking of the White House. Ten high-profile prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are being transferred to face justice in the United States. Perhaps the two best-known – the self-described 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh, who allegedly helped train and the hijackers and get them to the United States – are to be tried in the Southern District of New York, in a courthouse that sits less than one mile from Ground Zero.
The Bush Administration always maintained that affording these people their day in court was not necessary, and carried unacceptable security risks. We’ll hear from Attorney General Eric Holder shortly – but it is already clear that the Obama Administration believes these men can and will be dealt with within the confines of the justice system. "I am absolutely convinced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be subjected to the most exacting demands of justice," President Obama said in Japan today.
With this one decision, that Bush-era mindset is turned on its head.
More to come…