Jewish World Review Nov. 13 , 2002 / 8 Kislev, 5763

Dan Abrams

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Consumer Reports

Should Moussaoui be sent
to a military tribunal? | The White House is now considering sending accused 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, to a military tribunal. According to "The New York Times," this would mean the Justice Department drops all the charges, and Moussaoui would be tried by the military instead.

My concern is not about military tribunals -I think they may be entirely appropriate- but about changing course midstream. In effect, saying, "Well, since we're not happy with the proceedings thus far, let's just stop playing in this arena and send him somewhere else that will rightly be perceived as unfair and maybe even weak by our friends and foes alike."

Look, I've asked the question many times, what can we do to stop this guy's shenanigans? He's filed ridiculous and frivolous legal motions with insults directed at the judge and at our country, and make long, largely irrelevant speeches in court. Now there are new concerns that he may be entitled to have access to captured al Qaeda members.

Well, in his effort to prove he had no advance knowledge of 9/11, the first two issues have been solved, primarily by refusing to release his motions to the public.

As for access to other al Qaeda members, the Pentagon is right. There has got to be a way to keep the prisoners isolated while they're being interrogated. But there's also got to be a way to accommodate Moussaoui's rights. This is one of the most conservative federal districts in the nation. If the judge rules that Moussaoui should get access to the prisoners, I'm confident the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will disagree.

At worst, they could figure out ways to give him "Access without actually allowing - without actually allowing him to meet with his brothers in arms." I think to switch venues now would be to say to Moussaoui and the world that this admitted al Qaeda member has beaten the U.S. in Round One.

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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 6-7 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.


11/12/02: Should human rights activists complain about the detainees' treatment?

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