The US needs Counter-4GW/Counter-Terrorism Speciality Courts

So, the jury declined to execute Zacarias Moussaoui. I will not miss hearing about his outbursts and mocking of the US and the US Legal system. Though I suppose this is just the beginning of the 30+ years of legal maneuvers.

I think the trial shows that the regular civilian court system is not the place to try terrorist or 4GW fighters.

Special Counter-terrorism/Counter-4GW courts are needed. The Counter-4GW court would have have specially trained judges and prosecutors, and perhaps require admittance to a special Federal Counter-4GW Bar for lead defense attorneys. The courts would be structured in such a way as minimize the practice of Legal System Warfare by the 4GW Fighter-Captive. Jurors would also have short educational training program. I uncertain if the Jurors should be professional or random. I am leaning toward permanent professional juries.

A new 21st Century Counter-4GW constitutional amendment would be a good thing too. I have not figured out yet how that would look – Future Purpleslog will work it out.

The Counter-4GW court could be military tribunal, but maybe not. That fact that not one bad guy has been brought in front of a Military Tribunal yet, sours me a bit on the idea. I am surprised that the Military Tribunal System hasn't worked out. I would have a have thought is would have been quite simple to set up: DARPA seed money, open source based idea exchange web site(s), request for suggestions from lawyers and law schools, moot court practice runs (video documentation on net), corrections and improvements, voting among alternatives, moot court bake-offs between variants, etc. It should have taken a year to have it up and running. I suppose the core competency of the Military is not Legal System development, so I think the Counter-4GW Courts, should not be in or run by the DOD, but just be another Specialty Court (like patent Courts) in the regular US Justice System.

The Counterterrorism Blog has some related thoughts by Walid Phares:

4. More seriously is the current system ability to process the Terror cases: Per my own experience and open documents available, most of the players in a current court room setting are often unable to absorb the density of the confrontation. The Jury, made of ordinary citizens, generally do not comprehend the ideology of the Jihadists, hence can’t make a strategically educated decision, not on the sentencing process but on the essence of the war crime at hand. US Judges are highly capable of controlling the procedure in their court rooms but haven’t been enabled by the system to try a war with Jihadi terror, if not specialized in Salafism, Khumeinism and other movements’ strategies, thinking process or even tactics. Prosecutors as well are thrown into battles of ideas beyond their basic training. In the Moussaoui case, the jury asked for a dictionary, refused by the judge. The question deserves an answer.

5. As for the defense lawyers, and I was one in the past, in the absence of specialized courts, they would twist history and geopolitics to achieve a legitimate goal: win their case. But instead of focusing on proving the innocence of their clients and distancing him/her from the enemy, they tend to defend the ideology of their client, putting themselves in the wrong side of the war their nation is victim of.


What is needed for future successes is the following:

a. That Congress identifies the ideologies of the Terrorists. In the heels of many congressional hearings which already produced significant bipartisan consensus, as well as in several speeches by the President since last September, the country not so far from identifying the missing link. Simply speaking: educate the jury, the judges, the prosecutors and the defense attorneys, as to who is the enemy and what is its ideology. The rest should flow as American justice at its best, impartial and fair.

b. As in France and Spain, train “Counter-Terrorism Judges.” From Paris to Madrid, these bright specialized men and women have all the tools they need to decide on procedures deemed appropriate to prosecute and ultimately try the Terrorists at war with democracies. A similar training could provide the Justice Department with “Counter Terrorism Prosecutors.” In a sum, all players in the court room must at some point be acquainted with what they will have to reflect on, in Terrorism cases.

I think his ideas do not go far enough. While having special training for prosecutors would be a good thing, regular US Courts would still be too open to Legal Systems Warfare by the 4GW Fighter Captive.

3 Responses

  1. […] Counter-4GW/Counter-Terrorism Speciality Courts […]

  2. […] Write into US law procedures and processes for handling non-uniformed/terrorist/4GW/whatever fighters. Essentially, a Counter-Terror/4GW legal system would need to written into law. […]

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