History Commons Groups

November 14, 2009

A Perfect Quote for the History Commons

Filed under: community — Max @ 7:54 pm
Tags: , ,

Well, at least in my opinion. I came across it in the introduction to Sean Wilentz’s The Age of Reagan, but it’s originally from a 1984 tome by Theodore Draper. Draper wrote:

I have written for the reader who was no longer interested in the daily or even weekly ration of news; this reader wanted to understand it in some organized form and some historical perspective. No doubt the organization and perspective would change as time went on and more information or insight became available. Life cannot wait, however, for historians to gather enough evidence to satisfy them or to make up their minds once they get it. Even a preliminary organization and perspective represent an advance, however provisional. We must make do with what we have while it is still possible to do something about the matter.

Naturally, I do not contend that I or anyone else on the Commons is fit to carry the pencil cases of Wilentz or Draper, two of our generation’s most eminent historians. But I think Draper’s words fit our raison d’etre very nicely, with one important difference: we don’t wait for historians, either ourselves or others, to make judgments and present them to the public. We provide the information and let the public make its own judgments, based on the best and most complete information we can present.

(Cross-posted at the History Commons blog.)

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The Real Reason Only Five Detainees Are Coming to New York?


US Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced that five detainees would be moved from Guantanamo Bay to New York, where they would stand trial for carrying out the 9/11 attacks. However, five other detainees will continue to be tried before military commissions, which have lower standards of evidence. The five detainees coming to New York have previously indicated they intend to plead guilty, although the five to be tried before military commissions have not.

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The Very Evident Guilt of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri


The US Justice Department yesterday announced that five Guantanamo detainees would finally be moved to New York to face a normal trial, while others, including alleged USS Cole bombing mastermind Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, would face not ordinary trials, but military commissions.

Reading between the lines of the officials statements and taking comment pieces into account, it seems that the reason for this is that prosecutors are confident of convicting the five to be sent to New York (who will very probably plead guilty, so there won’t be a trial), but not so sure they could convict al-Nashiri.

I was pretty surprised by this decision, and would simply like to highlight some evidence indicating al-Nashiri’s guilt that, in my opinion, is very strong and would very probably be admissible in a normal court. Primarily, this is the statement al-Nashiri made at his military commission hearing in spring 2007 (and presumably similar statements he would have made to FBI investigators in Guantanamo Bay).

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