Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Flogging a dead horse

When Bush's outfit, or maybe one of the allied countries, pulls the big September terror threat here are some numbers to conjure with.

They come from a new report from an out fit called the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University

According to their report, nearly three-quarters of terrorism suspects seized by the US in the five years following the September 11, 2001, attacks have not even made it to trial because of lack of evidence against them, a new report based on government data says.

I'll cut to the summary here:

In 64 per cent of the cases, federal prosecutors decided that they were not worth prosecuting, while an additional 9 per cent were either dismissed by judges or the individuals were found not guilty.

Only 27 per cent were convicted, and just a small number of them received heavy sentences commensurate with charges levelled against them, according to the document.

Only 14 people were sentenced to 20 years or more. Another 67 received sentences of at least five but less than 20 years. Overall, of the 1329 individuals who were sentenced, 704 received no prison time at all, and an additional 327 received sentences ranging from one day to less than a year, the report said.

I don't deny a terrorist threat, in fact some are saying that the aggressive approach of the US administration is increasing the dangers. The cynical manipulation of the threat for domestic political considerations can only make matters worse.

Mike at Born at the Crest had an instructive post - Americans know the Iraq war causes terrorism

I still don't believe security will be the primary voting motive, but it is doubtlessly in the mix. Americans need to be told again and again that the Bush admin is flogging a dead horse on this issue.

UPDATE:

I thought some comparisons might be helpful.

BRITAIN: Between 11 September 2001 and 31 December 2004, were 701 arrests in the UK under the Terrorism Act.

Only 119 of these had faced charges under this legislation, with 45 of them also being charged for other offences.

A further 135 people were charged under other legislation - including terrorist offences covered in other criminal law, such as the use of explosives.

Only 17 have been convicted of offences under the Act.

AUSTRALIA: Despite the fanfare, just three people have been convicted of terrorist charges under Australia's tough security laws, which came into effect in 2002.

4 comments:

Kvatch said...

A local District Attorney would those kinds of stats for arrests vs. prosecutions would probably be handed his/her hat.

Cartledge said...

yes, it's a pretty sad scorecard

reality-based educator said...

64% of those charges not prosecuted, another 9% have charges against them dismissed by a judge - that means 73% of those terror arrests Ashcroft/Gonzo are always touting go nowhere.

I guess it really is all about the p.r.

Praguetwin said...

Wait, remind me again why military tribunals who lock these suspects up and throw away the key are unfair.

Oh, got it. Thanks.