When asked about the decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind, and four other Guantanamo Bay detainees in civilian federal court in New York City President Obama said he told Attorney General Eric Holder to make the decision based on the law.
Holder has confirmed that Obama had left it up to him: “This was a tough call, and reasonable people can disagree with my conclusion that these individuals should be tried in federal court rather than a military commission.” Reiterating, “I made this decision.”
However, according to former Attorney General John Ashcroft, “The attorney general doesn’t have the authority to mandate that the secretary of defense turn somebody over to him and yield jurisdiction so that something that would have been done in a military setting is done in a civilian setting.”
In fact according to many legal analysts the only one who could order this decision is President Obama himself. So why is he letting Holder take the heat? To start with this is a wildly unpopular and unnecessary decision.
According to CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, “two-thirds of Americans disagree with the Obama administration’s decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian court rather than a military court.” “The decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in front of a civilian court is universally unpopular – even a majority of Democrats and liberals say that he should be tried by military authorities,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Despite that, most Americans say that he will get a fair trial in the U.S.”
And if Mohammed is found guilty? “Nearly eight in 10 favor the death penalty if that happens – including one in five who say they normally oppose the death penalty, but would support it in this case,” adds Holland.
Mohammed has already confessed to his role saying, “I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z.” Instead of using this confession to move forward with a military tribunal to bring Mohammed to final justice, the Obama administration has opened the door on a 3 ring circus in open court. By the way last time I checked KSM was an enemy combatant not a domestic criminal or a citizen. This also creates the opportunity for federal judges to issue rulings that affect or delay the trial and/or punishment.
So why does it matter where he is tried, if as the President says that those bothered with the change of venue for Mohammed won‘t find it, “offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him”?
Here are just some of the reasons this is a bad decision.
To start with both Obama and Holder have pronounced the verdict and punishment before the trial has even started. By undermining the presumption of innocence, they are undermining the fairness of the trial, which is the alleged reason for it in the first place.
But to make matters worse, according to the New York Times, Justice Department officials have said that even if “Mohammed is acquitted, the Obama administration will keep him locked up forever as a ‘combatant'” under the laws of war. Sorry if I am a little slow here, but isn’t this a contradiction?
Next, there is the question of all those little legal details that apply in a U.S. criminal court. Keep in mind this man has been held and treated as an enemy combatant for 8 years. He has not been afforded any of the rights of a criminal arrested under the “normal” circumstances. Things such as his confession, no Miranda rights, access to an attorney and water boarding to name a few, will all be opportunities for legal challenges. How can these things be overlooked in his case when they are clearly part of our justice system? Watch as Sen. Lindsey Graham grills AG Holder…
Then, there is the cost and security issues the trial will create for NYC.
“Rough estimate from the city of New York, which I received yesterday, place the added cost of moving the trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other terrorist suspects to New York somewhere in the ballpark of $75 million, that’s a minimum,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Schumer said extra security procedures could push that number up to $100 million, and asked that the federal government foot the bill.
Charles Krauthammer weighs in with these comments. “Apart from the fact that any such trial will be a security nightmare and a terror threat to New York — what better propaganda-by-deed than blowing up the courtroom, making KSM a martyr and turning the judge, jury and spectators into fresh victims? — it will endanger U.S. security. Civilian courts with broad rights of cross-examination and discovery give terrorists access to crucial information about intelligence sources and methods”.
As former CIA Director George Tenet wrote in his book, “At the Center of the Storm,” when CIA officials first interrogated Mohammed in 2003, he defiantly told them, “I’ll talk to you guys after I get to New York and see my lawyer.” Now, thanks to Obama and Holder, Mohammed will get an opportunity to use the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York as a venue for his jihadist propaganda.
Imagine what this trial looks like if this terrorist is allowed to serve as his own attorney. As Krauthammer describes it, “September 11, 2001 had to speak for itself. A decade later, the deed will be given voice. KSM has gratuitously been presented with the greatest propaganda platform imaginable — a civilian trial in the media capital of the world — from which to proclaim the glory of jihad and the criminality of infidel America”.
The biggest question for me, however is; Who is really on trial?
John Eastman, dean of law at Chapman University in Orange, CA fears a scenario in which, “It’s not so much Khalid Sheik Mohammed who’s on trial, but the Bush administration. Are we going to allow discovery of classified information so that we can get a fair trial? Are we going to depose past Bush Department of Justice and Pentagon officials”?
So President Obama and AG Holder, what is your game? Is this just a creative way to set up prosecution of our CIA agents, military personnel and others who were doing their jobs and trying to protect us? Is this putting the Bush administration on trial? What happened to looking forward and transparency?
Folks, this is the most dangerous administration in American history. They have no respect or regard for our Constitution or our laws. They are putting our national security and sovereignty at risk. Their policies are filing across the board. Our economy is getting worse not better as unemployment climbs. We have suffered our first domestic terror attack since 9/11. We have out of control spending; the stimulus bill, Cash for Clunkers, proposed healthcare reform and energy legislation. They promised to “fundamentally transform America” and they are doing it!
The question now is; What are you going to do about it?
We are at the turning point and we must take action now if we want to save our country. I believe at our core we are still a religious people that values family, faith and country. It is time to take back the control of our national destiny.
Restore the Republic, Reject Socialism!
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague”. – Marcus Tullius Cicero