Sunday, November 29, 2009

Why Not Try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed In Federal Court?

by Brian Baldwin -

The Stop The Terror Trial in NYC Rally will be held on Saturday, December 5, 2009, at Noon in Foley Square on the steps of the Federal Courthouse.

Organized and led by the 911 Never Forget Coalition, the rally will be supported by 911 family members, FDNY and NYPD personnel, members of the military, veterans, the 912 Project, Tea Party Patriots and thousands of Americans protesting the plan to hold the trial that will give enemy combatants of the U.S. constitutional protections by holding the trial in U.S federal court.

But why is it wrong to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Federal Court, when Zacarias Moussaoui was successfully tried in Federal Court?

Zacarias Moussaoui, the infamous “20th Hijacker”, was arrested by law enforcement authorities on immigration charges after arousing suspicion at a Minnesota flight school. Moussaoui was mirandized and provided with an attorney. Although he rejected his appointed attorneys and chose to represent himself, the groundwork for a trial in our legal system had been laid down. He was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury on December 11, 2001. His trial finally met its completion in 2006 with a life sentence.

Why shouldn’t Khalid Sheikh Mohammed be tried in Federal Court in NYC? Attorney General Eric Holder says the trials are finally moving forward after “8 years of delay”. Isn’t it time that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was brought to trial?

But what happens if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is found not guilty? Don’t worry. Attorney General Eric Holder brushed off the question, saying, "I would not have authorized the bringing of these prosecutions unless I thought that the outcome -- in the outcome we would ultimately be successful. I will say that I have access to information that has not been publicly released that gives me great confidence that we will be successful in the prosecution of these cases in federal court."

President Obama, while visiting Tokyo, said, "I am absolutely convinced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be subject to the most exacting demands of justice…The American people will insist on it and my administration will insist on it."

It certainly sounds as if President Obama and Attorney General Holder are sure of the outcome of this trial. Is this the message we want to send to the Muslim world? We are going to pick and choose which high profile cases will be publicly tried while others, that are not a slam-dunk, are left in Guantanamo to rot in prison or face military tribunals. Doesn’t this undermine the arguments of the left that this must be done to show the world “American Justice”. We are treading on a dangerous path.

This is not the first time Eric Holder has shown bad judgment. As Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration, he pushed for the release of 16 violent FALN terrorists against the advice of the FBI, the US Attorneys who prosecuted them and the NYPD officers injured by them.

Senator Barack Obama often held a different position than President Barack Obama, and this case is no different. In September 2006, debating the Military Commissions Act, then-Senator Obama said Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and those like him would get "basically a full military trial with all the bells and whistles. He's going to have counsel, he's going to be able to present evidence, he's going to be able to rebut the government's case. Because the feeling is that he's guilty of a war crime and to do otherwise might violate some of our agreements under the Geneva Conventions."

"I think that's good that we're going to provide him with some procedure and process," then-Senator Obama said. "I think we will convict him and I think he will be brought to justice. I think justice will be carried out in his case."

Certainly, not everyone has done a 180 on this. Attorney General Holder was never a supporter of military tribunals. As he said, “after 8 years of delay”, we are finally moving forward”. It is true. Very few military tribunals were ever carried out due to leftist attorneys’ attempts to derail the proceedings with legal challenges. Many of these attorneys are in the Obama Justice Department today – including Eric Holder, a former partner in Covington & Burling LLP. Covington and Burling represented at least 18 Guantanamo detainees, donating over 3,000 FREE hours of legal service, making Holder’s claim of “8 years of delay” even more incredible.

Countless lawsuits delayed the military trials. These same delays, created by law firms like Covington and Burling, are the Obama administration’s justification for holding civilian trials.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was arrested during a military action involving Pakistani ISI (Inter Service Intelligence) and SOG (Special Operations Group), a division of the CIA responsible for paramilitary operations. He was transferred to military custody at Guantanamo Bay detention camp to face a military tribunal – the tribunal once supported by Senator Barack Obama. Although Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was ready to plead guilty and accept a death sentence, President Obama, upon taking office, suspended all military tribunals.

Now that the trial will be moved to Federal Court, what legal rules will be followed? Miranda rights were not read. No attorney was provided. Will any evidence, testimony or previous confessions be allowed, even though he confessed to being responsible for the planning of 9/11 “from A-Z”? Will our military now be compelled to read Miranda rights and collect evidence on the battle field?

Even Judge, Michael Mukasey, who presided over the trial of the blind sheikh Omer Abdel Rahman says “the plan seems to abandon the view that we are involved in a war”. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants will now be given a forum to disseminate hatred and propaganda. A civilian trial will compel the US government to reveal intelligence and how it was obtained, thus hindering US efforts to combat terrorism. Al Qaeda will better understand our intelligence gathering techniques and respond accordingly.

Should Zacarias Moussaoui have been tried by military commission? In 2001, President Bush established military commissions, a wartime system of justice used during the Revolutionary and Civil wars as well as World War II. Congress approved these procedures in 2006, long after Moussaoui’s Grand Jury indictment. Military Commissions have since been upheld by the Supreme Court.

The actions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were acts of war against the United States and should be prosecuted by a military commission. The world is too dangerous of a place to continue sending mixed messages regarding our commitment to fight terrorism, whether we want to use the name “Terrorism” or “Man-caused Disasters”.