Saturday, November 14, 2009

New York Minute

The Obama administration's decision to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and some (but not all) of his terrorist pals in a federal court in Manhattan certainly has New Yorkers talking. The New York Times, ever concerned with process and procedure, tries to put a positive spin on the idea:

The Obama administration said Friday that it would prosecute Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, in a Manhattan federal courtroom, a decision that ignited a sharp political debate but took a step toward resolving one of the most pressing terrorism detention issues.

We are ever mindful of "terrorist detention issues," of course. If you want to know what the average New Yorker thinks of the decision, you need to look at a different newspaper, though:

Outraged New Yorkers said yesterday that admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other terrorists deserve to be put to death -- and some even volunteered for the job.

"Kill them without a trial. Just a bullet in the head and say goodbye. Why waste taxpayer money?" said Thomas Pland, 70, a truck driver from Astoria, Queens.

"If they want me to do it," he added, "I will."

Mike Keane, owner of O'Hara's Restaurant & Pub a block from Ground Zero, said: "They should have taken care of them in Guantanamo Bay. Hang them there. It would have been quicker and easier."

But first, he added, "we should waterboard them a little more."

Isolated thoughts? No, there's more:

"I'm a hundred thousand percent against this move. They're war criminals!" said retired firefighter Joe Holland, whose son, Joseph III, a commodities trader, died in the World Trade Center's north tower.

"This is crazy. This is insane. They're going to make a mockery of the whole court system 10 blocks away from the World Trade Center. They're going to scream for holy war in America."

Peter Gadiel, head of 9/11 Families for a Secure America, fumed, "I never thought we could have gotten a worse president than George Bush. But we got one.

"The president wants a circus? He should hold the trial in Lafayette Park at the White House. That makes as much sense," added Gadiel, whose son, James, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee, died on 9/11.

A president worse than George Bush? I am aghast.

To be fair, at least one person is willing to give the President and his men the benefit of the doubt:

But retired firefighter James Riches, whose firefighter son, Jimmy, died on 9/11, said he would give President Obama the benefit of the doubt -- for now.

"Hopefully, we're doing the right thing. But if this all goes awry, I'm going to hold Obama and his Justice Department responsible," Riches said.

As will we all, Mr. Riches.


Anonymous said...

I am not sure if you are for this, against it, or so enamored of Monty Python that you just enjoy "man on the street" quotes. But I think you could probably find 50 opinions for or against this in NYC right now, and do so in a New Yoirk minute. I am not sure what any of it would prove.

For the record, I like the idea of trying these jackasses in NYC, and can't comprehend why so many Conservatives don't have faith in the Constitution and the American system of justice. Nor do I understand how doing this is "going to make a mockery of the whole court system." But I do have a real problem with Obama creating a multi-tiered justice system to suit his needs. This, to me, is far worse than putting all the detainees in military commissions, or even preventively detaining them all, and THIS does make a mockery of the whole court system. According differing levels of due process to people based on how certain we are that we can convict them is even more warped than creating things like military commissions to lower the due process level for everyone. At least a system of military commissions for all treats all terrorist suspects equally.


Mr. D said...

I'm agin it, Rich. Not because I think they'll make a mockery of our system -- they won't -- but because a trial puts another big target on the city for another terrorist attack. I'm not worried about the professionalism of the federal prosecutors, especially the career guys who will be doing this. I don't think much of Holder, but the guys actually doing the work will be just fine.

Sometime I'll have to write a post about Joe Hartzler, the Chicago attorney who was the lead prosecutor in the Timothy McVeigh trial. I knew him when I worked in Chicago, as he was a partner at the firm where I worked. Great guy who was fighting MS at the time of the trial.

And your point about made-to-order jurisdictions is a good one, too.

Right Hook said...

I'm against it for a number of reasons. First and foremost the people going on trial are not citizens and do not have a right to access our criminal judicial system. These scum have already admitted their guilt in an act of war, not a civil crime. In the past advocates for these "detainees" claimed that they should be afforded Geneva convention rights (which they really shouldn't, but that's a whole other discussion) which are for POWs in a legitimate war. They want to cherry pick the rights and privileges they are "entitled" to under an ever changing classification.

What possible up side is there for a trial? The criminal justice discovery process would open up a treasure trove of information for terrorists world wide on our counter-terrorism methods and tactics, possibly expose undercover agents, open up jury members, judges, and attorneys to death threats or worse, and greatly increase the incentive for another attack on New York during the trial. The Obama Administration could (and no doubt would) use the proceedings as an indirect way to retroactively attack and blame the Bush Administration to cover for their own soft on terrorism policies. Obama made a horribly unwise commitment to close Gitmo and this sham is nothing but part of the fire sale needed to clear it out before the final closing. This is what you get when a community agitator attempts to do the job of a president.

Extract all useful information from these bastards and execute them as the terrorists that they are.

Night Writer said...

Good luck finding a jury of "peers" for KSM. Aside from him being a POS (plenty of those around) how do you do jury selection to find people who haven't heard about 9/11 and formed an opinion about those considered to be behind it?

Another thing: in high-profile, emotional cases (ala the trial for Dru Sjodin's killer) the defense typically files for "change of venue" on the basis that the accused cannot get a fair trial in the locality where the crime occurred.

His lack of U.S. citizenship isn't really a factor, though. We prosecute and imprison non-citizens regularly for commiting crimes on our soil. What KSM and his group did, however, was a premeditated act of undeclared war; giving him a civil platform to defend himself simply gives him a grand stage to further inspire and inflame his brothers.

K-Rod said...

Obama makes another horrible decision. Don't act too surprised.

KSM is now an innocent man...
All he needs is a judge to throw out the case because "torture" was used on the defendant. How's that for justice served?

Hey Libs, Who is the Idiot in Chief now?

If the turban does not fit, you must acquit.