KSM on trial in NYC: Treating terror like any old crime

The confessed 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will stand trial for the terror attacks in a federal court in New York, according to reports by AP and other news outlets. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to make the announcement later today.

You would think the Obama administration would have second thoughts about unveiling such a plan so soon after the Fort Hood killings and the ensuing debate about whether the shooter, Nidal Malik Hasan, was committing an act of jihadist terror or just garden-variety workplace violence. But apparently the administration is doubling down on the idea that jihadist killings — and surely no one besides the Truthers disputes that that’s what 9/11 was — are a crime like any other, committed by criminals like any others.

Will we be treated to spectacles like the last time these terrorists were asked to attend a hearing, in Guantanamo Bay back in July? Here’s one partial account:

Nearly eight years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others accused of plotting the attacks find small ways to thumb their nose at the U.S.


[Observers] were treated to now-typical tactics. Prison officials said the men first sent word with guards that they were boycotting the hearing. Three then changed their mind and showed up, only to lash out at their lawyers and mock the tribunal system. Their behavior and the resulting legal wrangling managed to consume much of the day.

Mr. Mohammed, who previously has used similar hearings to make outbursts, refused to attend…

Is the administration prepared to have KSM — who also claimed to have personally beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl — acquitted because jurors are uncomfortable with some interrogation techniques used on him? If he’s acquitted, will he be allowed after the court is adjourned to walk out into the streets in Manhattan like any other free man? If not, on what grounds would he be detained — and would these be legal?

Or is the administration simply placing an enormous and dangerous bet on the notion that no New York jury would ever acquit KSM (and, let’s not forget, four other jihadists)? And if so, is justice really being served better than it would have been in a military tribunal?

This maneuver is like so many others by this administration: Designed to appease a small but vocal minority, but severely lacking in any kind of logic, substance or beyond-the-next-news-cycle thinking.

30 comments Add your comment

The Anti-Wooten

November 13th, 2009
10:22 am

“Uncomfortable with some interrogation technigues”? So you’re now finally admitting that the torture undertaken by the previous adminstration may have more negative consequences than those we’re already aware of?

Churchill's MOM

November 13th, 2009
10:49 am

Why are you writing about this trash when you should ne writing about Sara Palin on Oprah??

**Handel 2010***Palin Mccain 2012****


November 13th, 2009
10:54 am

I think he was pondering the “jurors” being uncomfortable with interrogation techniques and didn’t mention torture at all. It’s called reading comprehension.


November 13th, 2009
10:55 am

This will undoubtedly be a circus act, however since the trial is at ground zero I’m not worried about aquittal. I do think it will be interesting to watch the news media coverage of the event. No doubt in the end, regardless of what happens, it will be hailed a great success by most of the media.

This raises the question of Guitmo. My understanding is that it will be closed and everyone relocated in about six weeks. I’m fairly certain Obama regrets his promises concerning Guitmo. The world seemed much simpler when he was campaigning, and in the afterglow of his victory.
Also noted is the lack of media coverage on this soon to be failed promise. This was the talk of the town a few short months ago.

The Anti-Wooten

November 13th, 2009
11:00 am

Poor, poor Ivan thinks that Darth Cheney’s euphemistic terms for torture have any validity. It’s a shame your Goober University education in Athens has failed you so miserably.

See what I did there?


November 13th, 2009
11:04 am

If he is accquitted and walks, my guess is someone kills him on the streets like the dog he is, then making him a martyr and galvanizing extremist Muslims around the world to want to kill is even more than they already do.

I just don’t see a good outcome for this, every possible result is bad. Obama doesn’t like to think things through to their possible conclusions, does he? He just thinks, “Hey, it will appease a few people if I try this guy in court, who cares what happens after that!”


November 13th, 2009
11:47 am

Kyle- Do you actually think before you write? I have to question any of the “sagacity” you apparently ascribe to your opinions and ponderings. By placing KSM and his other accomplices on trial, the Obama Administration is finally acting on the premises we as a country were misled from by the Bush Administration. Namely that we would see justice done.

Justice, as you may or may not understand, is to apply without rancor or bias a consequence fitting to the crime committed. The entire Guantanomo camp has been a bleeding wound in our country’s heart for almost a decade.

Bush failed on his promise to us OBL to justice, to bring those who perpetrated the attacks of 9/11 upon this country. Its about damn time we finally bring before the country those individuals responsible and finally bring some portion of the mess to a close.

We are a nation of law, not fear and retribution.


November 13th, 2009
11:54 am

- On the New York Times website, KSM looks radically
different than the picture most of us are used to seeing
(www.nytimes.com). He looks a LOT like Osama bin
Laden, which will probably speed up his trial to its
inevitable conclusion, IMO.

Kyle Wingfield

November 13th, 2009
11:55 am

johnboy: The question is not whether KSM or the others should be brought to justice. The question is whether a civilian court in New York is the proper venue to try a terrorist captured during a war on a battlefield overseas. The question is whether we treat someone like that the same way we treat a common criminal.

I think there’s a difference between the two, and I reject the idea that trying these terrorists in a military tribunal somehow is not respecting the law or circumventing justice.

The Anti-Wooten

November 13th, 2009
11:57 am

Johnboy, you and I live in a nation that’s NOT about fear and retribution. Lyle Wingnut and his band of merry foollowers (spelled intentionally) live in a fairy princess land of hate, bigotry, fearmongering, xenophobia and pants wetting at the prospect of anyone or anything that Brother Billy Joe the Baptist preacher tells them is different.

The Anti-Wooten

November 13th, 2009
12:00 pm

What venue do you propose Kyle? Turning KSM over the local Aryan Brotherhood chapter? Rendition him to Kahzakstan? Let Richmond County have him so that he can sit in jail for 20 years without a trial?

The Anti-Wooten

November 13th, 2009
12:03 pm

The military has already told both Presidents Obama and Bush that they have huge problems legally with trying to conduct these trials. A high likelihood exists that the SCOTUS would overturn.


November 13th, 2009
12:09 pm

I firmly hope that none of them will receive the death penalty.

The message we’d send to everyone who views us as an enemy is this:

We will find you, we will bring you to justice and you will not get to become a martyr. Instead, you will become a girlfriend. You will spend decades being abused in prison, you will be a number on your jumpsuit and nothing more. You will become frail, and old and sickly. A dottering old man who spends 40 years in a cell rather than eternity in the bosom of your god and a host of virgins.

We should broadcast video of them frequently, for all the world to see. And any followers you once had will see you as a ghost of a person. No longer a man. No longer a hero to anyone. But just a scumbag sent to rot with all the other criminal scumbags.


November 13th, 2009
1:00 pm

That the KSMs and Hasans of the world even receive legal representation is appalling. Skip the trial and the leftist fanfare. Keep them alive. In cold windowless room. In an unknown location. Feed them once a day. No books, no tv, no internet, no interaction with others. Ever again. Just them and the walls…and perhaps a fan letter or two from a guilt-ridden terrorist loving liberal.

garden variety

November 13th, 2009
1:05 pm

wingfield, i stopped reading after “garden variety workplace violence”…if you think the someone killing 13 people and injuring many others with automatic weapons complete with laser sights “garden variety” then you have a very delusional way of looking at things. i think in the future you should work on stating you observations better because that is lousy…..

little o

November 13th, 2009
1:08 pm

Garden, you’ve missed the point.

Kyle Wingfield

November 13th, 2009
1:10 pm

garden variety: Please go back and read again what I wrote. I was describing the debate over what Hasan did and why. Many of my media colleagues have been at pains to describe Hasan as a normal guy who just snapped…like a lot of other people who have committed workplace violence. I was describing that viewpoint, not endorsing it.

Kyle Wingfield

November 13th, 2009
1:10 pm

Thanks, little o.

David Axelfraud

November 13th, 2009
1:14 pm

In 1993, Clinton had the first world trade center islamic goons put on trial.

In 2001 we were bombed.

Trials don’t work. Trials don’t send a message to islamic goons.

The only thing that these people want is to die for their religion by killing innocent people.

Bottom line: nuke the problem. Literally.


November 13th, 2009
1:16 pm

Kyle, what is your stance on “Hate Crime Legislation”?

Do you share the view that the motivation of the crime has no bearing on the charge? That if a person attacks a person because of bigotry, the attack is the crime, not the motivation behind it?

If so, then isn’t it contradictory to feel that a terrorist should be tried differently than a regular killer? Isn’t terrorism just a crime with a motivation to creat fear? Why should that motivation come into play, but not other motivations?

Sushi Roll

November 13th, 2009
1:28 pm

Liberal ideology is quite simple: Hate those you disagree with; pander to those you fear. This is yet another classic example of thick-headed lefties fearing retribution, this time over the dreadful “T” word.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to both trials, if only to witness our heroic left trip over themselves to serve as character witnesses.


November 13th, 2009
1:29 pm

Kyle, you’re assuming facts not in evidence — that Obama is capable of thought. Haven’t you noticed, our prez is slow. Very, very slow.


November 13th, 2009
4:25 pm

kyle: i disagree with you on treating terrorists as somehow separate from any other type of criminal. they are criminals. there is no declaration of war and the proper venue for military tribunals is within the realm of war.

we can rant and slather all we want that we are engaged in a War on Terror (I still can’t get over how redundant a statement that is) but these attacks come down to individuals.

as you wrote, “The question is not whether KSM or the others should be brought to justice. The question is whether a civilian court in New York is the proper venue to try a terrorist captured during a war on a battlefield overseas.”

War is the final act of diplomacy between national/state parties. To say that we are at war with some amorphous thing is like saying we should be at War with Death. Get over it.

The civilian courts are exactly the correct place to bring these individuals to justice. Al-Queda is not a state/nation, is incapable of a declaration of war, and is instead, nothing more than a criminal organization which needs to be brought to justice.

Al-Queda is no more frightening than the mob, its just that the mob has the good sense not to send airplanes in to buildings. Does that make the hitmen and the bosses who order deaths and dismemberment as a part of “business” any less evil than any other individual who treats individual life with such callousness? I don’t think so.

I say good job to the Obama Administration for finally taking the steps we should have been taking these past 8 years – which is to go after these thugs, murderers and sub-humans as the criminals that they are.

We feed in to their need for martyrdom when we declare we are going to war with them. They are nothing but parasites – same as any other criminal organization. By declaring war and treating them as actual enemy combatants, we legitimize their aims and professed goals. We should have been treating them and their ilk for exactly what they are – criminals – and the civilian courts are EXACTLY where KSM and his breed deserve to be brought to justice.

So, again Kyle, I have to ask you – do you take the time to think through what it is that you obviously believe to be sagacious?

The question is whether we treat someone like that the same way we treat a common criminal.

I think there’s a difference between the two, and I reject the idea that trying these terrorists in a military tribunal somehow is not respecting the law or circumventing justice.


November 13th, 2009
4:28 pm

The Anti-Wooten is a moron. Sorry, I didn’t mean that. He is a far left moron. I sincerely hope a band of jahadists visits his home in the middle of the night soon.

Kyle Wingfield

November 13th, 2009
5:29 pm

johnboy: President Obama says we are at war with al Qaeda. Congress in 2001 authorized a military operation in Afghanistan with a goal of capturing al Qaeda’s leaders. KSM was one of al Qaeda’s leaders. He was captured by Pakistani troops who were (at the time) working with us in connection with the war (call it a “military engagement” if you want to be a pedant) against al Qaeda.

You are drawing a distinction, but the only real difference is that your approach is more dangerous and offers no actual benefits. Just ask the people who will have to provide even more security than usual in Manhattan while we indulge in this back-patting exercise.

Kyle Wingfield

November 13th, 2009
5:40 pm

Michael Mukasey, a former attorney general and judge who has dealt extensively with terror prosecutions, and someone who knows more about the topic than Anti-Wooten, johnboy or me, says this decision is part of “a system in which policy is fashioned to fit and proceed rhetoric rather than being thought out in advance with arguments then formulated in support of it.”

Read more of his remarks here: http://spectator.org/blog/2009/11/13/mukasey-blasts-pre-911-mentail

Algonquin J. Calhoun

November 13th, 2009
9:33 pm

The trials represent the return of America to lawfulness. The United States has been opposed to torture in the past and has not indulged in it, until taken down that sordid path by the Bush administration. As for these despicable crimes being viewed differently from other crimes. You know they are! I think I’m pretty representative of members of the Democratic Party and I support trying, and executing, all those who have participated in killing or wounding Americans, here or anywhere else. There wouldn’t even be doubt about trying them if not for the methods employed to drown a confession out of prisoners. The laws of the United States would be enforced even if the prisoners were tried by military tribunals. What is the problem you have with acting in a lawful fashion? We can’t be a nation of laws if we allow some violations of law by law enforcement or the military. Such organizations have been known to lie. Just ask Cathryn Johnston.

Left wing management

November 14th, 2009
6:37 pm

This maneuver is like so many others by this administration: Designed to appease a small but vocal minority, but severely lacking in any kind of logic, substance or beyond-the-next-news-cycle thinking.

Is this what you really think? You really think this president, whatever weaknesses he may have, is guilty of simply trying to resolve this matter in such a slapdash manner? (I’m not saying I know he isn’t guilty of it. I’m just saying though, how can you be so sure he IS?)

Not to put words in your mouth, but I assume you also think the man who wisely and prudently chose the distinguished Governor of Alaska as his running mate would do better in this situation?

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