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Thread: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to be tried in New York

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to be tried in New York

    WASHINGTON — Self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo Bay detainees will be brought to trial in a civilian federal courthouse in New York, blocks from site of the devastating 2001 terror attacks. Prosecutors expect to seek the death penalty.

    At a news conference Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder also announced that five other suspects, including a major suspect in the bombing of the USS Cole, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, will be tried before a military commission.

    Holder said the defendants should be tried where their crimes occurred. The New York courthouse is hard by the site where the World Trade Centers were brought down by two hijacked jetliners.

    Nearly 3,000 people died there and in another hijacked jet that hit the Pentagon and a fourth hijacked plane crashed in western Pennsylvania.

    Holder called the events of Sept. 11 "the deadliest terrorist attacks our nation has ever seen" and said that in the years since, "our nation has had no higher priority than bringing those who planned and plotted the attacks to justice."

    Bringing such notorious suspects to U.S. soil to face trial is a key step in President Barack Obama's plan to close the terror suspect detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Obama initially planned to close the detention center by Jan. 22, but the administration is no longer expected to meet that deadline.

    "For over 200 years our nation has relied upon a faithful adherence to the rule of law," Holder told a news conference at the Justice Department. "Once again, we will ask our legal system in two venues to answer that call."

    The plan that Holder outlined Friday is a major legal and political test of Obama's overall approach to terrorism. If the case suffers legal setbacks, the administration will face second-guessing from those who never wanted it in a civilian courtroom. And if lawmakers get upset about terrorists being brought to their home regions, they may fight back against other parts of Obama's agenda.

    Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona called bringing Mohammed to New York "an unnecessary risk" that could result in the disclosure of classified information. Kyl maintained the trial of Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called "blind sheik" who was tried for a plot against some two-dozen New York City landmarks, caused "valuable information about U.S. intelligence sources and methods" to be revealed to the al-Qaida terrorist network.


    Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the federal courts are capable of trying high-profile terrorism.
    "By trying them in our federal courts, we demonstrate to the world that the most powerful nation on earth also trusts its judicial system a system respected around the world," Leahy said.

    The decision outraged family members of some Sept. 11 victims.
    "We have a president who doesn't know we're at war," said Debra Burlingame, whose brother, Charles Burlingame, was pilot of the hijacked plane that crashed into the Pentagon. She said she was sickened by "the prospect of these barbarians being turned into victims by their attorneys," if the trial winds up focusing on allegations that the suspects were tortured after their capture.

    "I don't think these people should get the benefit of being subjected to our system of jurisprudence," said Bruce De Cell, whose son-in-law, Mark Petrocelli, was killed at the World Trade Center. "They are terrorists. I don't think they should be tried in a civilian court."

    The New York case may force the court system to confront a host of difficult legal issues surrounding counterterrorism programs begun after the 2001 attacks, including the harsh interrogation techniques once used on some of the suspects while in CIA custody. The most severe method -- waterboarding, or simulated drowning -- was used on Mohammed 183 times in 2003, before the practice was banned.

    The five suspects are headed to New York together because they are all accused of conspiring in the 2001 attacks. The five headed to military commissions face a variety of charges but many of them include attacks specifically against the U.S. military.

    It was unclear where commission-bound detainees like al-Nashiri might be sent, but a brig in South Carolina has been high on the list of sites under consideration.

    The actual transfer of the detainees from Guantanamo to New York isn't expected to happen for many more weeks because formal charges have not been filed against most of them.

    The attorney general has decided the case of the five Sept. 11 suspects should be handled by prosecutors working in the Southern District of New York, which has held a number of major terrorism trials in recent decades at the courthouse in lower Manhattan.

    Holder had been considering other possible trial locations, including Virginia, Washington, D.C., and a different courthouse in New York City. Those districts could end up conducting trials of other Guantanamo detainees sent to federal court later on.

    The attorney general's decision in these cases comes just before a Monday deadline for the government to decide how to proceed against 10 detainees facing military commissions.

    In the military system, the five Sept. 11 suspects had faced the death penalty, but the official would not say if the Justice Department would also seek capital punishment against the men once they are in the federal system.

    The administration has already sent one Guantanamo detainee, Ahmed Ghailani, to New York to face trial, but chose not to seek death because other conspirators involved in his case did not face capital punishment for similar offenses.

    At the last major trial of al-Qaida suspects held at that courthouse in 2001, prosecutors did seek death for some of the defendants.
    Mohammed already has an outstanding terror indictment against him in New York, for an unsuccessful plot called "Bojinka" to simultaneously take down multiple airliners over the Pacific Ocean in the 1990s.

    Some members of Congress have fought any effort to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial in the United States; they have argued it would be too dangerous for nearby civilians. The Obama administration has defended the planned trials and pointed out that many terrorists have been safely tried, convicted, and imprisoned in the United States, including the 1993 World Trade Center bomber, Ramzi Yousef.

    Mohammed and the four others -- Waleed bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi and Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali -- are accused of orchestrating the attacks that killed over 2,970 people on Sept. 11.

    Navy Cmdr. Suzanne Lachelier, the military lawyer appointed to represent Ramzi Binalshibh, said Sept. 11 attorneys had not been notified of the administration's decision but welcomed the apparent move to civilian court.

    The four other detainees headed to military commissions in the United States are: Omar Khadr, Ahmed Mohammed al Darbi, Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi, and Noor Uthman Muhammed. Their cases are not specifically connected but two of them are accused of plotting against or attacking U.S. military personnel.

    Barry Coburn, a lawyer for Khadr, said he was deeply disappointed in the decision.

    "The fact that the Department of Justice has not seen fit to make these fundamental protections available to Omar Khadr, who was fifteen years old when he was detained in Afghanistan as a child soldier and has been locked away in Guantanamo ever since, is, quite frankly, devastating and shocking to me personally. I had thought this administration was better than that."

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed To Face New York Trial (VIDEOS)

    I'm sure they can find an unbiased jury of New Yorkers who never formed an opinion about 9/11.......
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Dem senator opposes trying terrorists in civilian courts



    Virginia Democratic Sen. James Webb has just released a statement disagreeing with the president's decision to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other terrorists in civilian courts in the United States:

    I have never disputed the constitutional authority of the President to convene Article III courts in cases of international terrorism. However, I remain very concerned about the wisdom of doing so. Those who have committed acts of international terrorism are enemy combatants, just as certainly as the Japanese pilots who killed thousands of Americans at Pearl Harbor. It will be disruptive, costly, and potentially counterproductive to try them as criminals in our civilian courts.

    The precedent set by this decision deserves careful scrutiny as we consider proper venues for trying those now held at Guantanamo who were apprehended outside of this country for acts that occurred outside of the country. And we must be especially careful with any decisions to bring onto American soil any of those prisoners who remain a threat to our country but whose cases have been adjudged as inappropriate for trial at all. They do not belong in our country, they do not belong in our courts, and they do not belong in our prisons.

    I have consistently argued that military commissions, with the additional procedural rules added by Congress and enacted by President Obama, are the most appropriate venue for trying individuals adjudged to be enemy combatants.



    Dem senator opposes trying terrorists in civilian courts | Washington Examiner
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    The right thing to do.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    I love how people like Webb think that the U.S. shouldn't put terrorists on trial on American soil, but forget that we already have terrorists in supermax prisons on American soil.

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    Someone on one of those news shows last night raised a great concern about this: how in the Hell do they expect to find an unbiased jury pool in NYC? From what I can tell, every other person in NYC has some personal connection to 9/11, be it a distant cousin or co-worker/ client who died, a best friend who lost a family member, or just a person who ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Personally, I can't think of a single person I know from or in NYC that doesn't have a 9/11 connection. At the very least, they have memories of wiping the dust from the attacks off their shoulders, or walking home across the bridge that night. That seriously affects people.

    I doubt they could find an unbiased jury pool anywhere in the US, but the problem seems so much larger in NYC.

    It could set the defense up for a mistrial or an appeal straight out of the gate.

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    Did I hear that their Miranda rights were not read to them. Oh Lord!!!
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    As a New Yorker, personally, I don't have a problem with this. I think its fitting. As for the naysayers, I found this great quote on Fark.

    It seem that the more vocal one is in praising the greatness of the American system, the less willing they are to put it into practice.
    Another article

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/14/nyregion/14york.html

    To many, it felt exquisitely right: This is where it began. This is where it must end.
    Michael Nagle for The New York Times


    Passers-by at ground zero on Friday, when the government announced it would try the 9/11 plot suspects in New York.

    John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times


    Anthony Maruffi, a downtown parking lot attendant, said that if terrorist suspects “are going to be tried, they should be tried here.”



    Others wished the actuality of it pushed far away, to a setting much less tormented by that one indelible date.


    This sharp duality of reactions greeted the news on Friday that the government would have the accused plotters of the Sept. 11 attack stand trial in New York, in a solemn federal courthouse a few brisk blocks from where two tall towers once stood and then fell.
    The decision got people asking, Does the city want this? Can it possibly bear it?


    “Let them come to New York,” said Jim Riches, a retired deputy chief of the New York Fire Department, whose son, Jimmy, also a firefighter, died in the attack. “Let them get on trial. Let’s do it the right way, for all the world to see what they’re like. Let’s go. It’s been too long. Let’s get some justice.”


    A trial will mean a forced public reattachment to a terrorist act that took almost 3,000 lives and singed the city’s soul and tested its resilience. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the professed mastermind of the attack, along with four others accused in the plot, will be ferried to the city’s own jail cells and put on trial almost in sight of the flattened crime scene. And everyone will be watching.
    New York’s public officials, for the most part, lined up in support of a trial here. And many others accepted the development as poetic justice, an appropriate circling to an endpoint.


    “I welcome anything that would bring these terrorists to trial,” said Sally Regenhard, whose son, Christian, was killed in the attack, his remains never recovered. “After eight long years there has been no justice on this on any level, and we want these people brought to justice.”



    The lingering wash of emotions of Sept. 11, however, runs strong, and they run differently. To many others, the prospect of the trial was both unfair and too repulsive to entertain.



    “It’s absolutely disgusting,” said Joan Molinaro, whose son, Carl, a firefighter, also died in the attack. She said of Mr. Mohammed, “He was willing to plead guilty in a military court. Now he comes to New York and gets all the rights of an American citizen, which he isn’t. He’s going to be, what, two blocks from ground zero, where he can see his handiwork and mock those he murdered.”


    She used to live on Staten Island, but has moved to a small town in Pennsylvania. She couldn’t take hearing the wailing sirens of fire trucks.


    She started crying. “Every day I get up and know I’ll never see my son again,” she said. “This is just a smack in his face.”
    Margit Arias-Kastell lost her husband, Adam Arias, in Tower 2. She, too, could not countenance the prospect of the suspects being defended by lawyers in a court in her city. She was among scores of relatives who had signed a letter opposing regular criminal trials for them.


    "It’s totally unfair," she said. "Why do we have to constantly relive this? When do we get to be at peace? They should be hung."
    The divergent reactions of victims’ relatives very much echoed a similar split vote among the full universe of New Yorkers.


    Many of the city’s elected officials endorsed the decision. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in a statement, “It is fitting that 9/11 suspects face justice near the World Trade Center site, where so many New Yorkers were murdered.” He pointed out that the city had been the setting for other terrorism trials, including that of Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted in 1995 in a plot to blow up New York landmarks.



    Representative Jerrold Nadler, whose district includes Lower Manhattan, said in a statement, “New York is not afraid of terrorists, we want to confront them, we want to bring them to justice and we want to hold them accountable for their despicable actions.”
    Yet there has been widespread public opposition to allowing any American city to accept for trial, or detention, detainees being held at the military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Various legislators have argued that their entry would be dangerous and put populations in peril.



    “I fear trying them in our country,” said Mike Low, whose daughter, Sara Elizabeth Low, died on one of the planes that struck the towers. He worries that “the defense will have so many tools.” He worries that “we’re giving these monsters a forum to spew their garbage once more. They’ll make a circus out of it and just play it to the hilt.”



    Ronald L. Kuby, a New York lawyer who has represented defendants in terrorism investigations, took the position that it was important that the attack’s victims, which he counted as most people in the city, could “walk downtown and see if justice is being done,” adding, “The citizenry of New York has a right to bear witness to this proceeding.”


    But to what extent do New Yorkers, especially victims’ relatives, want to see the faces of the accused plotters and listen to lawyers argue in their defense?


    "If you had a child who’s murdered, do you avoid going to a trial?" asked Maureen Bosco, whose son, Richard E. Bosco, died in the towers. "That’s where we stand. My son was killed by these people. It’s out of respect to him and to get closure for us."


    “My son died,” Mr. Riches said. “I want to speak for him. I’ll go wherever I have to go. I want to see these guys convicted.”


    Others said they would not go. “There’s never going to be any closure for me," said Elaine Leuning, who lost her son, Paul Battaglia. “I don’t want to be involved in the trial. It’s not going to do it for me, it’s just not. It’s not going to make me feel any better. This is my son. This is a piece of me that’s gone."


    Those who live and work in the downtown neighborhoods near ground zero had apprehensions of their own about the coming trial. They have long grudgingly endured flocks of tourists and souvenir peddlers. Now they face a mass migration that will likely descend on the court: demonstrators, curiosity seekers, media crews and the souvenir vendors.



    Mike McCalman, 42, who lives in a 25-story building called Chatham Towers, next to the courthouse, said that he and his neighbors were resigned to the disruption that was likely to accompany the trial. “We heard about it this morning and said, ‘Here we go,’ ” he said., adding: “They have to be tried somewhere.”


    Anthony Maruffi, a parking lot attendant, had no problem with the decision. “If they are going to be tried, they should be tried here,” he said. “This is where they committed their crimes.”


    Yet George Zouvelos, who owns Spartan Bail Bonds, which has an office near the courthouse, worried about security. His solution? “Send them to Washington.” Domingo Nunez, who works at Spartan, said, “This community is going to raise hell,” predicting that “it’s going to be very rough on some people. I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about it.”


    Reporting was contributed by David W. Chen, Glenn Collins, Alain Delaquérière, Colin Moynihan and Benjamin Weiser.
    Last edited by bychance; November 14th, 2009 at 07:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    I love how people like Webb think that the U.S. shouldn't put terrorists on trial on American soil, but forget that we already have terrorists in supermax prisons on American soil.
    Yup, Yousef.

    The vibe I'm getting from those opposed to them being tried in federal courts is that somehow they won't get what's coming to them (as they would presumably in a military court). Not that they don't deserve the harshest sentences but it seems like they have no faith in the civilian system.

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    I dont have alot of faith is the justice system either. We all know it has its faults. Look at all the murderers who go free, mistrials, hung jurys and corruption
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    ^ I don't usually either, but this guy isn't getting off. Criminal trial, military tribunal, doesn't matter. This trial is all for show anyway, the verdict has already been decided. No politician anywhere would want to be the guy who was involved in this man walking away from these charges- it's political suicide.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celeb_2006 View Post
    Yup, Yousef.

    The vibe I'm getting from those opposed to them being tried in federal courts is that somehow they won't get what's coming to them (as they would presumably in a military court). Not that they don't deserve the harshest sentences but it seems like they have no faith in the civilian system.
    We've also convicted and sentenced to life in prison Nassir and Abdel-Rahman. I believe their trials were in New York also.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celeb_2006 View Post
    Yup, Yousef.

    The vibe I'm getting from those opposed to them being tried in federal courts is that somehow they won't get what's coming to them (as they would presumably in a military court). Not that they don't deserve the harshest sentences but it seems like they have no faith in the civilian system.
    And Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber.

    Most of the fear is based on the belief that a terrorist on U.S. soil, even on trial, will put everyone in danger.

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    And Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber.

    Most of the fear is based on the belief that a terrorist on U.S. soil, even on trial, will put everyone in danger.
    Supposedly, the 1997 Luxor terrorist attacks were in retaliation for the jailing of Abdel-Rahman. But those attacks occurred in Egypt, not the United States.

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