One can only hope that Attorney General Holder’s assurances that his review of the evidence will, in fact, convict KSM and his fellows. Mr. Holder, however, has a bit of an inconsistent history on terror related issues and terror detainees including a self admitted failure to recognize terror events as the equivalent of war. During Senate confirmation hearings; “To be honest,” Holder explained, he believed that “our nation didn’t realize that we were at war when, in fact, we were”: that assertion is a bit difficult to accept based on this week’s decision. Making it more difficult is the fact that Mr. Holder was a central figure in the pardon of Marxist FALN thugs (130 bombings in the U.S.) under President Clinton’s watch.
Prior to being named Attorney General Mr. Holder’s law firm was pivotal in the law suits and motions that held up the implementation of Gitmo Military Tribunals; those same attorneys are now part of his staff at the Justice Department. We hope they do as good a job of prosecuting KSM and the boys as they did of insuring the inability of Military Tribunals to proceed.
Mr. Holder refused to bring Jose Padilla accomplice Binyam Mohammed to trial despite the assertion that valid war crimes charges could be brought. Mr. Mohammed was transferred to British custody resulting in his release and eventual residence on the British dole. Mr. Holder’s release of the “interrogation memos” is fresh in memory, as is his stated intention to prosecute some of the involved parties; this in the context of his assurances during Senate confirmation hearings of his heavily felt “responsibility for the safety of the American people.”
Back in 2002, however, free of immediate political considerations it was a different story. In a CNN interview Mr. Holder said the following in response to a question regarding terror detainees “It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Conventions. They are not prisoners of war. If, for instance, Mohamed Atta had survived the attack on the World Trade Center, would we now be calling him a prisoner of war? I think not. Should Zacarias Moussaoui be called a prisoner of war? Again, I think not.”
How Mr. Holder has moved from detainees not being eligible for Prisoner of War status to granting criminal trials, with constitutional protections on U.S. soil is a trail of logic that is, at best, difficult to follow, absent political considerations.
There is, as expected, dueling experts more orientated to political positions than legal ones, opining on the viability of a U.S. criminal court proceeding for KSM and the boys.
Concerns include the behavior of KSM and the boys, will they represent themselves? Will NYC be subjected to more terror attacks surrounding the trials? Will security be an issue, what about the jury pool? Will a change of venue be ordered, what about the cost? There is a spectrum of issues that are rendered mute had the traditional application of Military Tribunals been allowed to proceed by Mr. Holder and his staff at the time.
Expect KSM and the boys to take the position that as Muslims they refuse to recognize the validity of the U.S. court system. Expect them to demand Sharia proceedings. Expect them to make the most of their supposed “torture”. Expect them to demand immediate execution as martyrs as they did in their Gitmo confessions. KSM and the boys told a military judge at Gitmo that they wanted to skip their commission trial, admit, no, brag about their guilt, and proceed straight to execution.” The transcript of the confession is, to be kind, chilling. No doubt the lure of those heavenly virgins is looking pretty good.
All KSM and the boys have left, as far as they are concerned, is the opportunity to position themselves as Jihadist icons. Mr. Holder is cooperating fully with their intent as we have, to all appearances, constructed an elaborate set and stage to allow for exactly that. We have set the circumstances for this drama to be a decade long show.
It took three years to convict Zacarias Moussaoui, a thug of considerably lesser status, free of the taint of “aggressive interrogation methods”. If a death penalty is imposed on KSM and the boys we get the show’s extended run in the form of a long series of appeals typically associated with the death penalty; all the while listening to KSM and the boys brag about their “accomplishments” and how evil we are.
This trial will be less about KSM and boy’s guilt than it will be about providing fodder for propaganda in the Jihadist world. It is worth remembering that the well executed trials of the Blind Sheik and the embassy bombers were derided in the Jihadist world as nothing more than show trials, this one will labeled a show trial as well. The often stated goal of “showcasing the American justice system” will have zero impact on people avowed to our destruction because they simply don’t accept the underling validity of any system outside of Sharia law.
If Mr. Holder and the President think that Bush Administration activities and policies only “provided for more aggressive recruiting of Jihadists”, just wait until this show gets rolling!.
If this is Mr. Holder’s idea of getting to “closure”, to hell with it!