Sunday, December 20, 2009

On Bringing KSM to New York

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and friends will be coming to court in New York soon, a controversial decision likely to produce a circus atmosphere with terrorist supporters, constitutional purists, conspiracy theorists, Biblical and Koranic prophets and charlatans, glory hounds and a host of others seizing the media spotlight at any given time.

Obama and his supporters insist it's necessary to "uphold our American values", making the reward worth the risk--the reward being a final rendering to Allah or wherever. At least that's the fatalistic impression the president seems to be leaving with any potential jury pool, which is rather odd since our values state that suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty. There are no exceptions for terrorists other than handling national security evidence.

This apparent dichotomy recently earned Barack Hot Air's "Obamateurism of the week" due to this exchange with NBC's Chuck Todd:
NBC: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — can you understand why it is offensive to some for this terrorist to get all the legal privileges of any American citizen?

Obama: I don't think it will be offensive at all when he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.

NBC: But having that kind of confidence of a conviction — I mean one of the purposes of doing — going to the Justice Department and not military court is to show of the the world our fairness in our court system.

Obama: Well —

NBC: But you also just said that he was going to be convicted and given the death penalty.

Obama: Look — what I said was people will not be offended if that's the outcome. I'm not pre-judging,
Not surprisingly, if a reader clicks on the NBC video of this exchange they will see an interesting edit (KSM part begins at 01:30 mark). After Obama says, "...death penalty is applied to him" they stop the interview and insert an announcer voice-over with a still photo backdrop of KSM to cover the awkward exchange. The unedited video is not easily located on You Tube.

NBC would only do this because the president was entirely snookered by Todd and his answer made no sense. KSM has to be called an 'alleged terrorist' and must be released if acquitted, they can't have it both ways. Obama and Holder should well understand this based on their legal backgrounds. So what's the deal?

The left might reply by moving the goalposts and saying the government has successfully tried terrorists in federal court before, so the deal is there is no big deal. But that depends on one's definition of success. KSM's nephew Ramzi Yousef was tried in Manhattan and are now trying suspected AQ terrorist Aafia Siddiqui in New York. Many other bombings and murders happened anyway, and information may have even leaked out of the MCC holding center while he was undergoing trial. Attorney Lynn Stewart will be going to prison soon for helping the Blind Sheikh kite messages out of the MCC to his followers in Egypt. There will be similar sympathizers with KSM, which represents the danger.

Yousef defended himself pro se and at one point proudly called himself a terrorist. Here's an old link to LGF about such things (before the proprietor crossed an ideological precipice).

So, ruling out sheer incompetency and rank stupidity the decision certainly has the air of politics. There's no reason to try AQ terrorists in separate systems since clearly every al Qaeda member is by nature a part of the criminal conspiracy to attack American targets, both military and civilian.

Holder's very presence as AG is a clue itself. Why were ex-Clinton officials the top candidates for that job? Shortly after Obama was elected they even tossed around Jamie Gorelick's name for Attorney General, another former Clintonite associated with the original KSM indictment and the 'wall' memo that got a lot of attention during the 9/11 commission hearings where she was a commissioner (some say she should have been a witness). Weren't there any other candidates?

Going even further back Gorelick was number two in the Justice Department when the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed on April 19, 1995. Both McVeigh and Nichols got federal trials but many questioned whether others were involved. Since there was no 4/19 Commission America was left with only the FBI and Clinton administration version of events, quite similar to the previous worst terror attack on American soil on February 26, 1993. Neither were covered extensively by Gorelick's commission in 2004.

That vacuum of information has left some to see the circumstantial evidence as a link between 2/26, 4/19, and 9/11, which they hope the KSM trial will open to disinfecting sunshine.

Part of that sunshine would be to explain Yousef and his connections. Simon Reeve's 1999 book "The New Jackals" chronicled his life through capture in the 90s before America was shocked awake by 9/11 (it even mentions a secret program to sort through phone calls). The world was certainly different back then--no doubt few thought Reeve a kook when on page 20 he described New York's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) discussing the possible culprit(s) of the WTC attack:
Later it was proposed that the bombing was in quick retaliation for the US bombing of the Al Rashid hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, on 17 January 1993. The Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had invited a number of Islamic fundamentalist leaders from around the world to the hotel for a conference when the building was struck by a US missile.
Perhaps the JTTF's suspicions were peaked by the fact Yousef referred to himself as "Rashid the Iraqi" when working on the bomb in New York. Ever since the left successfully cemented a conventional wisdom that says Saddam had no relation to terrorism (a move that helped them gain absolute power in government) such a person would now be roundly dismissed.

Anyway, most who've been paying attention have heard the story--Yousef was captured in Pakistan in 1995 and rendered back to America where he predicted his friends would one day get the Trade Center, but few know he was in Cebu City, Philippines in 1994 (along with childhood friend Abdul Murad finding ways to hijack and explode airplanes and assassinate Bill Clinton and the Pope) at the same time Terry Nichols was there visiting relatives of his Filipino wife.

In 2006 Congressman Dana Rohrabacher used his House committee on International Relations to investigate possible connections between Yousef and Nichols and between Nichols and white supremacists. They found no smoking guns, but did find some smoke, such as the fact Yousef made several calls while in New York to a Filipina girl who lived in the same apartment building and was related to Nichols' wife Marife. Among the 'unanswered questions' in their draft report:
7 Why was Terry Nichols concerned for his personal safety when he traveled to the Philippines in November 1994?

8 Why did Terry Nichols leave $20,000 in a package at his ex-wife Lana Padilla's house before departing for the Philippines in November 1994? Where did Nichols get the money?

9 How did Terry Nichols, a man with no steady job or source of income, finance his five trips to the Philippines?

10 Why was an unaccounted-for leg found in the debris after the bombing?

11 Did Terry Nichols play a bigger role than he has admitted or has been thus far proven?

12 Why was there so little investigatory focus on Strassmeir and Hussaini?

13 Why the rush to rule out the existence of John Doe Two?
Now, the point of all this is to question whether a KSM trial could possibly dredge up all this old unanswered stuff and whether the Obama administration actually wants this to happen or not. One idea is they want everything except that evidence put forth at trial to get swallowed up in a maelstrom of twooferism, acting to diminish all of it (except the trial material, which will become the truth). But that would seem a bit hard to control, even with the MSM in their corner.

We all saw the way Bill Clinton reacted in his interview with Chris Wallace a few years ago when asked if he tried to get bin Laden. Surely there is no secret goal is to forever ruin the Clintons by doing this with Hillary now the Secretary of State. A tribunal would have likely kept all this old baggage circling on the carousel forever, all of which makes the decision so much more intriguing.

Investigative journalist Peter Lance is out in front on the potential for the KSM trial to open a sort of backdoor terrorism commission (read the 'cold case' on his front page). He will be coming out with a new book just as the trial likely gets started, which will no doubt once again ask questions of Justice as to why Ali Mohammed was allowed to remain free for so long. It will be interesting to see if any mainstream media outlets book him for interviews.

Others may pop up and ask what really happened with other notorious events, such as the al-Shifa aspirin plant bombing (Holder was around for that one, too) and why they linked it with Saddam Hussein, or why a guy the 9/11 Commission called an "WMD chief procurement agent" for AQ is still walking free after being interviewed by both the FBI and CIA in the Sudan after 9/11. Others might question the whereabouts of figures such as Abderraouf_Jdey, Abdul Yasin, Abu Ibrahim, and "Jafar the Pilot".

Perhaps the answer to all of this lies in a recent story about the DNC's strategy for the 2010 mid-terms: they plan to run against Bush. That's right--Bush, in 2010. It certainly explains the unprecedented way in which Obama never misses an opportunity to bash his predecessors when talking about, well, anything.

But this is obviously dangerous. A recent poll showed the blame rhetoric isn't really working, and by 2010 it could be a huge gamble to run against a previous president if the economy is still weak. And not only because the Dems gained control of Congress in 2006 and have increased spending by over 25 percent but because it would only solidify with the voters their sheer level of incompetence. Why should the people who broke the economy be rehired to fix it, etc?

Maybe the 'run against Bush' was just a trial balloon to gauge how much blame Obama and Congress are currently on the hook for, but the KSM decision seems irreversible. If the Obama folks aren't staging it to keep the focus on Bush for political reasons in 2010 (and beyond) and this isn't really about justice, then what on earth could they be doing?

MORE 12/21/09

Jamie Malanowski at True Slant reports about an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Bill Clinton on a trip to the Philippines in 1996. He boils it down, but misses an obvious point:
Why did Clinton not reveal that he was a target of this attack? Surely the incident, in combination with the embassy bombings and other attacks, could have helped create the basis for a vigorous response. In particular, why was this plot still a secret as late as 1998, when Clinton’s presidency was in jeopardy, and especially in August 1998, when the missile attacks he ordered on al Qaeda training bases were suspected of being a `Wag the Dog’-type ploy designed to deflect attention from his legal problems?
Indeed, not only did he not escalate the war but according to Scheuer he passed on several attempts to get UBL in the years afterward. And when he did finally attack in 1998 it was a pinprick on Afghan, a factory in Khartoum suspected of using Iraqi scientists to produce VX, and a hail of hundreds of cruise missiles to Baghdad. Go figure.


Anonymous said...

Let us treat the terrorist scum and criminals like the criminals that they are, with criminal trials.

Not with military trials, which imply that they are members of a foreign military group. They committed crimes; they should be treated like criminals.

A.C. McCloud said...

They declared war, anon. They are not criminals, they are unlawful combatants.

But we can agree to disagree on the venue, but would you not agree that ALL of them should be treated similarly, regardless of how we handle their prosecution?