Eleven years after the 9/11 attacks, mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-defendants finally went to court for their arraignment. What followed was nothing more than a continuation of an ongoing mockery of justice.
As I watch the KSM (Khalid Sheikh Mohammed) trial unfold, one thought comes to mind: Jihad Justice Joke. Problem is, it’s not funny.
April 19, 1995 a truck bomb exploded at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. It killed 168 people; including 19 children and hundreds more were injured.
Timothy McVeigh was arrested within days; his trial began on April 24, 1997 almost two years to the day from the date of the attack. The jury found him guilty on June 21, 1997, two months from when the trial began. On June 13, 1997 the same jurors sentenced McVeigh to death.
McVeigh eventually gave up on all his appeals and was executed on June 11, 2001.
My point is this: McVeigh’s trial began 2 years after his capture and a verdict came down two months later.
KSM on the other hand was captured on March 1, 2003 and just now, 9 years later had his arraignment.
Obviously I can’t equate the two. McVeigh was tried in Federal court while KSM and his co-defendants are being tried in a military tribunal.
Much of the blame for this trial, that seems to be moving at the speed of a sloth, can be placed with the current administration; this arraignment comes more than three years after President Barack Obama put the case on hold in a failed effort to move the proceedings to a civilian court.
Putting all the delays, legal arguments and politics aside, this court proceeding can be defined by one word that was recurring from the families of 9/11 victims who watched it: “joke”.
Relatives of 9/11 victims along with survivors and emergency personnel who responded to the attacks were able to watch a live broadcast of the arraignment on a closed-circuit TV feed of the court hearing in four U.S. military bases around the country.
It was broadcast at Fort Hamilton in New York City, Fort Devens in Massachusetts, Joint Base McGuire Dix in New Jersey and the only one open to the public, Fort Meade in Maryland.
Jim Riches, whose firefighter son, Jimmy, died at the World Trade Center, watched the hearing from a movie theater at Fort Hamilton and stated afterwards,
“It's actually a joke, it feels ridiculous. It looks like it's going to be a very long trial. ... They want what they want.”
Lee Hanson and his wife Eunice lost their son, daughter-in-law and 2-year-old granddaughter, the youngest 9/11 victim; they were aboard United Flight 175, the second plane to crash into the twin towers.
Mr. Hanson said after watching the proceeding,
“They praise Allah. I say, 'Damn you!'”
Lee’s wife Eunice stated,
When it comes to justice “it seems like it's an afterthought.”
“I lost half my family — my only son — at the hands of the terrorists, and it’s just unconscionable that they’ve delayed [the trial] the way they have.”
Robert Reeg, a retired firefighter with Engine 44, on the Upper East Side said,
“If I wasn’t sitting down, I would have fallen down, it’s just beyond outrageous.”
Jay Burke whose brother Matthew worked as an equity trader for Cantor Fitzgerald died in the North Tower. Jay angrily stated,
“It was a mockery. I said, ‘I had enough.’ It was the same thing all day long . . . just disrespectful to the whole process.”
Debra Burlingame lost her brother Charles; he was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon. I have a personal connection with Debra, over the last few years we have become friends and I have interviewed Debra on several occasions both for articles as well as on my radio show. Debra put it succinctly,
“They are engaging in jihad in the courtroom. This is all sort of a theater for the defendants, and their attorneys are the ones who are enabling that to happen.”
“My brother was murdered in the cockpit of his airplane, and we will have to stand up for him.”
Debra became furious when a defense lawyer who was dressed in Arab garb requested that women in the prosecution team dress appropriately.
Debra is right, it is nothing more than “a theater for the defendants” and the attorneys are enabling it.
All five defendants joined in courtroom prayer
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had previously told military authorities that he was responsible for the planning of the terror assault “from A to Z” and said he would welcome the death penalty.
One of his co-defendants, Ramzi Binalshibh, told the court that he was “proud of the attacks.”
But Saturday saw no “martyrs”, no, these cowards, these murdering Islamic scum made a total mockery of the entire court and of each person affected by 9/11. Once again, as I wrote two years ago, they spit in the face of everyone murdered on 9/11.
What should have been a simple arraignment started at 9 a.m. and didn’t end until 13 ½ hours later at 10:30 that night with the reading of the charges.
According to reports of those in the courtroom it started with the entrance of the accused,
The first of the defendants to enter the courtroom was Ramzi bin al-Shibh. Bin al-Shibh allegedly served as a Hamburg-based deputy to KSM, transferring money to some of the hijackers and even tried to enroll in flight school with the other hijackers. He came into the courtroom wearing the traditional Muslim shalwar chemise and a white skullcap. He sat down, stroked his beard, opened a Quran and began to pray.
Two others wore sunglasses. Funny, but all the times I have ever been in a court the Judge would ask those wearing dark glasses to remove them out of respect for the court so their eyes can be seen. I guess respect went out the window with the rest of the proceedings,
The entrances of the other defendants sent similar subtle messages. Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, also known as Ammar al-Baluchi and KSM's nephew, came in wearing biker sunglasses.
The next entrance came in on wheels. Perhaps no one realized that if he had to be restrained to his chair, he might disrupt the court. Silly me, common sense again.
Walid bin Attash, a 33-year-old Yemeni, followed, but in a different way: he was, literally, tied to a chair on wheels. Officials say he struggled with guards outside the courtroom and they had to restrain him to get him to appear. His arms were tied down so a guard had to carefully put Attash's glasses on his nose. Attash lost a leg in Afghanistan; his prosthetic arrived to the courtroom about five minutes after he did. He's been charged with being the number two in the so-called "Plane Operation."
Lastly was the ring leader, no, not the ring leader as in ‘mastermind’, ring leader of the three ring circus that was obviously about to follow,
The last defendant to appear was the most dramatic: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has said that he masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks "from A to Z," shuffled into the courtroom with a phalanx of guards. His co-defendants watched him carefully as he sat down. He was wearing white and had hennaed his long beard to a bright red. He was wearing glasses and looked down the line of the defense tables making eye contact with each man. It became clear, just minutes later, that they had a plan.
They had a plan alright and as Debra Burlingame said “their attorneys are the ones who are enabling that to happen”,
The men tried with him took cues from KSM, refusing to acknowledge the judge or the proceedings. They seemed to have good relationships with their attorneys, so the passive resistance seemed to be a strategy on which the attorneys and their clients had agreed.
Then came the obvious, refusal to even acknowledge or answer the Judge,
When KSM declined to answer Judge Pohl's questions, the other defendants followed suit. When he prayed, they prayed. He read the Quran, they picked up the book too. At one point, two of the men passed around a recent issue of The Economist. It was as if the legal battle being waged in the room had little to do with them.
Of course the defense attorneys took a cue from the ACLU bringing up torture before anything even began,
The defense attorneys said that before the proceeding even started, torture needed to be addressed. Their clients, they said, were boycotting the proceedings and acting out because of the way they had been treated in the past.
They claimed that their clients weren't wearing headphones for translation because it reminded them of the torture they suffered.
The day was contentious. The men refused to answer routine questions from Judge James Pohl, refused to participate in the proceedings, and even refused to listen to the simultaneous Arabic translation of what was going on all around them.
For those who remember the OJ murder trial, it pales in comparison to what we are about to see here.
The defense had already filed a motion that argues that the case was brought to the military commissions improperly. If they were to win that motion, the entire trial of KSM and the others would start all over again.
As I explained in this article back in November, 2010, the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA) refers on its website to the use of 'non-violent' means to achieve its goals. The website explains under the 'Missions' tab four items to obtain these goals, number 4 is as follows,
Item number 4 is “Establishment of the just socio-politico-economic Islamic Order: Iqaamat-ud-Deen”
The three bullet point items under this are “Passive Resistance”, “Active Resistance” and“Disciplined, Non-Violent Mass Movement”.
The “Mass Movement” is explained as follows:
“Through active resistance the movement will use all constitutionally sanctioned means to bring about just changes in social, political, and economic practices. This includes non-violent direct action and civil disobedience.”
Like the IONA and every other Muslim organization, they speak of using our Constitution against us in order to “destroy Western civilization from within, sabotaging its miserable house by their hands.”
As I have said before, and explained by Frank Gaffney in the Washington Times,
…we know from uncontested evidence submitted by the government in the largest terrorism finance trial in U.S. history - the Holy Land Foundation case - that the Muslim Brotherhood’s mission in America is “destroying Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
What should have taken minutes, an arraignment, took 13 ½ hours.
If the time it has taken for this to get to trial and the way it is progressing is any indication, any one of us will be lucky to see this trial end in our lifetime.
It would be nice to see justice done before another decade goes by. I thought that those murdered on 9/11, the victims, their families and friends deserved better.
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