Patterico's Pontifications

11/14/2009

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s Opening Statement (Updated x3)

Filed under: Law,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 6:57 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

An attorney often speaks for a defendant in the American criminal justice system but defendants have the right to represent themselves in state and federal criminal cases, i.e., to appear pro se. Any bets on how many of the Guantanamo detainees will want to appear pro se so they can make the opening statements in their New York criminal trials?

If that happens, Prof. William A. Jacobson at Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion thinks he knows how Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will begin his opening statement:

“With regards to these nine accusations that you are putting us on trial for; to us, they are not accusations. To us they are badges of honor, which we carry with pride….”

And this:

“In fact, it was you who had wiped out two entire cities off the face of the earth and killed roughly half a million people in a few minutes and caused grave bodily harm by nuclear radiation? Did you forget about your nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

You are the last nation that has the right to speak about civilians and killing civilians. You are professional criminals, with all the meaning the words carry. Therefore, we kill treat you the same. We will attack you, just like you have attacked us, and whomever initiated the attacks is the guilty party.”

Why might KSM say this? Because it’s from a written statement he and other detainees offered at Military Commission proceedings. There are more excerpts and the full statement at the link.

Prof. Jacobson concludes that the opportunity to say this “in the shadows of the former Twin Towers, a short distance from where thousands of infidels died, in a room face to face with the loved ones who still mourn …. to him, it will be priceless.”

— DRJ

UPDATE: Newsweek reports that the U.S. Marshal’s Service in New York has been working for months on preparations for the detainee trials. I don’t read much into this — it’s their job to be prepared for various contingencies and Obama sent signals he was open to this as a candidate. However, this excerpt gave me a chill:

“Among security measures the Marshals Service has already undertaken are assessments of the risks the presence of high-level Qaeda prisoners, such as Mohammed, would pose for New York—and what kind of bodyguard squads will be needed to guard trial participants, like judge and jury.”

UPDATE 2: Andrew Cohen, CBS News’ Chief Legal Analyst, agrees KSM will try to turn his trial into political theater. Cohen points out it may help seal KSM’s guilty verdict but Cohen overlooks Jacobson’s point that this gives terrorists a forum they don’t deserve and that could be harmful.

UPDATE: IraqPundit says KSM has finally gotten the circus he wanted, and Iraqis believe this means KSM will win.

43 Responses to “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s Opening Statement (Updated x3)”

  1. it’s enough to make you wonder about Obama’s motives. Not me, of course.

    MIke K (2cf494)

  2. I’ve updated the post about security issues for the New York criminal trials.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  3. They can try to protect the judge and jury all they want during the trial, but what the hell are they going to do afterwards? Put the judge and jury in the witness protection plan and move them to some nice isolated island where they will have to live under guard the rest of their lives?

    This has got to be ranked the top of the list of “Dumbest things ever done by a U.S. President”.

    Or could it be what I really think Obama and Holder want it to be; an indictment of the Bush administration?

    retire05 (484b95)

  4. Some federal courts offer jurors mental health counseling after the trial is over if it involved troubling charges and evidence. These jurors may need it for a long time, not only for the stress from the case itself but also for the stress that comes after the case is over.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  5. Osama bin Laden said Al Queda would win the war in the American courts. Our President is just allowing a venue to see if its true.

    Sanmon (319c0c)

  6. “In fact, it was you who had wiped out two entire cities off the face of the earth and killed roughly half a million people in a few minutes and caused grave bodily harm by nuclear radiation? Did you forget about your nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?”—KSM, Jihadist nitwit.

    Here’s how the game’s played. You come over and attack Hawaii, 50 American civilians get killed. We go over to attack Japan and a million Japanese civilians get killed.

    Don’t like the rules of the game? Then don’t start playing.

    Dave Surls (fa9788)

  7. I’ve added Update 2.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  8. The Federal Judges will throw out the charges for the usual reasons:

    No Miranda Warning before interrogation.

    Harsh methods, torture, if the Judge is a Liberal Democrat.

    No access to a lawyer before questioning.

    No speedy trial.

    And those are the usual easy reasons US judges throw out cases. These cases should be held before a Military Tribunal on a Military installation.

    PCD (74f8a9)

  9. The Federal Judges will throw out the charges for the usual reasons:

    No Miranda Warning before interrogation.

    Harsh methods, torture, if the Judge is a Liberal Democrat.

    No access to a lawyer before questioning.

    No speedy trial.

    And those are the usual easy reasons US judges throw out cases. These cases should be held before a Military Tribunal on a Military installation.

    PCD (74f8a9)

  10. “Among security measures the Marshals Service has already undertaken are assessments of the risks the presence of high-level Qaeda prisoners, such as Mohammed, would pose for New York—and what kind of bodyguard squads will be needed to guard trial participants, like judge and jury.”

    The first comment of this unknown insignificant commenter-lawyer, when I heard of this insane decision, is that there will be jury intimidation, as well as witness and prosecutor intimidation. Presumably all of these people will wear bags over their heads or otherwise the state isn’t going to get a fair trial. Or more people are going to be killed serving their country and political correctness.

    So you effing liberals – and I mean you Greenwald and the NYT – if this comes to pass will your insane Bush hatred be satiated?

    Terry Gain (1664b9)

  11. “move them to some nice isolated island where they will have to live under guard the rest of their lives?”

    Gitmo should be open by then…

    MD in Philly (227f9c)

  12. President Obama please answer this question: If the Defendant is acquited, isn’t he going to be free to walk out the door then and there? If not – WHY not?

    californio (c0d766)

  13. Ummm… no. He’s a non-citizen in US custody. He’d be deported. Which isn’t going to happen, I don’t think. Nobody in NYC’s going to give a shit if the guy who gleefully killed 3,000 of their fellow city-folk wasn’t read his Miranda rights.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  14. Including judges.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  15. Nobody’s talked much about the jury, yet. Would YOU want to be on the jury? Sure, it would feel great to have an opportunity to stick it to the guy who helped plan 9/11, especially if you’re a New Yorker. But how would the very real possibility of becoming the target of international fatwas calling for your death affect any juror? I would personally advise any relative of mine to do everything they could to avoid serving on that jury; the risk is just too great.

    PatHMV (a00c3c)

  16. PatHMV, I was asking that last night – how can they compel someone to sit on the jury unless there would absolute guarantees of their safety, not only during the trial. The fact is, while there can be guaranteed safety mechanisms put in place during the trial there can be no guarantees afterward (witness protection?) And given the particular proclivities of these criminals, would anyone feel safe for any length of time if it were discovered a guilty vote was given?

    So, because of the above, will potential jurors be excused on the basis of fear of reprisal? Will the criteria for valid excuses be adjusted because of the severity of this crime and potential danger in the aftermath?

    Dana (e9ba20)

  17. Serving on this jury means that you will be a target for reprisals for the rest of your life. You and your loved ones won’t be safe.

    But Gleenwald will be happy.

    steve miller (81db43)

  18. Would YOU want to be on the jury?

    Lets see, muslims get upset if you do a cartoon of mohammad. Newspapers and MSM won’t even call Hasan a terrorist after murdering 14 soldiers. I would only be on the jury if I already knew I was going to vote Innocent. That’s exactly what I would tell the Judge. I consider myself brave and honorable, but I never said I was stupid.

    Sanmon (319c0c)

  19. Leviticus,

    If they are acquitted, KSM and other high-value detainees will only be deported if we can find a country willing to take them and that we are willing to send them to. If those countries were easy to find, the Obama Administration would have depopulated Guantanamo months ago.

    Since we can’t find acceptable “homes” for the lower-risk detainees, how will we find places for people like KSM?

    DRJ (dee47d)

  20. Also, I’d like a link or some authority for your claim that all judges are willing to ignore the law when it suits them.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  21. Why would we try to deport him…
    He’ll ask for Political Asylum following his acquittal/dismissal of all charges, and they’ll just release him O.R. until his hearing.

    AD - RtR/OS! (c26bd3)

  22. It is our inablity to understand Islam that is guilty not these poor misguided men unjustly held by the Bush adminstration. President Hussein Obama will make this right.

    highpockets (86fb07)

  23. “If they are acquitted, KSM and other high-value detainees will only be deported if we can find a country willing to take them and that we are willing to send them to.”

    – DRJ

    I’m just taking issue with the silly implication that KSM would just walk out of the courtroom onto the streets of NYC if acquitted (which, come to think of it, would probably be a death sentence in its own right).

    And the thing about judges is just conjecture on my part. But, to be argumentative, it seems that conservatives often argue that judges simply ignore the law in favor of their own personal opinions. I didn’t invent the term “activist judges” – you guys did.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  24. This decision begins at stupid and ends at evil,
    ‘this will get out of control, and we’ll be lucky
    to live through this’ a Fred Thompson quote from
    Red October seems to fit

    bishop (4e0dda)

  25. Leviticus,

    I think the term ‘activist judge’ is typically used to refer to liberal judges, but I want to make sure I understand what you’re saying: You think no judge will agree to release an acquitted Guantanamo detainee? I agree not many judges will want to release them but some might do it, especially as more time passes. After all, even the Obama Administration felt pressure to release the Uighars:

    The Uighurs were cleared for release in 2004, and in 2008, the Bush administration conceded they were no longer “enemy combatants.” But they cannot be sent back to China, where they may be tortured, and no other nation has agreed to take them.

    The Obama administration is now under pressure to show its willingness to take some detainees into the United States as it tries to persuade other countries to do the same. But such a move is likely to be opposed by military groups and communities where the Uighurs would be resettled.

    KSM and other al Qaeda detainees are more dangerous than the Uighars but if we try them in criminal law courts and we can’t find any country to deport them to, it will be difficult to refuse to release any that are acquitted. It makes a mockery of our criminal laws and proves that it’s really about war, not law.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  26. Let’s hope that the U.S. Marshals can patriotically leave a transport van or two unattended and undetected while an IED-like device blows the captives to their well-deserved hell. I know, I’m dreaming.

    FrankM (dc752b)

  27. Frank, after declared guilty, if a trial proceeds, I’d like to see the entire jury draw side arms and riddle the defense table with all they have. Defense liars are disposable and breed like the rats they are.

    PCD (74f8a9)

  28. Yeah, well, having defense lawyers seems to me an integral part of a society which abides by the rule of law. Or do you know the law so well that you’re going to defend yourself in court should you be charged with a crime?

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  29. If deemed “innocent,” will Obambi let them go free in NYC?

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  30. The jury pool will come from american Muslims since this is a jury of their peers.

    richardw (e63c6c)

  31. The jurors will need more than counseling when the “trial” is over. To Islamists, this is an eternal war, and the jurors will be prey for the rest of their lives.

    But the good news is, now that Obama has given them what they want, Islamists will like us now!

    Patricia (b05e7f)

  32. You people are being cowards.

    bored again (d80b5a)

  33. ^^^^

    Pretty ironic, huh?

    Eric Blair (711059)

  34. I think board just volunteered to be a juror. Somebody notify the NY Federal Court.

    I am not the only one suspicious of Obama’s motives in this thing.

    Andy McCarthy proposed an explanation that amplifies on Scott’s last paragraph. He suggested that the Obama administration views KSM et al. as its allies (my paraphrase) in its war against the Bush administration. Obama expects them to make their treatment by the Bush administration, real and imagined, the centerpiece of their defense, with the possible result that Bush, Cheney, and others may be indicted as war criminals by European countries or international courts, thereby satisfying the far left of the Democratic Party, which Obama represents.

    I think this is the agenda and I seem to have company.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  35. It’s ironic isn’t it – if Andy McCarthy’s explanation is plausible (and why wouldn’t it be?), then in light of Obama having once declared that KSM would receive a full military trial, this circus becomes all the more a calculated and odious maneuver.

    Dana (e9ba20)

  36. Mike K,

    Then I hope President Obama doesn’t plan to visit foreign countries after his Presidential term ends because he won’t be exempt from the same treatment. He may be the world’s darling now but it’s amazing how time changes people’s perspective.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  37. I think this is the agenda and I seem to have company.

    Comment by Mike K — 11/15/2009 @ 11:30 am

    That theory sounds moderately insane. I am no fan of Obama but … aren’t there enough things already to dislike him for?

    nk (df76d4)

  38. I don’t think it is insane, at all. The left wing of the Democratic Party is insane but we knew that. The Democrats keep alleging that the social conservatives are a fringe, then they show the reality, such as the WaPo going nuts about McDonnell’s term paper for 20 years ago. He stayed on message and I think that is what Palin will do. It’s the left that has trouble with its fringe. Maybe because the fringe is Obama’s base.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  39. I’ve updated the post with a link to IraqPundit in Update 3.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  40. Since McCarthy prosecuted the 1993 WTS bombings, I assume he has to be on the short list for having the best insight into this decision. Apart from this reasoning, I believe he said the move was “massively stupid”.

    At some point one should be able to make the case that Obama is making decisions contrary to the best interests of the country. I’m afraid it would need to be a pretty horrendous series of events before there would be political will to do anything about it.

    Can independent sources file amicus briefs that help tie this up until at least after the 2010 elections, if not the 2012? (By the way, I hear there’s a new movie out about what will happen if Obama is reelected.)

    MD in Philly (227f9c)

  41. That’s not how trials work, you know. The judge controls what is heard, not the parties.

    (KSM’s opening statement would not have been allowed by any judge I have been in front of, BTW. As a closing statement likely, and in the sentencing phase certainly. But not as an opening statement.)

    nk (df76d4)

  42. Okay, but a closing statement will have the same effect, don’t you think? I agree this is not how trials are supposed to work and also that judges will limit theatrical comments by a pro se defendant, but it’s been my experience that all judges give pro se defendants more latitude.

    DRJ (dee47d)

  43. Comment by MD in Philly — 11/15/2009 @ 12:34 pm

    It’s also noteworthy that ex-AG Michael Mukasey, who was the Judge in that 1993 trial, has also condemned this action by the Administration

    AD - RtR/OS! (603f4e)


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