A trial date has finally been set for the accused Khalid Sheikh Mohammed:
Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and four other accused plotters will go on trial on Jan. 11, 2021, a U.S. military judge said Friday, according to the Office of Military Commissions.
KSM, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin ’Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi all face the death penalty for their alleged roles in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Mohammad and his co-defendants are charged with crimes including terrorism, hijacking and 2,976 counts of murder for their alleged roles planning and providing logistical support to the Sept. 11 plot. They could get the death penalty if convicted at the military commission…
The capital case trial will take place at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The 2021 trial date — which will come more than 19 years after the attacks occurred — was included in a trial conduct order issued by the presiding judge in the case, Air Force Col. W. Shane Cohen, who set a series of deadlines for the case.
The order also includes a list of materials the prosecutors must provide defense lawyers before Oct. 1.
Cohen, who is the third judge since 2012 to preside over the the long-delayed case, took over the case in June.
Mohammed’s lawyers have argued brain scans prove the former al-Qaida leader suffered traumatic brain injuries at the hands of the CIA, which could cause the court to spare him the death penalty. They have been seeking for years to conduct more studies.
This: Witnesses have died, lawyers have grown old and victims’ families patience has been sorely tested.
Anarchocapitalist economist Bob Murphy had me on his podcast recently, and the episode just came out. It’s about two hours long. We talk about Murphy’s view of plea bargains as an inherently corrupt enterprise, and about my objections to his vision of a world without a government-run criminal justice system. Listen to the podcast at this link or by simply pressing play below:
As always, I speak for myself and not for my office.
Regular readers know I am a big fan of Bob Murphy. Bob and Tom Woods run a podcast called “Contra Krugman” that dissects the errors of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman every week. I told you about the podcast in this 2015 post which featured this hilarious video which Murphy recorded years ago to taunt Krugman into a debate that never happened:
Murphy is also hilarious as the zombie in the “Interview with a Zombie” video with Tom Woods which I told you about in 2016 and which you can watch here:
As funny as these videos are, you’ll be shocked to learn that comedy is just a side gig for Murphy, whose primary profession is being an economist. He’s a free market economist and a damned good one. He teaches two classes on the History of Economic Thought at Liberty Classroom, where I am a lifetime member. (Become a member yourself, here!) He wrote, with physician Doug McGuff, an excellent book called The Primal Prescription (which I told you about here) which is the best explanation I have seen anywhere of the problems with the health care system in general and ObamaCare in particular. I have also written posts summarizing his book “Choice” (itself a summary of Mises’s Human Action, and yes, I still owe you the last five posts of that series). A collection of Murphy essays about Krugman is a great way to learn about free-market economics. Murphy wrote The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism and The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal. He has writen study guides for Mises’s Human Action and The Theory of Money and Credit, and for Rothbard’s Man, Economy, and State, so you can get the main points of those tomes without investing the time necessary to read them all the way through. I have read all of this from Murphy and more, and recommend it all.
In other words, I am something of a Bob Murphy stan. So I was thrilled when Bob invited me on the show.
In addition to being a free market economist (in his podcast intro, it sounds like the announcer is calling him a “Communist” rather than an “economist” which is something I tease him about at one point in our discussion) Bob is something of a philosopher who promotes a frankly anarchist view of society. Now I used to think of anarchists as those guys who run around in the streets breaking windows and lighting things on fire, but Bob’s vision is lawlessness without the shattered glass and arson. (Of course it’s my view that vandalism and arson, like other crimes, would be rampant in Bob’s hypothetical society, but that’s not his goal.) In the second part of the podcast, we discuss some questions I had for Bob that were intended to challenge some of the assumptions that underpin his views. So that’s the treat you’ll get if you muddle through this whole thing.
The first part of the podcast is devoted to a discussion about plea bargains. Bob had put out a podcast in May that laid out his view that plea bargains are inherently corrupt, and I wrote him to challenge him in (I hope) a respectful manner. Somehow this led to the invitation for me to appear on his show. Bob says in his intro that he liked the way the discussion turned out, and so do I. As the discussion progressed, I realized that I was getting to explain some things about plea bargains and the criminal justice system that are second nature for me, as a 22-year prosecutor, but that are not necessarily known to the general public.
My approach was not “you and your views are ridiculous” but rather a view that acknowledges that Murphy has some genuine and valid concerns about plea bargains, but claims that those concerns need to be placed in their proper context. I argued that our system is largely peopled by good people trying to do the right thing, and that we have protections in place for defendants that make our system quite different from its portrayal in the media.
It’s not two people yelling at each other, but two people having a discussion. (Indeed, Murphy said at the outset that it would not be a debate, and I think I should explain my joke in response, because it’s kind of an inside joke for Contra Krugman listeners. Bob and Tom Woods recently had a debate on a cruise that they run that grew out of their podcast. The deal was that the loser of the debate would have to shave his beard. All’s I’m saying is, Murphy still has his beard. So that’s the explanation for the beard-shaving reference I made.) If you like people yelling at each other on TV, you won’t like this. If you like a calm discussion between two people with different views who treat each other with respect, you just might enjoy this.
I’ll close this long post with an observation similar to what I closed with on the podcast. I’m a classical liberal in the mold of Ludwig von Mises who believes in limited government. Bob is an anarchocapitalist in the mold of Murray Rothbard who believes in no government. These are different views, but sometimes the two sides seem like the Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea:
We both believe in far smaller government than that advocated by the crazy Democrats running for President — or that presided over by Donald Trump, for that matter. I’d like to see more collaboration and cooperation between libertarians of Murphy’s type and classical liberals of my type. I hope this conversation serves as an example to show that we can all just get along.
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