The Obama administration wisely is considering moving from Manhattan the trial of five September 11 conspirators, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Team Obama’s original idea of trying Team al-Qaeda in civilian court cannot be scrapped soon enough. In fact, Team Obama should abandon its plans to try Team al-Qaeda in civilian court. Instead, KSM and his Islamofascist brethren should stay at Guantanamo and get what they want: execution.
These al-Qaeda leaders — KSM, Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, Walid Bin Attash, and KSM’s two nephews, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali — already offered to plead guilty.
“We all five have reached an agreement to request from the commission an immediate hearing session in order to announce our confessions and plea in full,” they stated in a letter that military judge Colonel Stephen Henley read aloud at a Dec. 8, 2008, Guantanamo hearing.
The terrorists expressed “our earnest desire in this regard without being under any kind of pressure, threat, intimidations or promise from any party.” The al-Qaeda bigwigs also asked to drop their defense motions.
Henley wondered if they were ready to plead guilty to all charges.
“Yes,” KSM replied. “We don’t want to waste time.”
Ali assured Henley that KSM did not coerce his fellow terrorists into confessing. “All of these decisions were undertaken by us without any pressure or influence by Khalid Sheikh,” Ali said. “What was said or will be said by Khalid Sheikh will be repeated by us, also.”
Rather than grant the defendants’ wishes, Henley slowed matters by ordering psychiatric examinations of bin al-Shibh and al-Hawsawi. “We want everyone to plead together,” KSM then responded.
Hamilton Peterson, whose parents were killed on September 11 on United Flight 93, witnessed this proceeding. He was stunned that “not only do the defendants comprehend their extensive rights,” Peterson told the Associated Press, “they are explicitly asking the court to hurry up because they are bored with the due process they are receiving.”
KSM et al. celebrate their plot that killed 2,980 and injured 7,356. And they dream of further barbarism. Calling themselves “The 9/11 Shura Council,” they wrote in a March 5, 2009 tribunal filing:
Your intelligence apparatus, with all its abilities, human and logistical, had failed to discover our military attack plans before the blessed 11 September operation. They were unable to foil our attack. . . .
We will make all of our materials available, to defend and deter, and egress you and the filthy Jews from our countries. . . .
So we ask from God to accept our contributions to the great attack, the great attack on America, and to place our nineteen martyred brethren among the highest peaks in paradise. . . .
At a March 10, 2007, Guantanamo hearing, KSM admitted his culpability in 31 actual and attempted terror strikes. Among them:
I was responsible for the 9/11 Operation, from A to Z. . . .
I was responsible for the assassination attempt against President Clinton during his visit to the Philippines in 1994 or 1995. . . .
I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan. For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head. . . .
I was responsible for the bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia, which was frequented by British and Australian nationals. . . .
I was responsible for the Shoe Bomber Operation to down two American airplanes. . . .
I was responsible for planning, training, surveying, and financing for the Operation to bomb and destroy the Panama Canal. . . .
I was responsible for planning, training, surveying, and financing for the Operation to destroy Heathrow Airport, the Canary Wharf Building, and Big Ben on British soil. . . .
I was responsible for surveying and financing for the destruction of the New York Stock Exchange and other financial targets after 9/11. . . .
I was responsible for surveillance needed to hit nuclear power plants that generate electricity in several U.S. states. . . .
I was responsible for planning, surveying, and financing to hit NATO Headquarters in Europe.
These defendants welcome execution. When Judge Ralph Kohlmann asked KSM if he knew he faced death, he replied: “That is what I wish. I wished to be martyred for a long time.” Bin al-Shibh similarly stated: “I’ve been seeking martyrdom for five years. I tried for 9/11 and could not get a visa. If this martyrdom happens today, so be it.”
These facts render absurd the notion that these terrorists belong in civilian court. This idea assumes that America must prove to the world that even these butchers can be tried justly here.
“I am confident in the ability of our courts to provide these defendants a fair trial, just as they have for over 200 years,” Attorney General Eric Holder said November 13, as he announced the Manhattan terror trial. “The alleged 9/11 conspirators will stand trial in our justice system before an impartial jury under long-established rules and procedures.”
Even if KSM and company’s trial were even-handed enough to bring tears of joy to the ghost of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, would al-Qaeda be so impressed as to padlock its training camps in Yemen?
Al-Qaeda agent Ramzi Yousef, another KSM nephew, received a fair trial in 1997 after blasting the Twin Towers in 1993. Islamofascists did not marvel that Yousef could bomb an American landmark, murder six Americans, injure 1,040 others, and still get properly tried and convicted by a federal jury, after three days of deliberation. Instead, Yousef’s militant-Islamic brethren viciously finished his assignment on Sept. 11, 2001.
Those who detonate girls’ schools because they want Afghan females to cook and reproduce — period — do not care if the al-Qaeda Five are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Those who would weaponize their private parts in order to explode jumbo jets on Christmas Day rarely weigh federal evidentiary standards. That the Obama administration believes otherwise exposes its potentially lethal naïveté.
London’s Mail on Sunday reported January 31 that Britain’s MI5 intelligence service uncovered al-Qaeda’s plans to insert explosive packets surgically into terrorists’ bodies. Once healed, these killers would masquerade as diabetics, board airplanes, and then — under the guise of administering insulin — inject liquid detonators into these bombs. Minds that evil cannot be swayed. They must be neutralized.
American justice never will satisfy Islamofascist killers who drink from a bottomless reservoir of grievance. “All of the industrialized countries, especially the big ones, bear responsibility for the global-warming crisis,” Osama bin Laden whined in a January 29 recording. The terror presumably will continue until President Obama signs cap-and-tax legislation.
Stranger still: What if KSM and Company are acquitted? They would be re-arrested in court and tried on other charges, Obama allies insist. So, which is it: a fair trial, from which these men might walk free, or a rigged process with a pre-destined result?
This fiasco disgusts Americans. A February 1 Rasmussen survey discovered that only 16 percent of likely voters want terrorists to enjoy the same legal rights as U.S. citizens, while 74 percent disagree. Meanwhile, HumanEvents.com (which often posts my columns) has gathered 126,665 signatures on its online petition demanding KSM and company’s ejection from civilian court.
“These proceedings will make the O. J. Simpson trial look like a traffic-court hearing,” says Marc Thiessen, author of Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack , a new bestseller on the Obama administration’s soft-on-terror policies. “KSM disappeared from the international stage for seven years. Now he will make a dramatic return, and use the platform Obama is giving him to rally jihadist faithful to new attacks. Consequently, Americans could be killed.”
This entire escapade can be avoided quickly and cheaply. Guantanamo judges should let KSM and his conspirators plead guilty. And then, as would satisfy these mass murderers, they should be marched before a firing squad and granted instant lead poisoning.
– Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.