Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It was all such a lovely and groovy experience

The Associated Press is spinning so feverishly on behalf of KSM’s civilian trial, we’re afraid they might hurt themselves.

Zacarias Moussaoui (pictured) was a clown who could not keep his mouth shut, according to his old al-Qaida boss, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. But Moussaoui was surprisingly tame when tried for the 9/11 attacks - never turning the courtroom into the circus of anti-U.S. tirades that some fear Mohammed will create at his trial in New York.

And that wasn't the only surprise during Moussaoui's six-week 2006 sentencing trial here - a proceeding that might foreshadow how the upcoming 9/11 trial in New York will go.

Skeptics who feared prosecutors would be hamstrung by how much evidence was secret were stunned at the enormous amount of classified data that was scrubbed, under pressure from the judge, into a public version acceptable to both sides.

Prosecutors were surprised when they failed to get the death penalty - by the vote of one juror.

No one was more surprised than Moussaoui himself: At the end he concluded an al-Qaida member like him could get a fair trial in a U.S. court.

"I had thought that I would be sentenced to death based on the emotions and anger toward me for the deaths on Sept. 11," Moussaoui said in an appeal deposition taken after he was sentenced to life in prison. "(B)ut after reviewing the jury verdict and reading how the jurors set aside their emotions and disgust for me and focused on the law and the evidence ... I now see that it is possible that I can receive a fair trial."

(italics, ours)

And isn’t that really the goal of the war on terror? That Islamo-jihadist terrorists become convinced that we’re not the blood-thirsty, bent-on-revenge, running dog infidels we’ve been portrayed as in those circles? And that because of our exceeding compassion there may be hope that Moussaoui and others of his ilk may be set free to kill again?

Unfortunately, the AP’s sunny disposition doesn’t quite square with the recollection of the man who prosecuted him. The following from Andy McCarthey (via the Corner):

AG Holder's testimony has resumed, and Senator Durbin claims that no one complained about the Moussaoui trial being in a civilian court. In fact, many of us complained — I pointed out several times that Moussaoui was the "poster child" for commissions.

More importantly, though, Senator Durbin and the attorney general fail to point out that the Moussaoui trial was a three-ring circus, that the district judge actually tried to dismiss the indictment, and that we don't know what would have happened had Moussaoui not surprised everyone by pleading guilty. When the Court of Appeals reinstated the Moussaoui indictment, it also said it was sensitive to the trial judge's concerns and would look very carefully to ensure that the government made available to Moussaoui all the information he needed to present his defense. What would have happened if Moussaoui had continued to press his demand for access to classified information and testimony from al-Qaeda captives like KSM? We don't know.

If Moussaoui is their shining example of how well the civilian courts handle international terrorism cases during wartime, they're in trouble.

An even greater three-ring circus avoided because Moussaoui pled guilty. Think we'll be as lucky with KSM? Again, the potential downside of this whole thing so overshadows the upside, we remain baffled.

1 comment: