Friday, November 20, 2009

The KSM trial - a look into the future

(names, except for the obvious big ones, are made up and not meant to represent any specific person)

Wednesday September 23, 2011


In a stunning final development to a trial that had been a circus ever since it started, Judge Robert Smith granted a motion to dismiss the case against 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and his four comrades. The announcement was made at 10am at the beginning of the session and caused pandemonium in a trial already famous for its insanity.

"My hands are tied" stated Judge Smith just before he made the announcement that stunned everyone, even the defense, "As soon as these five individuals entered federal criminal court, they had to be granted the same rights as the average citizen who is brought before here. To follow what the prosecution is asking me to overlook would destroy all the criminal justice protections created over the last fifty years. There are too many violations of the law to overlook or ignore, and I will not see thousands of innocent found guilty all based on this one trial."

After what seemed to be a few moments of stunned disbelief, an uproar arrived like a tidal wave. The defense counsel were thrilled, the defendants were screaming "Allah Akbar", the 9/11 families were screaming in horror and anger and most reporters didn't know what to do. "This is a great day for American justice" said defense counsel Jon Roberts, one of a dozen lawyers who volunteered to defend KSM and his associates. "If the Bush administration had not violated all laws of decency and international human rights, then this would be an shut case. Instead because of Bush, Cheney, Rove and the Neo-Con cabal, an innocent man was brought through hell but now can receive justice". Roberts, a member of the ACLU, was silent on whether the five individuals would thereby sue members of the Bush administration and the U.S. government for violation of their civil rights. However he mentioned he would be willing to provide legal services for the five individuals again.

Since being brought to Manhattan for trial, the trial of these five individuals has become a circus unlike anything in American legal history. The five men brought numerous motions to dismiss based on the violation of their Miranda rights, failure to provide a speedy trial and having been tortured. Nearly every evidentiary issue became a full hearing with the government declaring nearly every piece of evidence as "protected for reasons of National Security", something that did not stand after the District Attorney tried to protect a list of CIA interrogators as classified.

"I've had enough of this! The prosecution can not hide all evidence from the defense and expect this to be a fair trial. That's something any law student would know, why don't you?" asked Judge Smith angrily before demanding the Federal Government turn over everything to KSM's defense team. "This would never have happened if the Bush administration had did its job correctly" muttered head Prosecutor Michael Dombrowski, something that did not sway Judge Smith but was stated repeatedly later by both Attorney General Holder and President Obama.

Later evidentiary hearings took on a sinister note when a member of the CIA extraction team was brought into court to testify as to the night of the arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad in pakistan. Alan Zahra, a ten year CIA veteran was repeatedly hammered by the defense on how KSM was not mirandized in Pakistan nor did the CIA stop questioning when KSM asked for his lawyer. Finally the CIA officer was asked about waterboarding which led to the summation of the anger among many CIA officers and American citizens "Damnit to hell, they're TERRORISTS, not American citizens. We wouldn't do this to an American citizen, but they don't get the same rights we do!" Witnesses later said the look of mortification on the eyes of the prosecutor told everyone that his case was doomed. Zahra remained defiant as he walked down from the stand his eyes locked on KSM's.

Days after testifying Zahra's wife and five year old daughter were kidnapped and, two days later, murdered by beheading. After that, no CIA officer agreed to testify but that didn't stop the New York Times from publishing the defense list of CIA members who participated in the interrogation, extraction and secret prison programs. Three individuals on that list were found murdered days later, and the CIA said that their human intelligence program was ruined for a generation. Mr Zahra refused comment at this time.

Then there was the attempt by the five individuals to represent themselves in open court, a privilege permitted by the Constitution, which Judge Smith was hamstrung to accept. Once there the five individuals made such a delay in things that it took the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn their right to defend themselves as being nothing more then a delaying tactic. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was especially notorious and nearly caused a dozen fights to break out when he called a family member of a 9/11 victim to the stand only to laugh and taunt her for her loss. Finally one man tried to jump the railing and attack the five masterminds only to have to be restrained by the NYPD to the laughing of the five individuals.

In the end, it was all the violations of federal criminal law that finally caused the case to fall apart. In an interview shortly after the stunning announcement Judge Smith admitted that the government's case took too many liberties with federal law to permit it to go forward.

"Once these individuals are brought into federal criminal court, they have to follow federal criminal law. And there are too many violations of those held rights to allow this case to go forward. If there was one or two violations of the rights of criminal defendants then maybe I could have let this slide. But if this case was allowed to continue, every right secured for defendants over the last fifty years would be destroyed. The criminal justice system is designed to let guilty go free if it means protecting that one innocent person from being railroaded. The federal government knew what they were getting into when they brought this case here." Judge Smith admitted that he hated making this decision but said "that the destruction of federal criminal law was a far greater punishment then anything individuals do to him".

Reaction in the political world to this stunning development was loud and vicious. In a released statement, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said "We have now seen the true extent of the Bush Administration's law breaking and because of that we had a slam dunk case against a known terrorist thrown out on a technicality". President Obama added "My administration strove to correct the mistakes made by the Bush administration. The next terrorist to be brought to court will not be able to get away with these shenanigans". Attorney General Holder refused comment stating that he was looking at what the next move would be against KSM and the others.

On the right the reaction was apoplectic; "The President expected a show trial but the only show he got was how far we have fallen and how pathetically weak we are" shouted radio host Rush Limbaugh "Because the administration wanted the chance to embarrass the Bush Administration in open court, we now have five terrorist who have been let go and now can sue us for their damages. What kind of a country is this that would allow this?" Sarah Palin released a statement on her facebook page calling this trial "A travesty of justice, an insult to the families of 9/11 and a mishandling of the President's constitutional duty to protect the American people".

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and the five masterminds are in a New York City jail and will likely be released in a few days. Administration officials stated there was no way they would let the five individuals free in the United States but, when asked how they could stop it, were silent. KSM gave one statement only as he was leaving court "You infidels are killing yourselves for us. But this will not stop our jihad against you!"

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