Just who is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed you ask? Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is the original mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks who took the 9/11 idea to Osama Bin Laden as early as 1996. This is the guy that the 9/11 Commission Report named as the "principal architect of the 9/11 attacks." And best of all, he was captured in Pakistan back in 2003 and has been in U.S. custody ever since. I'm not a believer in the death penalty, but if there was ever a bastard to make an exception for, Mohammed would be it. There's only one catch - he's currently one of the 215 detainees collecting dust in the ever-so-controversial and soon-to-be-closed-down Guantanamo Bay
Remember those guys?
Do you also remember how middle-town America, as well as Congress, pitched a fit when it was proposed that we transfer the Gitmo detainees to American prisons to stand trial in American courts? Well this little move by Holder to bring Mohammed and four of his associates (also Gitmo detainees) over to stand trial in the Southern District of New York (the federal trial court in NYC) will certainly be drawing their criticism - one can only imagine the spin the Right is going to have with this one.
All political nonsense aside, there are some serious Constitutional issues to consider, such as what evidence can be used. The folks at Gitmo did such a bang up job of torture, excuse me, "interrogation," that most of the confessions and other related evidence is tainted and inadmissible. However, during the announcement, Holder did make reference to the fact that there was still enough "taint-free" evidence to secure a conviction against Mohammed and the other four.
Many are also questioning whether Mohammed and crew will be able to receive a fair and impartial jury in New York City, where the Southern District court house is literally within a 10-minute walk of the 9/11 ground zero site, serving as a daily reminder to any potential New York juror. My rebuttal to that is this: that argument could be made in any city in America. Who wasn't effected by 9/11 in this country? Of course New Yorkers were literally effected by 9/11, but the shock wave reverberated around the country.
Some folks argue that a civilian court will not be able to convict the terrorist suspects like a military tribunal could. In this situation, that argument doesn't appear to hold water. During the announcement, Holder stated that he is privy to evidence that has not yet been released to the public that all but secures that Mohammed and crew will be convicted. He added that "I would not have authorized the prosecution of these cases unless I was confident that our outcome would be a successful one."
It should be noted that the U.S. Attorneys (federal prosecutors) working the case are seeking the death penalty for all 5 men involved.
There is also concern that due to the publicity that this high-profile trial is likely to garner, Mohammed may use it as a platform to appear as a martyr to radical-Islamic supporters. Now this may be something to consider, but I don't really see any way around this one since any punishment we decide to give these 5 individuals can be spun the same way.
What are your reactions to this decision by Eric Holder? What will the spin artists say? And should these men be tried in federal courts on American soil?