I’ll try not to take sides and let justice be served. I’ll post events that are being covered as they occur. I don’t know if KSM was really the mastermind as he claims or has delusions of grandeur. Either way, he has all the appearances of being a troublemaker.
At least it is a military trial instead of a civil trial (he’s not a citizen of the US, rather an enemy) in the US with the ability to get off on a technicality. We should see it to conclusion.
He and the others want to die as martyrs, for the only guarantee in the Koran of reaching heaven is dying in Jihad, although Gitmo may not qualify.
This weekend’s arraignment marks the beginning of the third major effort to bring the 9/11 conspirators to justice. The Obama administration dropped earlier military-commission charges against them when it decided in late 2009 to bring the 9/11 case to federal court in New York. But Congress, not wanting Guantanamo detainees brought to the United States, blocked the civilian trials. Meanwhile, the administration’s own view of the institution was evolving. When President Obama first took office, he froze commission proceedings with the apparent intention of shutting them down. But later that year the administration shifted gears and worked with Congress to make small but important adjustments to the Bush-era Military Commissions Act. These left commission proceedings more closely resembling the norms of a federal court trial.
It’s been a long time since KSM was last in court. In 2008, during an arraignment for a commission that ultimately got cancelled, he quickly pled guilty to multiple murder counts. “This is what I want,” he told the court, in English. “I’m looking to be martyr for long time.”
That case was interrupted for a variety of procedural reasons, and KSM never got his chance. In the intervening years, Congress and the Obama administration reformed the controversial military trials — making it easier to seek capital punishment, by providing detainees with so-called “learned counsel” lawyers specifically skilled at death-penalty cases, which makes such sentences less likely to be reversed on appeal. Last month, after flipping a key detainee to testify against KSM, the government brought charges against KSM and four alleged accomplices for the 9/11 plot. “If convicted,” the Defense Department clarified, “the five accused could be sentenced to death.”
However much the commission procedures have changed, KSM’s ambitions probably haven’t. “He wants to die because it fits into his massively egotistical narrative,” says Josh Meyer, author of the recent book The Hunt for KSM. “He’s like Napoleon. Wasting away in a cell is not his style. Going out in a bang of glory is.”
That calculation means that the 12 U.S. military officers who will decide if a convicted KSM lives or dies will face more than a narrow legal choice. They’ll also, however unfairly for them, have the burden of a policy choice. Should KSM be put to death, it might simultaneously provide a measure of closure for the families of his victims and allow al-Qaida’s remaining acolytes to portray him as a martyr.