This is pitiful, as is the handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal that allowed this. Those that hated us then, still hate the US and still want the same thing, destruction of what we stand for and why. Now they have been outfitted to carry out their plans.
The 5 terrorists released from Guantanamo for Bergdahl now are in positions of control in Afghanistan. They have more Blackhawk Helicopters than any country other than the USA. We don’t have anybody on the ground for intelligence so that we can identify and neutralize any terror attacks.
These are the same conditions that set up the 9/11 attacks.
Do you feel safer now? I don’t.
Today we remember the 11th anniversary of the worst attack against America on our home soil. This year, it is mildly different as the perpetrator, Osama Bin Laden is now dead due to the bravery of Seal Team 6 (video of the actual operation here).
I congratulate the president on executing the mission to attack him, although it would have been better if we had been able to waterboard him for more information. I believe that except for the most rabid of pacifists, most Americans would have been happy to give the same order.
Likewise, we should give credit to the Bush administration for setting up the intelligence network and the extracting and the correlation of the intelligence that lead to his demise. So a great number of people who contributed should share in the credit and be praised for a job well done.
Here is a round up of coverage during the day regarding this anniversary. I’ll gladly include any other coverage that is respectful and accurate.
We could have captured Osama before 9/11 but let him get away
Walid bin Attash used to frequent online dating sites. “Loves to travel — sometimes at a moment’s notice,” bin Attash described himself before his 2003 capture. So writes former CIA veteran Jose Rodriguez in his new book, “Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives.”
On Saturday, bin Attash was one of five defendants charged with 2,976 counts of murder for their role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It would seem that bin Attash has grown very devout at Guantanamo Bay. His civilian attorney, Cheryl Bormann, wore a hijab and an abaya at the military pretrial hearing. She even suggested that female prosecutors dress in more “appropriate” fashion in deference to the defendants’ “fear of committing a sin under their faith.” According to news reports, distaff prosecutors wore military uniforms with knee-length skirts.
“Is the bin Attash in your book the same guy whose attorney feels she must cover her entire body?” I asked Rodriguez. Yes, he answered. “These people are pretty hypocritical. One thing is their religious beliefs; the other thing is what they do.”
It’s clear from Saturday’s antics that the military tribunal, which is not expected to begin until May 2013, will be a circus. Defense attorneys don’t have much of a claim to the clients’ innocence. In 2007, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed issued a statement in which he proclaimed that he was the mastermind of 9/11, “from A to Z.” In 2008, KSM and his co-defendants told a military court that they were guilty and wanted to be martyred.
When President Barack Obama was elected, he halted military legal proceedings in favor of a civilian trial in New York. Fearing a possible terrorist attack, Congress objected. Under new rules, the military tribunal is back.
One of Mohammed’s frequently stated goals was to be put on trial in civilian court in New York — which nearly happened until Congress last year blocked the Justice Department from transferring any Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States.
“It seemed to us that he was looking for a platform from which he could spout his hatred for all things American, and a trial would certainly present that opportunity,” Rodriguez writes. “It strikes me as more than a little ironic that several years later, Attorney General Eric Holder almost granted KSM his wish.”
Once he became compliant, Mohammed developed a rapport with his interrogators, watching PG-rated movies with them in his cell, and offering a religion-themed overview of the “history of the world.”
“A few months later, he reported that he was ready to continue and build on his earlier presentation. He had one requirement, however. Only those officers who sat through the prerequisite first session should be invited to the [second] session,” Rodriguez recalls.
He even penned “playful” notes to them, Rodriguez says. “Unless you are trying to manipulate me, could you turn up the heat a bit?” the terrorist asked in one missive.
But it was all a facade.
After telling an officer to have a “safe trip” before he left for home, Mohammed continued, “It is not that I wish you well. But if I ever get out of here, I want to personally be the one to kill you.”
By his own admission, Mohammed’s done it before.
“In a confession he later submitted for a potential tribunal in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, KSM wrote: ‘I decapitated with blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan,’ adding, ‘For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head.’”
Washington analysts had Mohammed pose holding a sack with a bowling ball in it, so they could compare his arm to those in the video cutting Pearl’s throat.
“Those photos compared to the actual video showed that KSM was not lying to us,” Rodriguez writes. “Just when you thought he had a human face, he would disappoint you.”
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.