Wednesday, November 18, 2009  - Obama: Professed 9/11 Mastermind Will be Convicted

Does the president know when to keep his opinions to himself? Judging by his latest expression of guilt and innocence (remember the Gates v. Cambridge police fiasco) it appears not.

As reported on - Obama: Professed 9/11 Mastermind Will be Convicted
President Barack Obama predicted that professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be convicted, as Attorney General Eric Holder defended putting him through the U.S. civilian legal system.
In one of a series of TV interviews during his trip to Asia, Obama said those offended by the legal privileges given to Mohammed by virtue of getting a civilian trial rather than a military tribunal won't find it "offensive at all when he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.''
Obama quickly added that he did not mean to suggest he was prejudging the outcome of Mohammed's trial. "I'm not going to be in that courtroom," he said. "That's the job of the prosecutors, the judge and the jury."
Obama's comments come along with Attorney General Eric Holder's statements that the civil justice system will be more than adequate to address the issues to be raised by the defense at trial.

In my experience, juries have difficult jobs with cases involving conspiracy and long distance planning. It's hard for them to connect the dots because there is usually no evidence of the defendant pushing the plunger or squeezing the trigger. Add to that the evidential issues surrounding getting Mohammed's confession, and, well, you can see the problems.

In testimony before the Senate, the New York Times reports Attorney General Holder said,
''I have every confidence that the nation and the world will see him for the coward that he is,'' Holder told the committee. ''I'm not scared of what Khalid Sheik Mohammed has to say at trial -- and no one else needs to be either.''

Interesting, Mr. Attorney General, that you don't recognize the defendant's constitutional right not to testify at his trial and the requirement that the court explain to the jury that his decision to not take the stand cannot be held against him.

I have no doubt that NYC can handle the security. Sure, thousands of drivers and pedestrians will be inconvenienced as they are routed for blocks out of their way by frozen zones. But, hey, it's worth it right?

In the meantime, I hope Mr. Obama can act with a little more dignity as president. Not every news item requires his personal two cents, and the jury is sure to hear how the president of the United States has already prejudged this case. As for our attorney general, my advice is to not get too cocky. Other terror prosecutions have fizzled, this case might, too.

That's what I think.

Stephen M. Flatow

Posted using ShareThis


Joachim Martillo said...

Wow, I actually agree with you on this one.

Take a look at Guantanamo.

I have gone through the publicly available Arabic and English 9/11 materials. I am not impressed, and I am even less impressed by the results of torture.

I have the impression of an attempt to craft the material to a narrative that does not fit: Lawrence Wright.

KSM is probably being sent to the civilian legal system under the assumption that he will plead guilty in an attempt to attain martyrdom.

Joachim Martillo said...

BTW, you put the Gates story in the wrong city.

It took place in Cambridge.

There is a backstory that never came out. At some point I will add it to my blog.

Stephen M. Flatow said...

I corrected the city for the Gates story. I had the suburbs on my mind.

There's a fine line, I believe, between torture and applied pressure.
But you and I would never agree on it.