Eric Holder, who is Obama’s US Attorney General, testified before Congress on November 18th that is was his intent to bring the 9/11 cowards…err…terrorists to New York, where they will be tried in federal court for their murderous acts. When questioned about the apparent absurdity of his action and possibility of a “not guilty” verdict, Holder stated that “failure was not an option”. Well, you think? It may not be an option, but it is a very real possibility. What may be worse is not so much as an acquittal, but rather insufficient evidence to warrant the death penalty, which could mean life in prison—paid for by every US taxpayer. Can you imagine the irony that we would have to pay to keep these creeps alive? Frankly, these individual are in my opinion nothing more than cowards hiding behind the cloak of religious piety don’t deserve to breathe another hour in my opinion.
Some of the 9/11 family members both publicly and privately pleaded with Holder to allow these mass murderers to be tried under military law since this was a self-admitted, military-styled planned attack on America specifically and the Capitalist West in general. Holder said he acknowledged their anger, but would not change his mind. Coming to the defense of his AG, Obama told reporters that those who were “offended by the legal rights accorded Mohammed by virtue of his facing 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”. Really?
First of all, under civil procedure, to reach a conviction which would warrant the death penalty, the jury first must find the defendants quality beyond all reasonable doubt. Where in New York City are you going to find 12 unbiased possible jurists? No so in a military tribunal which has a five member panel. The rules of evidence in civil court are much stricter. For instance, information gather through intelligence agencies may or may not be allowed. Not so in military court. Under military law, rules of evidence are less strict (for instance, hearsay, video or audio tapes and similar evidence not allow in civil courts are allowed in military courts, and their methods of gathering remain secured. Confessions obtained under “torture” are not admitted but then again, what’s torture and what’s a persuasive inducement?). Because of the nature of military tribunals, the trials themselves move much quicker, which is important since each of the defendents will be tried seperately in civil court. Appeals (and there will certainly be appeals and countless delays filed) don’t last years in military court. And let’s talk about the death penalty itself. If found guilty, punishment is swift and certain under a military tribunal. Historically, the convicted prisoner is either shot or hanged (can we do both?). And just in case you’re wondering, this matter will have to be tried in federal court in order to seek the death penalty since the New York Assembly shot down the death penalty in 2004 as unconstitunional.
The anticipated defendants will by Khalid Mohammed, and co-defendants Ramzo Binalshibh, Ali Abd al-Aziz, Walid bin Attash, and Mustapha al-Hawsawi; all of whom are currently being held at the Marine base located at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They are expected to be brought to New York and held in a local New York prison during the duration of their trial. There are five more defendants awaiting trial before a military court, including Abd al-Rahim al Nashiri, who was the alleged mastermind of the attack on the USS Cole which claimed the lives of 17 US sailors. The 9/11 attack, masterminded by Khalid Mohammed, was responsible for the deaths of some 3000 innocent men and women, was globally acknowledged as the act of unprecedented cowardice. Mohammed also acknowledged that he personally beheaded journalist Daniel Pearl.
Reaction to Holder’s decision was swift. Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the decision “a step backwards for the security of our country”. Ed Kowalski of the 9/11 Families for a Secure America thought that giving these “war criminals” protection under the US Constitution was the “wrong thing to do” and pointed out that it had never been done before. Well, its certainly true we didn’t afford the Japanese or German war criminals the opportunity to come to America and be tried under US federal law with all the protections allow a US citizen. Holder said in his statement to Congress that he will turn over the case to the prosecutors for the Southern District of New York, which incidentally is located in Lower Manhattan and just blocks away from the former site of the Twin Towers.
Mayor David Bloomberg was delighted at Holder’s decision. Stating through a spokesman that “we have the resources and logistics” and added that “security problems posed by the trial would not be an issue”. NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly agreed and thought the decision was “highly appropriate”. Needless to say, the ACLU was also delighted with the decision. I fully expect they will provide the attorneys and ample resources to needed for the defense.
I understand where Mr. Holder is coming from, and I think I understand what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to say to the terrorists, both here and around the world “we’re not like you. We will not simply kill for death's sake. We are a nation of laws, and those laws apply to everyone”. The idea is to show the world, especially the Islamic world that our system works without fear and without malice. In the face of such a heinous crime, it’s human nature that our first reaction is to seek revenge, but we can overcome our desire for vengence by applying the same laws to those who hate everything we stand for that we would to our own citizens. They want to destroy civilization. We want to preserve it through our laws of justice, which serve as our foundation.
As I said, I believe this is Mr. Holder’s intent, but I’m not entirely of the same opinion. I believe bring these individuals to New York for trial may be fitting, but it may also make NYC a new target, not to mention the costs to New York taxpayers. Given the clumsiness of our prosecutors of late who have either lost or nearly lost what should have been “slam dunk” cases, I’m not sure I want to give these animals any chance of getting off. Indeed, I don’t want to give them any opportunity to use our courts as a forum to spew their hatred of America and Americans. If we’re trying to send a message, I don’t think those for whom the message is intended are listening. The only message they understand is fear and power. I believe we should demonstrate to them that they inspire no fear in us, and we will stamp out their contempt with contempt. In my opinion, the terrorists should be tried by a military tribunal free of the media circus (though, perhaps at a different location than at Gitmo), and if found guilty, promptly executed by the swiftness means possible. Their bodies should be burned and their ashes scattered to the four winds. No mercy to those who have shown no mercy.
Islam is a truly beautiful religion. It has given the world much. For anyone who has studied it, Islam is a religion of peace and intellectual inquiry. Sadly, however, these murders represent the sick minds who are attempting to hijack it. We can not and should not ever attempt to impose our culture or values on the people of the Middle East, or anywhere else for that matter. However, we should be willing to come to the aid of any people seeking to be freedom. Meanwhile, it’s ultimately up to Moslems around the world to stand up and send these cockroaches back into the dark where they belong.
Grim Reading, Crucial Choices on Energy
By Scott Bittle & Jean Johnson,
Authors of Who Turned Out the Lights: Your Guided Tour to the Energy Crisis
You know you're in for a bout of grim reading when the international agency charged with worrying about how we power the planet starts off its fact sheet with a question like this: "Why is our current energy pathway unsustainable?"
That's the message from the International Energy Agency, which issued its World Energy Outlook report earlier this month, the organizations' annual examination of the big picture. That picture itself hasn't changed all that much. The fundamental challenge is still to meet surging worldwide demand for energy, while at the same time coming up with ways to avoid global warming and keep energy relatively affordable. Basically, the IEA says everything depends on whether or not world leaders get serious about climate change, very soon.
Chances are you've never heard of the IEA which was founded during the 1973-74 oil crisis to "coordinate measures in times of oil supply emergencies." Now IEA serves as an energy analyst, advisor, and think tank for 28 member countries -- the United States and European countries mainly, but also including countries like Japan, South Korea, and Turkey. While the agency has enormous influence among policymakers, it barely registers with the public. And despite the IEA's wonky tone and elite audience, the report has one great strength when it comes to getting the public involved: it focuses on choices and alternatives.
Here what IEA lays out in its 2009 report card:
• If we do nothing, then worldwide energy demand is projected to soar by 40 percent by 2030. The vast majority of that increase is going to come in the developing world, as people in China, India and throughout Asia see their standard of living rise. Even keeping up with that demand would require investing another $26 trillion. And unless things change, most of that energy is going to come from fossil fuels, which means "dire consequences for climate change" and air pollution, the IEA said.
• On the other hand, if world leaders committed to fighting climate change increased energy efficiency, greater use of renewable energy, and policies like cap-and-trade or carbon taxes designed to discourage use of carbon-emitting fuels, that would cost another $10.5 trillion (on top of the $26 trillion). But energy demand growth could be cut in half, and greenhouse gases would decline.
The world has decisions to make about energy, and of course, so does the United States. Everything we've learned about how people get engaged in policy decisions shows that laying out choices and being honest and clear about the pros and cons is essential -- not to mention being the right thing to do in a democratic society.
In the energy and environment arena, the choices are far from perfect, but then that's pretty typical with major public policy issues. As we've been pointing out lately, this country's choices on energy and the environment are a lot better than our choices on, for example, Afghanistan.
Changing the way we use energy will cost money and force adaptations that many of us would not choose, given our druthers. But we also have to face that sticking with the status quo will also cost money, and we could well have change forced on us by tight energy supplies and growing environmental destruction. Continuing to rely on the world's default setting on energy -- fossil fuels -- is just not going to work.
World leaders, deadlocked on many of the details, are increasingly trying to lower expectations for the big climate conference in Copenhagen next month. But delay is only valuable if it helps break the deadlock later on. The choices are ours to make, and time is running short to make them.
©2009 Scott Bittle & Jean Johnson, authors of Who Turned Out the Lights: Your Guided Tour to the Energy Crisis
Scott Bittle, co-author of Who Turned Out the Lights: Your Guided Tour to the Energy Crisis, is executive editor of PublicAgenda.org, where he has prepared citizen guides on more than twenty major issues including the federal budget deficit, Social Security, and the economy. He is also the website director for Planet Forward, an innovative PBS program designed to bring citizen voices to the energy debate.
Jean Johnson, co-author of Who Turned Out the Lights: Your Guided Tour to the Energy Crisis, is co-founder of PublicAgenda.org, and has written articles and op-eds for USA Today, Education Week, School Board News, Educational Leadership, and the Huffington Post Website.
For additional energy resources and supplemental material, please visit www.whoturnedoutthelights.org
Our last poll asked you if the GOP should have done more to support their nominee, Dede Scozzafava. Ms. Scozzafava, as you’ll recall, was a moderate Republican running in a moderate district against a Democrat and very conservative third party candidate. However, conservatives, including many leading Republicans, came out in support a third party candidate rather than either support her or stay out of the fight. As a result, she quit the race and through her support behind the Democrat. The result was predictable enough---the Democrat won.
Fifty percent of you thought the GOP goofed by not backing its own nominee. The balance was split equally between those of you who thought it was ok for GOP leadership to back another party's candidate and those of you who weren’t quite sure. Personally, I’ve been position simular to Ms. Scozzafava. However, once in a fight, I never back down and I would never quit like she did, but I sure gave my local party hell and I fought on even harder.
Shopping for the Holidays?
I know if you're like me, you're so busy you don't have time to shop. May I make a suggestion that will help you and help this blog site? Check out my book recommendation to the right. You can also browse through not just the great books Amazon offers, but also the many great products offered by Amazon, and by shopping Amazon through AO, you help this blog keep going!
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