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A Trial That Will Convict Us All

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Republican members of Congress and what masquerades as a "conservative" media are outraged that the Obama administration intends to try in federal court Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of 9/11, and four alleged co-conspirators.

The Republican and right-wing rant that a trial is too good for these people proves what I have written for a number of years: Republicans and many Americans who think of themselves as conservatives have no regard for the US Constitution or for civil liberties. They have no appreciation for the point made by Thomas Paine in his Dissertations on First Principles of Government (1790): "An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."

Republicans and American conservatives regard civil liberties as coddling devices for criminals and terrorists. They assume that police and prosecutors are morally pure and, in addition, never make mistakes. An accused person is guilty or government wouldn't have accused him. All of my life I have heard self-described conservatives disparage lawyers who defend criminals. Such "conservatives" live in an ideal, not real, world. They desperately need to read The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

Even some of those, such as Stuart Taylor in the National Journal, who defend giving Mohammed a court trial do so on the grounds that there are no risks as Mohammed is certain to be convicted and that "a civilian trial will show Americans and the rest of the world that our government is sure it can prove the 9/11 defendants guilty in the fairest of all courts."

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Taylor agrees that Mohammed deserves "summary execution," but that it is a good Machiavellian ploy to try Mohammed in civilian court, while dealing with cases that have "trickier evidentiary problems" in "more flexible military commissions, away from the brightest spotlights."

In other words, Stuart Taylor and the National Journal endorse Mohammed's trial as a show trial that will prove both America's honorable respect for fair trials and Muslim guilt for 9/11.

If, as Taylor writes, "the government's evidence is so strong," why wasn't Mohammed tried years ago? Why was he held for years and tortured -- apparently water boarded 183 times -- in violation of US law and the Geneva Conventions? How can the US government put a defendant on trial when its treatment of him violates US statutory law, international law, and every precept of the US legal code? Mohammed has been treated as if he were a captive of Hitler's Gestapo or Stalin's KGB. And now we are going to finish him off in a show trial.
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If the barbaric treatment Mohammed has received during his captivity hasn't driven him insane, how do we know he hasn't decided to confess in order to obtain for himself for evermore the glory of the deed? How many people can claim to have outwitted the CIA, the National Security Agency and all 16 US intelligence agencies, NORAD, the Pentagon, the National Security Council, airport security (four times on one morning), US air traffic control, the US Air Force, the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, all the neocons, Mossad, and even the formidable Dick Cheney?

Considering that some Muslims will blow themselves up in order to take out a handful of Israelis or US and NATO occupation troops, the payoff that Mohammed will get out of a guilty verdict is enormous. Are we really sure we want to create a Muslim Superhero of such stature?

Originally, according to the US government, Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of 9/11. To get bin Laden is the excuse given for the US invasion of Afghanistan, which set up the invasion of Iraq. But after eight years of total failure to catch Osama bin Laden, it became absolutely necessary to convict some culprit, because the 9/11 Truth Movement is becoming too strong.

If Mohammed is really the mastermind who defeated the best that America has to offer, including the thousands of intelligence agents and strategic thinkers with the responsibility of protecting our country, Mohammed is a first class genius. What a waste to execute him! Shouldn't we first try to turn him? If we had a guy like Mohammed on our side running Homeland Security, we would forever be safe.

Allegedly, Arabs are corrupt and easily bribed. If we can pay the rulers of Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan to operate in our interest against their own kind, how do we know we can't sign up Mohammed? I can see this guy as a highly paid consultant to Homeland Security. In addition to money, we could make some other concessions, such as ceasing to persecute Muslim charities and the innocent people who contribute to them. Using Stuart Taylor's reasoning, this would be a good "pragmatic" move.

Unfortunately, there will be no such sensible outcome. David Feige has told us what the outcome will be (Slate, Nov. 19). The prosecution doesn't need any evidence, because no judge and no jury is going to let the demonized "mastermind of 9/11" off. No judge nor juror wants to be forever damned by the brainwashed American public or assassinated by right-wing crazies.

Keep in mind that the kid, John Walker Lindh, termed "the American Taliban" by an ignorant and propagandistic US media, was guilty of nothing except being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite the complete trampling of his every right, he got 20 years on a coerced plea bargain.

The price that Mohammed will pay will be small compared to the price we Americans will pay. The outcome of Mohammed's trial will complete the transformation of the US legal system from a shield of the people into a weapon in the hands of the state. Feige writes that Mohammed's statements obtained by torture will not be suppressed, that witnesses against him will not be produced ("national security"), that documents that compromise the prosecution will be redacted.

At each stage of Mohammed's appeals process, higher courts will enshrine into legal precedents the denial of the Constitutional right to a speedy trial, thus enshrining indefinite detention, the denial of the right against damning pretrial publicity, thus allowing demonization prior to trial, and the denial of the right to have witnesses and documents produced, thus eviscerating a defendant's rights to exculpatory evidence and to confront adverse witnesses. The twisted logic necessary to disentangle Mohammed's torture from his confession will also be upheld and will "provide a blueprint for the government, giving them the prize they've been after all this time -- a legal way both to torture and to prosecute.

It took Hitler a while to corrupt the German courts. Hitler first had to create new courts, like President George W. Bush's military tribunals, that did not require evidence, using in place of evidence hearsay, secret charges, and self-incrimination obtained by torture.

Every American should be concerned that the Obama administration has decided to use Mohammed's trial to complete the corruption of the American court system. When Mohammed's trial is over, an American Joe Stalin or Adolf Hitler will be able to convict America's Founding Fathers on charges of treason and terrorism. No one will be safe.



Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available here. His latest book,  How America Was Lost, has just been released and can be ordered here.

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Wonderful essay! I continue to be astounded by the... by Michael David Morrissey on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 12:56:21 PM
OpEdNewsOriginal Content at http://www.opednews.co... by paul craig roberts on Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 5:56:06 PM
The 911 attacks were masterminded by Israel's inte... by Brian Jenkins on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 1:00:00 PM
I think Roberts hit it on the head: the only reaso... by BaronVonRothschild on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 1:10:59 PM
I would appreciate if the author reads my article ... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 1:14:24 PM
Did Mr. Mohammed weaponize anhtrax in his lab-cave... by John S. Hatch on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 2:31:07 PM
Finally the entire world will see what a complete ... by Gallaher on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 3:08:20 PM
This is exactly on.... by Tom Usher on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 3:45:58 PM
I amso sad but nevertheless acceptingthat this tri... by mikel paul on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 4:55:11 PM
W could have said, "There's an old saying in Texas... by Clark on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 5:50:13 PM
Andy McCarthy at National Review Online writes thi... by mikel paul on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 7:01:44 PM
First of all, Roberts needs to get past the unsupp... by Natalie Oberman on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 7:30:32 PM
Spoken like a true brownshirt... by paul craig roberts on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 9:25:53 PM
No, Brownshirts would more properly be comparable ... by Natalie Oberman on Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 1:54:15 PM
Oberman, just like Obama, has prejudged the trial ... by paul craig roberts on Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 5:46:06 PM
Again, you're getting things pretty much exactly b... by Natalie Oberman on Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 11:08:09 PM
a New York state grand jury or a Federal grand jur... by Mark Adams on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 10:10:13 PM
Well, if we're supposedly free in the US, shouldn'... by Steven G. Erickson on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 8:49:23 PM
all the conjecture and conspiracy theorists I disa... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Monday, Nov 23, 2009 at 11:52:05 PM
has yet to see what your world has to do with me a... by shadow dancer on Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 3:41:45 AM
I have another comment here.... by Michael David Morrissey on Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 6:01:47 AM
OpEdNewsOriginal Content at http://www.opednews.co... by paul craig roberts on Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 6:08:38 PM
The trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed hasn't even ha... by Perry Logan on Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 6:10:07 AM
200 engineers and scientists' reports are enough p... by shirley reese on Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 8:53:22 AM
Is the DOJ going to hire new attorneys and support... by Mark Adams on Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 1:05:22 PM
...... is that there's no truth to be found within... by Natalie Oberman on Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 4:50:15 PM
what an utterly stupid person!!!... by paul craig roberts on Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 6:12:17 PM
Once a respected member of the Reagan administrati... by Natalie Oberman on Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009 at 11:12:28 PM
People who support the abuse of human rights, the ... by paul craig roberts on Wednesday, Nov 25, 2009 at 8:04:43 AM
"People who support the abuse of human rights, the... by Natalie Oberman on Wednesday, Nov 25, 2009 at 2:12:13 PM
Your confession proves everything I said about you... by paul craig roberts on Wednesday, Nov 25, 2009 at 5:40:57 PM
The majority of Americans like me who understand w... by Natalie Oberman on Thursday, Nov 26, 2009 at 12:03:46 PM
I've got news for you. The DEA and DOJ have been u... by Ian MacLeod on Friday, Nov 27, 2009 at 7:37:20 AM
No Ian. Who "did the deal" was OBL, KSM, and their... by Natalie Oberman on Friday, Nov 27, 2009 at 7:46:02 PM