Mr. Mohammed has claimed authorship of the attacks, but he has also accused U.S. interrogators of torturing him. U.S. officials have acknowledged the use of harsh tactics, including water boarding, a technique intended to simulate drowning, which Mr. Obama and other government officials have called torture.So he is the confessed mastermind of 9/11, but the court, bound by the usual precedents, may need to exclude the confession. If the Obama administration believes this was torture, then surely it was the sort of coercion that will require the exclusion of the confession. I assume the administration has worked out how to deal with this problem. But how? Imagine Mohammed acquitted!
President Obama said:
“I’m absolutely convinced that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed will be subject to the most exacting demands of justice... The American people insist on it and my administration insists on it.”The most exacting demands of justice bind the government too. And I'm absolutely convinced that Professor Obama knows these 2 sides to that assertion of his. But do you think the American people insist that Mohammed's confession be excluded if after the same pressure to confess, a common criminal's confession would be excluded?
Documents have shown that the CIA used waterboarding — a controlled drowning technique — against Mr. Mohammed 183 times in March 2003. Mr. Nashiri is one of two other detainees known to have been waterboarded before the Bush administration shut down the program, which high-level officials had approved after the Justice Department wrote legal memorandums arguing that the president, as commander-in-chief, could authorize interrogators to bypass anti-torture laws.And what of this trial in NYC? The federal courthouse is in lower Manhattan, not far from Ground Zero. Perhaps the citizens want the trial where they can see it, or do they fear the creation of an unnecessary terrorist target in their midst? The linked NYT article says NYC is different from those other places where people fretted about such things:
In March, for example, when the administration prepared to bring Ahmed Kahlfan Ghailani, a suspect in the 1998 bombings of United States embassies in Africa which killed 224 people, to face trial there, Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, reacted with equanimity, saying that the city was well-accustomed to handling high-profile terror suspects.So if we believe the assertions of Chuck Schumer, then NY really is different. Meanwhile, there is the courtroom that the Bush administration built in Guantánamo, absolutely isolated from American citizens.
“Bottom line is we have had terrorists housed in New York before,” Mr. Schumer said at a March news conference at the Capitol with other Democratic leaders. “They’ve been housed safely.”
Mr. Schumer at the time pointed to the “blind sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman, convicted in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, as an example. “The main concern is bringing these terrorists to justice and making sure the public is safe,” Mr. Schumer said. “I have faith that the administration will do both.”
CORRECTION: The orignal title included an incorrect reference to "Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri — the alleged planner of the USS Cole bombing." He will not be tried in NYC.