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Why Is a 9/11 Plotter Being Severed From the Military Commission Trial?

July 25th, 2014 - 3:14 pm

The Washington Post reports that the presiding judge in the military commission prosecution of the 9/11 plotters has severed from the still unscheduled trial one of the five defendants, Ramzi Binalshibh.  That means that, if ultimately tried at all, Binalshibh would be tried separately, who knows when.

As related in the report, the ruling seems very strange. The judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, is said to have explained, as the Post puts it, that “the court needs to resolve whether Binalshibh has the mental capacity to participate in the trial.” This is difficult to square with the report’s simultaneous assertion that “neither the government nor Binalshibh’s lawyer argue that he is mentally incompetent.” To be sure, there have been questions for years about the terrorist’s mental state; but one of his civilian lawyers insisted to the Post that Binalshibh wanted to go to trial with his co-defendants. He did not wish to be severed.

There is also said to be a conflict-of-interest issue to sort out, but that claim, too, does not fare well under scrutiny.

Earlier this year the FBI began probing a defense leak of a manifesto written by Binalshibh’s more notorious co-defendant, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The manifesto was among the many documents covered by a court non-disclosure order. As I detailed in a National Review column, the Bureau ended up interviewing a contract “security officer” responsible for giving Binalshibh’s defense team access to sensitive discovery materials. The security officer’s employer alerted the defendant’s lawyers about the investigation, causing them to complain to the court.

Theoretically, if a defense attorney is alerted to the fact (or at least, the likelihood) that the government is investigating him for possible wrongdoing, that could create a conflict of interest with his client. The lawyer could have a motive to curry favor with prosecutors in order to persuade them not to charge him; that, the thinking goes, could induce him to represent his client less zealously. It is difficult, however, to see that happening here. Not only is the potential conflict highly speculative; the Post reports that the FBI closed its investigation more than two months ago without filing charges.

At this point, the commission judge is considering a variety of pretrial motions filed by all five defendants. That process is expected to last until at least the end of the year. Based on what we know at the moment (and admittedly, there are always things we don’t know – things known only to the litigants in a trial), there seems to be no reason why any potential conflict-of-interest question could not easily be resolved in the next five months – in time for Binalshibh to be tried jointly with his co-defendants. Indeed, I’m betting that the judge has at least a few issues more difficult than that one to deal with.

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Top Rated Comments   
During the Barbary wars, which the US prosecuted successfully more than 200 years ago, the Islamic pirates of the time were vanquished, and signed a treaty by which they would no longer extract bribes on western ships traffic round the Coast of North Africa. The treaty held. President Jefferson, without congressional support, had quietly set up the special expedition that defeated the islamic pirates. This precedent set the example for the eventual creation of the US marines, with support from congress, only after this exemplary victory. This was presidential leadership in action.

Now King Caboose the First is in charge, and we can't even prosecute the captured terrorists!
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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Slippery slope here. As all Islamist terrorists are certifiably insane, the insanity defense should not be allowed. Otherwise, they all skate under Obama's "civilian trial" charade. Should have been hauled before a military tribunal the day after capture, and shot the day after that. Kinda like they do to their enemies.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why doesn't anyone just shoot that a hole?
If, somehow, by the Grace of God, another Republican is ever elected, they need to throw Holder in jail for treason.
And execute him.
How did any Republican Senator ever vote to approve such a notorious, scummy Ba $ tard? Why should anyone ever vote for them again, them being as stupid as that?
I'll bet McCain did vote for him. War hero, my a $.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is there anything connected with the US government that still works as it's supposed to?
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
[Sorry, this was meant to be a response to Professor Guvinoff's comment about this article.]

Now King Caboose the First is in charge, and we can't even prosecute the captured terrorists!

I think the word is "won't", not "can't".
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...but one of his civilian lawyers insisted to the Post that Binalshibh wanted to go to trial with his co-defendants. He did not wish to be severed."

Well, about 8 years ago, KSM asked for "martyrdom", so the expressed wishes of the so called defendants in this legalistic danse macabre mean exactly zip zilch nada.

For quite awhile, Guantanamo guys' main purpose has been to serve as fodder for legalistic ego tripping and machinations.

It all lies somewhere between absurd and asinine in the dictionary.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Somehow Tim McVeigh got his tut suite! No issues with "botched" execution drugs or whatnot. Not even a peep, from the Gubmint scum who set up their own children as human shields. Someone approved those building plans, and it was not Mr. McVeigh.
Strange, that? No?
Seeing as how the "Mastermind of 9/11", who looks like Brain on Pinky and the... is still alive and growing fat on Gubmint grub, and no trial has even been set, 13 years later.
Our Gubmint would rather lock you up for non payment of alimony than see this $ bag gets justice. He'll die from complications of Type II diabetes before they ever do anything. Although, Ostupid might just pardon him on the way out. Or swap him for the corpse of a Palestinian dog.
Muslim Brotherhood, dontcha know?
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sure, Binalshibh could be severed. I propose between the 2nd and 3rd vertebrates. As I recall, the French invented an excellent machine for accomplishing this task.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Love those words, "sever" and "severed". Lot's of "apps" for them.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Families of the 9/11 victims suspect Eric Holder and the Obama administration of sabotaging the commission."
Of course they are.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
This only goes to shoe how compromised Obama really is. Obama needs to go after the real 9-11 plotters--Bush, Cheney, Rove, and Rumsfield. He needs to find out exactly who they hired to put the thermite in the buildings!
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am no longer able to think the /s is justified.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
...correction.....show us how far.....
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Show us far you can go with that line of thought. Readers are standing by.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, let's start by looking at the immediate aftermath. How did Jerome Hauer, national security adviser with the National Institutes of Health, able to tell Dan Rather the official storyline before any investigation was made?

In addition, who was it who murdered John O'Neil, the government's foremost authority on Bin Laden who disbelieved he was behind the attacks.

How did the temperature get hot enough for iron to melt? Jet fuel fires won't do this. Thermite will. How did the thermite get in the building and why was it there in the first place? This just gets curiouser and curiouser.

For an introduction to the truth, go here:
http://alienscientist.com/911.html
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
During the Barbary wars, which the US prosecuted successfully more than 200 years ago, the Islamic pirates of the time were vanquished, and signed a treaty by which they would no longer extract bribes on western ships traffic round the Coast of North Africa. The treaty held. President Jefferson, without congressional support, had quietly set up the special expedition that defeated the islamic pirates. This precedent set the example for the eventual creation of the US marines, with support from congress, only after this exemplary victory. This was presidential leadership in action.

Now King Caboose the First is in charge, and we can't even prosecute the captured terrorists!
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, well Bush the Retard didn't help with his BS Compassionate Conservatism, which apparently meant screwing Scooter something he didn't do.
Ostupid is very stupid, but GW gave him a run for the money.
I hate leftists, but a stupid ignoramus disguised as a Republican earns my greatest scorn. Now, he's retired and all is well in Bush world, while the rest of the country goes to $ hit!
Have fun, a hole.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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