Gibbs: KSM Will Be Tried, Convicted, and Executed

We have previously noted the problem with President Barack Obama assuring the public that people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) will be convicted. After the previous such incidents (here), many of us noted that a president is expected to avoid such comments which are inimical to a fair trial and sitting an unbiased jury. Now, in the video below, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs has decided to pick up the role as the Red Queen to promise not just a conviction but execution for KSM.

In an interview on CNN, Gibbs stated that “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is going to meet justice and he’s going to meet his maker… He will be brought to justice and he’s likely to be executed for the heinous crimes he committed.”

Such statements are rapidly eroding whatever high ground the Obama Administration secured in assuring a fair trial in civilian courts for KSM and the other defendants. The Obama Administration has lost much of that high ground by engaging open dialogue with politicians on where and whether these defendants will be tried in civilian courts. Now, they assure the public that no matter where they are tried, they will be convicted. It makes our legal system appear improvisational and hypocritical.

To make matters worse, Gibbs seemed to have to be forced to confirm that the Obama Administration would fulfill its pledge to try the men in civilian court — again suggesting a fluidity in their position. The test of principle is that you follow principle when it is neither convenient nor popular. It is hardly strange that Senators and House members would fail to see the need to fulfill such principles when they are unpopular. A president, however, has an obligation to preserve our values and our Constitution. This “sentence first verdict later” approach to justice is confirming what our enemies are saying about us. Al Qaeda loves this debate. It shows American leaders unwilling to guarantee a fair trial with full rights for those people they hate or fear. Now, you have a spokesman assuring the result of a trial that has not even begun.

For commentary on the story, click here (Huff) and here (Talk Left) and here (firedoglake).

53 thoughts on “Gibbs: KSM Will Be Tried, Convicted, and Executed”

  1. I oppose Gitmo (the enemy should be shot or put in a POW camp). Oh wait, this is a phony war.

    I forgot.

    But screwing up the chance for a fair trial while insisting on fairly treating these people is beyond the pale and certainly something I expect of Harvard grads and their creepy associates.

  2. Coughenhour spoke at George Soros’s Open Society Institute and shrugged off the prospect of Gitmo detainee releases as the “price we pay” for granting them the full panoply of constitutional rights in civilian trials.

    His retort: “So be it.”

  3. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered that Ahmed Ressam, a convicted terrorist arrested in December 1999 in Port Angeles with a car full of explosives, be sentenced again. And this time, the court has ordered that U.S. District Judge John Coughenour, who presided over Ressam’s trial and his sentencing and re-sentencing, not be involved.

    Ressam also will likely face a much longer sentence, given that the appeals court noted several times how much lighter his 22-year sentence was than what sentencing guildelines call for. In a 2-1 decision, the court’s majority said Coughenour’s sentence — 43 years below the low range of the federal sentencing guidelines — was “both procedurally and substantively unreasonable.”

    It concluded: “The district judge’s previously expressed views appear too entrenched to allow for the appearance of fairness on remand. For these reasons, we direct that the case be reassigned to a different judge for resentencing.” A new judge could be assigned in three weeks, prosecutors said. Ressam’s attorneys could appeal, and they have not responded to requests for comment. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle, which has sought a longer sentence, greeted the appeals court ruling with approval,

    “Our primary mission is to protect the public. We are gratified that the Court of Appeals recognized the importance of public safety at sentencing and that Mr. Ressam remains a threat to the public.” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan in a statement. “We have the greatest respect for Judge John Coughenour and his hard work on a difficult case. However, we maintain that to protect the public, and deter others, a longer prison sentence is necessary.” In December 2008, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle appealed the 22-year sentence imposed Ressam. Ressam, an Algerian, had intended to set off the explosives at Los Angeles International Airport around New Year’s Eve 1999.

  4. Did not Cheney support KSM being waterboarded 180 plus times? What were they trying to do just give him a bath? Aren’t most of the Judges in NYC Bush Appointments?

    Lets see did FDR summarily execute anyone for Treason in the US?

    Whats your opinion on this?

  5. Didn’t the Obama Administration just blow the trial by prejudicing the jury pool? The President, Executive in Chief, has just said KSM is guilty.

    Blunder or treason?

  6. eniobob,

    Thanks for taking the time to find the most appropriate topic to post Mukasey’s article.

    Such actions lead to more continuity of the topic threads until Prof T. starts a new, related topic.

  7. Mukasey Slams Holder DoJ: ‘Amateur Hour’, Weak
    First Posted: 02- 2-10 09:05 AM | Updated: 02- 2-10 09:46 AM

    Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey slammed his successor on Tuesday morning, declaring it “amateur hour” at the Justice Department and labeling current Attorney General Eric Holder weak for his handling of terrorist trials.

    Appearing on “Fox and Friends”, Mukasey dispensed with any of the formalities that guide how previous administrations discuss the current one. Asked about DOJ’s apparent indecision over whether to try 9/11-plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a New York City criminal court, he unloaded.

  8. Buddah:

    I definitely agree that Mr. Mill would be taking both parties to the wood shed. They do deserve the proverbial ass whuppin.

  9. Byron,

    I disagree about your assessment of Mill. He’d be taking both parties to task. The GOP for 35 years of lobby graft driven de-regulation – from airlines to banking. The DNC for not stopping the Wall St./AIG/Bernake/Paulson robbery that Bush started and they oh so willingly bought into. And how he defined conservatism is applicable today to modern conservatives. Who he wasn’t talking about were people like you. He was talking about the victims (willing or otherwise) of conservatism gone wrong. In other words, FOXNews viewers – the easily duped into working against their best interests. Back in the day, they didn’t have FOX, but they most certainly did have propaganda. And conservative propaganda simply doesn’t require the brain power to process because they usually follow Herr Gobbels and The Monster Hitler’s advice about keeping it simple.

  10. “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it” – Adolph Hitler, right wing Nazi war monger, author of “Mein Kampf”.

    and last but not least . . .

    “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.” – John Stuart Mill, English philosopher and economist, author of “On Liberty”.”

    Adolf Hitler was the supreme leader of the National Socialist Party in Germany. National Socialism is very similar to communism except it concerns itself with one race-the German people.

    John Mill was not talking about conservatives of today. He was for free markets and liberty. I believe the current democratic party is more in line with his idea of a conservative than are republicans. although I will say that neither party is a friend of true liberty and free markets. Mill would, most probably, have found undesirable traits in both major political parties.

    But the modern democrat party has far more to answer to Mr. Mill for than the modern day republican party.


    But wait! There’s more.

    As I recently said to another propagandist . . .

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” – Joseph Gobbels

    “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over” – Joseph Gobbels

    “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it” – Adolph Hitler, right wing Nazi war monger, author of “Mein Kampf”.

    and last but not least . . .

    “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.” – John Stuart Mill, English philosopher and economist, author of “On Liberty”.

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