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. as a reminder I said this yesterday,

    The Greatest Show on Earth. It’s funny how peoples perceptions are in the difference between Bush’s trials of terrorist in civy courts and Obama’s. Nobody said a word when Bush did it. Must be racially motivated.

    and Greenwald comes out with his story today. How did he do that?

  2. In those few instances where Obama has rejected the Bush/Cheney template, the outrage and hysteria from Democratic and media voices is pervasive, and is growing louder.

    Just look at these illustrative incidents. Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell went on Fred Thompson’s radio show yesterday to demand that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed be put before a military commission — at Guantanamo. Over the weekend, Time’s Joe Klein lambasted the Obama DOJ, and embraced Bush’s former CIA and NSA Chief Michael Hayden, by objecting to the criminal charges and Constitutional rights afforded the accused Christmas Day bomber, with Klein decreeing: “the bomber is an enemy combatant. He doesn’t have Miranda rights.” MSNBC personalities Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie chatted yesterday with their boss, MSNBC Washington Bureau Chief Mark Whitaker, all agreeing that the decision to grant civilian trials for “Terrorists” is “a pure, self-inflicted wound.” When Najibullah Zazi was arrested for allegedly plotting a serious Terrorist attack, The New Republic’s Michael Crowley said he was so frightened by this that he was open to torturing Zazi. Democratic Senators are threatening to join the GOP in cutting off funds for civilian trials. Democratic members of Congress joined with the GOP to prevent even modest reforms of the Patriot Act and other surveillance abuses. City officials compete with one another over who can be the most frightened and terrorized by Terrorists.

  3. rafflaw: “And before I forget, how many of these terrorists are really terrorists?”

    —-That’s the heart of the matter isn’t it? Once the confession is tainted with torture we can never be sure and for most of the people being held, the confession is the only evidence available.

  4. LottaKatz,
    Good job. The military commissions were designed to avoid justice and to avoid the alleged evidence that was obtained through illegal torture. Buddha, you hit the nail on the head and reminded the bad man that it is all about the Consitution.
    Badman, tell us all how Bush held a criminal case in “civil” court. I think you mean he tried a citizen that he held without constitutional protections in a civilian court on criminal charges. Of course, the charges were unrelated to the alleged reasons why he was imprisoned and held in solitary confinement for years. And before I forget, how many of these terrorists are really terrorists?

  5. Waynester,

    I too wish you’d stay. We can have normal discourse without making the verbal exchange *attacks* personal.

    I have had posts deleted. I have been cautioned. Most of all this is an open forum, 2nd amendment taking a back seat to 1st amendment privileges or what left of it.

    I see the country becoming more and more police state every day.

    It is why Texas gets to fly its flag the same height as the US flag. It is never lower unless by accident. But you ask most Texan why and the could not tell you.

    You see Texas was annexed and part of the sell out was to keep the Independence of the Republic in tact. Kind of like money being based on Silver or Gold or something. Eventually no one knows why something happened this or that way.

  6. Waynester,

    I read part of one of the posts of yours that Professor Turley deleted. You add to the discussion here, because like Bdaman & Duh, you elicit responses from most of the regulars.

    However, when you throw in the unnecessary junk words, those detract from your arguments because some others and I do not completely read your posts and they are subject to removal anyway–and justifiably so. Professor Turley is very liberal here with posts and very fair.

    Stay around and provoke debate so we can see of what these liberals are really made–you will also learn a great deal from them.

    If you like unbridled filthy language by real lawyers, go to and you will not be disappointed.

    He and his crew still have some very good legal analyses and I am not faulting that aspect of his blawg whatsoever. His site is a real First Amendment Free Speech, all gutter words and putrid sexual implications allowed.

    However, the free speech ends in the deletion of your posts when you clearly and unequivocally catch him in a big lie, and especially if you refuse to reply with urban language/gutter speak in your rebuttal. Some people will just not stoop that low to that base level on a public forum.

  7. Waynester: “…military commissions for those savages. (which are constitutional, btw)”

    Military commissions were legal for POW’s. The Bush admin expanded that to “Enemy Combatants” and invented a 3rd “justice” system. This false justice system is used principally to circumvent any challenge of charges resulting from testimony gained through torture; another tactic legitimized by the Bush administration. It is an incestuous system and should be scrapped.

    Unfortunately the Obama admin. does not seem inclined to do so and perpetual detention for some people, without formal charge or a trial is still a part of this legal fiction regarding either POW’s or criminal defendants under our current justice system. To try KSM with a military commission is not appropriate if he is not a POW. Try him as a criminal and let the chips fall wherever they may, that’s justice IMO.

    The only reason to use a military commission is if you believe a court will kick the case due to the torture.

  8. Eniobob

    Could gibbs statements be used against the administration in a court of law by the defense attorneys?

    I heard this question being posed on the radio on my way to pick my daughter up from school. Along with that because it was going to be a civilian court, KSM was not read his Miranda Rights. Case dismissed.

    In re to Gibbs, it was said that it would be ok if the prosecuting attorney made that statement but not Gibbs. Gibbs is acting as a spokesperson for the president.

  9. Empire Cookie

    In a 2007 speech to Planned Parenthood, Obama said “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.”

    Melody Barnes, a senior domestic policy adviser to the Obama campaign and administration said, “His view is that our society isn’t static and the law isn’t static as well. That the Constitution is a living and breathing document and that the law and the justices who interpret it have to understand that.”

    How very progressive of who? I was being facetious

  10. “It’s about the Constitution. What Constitution? thats a living breathing piece of paper that changes with the times”

    How very progressive of you!

    Of course, Scalia does not agree.

  11. I have been in court and just saw a couple of the threads. I have deleted a couple of entries and I must ask everyone to back off of the personal attacks. Please remember our civility rule. Please keep the passion and lose the personal stuff.

  12. Waynester you have now taken the bait, I tried to warn you. You can’t let them get under your skin like that. It’s the whole M.O.

  13. ” I still stand up for my career field when I see injustices committed. I suggest that lawyers/attorneys everywhere stand up and confront this administrations’ trashing of our U.S. Constitution before it is too late to turn back the tarnished pages of the legal ledger of justice.”

    It wouldn’t be an issue if they hadn’t nixed the military commissions for those savages. (which are constitutional, btw)
    They will not release KSM even if he were to be found not guilty, which makes this a show trial, a farce not intended to put KSM on trial but instead GWB and Cheney, et al. This is perhaps the only part of this administration that has delivered on it’s promise of transparency, though it doesn’t appear to be intentional.

  14. Somewhere and at sometime, I remember a pledge that had this phrase:

    “…with liberty and justice for all.”

    I hardly recognize the country and justice system that I once naively thought was good, fair, equitable, and impartial.

    I still stand up for my career field when I see injustices committed. I suggest that lawyers/attorneys everywhere stand up and confront this administrations’ trashing of our U.S. Constitution before it is too late to turn back the tarnished pages of the legal ledger of justice.

  15. Could gibbs statements be used against the adminstraion in a court of law by the defense attorneys?

  16. Trying to anyway.


    Not partisan hackery.

    And good luck on being the civility patrol, trolls.

    Propaganda trolls get the pointed end of the stick in this forum and they always have.

    I also know this because history tells me so.

    It’s one of the reasons I came to rest here. Here there be Constitutionalists and people less interested in spin than the truth. Propagandists swim at their own risk.

  17. Duh, Bdaman, Waynster, et al

    I think 30%er shut you down and good yesterday. Must be nice to be paid to aide and abet criminal acts.

    Please do show me where anyone has done what you claime “FFLEO, Mespo, and a few others have provided assistance in keeping AY in check, and their assistance is most appreciated.”

    Excuse me, Mike Spindell shut you down as well.

    Please do tell sir. Provide examples of all allegation used to support your claim or defense(s)

    As yet, I have not seen any. Jacking this thread I see.

  18. Anonymously Yours
    1, January 30, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    First, this is not Mike S’s writing style and second, no picture of the man in the beard.

    Mike Spindell
    1, January 30, 2010 at 12:30 pm
    It was me, I didn’t realize the picture didn’t come out and wonder why. I’ve had a lot of difficulties with WordPress of late.

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