Obama and Holder strike again: terror trial botched

October 7, 2010

During his campaign for the presidency and after he took office, Barack Obama made a large point of arguing that the military commission system set up by Congress to try terrorists somehow violated our highest principles and moral values as a nation. It was garbage, of course, but it fed the fantasies of his leftist base. Then it got serious when the President’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, decided to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other al Qaeda jihadists in New York City.

While the subsequent uproar stopped (for now) the trials of KSM and his comrades, one trial went on: that of Ahmed Ghailani, who has confessed to being the prime mover behind the deadly truck bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in the 1990s. Because of a question as to whether the confession was admissible under the rules of the US criminal court system, the Obama-Holder Justice Department decided to go through with a trial. “No problem,” they assured us. “We have a witness who makes this a slam-dunk case, proving the wisdom of our determination to treat terrorism as a criminal matter!”

Then the judge kicked out the witness.

Oops.

Now the trial is in deep jeopardy. Yes, the man who has confessed to killing hundreds of people in those bombings and who is a hero to jihadis around the world may just walk free. Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy explains the problem:

Clearly, however, the prosecutors in New York do not want the trial to devolve into theater over the CIA interrogation methods. Were the government to try to prove Ghailani’s statements to the FBI, defense lawyers would have latitude to summon the CIA interrogators. They would argue that the CIA’s earlier, rough tactics tainted Ghailani’s subsequent, seemingly voluntary confession. The Justice Department is determined to steer clear of that controversy, and of any criticism that it exploited Bush-era tactics, even indirectly. But there’s a trade-off: The jury won’t learn that Ghailani admitted to planning the bombing, buying the TNT, and being celebrated afterward as an al-Qaeda hero.

The Justice Department figured it could roll those dice because it has a witness, Hussein Abebe, who is prepared to testify that he sold Ghailani the TNT. Not so fast, say Ghailani’s lawyers. They argue that the government learned about Abebe only because of Ghailani’s confession. By their lights, having agreed not to use it, the government implicitly concedes that the confession is toxic; therefore, the argument goes, it is no more proper for prosecutors to call a witness discovered because of the confession than it would be to use the confession itself.

Prosecutors reply that there is a big difference between using admissions pried from a defendant under coercion and merely calling a witness. The government may inevitably have found the witness anyway. Moreover, even if the confession tipped the government off to Abebe’s existence, he is a volunteer, providing testimony of his own free will.

Read the whole thing.

Basically, the judge decided Abebe’s testimony was “fruit of the poisonous tree,” and thus inadmissible. This just shows what McCarthy and others, such as former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, argued was right: that the civilian court system is not set up to handle terrorism cases.

Unless they can come up with yet another “slam dunk” approach or get Ghailani to confess*, the administration may well be faced with the choice of letting a mass-murdering al Qaeda terrorist go, or throwing him back into the military commission system and looking even more ridiculous for it.

Great job, guys. What’s your next trick?

*(Fat chance of either happening. Ghailani is probably planning his vacation in Waziristan even now.)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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Fingers crossed: Islam, taqiyya, and the oath of citizenship

October 7, 2010

There was a good (in the sense of “informative while disturbing”) post at Power Line yesterday by John Hinderaker about the words spoken by convicted Times Square bomber Feisal Shahzad at his sentencing about Islam’s jihad against the West and his oath as an American citizen:

Much could be said of yesterday’s events, but I will note just two points. First, this exchange about Shahzad’s naturalization as an American citizen:

  • The judge cut him off at one point to ask if he had sworn allegiance to the U.S. when he became a citizen last year.
  • “I did swear, but I did not mean it,” Shahzad said.

I believe the Koran approves of such oath-taking with one’s fingers crossed.

(Emphasis added)

John’s right: the Qur’an does approve of such deception to protect oneself while in “infidel” lands. It’s called “taqiyya,” the religiously sanctioned deception of unbelievers. Raymond Ibrahim has written an article explaining taqiyya that should be must-reading:

Taqiyya offers two basic uses. The better known revolves around dissembling over one’s religious identity when in fear of persecution. Such has been the historical usage of taqiyya among Shi’i communities whenever and wherever their Sunni rivals have outnumbered and thus threatened them. Conversely, Sunni Muslims, far from suffering persecution have, whenever capability allowed, waged jihad against the realm of unbelief; and it is here that they have deployed taqiyya—not as dissimulation but as active deceit. In fact, deceit, which is doctrinally grounded in Islam, is often depicted as being equal—sometimes superior—to other universal military virtues, such as courage, fortitude, or self-sacrifice.

Yet if Muslims are exhorted to be truthful, how can deceit not only be prevalent but have divine sanction? What exactly is taqiyya? How is it justified by scholars and those who make use of it? How does it fit into a broader conception of Islam’s code of ethics, especially in relation to the non-Muslim? More to the point, what ramifications does the doctrine of taqiyya have for all interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims?

Ibrahim has written two other articles I commend to your attention: “Nidal Hasan and Fort Hood: A Study in Muslim Doctrine,” part one and part two. Not only does he discuss taqiyya, but also concepts we need to understand such as “loyalty and enmity” (who exactly Muslims can be friends with), and Da’wa (active proselytizing), one of only two reasons pious Muslims are allowed to live among infidels.  (The other is jihad.)

This is far from saying all Muslims are secret jihadists or want to implement sharia law (though the number of the latter is larger than apologists want to admit). But, with committed enemies who feel it is fine to lie and practice deceit in order to hide among the larger population that simply wants to lead a quiet life, we are engaging in a fight with one eye shut when we refuse to understand the doctrines by which they justify their actions.

And, until we (and, especially, those charged with protecting us) do acknowledge and understand these doctrines, we will keep on being surprised and puzzled again and again by declarations like Shazad’s.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Your daily dose of Allen West

October 7, 2010

President Obama is in South Florida to attend a fundraiser for Congressman Ron Klein, who’s facing a stiff challenge from retired Lt. Colonel Allen West. In return, Col. West has a special message and a challenge for the President and his minion:

Heh. Well done. I like how Klein is treated as an afterthought. You want to get attention, try punching above your class.

You can land a blow for Allen West, too.

LINKS: More on this and other races from Hot Air.