Nov 22, 2009

Republicans question the integrity of the U.S. justice system

I am accustomed to Republicans rooting against the country just so they can regain control of something they say they hate, but I’m a little surprised at their reaction over holding the trial for the accused mastermind of the September 11 attacks in New York City.

It amazes me they have such little respect for the U.S. Justice system. The 9/11 victims were civilians and the attack occurred on U.S. soil. I can’t think of a single valid reason the trail should not be held where the heinous crime occurred. We should not give up our ideals and liberty just for some false sense of security.

We have the most open and free society in the world and no terrorist should change that, and if they do, then they win.

The claim is that the trial will make NYC a terrorist target, putting residents at risk, and that they cannot handle the security for the trial. That is simply not true. NYC will always be an attractive target for terrorists, and the NYC PD has one of the best intelligence operations in the country.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, there have been nine terrorism plots busted s in NYC, and the plotters arrested.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the NYPD is fully prepared for that trial, as well as the numerous other trials of terrorist suspects.

"We've handled high profile events, certainly high profile trials in the past, and we'll be able to do it," Kelly said.

The trial will be held in the Southern District of New York, and they have been very successful in prosecuting terrorist suspects. The staff of the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York has become very good at prosecuting terror cases over the years, and the U.S. Marshals Service Special Operations Group (SOG) has gained much experience providing security for those trials.

It was in the Southern District of New York in 1995 that Omar Abdel Rahman, AKA the Blind Sheikh, was tried for the so-called Landmarks Plot of 1993 and received a life sentence. In 1996, Abdel Basit (aka Ramzi Yousef) and two co-conspirators were also tried in the Southern District and sentenced to life in prison for their roles in the Bojinka Plot, which also included an indictment for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The attackers behind the 1998 attacks against the U.S. embassies were also prosecuted in the Southern District of New York and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Not only that, but the World Trade Center was located in the Southern District of New York.

The motto of a ship I once served on was “If freedom were easy, we wouldn’t be here.” That saying applies to this situation. The U.S. stands for liberty, freedom and justice, and no terrorist should make us back off of that or they have won. We must stand up for our commitment to law, order and justice to the world, and reaffirm that commitment for ourselves. No terrorists will change our way of life, or change our commitment to fairness and justice.

Freedom isn’t easy.

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