Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Liz Cheney: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Is Not a Criminal

Reported by Julie - November 15, 2009 -

On Sunday’s (11/15/09) Panel Plus on Fox News, Chris Wallace hosted a panel with Bill Kristol, Mara Liasson, Liz Cheney and Juan Williams to debate whether 9/11 terrorists -- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other terrorists -- should be tried in U.S. federal courts. It was basically a showdown between Liz Cheney and Juan Williams – Liz Cheney did not disappoint those of us who expect her to mimic her dear old dad – she is, after all, a chip off the old block – but Juan Williams gets an A+ for bringing reason to the radical war-mongering that Liz Cheney represents. Uh, by the way – why are the Cheneys still talking? With video.

Wallace gave Cheney the floor first, and she launched her attack on the Obama Administration and the big “security concerns” that now seem to figure front and center with the Cheneys – you know, that old chestnut that torture of terrorist suspects is good for the security of America but following the Constitution and rule of law isn’t. SMH (Shake My Head).

“The Administration is fond of talking about . . . ,” Cheney began, “We’re sure they won’t escape, as though that is the big security concern . . . but escape isn’t the issue . . . you’ve got to worry about radicalization in U.S. prisons . . . they [the Obama Administration] are giving people a false sense of security about their willingness, frankly, and their ability to hold these terrorists in a situation which they can guarantee they won’t radicalize the population . . . the 1993 World Trade Center attack was planned from inside Attica State Prison.” Well, yeah, if we just torture terrorist suspects they won’t plan any more terrorist attacks – everybody knows that.

And Cheney, of course, would never read David Rose’s book, Guantanamo, America’s War on Human Rights, which puts the lie to the Gitmo fantasy. An of excerpt of the book relates, “For much of 2003 Lieutenant-Colonel Anthony Christino, a military intelligence officer of 20 years' experience, worked at the heart of the intelligence war against terror inside the Pentagon. Interrogators, he said, were woefully inexperienced and underprepared . . . Christino said he did not believe that Guantánamo, despite its vaunted claims, had helped to prevent a single terrorist attack. ‘Most of the information derived from interrogations at Guantánamo appears to be very general in nature; so general that it is not very useful,’ he said . . . Christino's conclusions were backed by three other intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. One, an FBI man for 30 years, works on tracking terrorist finance - a field in which Rumsfeld has claimed Gitmo has been especially productive. ‘I'm unaware of any important information in my field that's come from Gitmo,’ he said. ‘It's clearly not a significant source.’”

Wallace seemed to briefly consider being “fair and balanced,” then quickly changed his mind, saying, “Is the upside the statement we make, is it worth all those potential downsides when you can put them in a military commission and have a much greater likelihood of a conviction and have more control over them . . . ?”

Williams shot back, “Without a doubt it’s worth it if you believe in the Constitution of the United States and the rule of law . . . clearly these are people who the Supreme Court has said . . . have a right to challenge under habeus corpus the fact that they’re being held . . . What you have here is a situation – Liz described this as the Obama Administration or the Democrats who are so reckless – but of course it was the Bush-Cheney Administration who allowed I think more than 80 such indictments . . . .”

Cheney, daddy’s little girl to the core, said, “That’s not the issue, though, Juan, it is a huge difference . . . the Bush-Cheney Administration built Guantanamo and recognized that these are not criminals, that these are enemy combatants, illegal enemy combatants . . . .” Well, whatever you want to call them, “Over 150 defendants have been convicted on terrorism charges in US federal courts since 2001. The military commissions have only tried three cases during the same period.”

As reported by Reuters on the Human Rights Watch’s position (and which most people who aren’t right-wingnuts like Liz Cheney and her creepy dad agree with), “Members of al Qaeda seek to be acknowledged as soldiers rather than denigrated as criminals, Human Rights Watch said. Putting them on trial in military commissions would have reinforced that view, handing al Qaeda an enormous propaganda victory. Trial in federal court will deny them the status of warrior. Judge William Young underscored this point in the 2003 trial of the “shoe bomber,” Richard Reid. As Judge Young said at the defendant's sentencing, ‘You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. . . To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature.’”

Williams went on to state, “In many cases there are people who committed crimes overseas and . . . overwhelmingly the OA is leaving those people there or to the tribunals.”

Liasson pointed out that Attorney General Eric Holder has said that even if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is for some reason not convicted – an unlikely outcome – “he still can be held indefinitely,” which she acknowledges would be a “terrible outcome.”

“But the fact is,” Liasson continued, “That they have made a decision to try some of these terrorists in military tribunals, some of them are going to be tried in federal courts, and I think this is, there are definitely risks . . . but I do think that other terrorists have been tried successfully in criminal courts and there’s no reason why he also couldn’t be.” As noted by nj.com, “Concerns about putting America at risk by bringing terror suspects onto our soil and into our maximum security prisons are nothing more than distractions. New York survived the trials of Ramzi Yousef and Omar Abdel-Rahman. It will survive this one, too.”

Bill Kristol, the guy who believes firmly that the actions of the previous administration were “entirely appropriate,” and who kinda wanted to deep-six the torture memos, gloss right over Bush’s reign of terror, and return to examine Clinton’s war on terror, said, “It’s gonna be a disgusting circus . . . why take the risk? . . . Obama himself has said military commissions are appropriate . . . there’s no issue with military commissions . . . you’re taking extremely high risk . . . it will be a circus and what are we doing this for? Because it makes the Obama, makes Eric Holder feel better that it’s happening in New York where he grew up and that it somehow vindicates the rule of law . . . he’s sending people to military commissions.”

Williams held his ground, stating firmly, “That’s the point . . . obviously a decision has been made . . . about the value of having this trial in New York City in an American court and saying that we can convict these people for what . . . I think Holder has described as the crime of the century.”

Krisol, as with all other things Obama and the Obama Administration, had nothing positive to say, even criticizing Holder calling the 9/11 terrorist attacks the “Crime of the Century.”

“What was the last crime of the century?” Kristol cried. “OJ Simpson . . . it’s disgusting to me that Holder used that term . . . crime of the century means a circus . . . it’s always been used for these tabloid show trials . . . now we’re gonna have another OJ Simpson trial in New York.”

Williams argued, “You mistake the magnitude of the crime that was committed here and what it said about America and what it said about American values, and this is a restatement of American values . . . .”

Wallace gave Cheney the final word: “It is completely inappropriate and dangerous to keep calling it a crime. It wasn’t a crime. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is not a criminal. He is an enemy combatant . . . and this was a terrorist attack, they declared war on America . . . If your enemy is waging war against you and all you’re doing is issuing indictments you’re gonna lose the war . . . .”

Oh, Liz, don’t you just hate those pesky little indictments which indicate someone committed a crime in the United States and they should be punished within the justice system of the United States? Don’t you just bemoan that pesky Constitution, which dictates that everyone has a right to a fair trial? Don’t you just want to waterboard those pesky human rights people who believe that torture just ain’t cool?

As reported by AlterNet, “’The Obama administration recognized that a trial of this historic importance belongs in a fair and time-tested justice system’ said Joanne Mariner, Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program director at Human Rights Watch. ‘The military commissions at Guantanamo are simply not up to the task.’ Unlike the deeply flawed military commission proceedings, the federal civilian courts can give the defendants a fair and credible trial, one that will be recognized as such internationally. Their use will also send a clear message that terrorists are criminals rather than soldiers in an armed conflict.”

Liz Cheney, with that twisted sort of Electra complex toward Daddy Dick, his defender against all detractors, has a vested interest in viewing a terrorist suspect as an “enemy combatant.” See, in her mind, in defense of Daddy, all’s fair in love and war; to the contrary, all, i.e., torture and all the fun stuff, is not fair game where the criminal justice system is concerned. Pesky little laws and the Constitution of the United States applies there. Little Ms. Cheney seems to want to skip the whole due process thing and go right to the execution part.

As with her father, “human rights” is an alien concept to someone like Liz Cheney who barely qualifies as human.