November 13, 2009

Cruickshank: Put Bin Laden on Trial

Posted: 07:11 PM ET

Editor's note: Paul Cruickshank, a Fellow at the NYU Center on Law and Security, regularly contributes to CNN's coverage of al Qaeda terrorism.  He will be a guest on tonight's LKL.

osamaNew York (CNN) - The announcement that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men accused of the 9/11 attacks will soon be moved to New York to face trial in a federal court will be welcomed by some Americans as finally starting the process of bringing the perpetrators of these attacks to justice.

To date, not one person has been convicted for the attacks. But it also will be a reminder that their boss, the man most responsible for killing 3,000 civilians - the majority of them Americans but many from all around the world - is still at large.

President Obama has stated that it is vitally important for the country to put some of the controversial policies of the last eight years behind it. While the forthcoming trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and several figures allegedly involved in plotting the 9/11 attacks in New York will be helpful, nothing would help more than if Osama bin Laden were captured, afforded full due process and put on trial.

It would be nothing short of a watershed moment, doing much to restore the public's confidence in American institutions and the rule of law after years of being told that they were too quaint for the challenges of a new era. And it would go a long way, too, in restoring the moral high ground for the United States in the court of global opinion.

An indictment dating back to 1998 awaits al Qaeda's leader in the Southern District Federal Court of New York, which can be easily updated by a grand jury to include his crimes since. This is where Mohammed and four others accused of the 9/11 attacks are also expected to be tried.

Less than a mile from ground zero, there could be no more appropriate place to try bin Laden. There is virtually no chance that bin Laden would walk free from a U.S. courtroom as there are at least three separate video recordings of him acknowledging responsibility for the 9/11 attacks.


Filed under: al Qaeda • Osama bin Laden

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A. Smith   November 13th, 2009 7:28 pm ET

When it is routine to indict a Ham Sandwich thru a Grand Jury, it is entirely moronic and absurd to have lost so many brave American men and women in combat in Afghanistan and NOT have any criminal charges already filed against Osama bin Laden.

Only a complete moron like Bush jr. or his pet teddy bear, Dick Cheney would omit that area of legality.

A. Smith

Helen Walker   November 13th, 2009 11:14 pm ET

Sarah Palin is a good person who truly believes in what she says and stands by it. She is not a phony like most polititian, I think that might be what people like about her. Cathy Courier's goal was to destroy her during the interview, make her look stupid and no one likes that.

ForAllTime   November 14th, 2009 9:01 am ET

You guys really believe that this guy is still alive?

Dodie ~ California   November 15th, 2009 12:24 am ET

Helen Walker

It does not take much to make Sarah Palin look stupid. She has a habit of doing that every time she opens her mouth.....Sarah needs to learn .....
............................A closed mouth gathers no foot.........................

cristinalaird   November 15th, 2009 6:40 am ET

C´mon guys. Capture Bin Laden? You mean find his body.
We all know he's dead. He has never turned up REALLY. after the attacks in Tora-Bora and he must be buried somewhere there.
why hasn't anybody looked for it around there. Have they?
In whose interest REALLY is to keep him alive?
Why doesn't anybody address this issue.
Why hasn't anybody gone on TV and say he's dead, and see what the others side do? How are they going to produce evidence of him being alive? Obviously he's not.
If the American Gov. know he's dead, why don't they say so?
REALLY, Are we all stupid or there is an obvious interest in keeping him alive?

John   November 15th, 2009 12:44 pm ET

How will the jury be selected? And what will the government do if Bin Laden issues a statement that anyone proposing to sit in judgement of these men will be targeted for death??! Are they prepared to protect them indefinitely, and are the jurors prepared to change identity if necessary to protect themselves and thier families? Not a job I would want.

A. Smith, Oregon   November 15th, 2009 6:48 pm ET

I found it entirely revealing when shortly after the 9/11 attacks took place the very first person to publicly address the ongoing situation from the White House administration was then Secretary of State Powell.

Presumably, both Bush jr. and Cheney were cowards and went immediately to underground bunkers inside nearby Mt. Weather or some other lavish deep mountain retreat.

Powell stated, 'We already know who was behind the attacks and have been watching them for years'. It was AL Qi-ehh-daa. Powell badly mangled the pronunciation of al Qaeda which at least to me indicated he had no clue as to prior knowledge and had only just received a summary brief on that organization.

The News Media has never asked if Osama bin Laden was ever on the CIA payroll when he was actively fighting the Russian Army in Afghanistan in the 1980's. WHY IS THAT?

The Pubic has the right to know if the CIA had previously worked with Osama bin Laden and had him on their payroll.

Dodie ~ California   November 16th, 2009 12:29 am ET

A. Smith

Laughing, I completely agree. This is what I found from the 9/11 commission report:
“The 9/11 Commission found that, from the White House situation room, Cheney warned the president that a 'specific threat' had targeted Air Force One, prompting Bush to spend the day hiding in the bunker at Offut Air Force Base in Nebraska. There was no specific threat. In Bush's absence, Cheney, implying an authorizing telephone call from the president, took command of the nation's response to the crisis. There was no authorizing telephone call.”

The 9/11 Commission declined to make an issue of Cheney's usurpation of powers, but the record still shows it

Ted   November 16th, 2009 2:06 pm ET

Yes Paul C., by all means we should put him on trial.
So please pack your bag, get on the plane and fly to Afghanistan, find bin Laden, because the whole US. Army, the CIA and all other armies are looking for him since eight years and could not find him!
Once you found him invite him to come with you to New York for a friendly trial, I am sure he will be delighted!

AnnieRich   November 16th, 2009 3:19 pm ET

You do understand that in instances of attack such as 9/11, it is up to the military as to where and what the President and Vice President do. Bush and Cheney had to follow those orders.. You people are nuts. And you do understand also that there was a time when Clinton had the chance to take out Bin Laudin and didn't do it. There were how many bombings ie embassy, Cole, '93 WTC and Clinton did nothing which gave the green light for these guys to waltz in and take which is what they did. To bring them to the US is a slap in all of our faces. As far as I'm concerned, they can rot in Gitmo;

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