Somali Terrorist Brought to New York City for Civilian Trial

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In a move that is sure to revive the controversy over trying dangerous terrorists on U.S. soil, the Obama administration brought a Somali man, captured in transit between Yemen and Somalia in the Gulf of Aden, to New York City to stand trial in a federal court on terrorism charges.

Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, portrayed by some in government as a “senior operational commander” of the Somali terrorist group al-Shabbab, has been indicted on nine counts of conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists. Warsame had significant ties to both Shabbab as well as the Yemeni group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), having helped train terrorists in Yemen and plan attacks in Somalia. It is believed he was a major conduit between the two al-Qaeda affiliates and was in a position to harbor vast amounts of intelligence that would be helpful in heading off the increasing danger to the United States both organizations represent. Significantly, he was not accused of targeting America or American interests.

The case is seen as a test of President Obama’s new policy regarding foreign terrorists captured overseas. It is a policy, as the Washington Post suggests, that “splits the difference” between holding a terrorism suspect indefinitely, and trying him using a military tribunal, and solely using the federal courts to adjudicate the case.

Warsame’s capture on April 19th of this year was followed by two months incarceration aboard a US Navy warship where he was first interrogated by intelligence professionals in accordance with the Army Field Manual (revised to prohibit waterboarding and some other “stress techniques”) and the Geneva Convention.

Reports suggest that Warsame was very cooperative and provided the CIA with valuable information — some of which might have been actionable. He was not read his rights or given an opportunity to talk to a lawyer, although the Red Cross was informed of his capture and he was allowed to meet with representatives of the group.

Following a break of a few days, FBI interrogators began questioning Warsame with the specific intent of gleaning evidence for his trial. Every day the FBI questioned Warsame the terrorist was read his Miranda rights and legal representation was offered. Each day, he waived those rights and continued to cooperate with the FBI.

Obama’s new policy seeks to avoid the “tainted fruit” charges made by defense attorneys for terrorists who argued that some evidence used in court or offered during the military tribunals was the result of interrogations where the suspect was not apprised of his rights, or illegal methods were used to obtain the evidence.

This was the major problem during the 2010 trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, charged with more than 280 counts of murder and conspiracy in the bombing of our embassies in Africa in 1998. A pre-trial ruling by the judge denied the prosecution the testimony of a key witness who sold the explosives to Ghailiani, because the government learned of the sale when interrogating the witness at Guantanamo. Ghailiani was acquitted of all but one charge of conspiracy to destroy government property.

There were many who argued at the time that Ghailiani had no business being tried in a civilian court anyway, and that a military tribunal would have worked much better at bringing him to justice. Whether or not that supposition is true, it is a fact that Ghailiani was sentenced to life in prison without parole and is currently incarcerated at the “Supermax” detention facility in Colorado, along with other participants in the embassy bombings. His fate was ultimately no different than if he had been tried at Guantanamo, which raises serious questions about the efficacy of civilian trials in the first place.

But by keeping Warsame’s interrogations separate, with a clear wall between the CIA’s national security interrogations and the FBI’s efforts to gather evidence for trial, the administration is hoping to avoid the problems that emerged in the Ghailiani case, and that they can satisfy critics who worry that placing a terrorist in the court system is a wasted opportunity to glean significant intelligence from suspects. They also hope to satisfy their own supporters who believe Guantanamo should be closed and all terrorism suspects tried in federal court.

Judging by the reaction from both sides to Warsame’s indictment, it appears that the administration has failed to convince anybody that their new policy is the answer.

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  • Dispozovdaburka

    Obama at the helm-

    All part of the planned jihad against the West.

    Taxpayers having to pay for attorney fees, protection, housing, etc, etc.etc.

    All part of destroying the US from within.

  • JosephWiess

    Um…He's not an american citizen, he doesn't have american rights. He should be tried according to international law, or the law of the countries he's working in.
    By giving a non-citizen citizen's rights, you've set a bad precedent, and you'll bog down the courts in lengthy money costing suits that are stupid.
    He is an enemy combatant, he should be tried by a military tribunal, and if found guilty, shot in the back of the head.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    That is a heavy price to pay for trying to get the rest of the world to like us.

    While the self-hating Left and likewise self-hating Ron Paul anarcho-kook acolytes are literally obsessed with what the rest of the world thinks of us and believes the 9/11 terrorist attacks was America’s chickens coming home to roost, the truth is the Islamic world hates us and constantly incites hatred and violence against us and all unbelievers around the world incessantly not because of what we do or do not do, but because the Islamic world is obligated to maintain nothing but enmity in their hearts for unbelievers. Hence, the constant incitement to hatred and violence that takes place incessantly everyday throughout the Islamic world is a manifestation of Islam and has exactly nothing whatsoever to do with what we do or do not do.

    On top of that the delusional Euroloons, the pissant Canadians, and others as well since they are unbelievers, as for as Islam is concerned, are also victims of the same incessant incitement to hatred and violence that constantly takes place against them as well. However, because they are delusional and largely dominated by a leftist mindset, they blame America for the Islamic world’s constant incitement to hatred and violence that takes place against them as well, not because of what we do or do not do or what they do or do not do, but instead because they are unbelievers too. Not only that but they are also very envious of Americas power, prestige, and hegemony as well.

  • jacob

    It will pay to remember that Mr. HOLDER was JANET RENO's (Clinton's Attorney General) sidekick in the infamous returning of the boy ELIAN to Fidel Castro…

    Now tell me birds of a feather do not flock together…..

    By the way, when JANET RENO ran for Florida's governorship, I wonder whether
    even her own family gave her their vote…..

  • Andres de Alamaya

    Weep, America, hang your head in shame for having brought into the White House the biggest enemy America has ever had.

  • tagalog

    There's always "shot while trying to escape."

  • BS77

    Here it is , ten years since the 9/11 attacks….and KSM is still eating pizza and ice cream at Guantanamo….watching TV, playing checkers or whatever…..I just can't believe this is justice.

  • StephenD

    Why should this Somali, non-uniformed combatant be afforded ANY "rights?" He has the right to a bullet in the face. He should be, after interrogation, escorted to the edge of his paradise with waiting virgins and then shoved into eternity. My hope is he gets there and finds his virgins are camels!

  • Rifleman

    We’ll either divulge secrets that will aid aq in this illegal combatant’s civilian trial, he’ll walk, or both.

    Elevating terrorists to a legal status above US military personnel is natural for these lifelong commies, since they can no longer get away with literally spitting on US Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen, they do it in ways like this. Our guys get a military tribunal, their terrorists get civilian trials.

    • charandcoop

      I hope your 2nd paragraph is brought up in 2012 campaigning. I have always stated that BHO doesn't have respect for our soldiers. That is why Michelle and Biden's wife are working with military families. BHO is campaigning for their votes (if they get the ballots overseas) but I hope they don't fall for his deceits.

  • Asher

    They will try to use our court system aginst us.

  • Lex 40

    The only why that " We the people…." can show our displeasure is to vote all of these folks out of office in the next presidential election. Don't scream and yell, get out and vote on Election Day !

  • Raymond in DC

    He was captured at sea and initially interrogated at sea. If he'd been subject to a military tribunal at sea, executed at sea, and dumped at sea (sharks gotta' eat too), that would've worked for me.

    But no, our Dear Leaders insisted on a civilian trial. In New York of all places. I wonder how many millions that's going to cost. (Just consider the security requirements.)

  • Davidka

    I'm surprised no one has commented on a key reason B.O. is so big on civilian trials for Muslim terrorists (aside from imposing an immense burden on the judicial system).

    If Muslim terrorists are sentenced to execution, B.O., as Commander in Chief, would have to sign the death warrant. It goes against his background and principles, and perhaps against his religion, to allow the execution of a Muslim.

  • steven reeves

    the sad thing is our own soldiers are tried in military tribunals and the terrorists are given the full protection of the american constitution this means literally speaking that were giving them more constitutional rights that we afford to our own terrorists that 9-11 us more constitutional rights than american citizens get is ssadly what the whole political left is all about.

    • Fred Dawes

      all part of the plan listen to savage nation

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Obama brings this slug into America to stand trial, he is convicted of some capitol
    crime and set up for execution and Obama signs the order and bang one less
    bad guy and Obama uses this as a campaign ploy to show how tough and ready
    he is defending America. I wouldn't assume for a second Obama would game
    the electorate and have this guy killed but he just might, probably shoot the
    bum on the Capitor steps with live TV himself for a few votes. It is Obama's intent
    to show us wrong via Holder no matter what. The Congress knows he is in
    contempt of them, maybe it is the only thing we have in common with The One.

  • umustbkidding

    Oh no worries, I'm sure they gave him his Miranda rights first thing.

    Well, look at the bright side. He may be set free in NYC and act upon his convictions right then and there. Which would serve up liberals on a platter with their jugulars exposed.

    Then, rightly so the rest of the country would be in horror and put their foot down to stop the mental illness of allowing liberals the ability to control any kind of security efforts for this nation.

    Might due well to wise people up about what kind of judges we have sitting on the bench too.

    Point is, something has to go bust before we can put political correctness and mental illness in it's place.

  • effemall

    Call this another item on the growing list of his antics that will justify impeachment.

    I don't want to see him go simply defeated at the polls. He needs to be impeached, tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.

  • palidin 911

    Oh that's great. He probably walks.

  • sflbib

    "It is extremely unlikely that even if he is acquitted he will ever taste freedom again."

    If they are going to give him constitutional rights, they have to try him in the jurisdiction where he committed the crime. This case smacks at purposely violating his rights so he will be set free.

    Communists and Nazis had show trials for those with pre-determined guilty verdicts; we have them for pre-determined NOT guilty verdicts.

  • Zam

    In the United States, your basic Somali qualifies as a minority. Even if the Somali in question is a terrorist, it doesn't matter since Somali's qualify as a minority in the United States. This means both government and society in the United States have to be sensitive to the needs of the Somali's, and, give all Somali's anything and everything they want free of charge as well. Enter here the civilian trial of a Somali terrorist. Anything less than a civilian trial would greatly offend the Somali's and they would accuse government and society in the United States of being racist. Everybody but everybody knows that everybody but everybody runs for cover whenever the words "racism' and "racist" rear their ugly heads in the United States.

    • sflbib

      I forgot to add that after being set free, he will be given a tenured position at some Ivy League school.

  • JonR

    Bringing this terrorist into the United States to stand trial is an insult and an affront to the People of the United States. Make no mistake! This is an intentional insult and the middle finger to any and all of us who love this country by a Muslim president and the Amercan-hating left. May they get exactly what they deserve! No more, no less.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Rethinking this after reading other comments I conclude he will be eligible for
    citizenship, given instate college tuition, receive welfare benefits, SSI and
    possibly a scholarship to CUNY. The least he can expect is to be driving
    a NYC cab……………………………………………………..William