We must rise up against the trial: It’s time for 9/11 families to fight Holder’s dangerous move

My commentary appears in the New York Daily News this morning. Here it is; please take a few minutes to read it, join us if you can Saturday 12/5 at noon in Foley Square, and co-sign our letter to President Obama:

My brother was Charles (Chic) Burlingame, captain of American Airlines Flight 77, which was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

Now I am one of the organizers of a rally being held at noon this Saturday in Foley Square to stop President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and members of Congress from bringing sworn enemies of the United States into this country – from bringing war criminals captured on the battlefield, lawfully held as war detainees, into civilian court.

It doesn’t have to happen. We who are opposed to the decision must make ourselves perfectly clear to the powers that be that we will not tolerate this decision.

Two weeks ago, 300 family members of 9/11 victims sent a letter to the President telling him we adamantly oppose this dangerous and unnecessary act. The letter was never acknowledged. Then, one hour after the attorney general made his stunning announcement that unlawful foreign combatants would be tried as civilians, the number of signers to that letter jumped to 45,000. By the end of the day the number was 100,000. Our Internet server couldn’t handle the volume of Americans who had somehow found out about this letter and wished to stand with us.

The attorney general has suggested that those who oppose prosecuting these men here in New York City are afraid – that we somehow don’t have the courage to face Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in court.

How dare this man, who didn’t have the decency to notify victims’ families of his decision to bring these monsters here, imply that we lack courage. Courage is carrying on after watching your loved ones die, in real time, knowing that they burned to death, were crushed to death, or jumped from 100 flights high. Courage is carrying on, even as we waited, in some cases years, for something of our loved ones to bury. More than 1,100 families still wait.

How dare the attorney general suggest that the firefighters who oppose this trial need to “man up” and let this avowed enemy of America mock their brother firefighters in the country’s most magisterial setting, a federal court.

Let me refresh the attorney general on the meaning of courage. Courage was going into those buildings that day, knowing they might not come out alive. Courage was digging for nine months on hands and knees, breathing in toxic smoke, to find the ravaged remains of brother firefighters, police officers, citizen responders and office workers. This courage was not summoned from false bravado; it sprang from an abiding love of their fellow human beings and a sense of obligation to them, their families and their beloved country.

The attorney general has glibly, and most insensitively, called the perverse spectacle he wants to invite on this city and this nation, the “trial of the century.” Well, Mr. Attorney General, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has put you on notice. He’s going to give it to you. His trial will be lawyer-assisted jihad in the courtroom.

We understand that to the terrorists, jihad is more than spilling American blood, it is forcing us to change our lives, divert our limited resources. When we spend hundreds of millions of dollars on rooftop snipers, kevlar vests and armored vehicles, that’s jihad. When we barricade our buildings, lock down our streets, and close our transportation systems, that’s jihad. When we grant a confessed war criminal access to platinum due process, so that he can use it to rally his fellow terrorists to kill more of our citizens and target our military, that’s jihad.

Mr. Attorney General, this doesn’t have to happen. You have called the military commissions system “lawful, fair, and effective” and “consistent with our highest standards as a nation.” We agree. We think that is far more than these sworn enemies of America deserve.

——

Debra Burlingame is the co-founder of 9/11 Never Forget U.S.

  25 comments for “We must rise up against the trial: It’s time for 9/11 families to fight Holder’s dangerous move

  1. December 5, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I hope the protest went well today. So outraged by this abomination, that I produced a video. The video raises an aspect of this issue that is not being discussed in the media, nor even in these circles. I am a retired Army officer and Iraq war veteran.

    Editor –

    First, thanks for your service to our nation and commenting here.

    That said, I offer visitors a content warning: the You Tube video at the link contains news footage of the 9/11 attacks.

    I do not object to posting the link to it (9/11 continuously plays at some level in my memory) yet I’m not immune to the emotions the footage evokes or “conditioned” to it. The video itself offers a stark commentary; it visually and textually asks why Military Commissions are not good enough for war criminals.

  2. Paul Doersam
    December 4, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    In 1924 Adolph Hilter turned his trial for his aborted 1923 Munich “Beer Hall” Putsch into a propaganda triumph, lauching his political career and using his time in jail to write “Mein Kampf.” Attorney-General Holder has made a terrible decision that will provide KSM an unsurpassed world-wide platform from which to spew his vile jihadist hatred for America.

    This is completely unnecessary since there is no reason or precedent to try these enemy combatants captured overseas in American Federal Courts. As far back as 1780 George Washington hanged British Major John Andre as a spy after a military tribunal in Tappan, NY. After the Civil War, Major Henry Wirz, the commandant of the Andersonville Prison Camp, was tried by military tribunal. I believe that the only reason for this is a futile gesture to play to world opinion, not unexpected from an Administration that does not really believe in American exceptionalism or putting American interests first. After all, the President has proclaimed himself a “Citizen of the World.”

    On 9/11/01 I worked on the 40th floor of the Federal Building and witnessed first hand the horrific terrorist attack on the WTC. As a Federal official involved in assisting the survivors’ families, I saw the terrible list of the 343 heroic firefighters and the NYPD and NJNYPA police officers. To permit this show trial to take place here is despicable. And we all know how this will end, with more terrorist attacks on New York, whether in the subways or on buses or train lines, or a Major Hassan style shoot-out in the streets. This trial must be stopped, lives are at stake.

  3. Richard McAllister
    December 2, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Here’s an idea. The ACLU will undoubtedly want a change of venue claiming an inability to get a fair trial. Why not move the trial to Washington DC. Surely Obama, Holder, etc can guarantee a fair hearing, don’t you think.
    It wouldn’t take but a few minutes for every Democrat in DC to vote that down. Next stop—-Chicago!!!!!!!!

  4. December 2, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    AS A FATHER OF ONE WHO IS IN THE ARMY AND AS A VETERAN, I WAS WILLING TO GIVE OUR PRESIDENT OBAMA THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT AND Last night I finally heard the President OBAMA say the words “GOD BLESS THIS UNITED STATES” That was after HE told us how Wonderfully HE and HIS Plans for the future Was. How HIS Administration THAT KNOWS ALL AND SEE’S ALL, and how EVERYONE but HE THE GREAT OBAMA failed this country the BANKS, THE CORPORATIONS, THE PAST POLITICIANS, AND the Constitution of the U.S.

    IT TOOK OBAMA SEVERAL YEARS TO VOTE FOR ANY THING MORE THAN PRESENT, AND AFTER 11 MONTHS IN OFFICE HE FINALLY SAID A PRAYER TO A REAL GOD!! (Unless it was that he saw his OWN face in the teleprompter and the prayer was to him).

    I JUST WISH HE WOULD HAVE SAID THE U.S. PEOPLE ARE TO BE RESPECTED FOR ALL WE HAVE WON AND DONE IN THE PAST AND ALL WE WILL DO AND WIN IN THE FUTURE, DESPITE HIS ALL KNOWING BLAMELESS AND CONDESCENDING MANNER ANOTHER THOUGHT AS I READ THE PRESIDENT’S SPEECH FOR THE THIRD TIME. AFTER THE FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY ONE WORDS. HE MENTIONED HIMSELF IN THE FIRST PERSON AT LEAST 50 TIMES. IN THE LAST NINE WORDS HE MENTIONED GOD ONLY THREE TIMES. IT MAKES ME WONDER IF HE WAS TRYING TO CONVINCE HIMSELF. AT LEAST WE KNOW WHERE HIS PRIORITIES ARE

  5. David Zarmi
    December 2, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you for organizing this rally. It is probably too late for this one, but perhaps another one can be held on a Sunday so that Orthodox Jews can attend. They feel very passionately about Islamic terrorism and have come out in great numbers to other rallies in Manhattan. In another city it would not matter, but NYC has hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Jews. To ensure their attendance, you can contact Agudath Israel, the Orthodox Union, and Yeshiva University (all in Manhattan). Only Agudath Israel doesn’t have a website (for religious reasons). Its phone number is (212) 797-9000. That should run the gamut of Orthodox Jewish sects.

  6. L. Dietterick
    December 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Barack Obama and his Attorney General took an oath to preserve and defend the constitution. Giving the same constitutional rights to enemy combatants that are available to U.S. citizens cannot be considered preserving and defending our constitution by any reasonable person. The President in his May 2009 National Archives speech stated, “…detainees who violate the laws of war…are therefore best tried through military commissions.” He went on to say that military commissions “…allow for the protection of sensitive sources and methods of intelligence-gathering …and for the presentation of evidence gathered from the battlefield that cannot always be effectively presented in federal courts.”

  7. Earl Carlyss
    December 2, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Obama and Holder are despicable! May God help us turn this around.

  8. Alan S. Freemond, Sr
    December 2, 2009 at 9:22 am

    1. Holder is outrageous, one wonders what goes on in his mind. Keep these prisoners at Gitmo. Are we trying to impress the Mullahs, Chavez, Morales, the Castros and the Arab Street that we are good people?

    2. Let’s keep Gitmo open, it is an ideal place for these jehadists.

    Miss B. It’s great work that you are doing.

  9. Rosemarie Osterndorf
    December 2, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Holder should never have been confirmed as Attorney General. Much had been written about his role in Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich, but scant attention was paid to his part in the pardon of the 16 FALN Puerto Rican terrorists over the objections of the FBI, the prosecuting US Attorneys, and the injured NYPD officers. He was senior partner at Washington, D.C. law firm Covington & Burling which represents many GITMO detainees. Obama can’t bring himself to use the phrase “war on terror” and people are surprised he is allowing these monsters a platform to continue their jihad. These two are more interested in putting the Bush Administration on trial for war crimes than protecting the nation or justice. As for Holder’s description of “the trial of the century,” the murder trial of O.J. Simpson was described as the trial of the century, and we all know how that turned out.

  10. clinton & virginia fox
    December 1, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I hope you can find it in your heart to do the right thing and have the trials where they belong in the military courts.

  11. ann
    December 1, 2009 at 7:25 am

    My heart hurts for the victims and families of everyone from 911 and for the countrymen like me who love them and support them 100%. This act by Holder and Obama is the single most disgusting act by a president and attorney general against their own country. If this does not indicate where their allegiance lies nothing will. It is not with the U.S. and it’s people. NO WAY!!!!

  12. Jennie
    November 30, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    What Obama and Holder are doing defies common sense and human decency. They are treasonous and un-American in their actions and words. Not only are they putting Bush on trial but putting the American people on trial and insulting us by minimizing 9/11 and claiming the US overreacted by doing things like creating Gitmo. Also, to put Bush on trial would be to put the US on trial as he represented us and, I believe, did what he believed was best for this nation. So to put him on trial would be a grave mistake and diminish the greatness of this nation and the office of the presidency. Aside from the politics, my thoughts go to all those who lost people in 9/11 and have to endure this nonsense. This is pouring salt on open wounds. Keep putting pressure on the flim-flam Administration.

  13. John R. Botifoll
    November 30, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    I JUST FISNSHED READING ABOUT THE TERRORISTS IN RUSSIA, THAT IN DEFIANCE OF THE RUSSIAN
    COURTS GIVING THE TERRORISTS, THE RIGHT TO APPEAR IN COURT AND MADE SUBJECTS OF A TRIAL
    THEIR TERRORISTS ORGANIZATIONS CONDUCTED AN ASSAULT ON A NEARBY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TO DEMAND
    BY HOLDING THE CHILDREN HOSTAGES, THE RELEASE OF THOSE BEING TRIED. MANY CHILDREN DIED AS
    THE RESULTS OF SUCH A CRIME. NYC TRIALS OF THE TERRORISTS HELD AT “GITMO” IN CUBA, COULD
    BRING ABOUT SUCH EVIL ON THE CITIZENS OF NEW YORK CITY AND THE USA. ERIC HOLDER AND OBAMA
    ARE LIKE TWO PEAS IN A POD.
    .

  14. Linda Rivera
    November 30, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Why are Ohio authorities acting as if America is a Muslim country???

    Rifqa Bary: Sharia in America
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG0-VVCuGdo

    Editor — While I appreciate the comments, this one was a bit long so I shortened it. If you have a web site, perhaps you could point that out in the URL box.

  15. Linda Rivera
    November 30, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    We will never forget that thousands of Palestinian Authority Muslims Celebrated the Murder of 3,000 Innocents 9/11

    Thousands of Palestinians again celebrate attacks, videotape suppressed
    By Ellis Shuman and israelinsider staff September 16, 2001

    On Friday and Saturday, thousands of Palestinians again paraded through cities in the West Bank and Gaza, celebrating the attacks on the United States.

    “Jubilant Palestinians took to the streets of refugee camps of Lebanon and the West Bank, waving Palestinian flags and distributing sweets to celebrate the attacks. … “Palestinian policemen celebrating and shooting into the air, in addition to civilians dancing,” …Arab students at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem held a party Tuesday night celebrating the attacks and giving out candy to participants.

    And we will never forget that every time Jewish men, women and children are murdered by Muslim human bomb killers, thousands of Palestinian Authority Muslims celebrate in the streets.

    Editor — We remember, Linda.

  16. Linda Rivera
    November 30, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    We will NEVER forget our 3,000 fellow Americans murdered without mercy. The Islamo Fascist killers did not win that day! Our American heroes won – firemen and policemen who willingly gave their lives to save innocents. And acts of bravery we will never know about, but recorded in heaven. America shone that day through her heroes.

    I am very disappointed to discover the protest will be held at Foley Square. Most unfortunately, the public will not see this protest. The area is very quiet with few people.

    I had thought the protest would be held in a highly public place for maximum exposure – Times Square. This is where Muslims hold huge rallies to condemn tiny, global jihad-embattled Israel – viciously condemned for self defense after suffering thousands of rocket attacks from Gaza. The Muslims make sure their demonstrations get maximum exposure. They also speak/shout through their loudspeakers so obnoxiously loud they are heard for blocks away.

    Is it possible to change the location to Times Square or even, Union Square?

    Editor — They won’t be prosecuted in Times Square; they will be prosecuted right there, in the federal courthouse facing Foley Square.

  17. Cactus Jim
    November 30, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    I can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys any more. Everybody’s carrying the Flag, but you can’t tell from one moment to the next weather they’ll wave it or burn it!

    Editor — Jim: When in doubt, look for those who have fought for it and with whom they stand.

  18. Margaret Pothier
    November 29, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    It is a travesty that a US civilian trial of these self-confessed murderers and enemies of the United States is even considered by the by the Obama administration. Recall that President Obama took an oath “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” When becoming a citizen of the US one takes the oath “to defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign or domestic.” What we have here are domestic and foreign enemies of our Constitution. It is shameful. I witnessed the Moussaoui trial where this individual used our US justice system to denigrate our country and to promote jihad. Let us not make this mistake again. Domestic enemies of the Constitution are more dangerous than the foreign enemies of our country.

  19. Mickey Shea
    November 29, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    You elected him President and along with that comes his liberal allies and of course the Attorney General. You sow what you reap, it is too late now it will not change. Remember this in 2012.

    Editor — With due respect, our troops could use a little more support than merely blaming this on the yous you are referring to and you, me, and us all sitting on our rears until the next election. (BTW: at least 5 of the 19 hijackers were registered to vote and 9/11 was Primary Day in NYC.)

    Throughout the history of our great nation, people have exercised their right to peaceably redress grievances with government at all levels.

    That is what we are doing here; online, in the court of public opinion, in the media, and at noon on December 5 in Foley Square, we are assembling to state our grievance to the duly elected.

  20. Vincent Lyons
    November 29, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I agree with you and. I feel that the AG is also trying to make himself and his office more important than it is and this is a great way to keep his name and that of his office in the spotlight. (It doesn’t matter what they’re saying as long as they know your name.). To allow the scum on trial to spout their terrorist, (not jihadist) babbling for all to hear, (the media will assiduously report all their propaganda), while costing NYC a small fortune it can ill afford, is unconscionable. But, why am I not surprised? Welcome to the change!

  21. TD
    November 29, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Obama has no concept of courage. He only wants to destroy America and is taking the coward’s way of hiding behind others who do his bidding. He does not have enough courage to admit his true convictions.

  22. Joe Connor
    November 29, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Debra,

    We are with you and Andy. We’ve seen too much of Holder and Obama playing Russian Roulette with terrorists (Holder being the architect of the 1999 FALN terror clemencies for Bill Clinton) putting us, those they’ve sworn to protect, and our society in jeopardy. I saw with my own eyes from my Wall St. office that day the horror these savages inflicted. I lost my cousin Steve Schlag only blocks from where my father Frank Connor was killed by the FALN in 1975 at Fraunces Tavern. Now Holder would not only release those that killed my father, but those who killed Steve, his God son. What has become of us? What will become of us if our own government is not stopped? Frank Connor would not recognize his beloved country.

  23. Thomas Hart
    November 29, 2009 at 9:40 am

    When you have a President and administration that so hates America, it is easy to understand why. This is so wrong, on so many levels. There is NO justification for trying terrorists who declared War on the U.S. in civilian courts. They are War criminals and should be tried in Military Tribunals.

  24. November 29, 2009 at 9:25 am

    It is a despicable turn of events, that we as a people have to defend ourselves against our own president and Attorney General, that they have become advocates for those who would kill us, both at home and in Afghanistan.

    They care little about the law, or the people it is written to protect, only about their own self serving agenda.

    As that great jurist Law and Order (when the show was good) jurist Adam Schiff once said in reference to a similar power play by the NY governor to take a case away from the rightful jurisdiction for political reasons, and I’m paraphrasing, “This smacks of royalty and I don’t think our system of justice can survive it”.

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