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Andrew C McCarthy: Willful Blindness – Memoir of the Jihad

Andrew C McCarthy III

Andrew C McCarthy III

Presented with the kind permission of Hoover Institution

June 30 2008: Andrew McCarthy is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York. He led the 1995 terrorism prosecution of “The Blind Sheikh”, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and 11 others, all of whom are now serving long sentences for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

Now a senior fellow for the Foundation of the Defense of Democracies and a contributing editor to National Review Online, McCarthy is the author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad.

“It is crucial to grasp…[the] Islamic notion of freedom, for it is the inverse of the Western conception.” From this central idea, McCarthy discusses the “chasm between the Islam of Western fantasy and the Islam that actually exists,” underscoring the fact that “jihadists are very adept at exploiting the freedoms that are available to them in Western democracies.”

Confronting Islamic extremism, how do we make our strategic behavior — the rules of war — conform to the “rule of law” that is essential in maintaining a free society?

Andrew C. McCarthy – For 18 years, Mr. McCarthy was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York where he led the terrorism prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a plot to bomb New York City landmarks. He served as the Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District’s satellite office and also supervised the Office’s Command Post near Ground Zero in New York City following the 9/11 attacks. Mr. McCarthy is the recipient of numerous awards including the Justice Department’s highest honors: the Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award and the Distinguished Service Award. In 2004, he served as a Special Assistant to Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

John Yoo: Executive Powers – from War to Waterboarding

John Yoo, American Enterprise Institute

John Yoo of American Enterprise Institute speaks with Peter Robinson of Hoover Institution

Presented with the kind permission of Hoover Institution

December 18 2009: John Yoo is a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

From 2001 to 2003, he served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department of President George W. Bush.

Professor Yoo is the author, most recently, of Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush.

Yoo, who played a significant role in developing a legal justification for the Bush administration’s policy in the War on Terror, reflects on the controversial legal and policy positions taken by the Bush administration on interrogating captured terrorists after 9/11.

Beginning with a discussion of the war powers of the executive branch, Yoo asserts, “Today’s conflict over presidential power does not truly arise over whether the authorities in question exist, but whether now is the right time to exercise them,” addressing the fundamental questions at the heart of the debate over “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

As a strictly legal matter, does water boarding amount to torture, as the current Justice Department regards it? And are we safer because the Bush administration made use of enhanced interrogation?

Finally, Yoo challenges the wisdom of the Obama administration’s decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a federal court in New York City.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed


On 13 November 2009 US Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Walid bin Attash, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi will all be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for trial. He also expressed confidence that an impartial jury would be found “to ensure a fair trial in New York.”

On 21 January 2010 all charges have been withdrawn in the military commissions against the five suspects in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks being held at Guantanamo Bay. The charges were dropped “without prejudice” – a procedural move that allows federal officials to transfer the men to trial in a civilian court and also leaves the door open, if necessary, to bring charges again in military commissions.

In February 2010 Fox News reported that the legal counsel of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and the legal counsel of several other captives, was halted without warning. The attorneys had made the trip to Guantanamo in the usual manner—a trip that requires advising authorities of the purpose of their trip.

However, upon their arrival in Guantanamo, they were informed they were no longer allowed to see their clients. They were told that letters to their clients, telling them that they had travelled to Cuba, to see them, could not be delivered, as they were no longer authorized to write to their clients. Camp authorities told them that since the charges against their clients had been dropped, while the Department of Justice figured out where to charge them, they no longer needed legal counsel. Camp authorities told them that, henceforward, all access to the captives had to be approved by Jay Johnson, the Department of Defense’s General Counsel. Fox reported that during earlier periods when the charges had been dropped the captives had still been allowed to see their attorneys. Fox claimed that questions they asked camp authorities lead to the captives’ access to their attorneys being restored.

On 1 February 2010 White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told CNN that “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is going to meet justice and he’s going to meet his maker. He will be brought to justice and he’s likely to be executed for the heinous crimes he committed”.

The White House spokesperson’s statement has been criticized as violating the principle of the presumption of innocence and has been characterized as egregious by an attorney of Guantanamo Bay detainees

FTV/Hoov: 12.18.09