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No Trial Does Not Mean No Justice

Now that the initial euphoria over the killing of Osama bin Laden has passed, everybody from sincere human rights activists to inveterate enemies of the United States is raising a cry of indignation over the fact that he did not receive a trial. “Who proved his guilt?” they ask. They admit that bin Laden might really have had blood on his hands, but they contend that we will never know for sure without proper court proceedings.

I have a question to those people: Where is it written that a public trial is the final arbiter of truth? Soviet leader Josef Stalin died without standing trial for his crimes. Does that mean we cannot call him what he was — a tyrant and a mass murderer?

And don’t forget that there have been incriminating trials already. One was against Zacarias Moussaoui in 2006. On July 31 of that year, the U.S. government posted 1,202 pieces of evidence (except for seven that were classified) presented by the prosecution and defense in that case.

Have any of those misguided souls who claim that bin Laden was a CIA agent or that someone else blew up the twin towers ever cited or tried to disprove these materials that have been posted in the public domain? On Feb. 1, 2008, the U.S. government brought charges against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the organizers of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and against four of his accomplices. Do those who demand a trial for bin Laden ever stop to consider the substantial body of evidence against al-Qaida and its operatives that has already been presented in law courts?

These are no idle questions either. The indictment against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed contains very specific and verifiable charges. In particular, they state that: “Between November 1999 and February 2000, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Mohamed Atta (AA #11), Marwan al-Shehhi (UA #175), and Ziad Jarrah (UA #93) traveled from Hamburg, Germany, to Qandahar, Afghanistan, to attend an al-Qaida training camp.”

The charges also state that: “Between, in, or about July 2000 and in or about December 2000, Mohamed Atta (AA #11) and Marwan al-Shehhi (UA #175) attended flight training classes at Huffman Aviation in Venice, Florida.”

“On or about Nov. 5, 2000, Mohamed Atta (AA #11) ordered flight deck videos for the Boeing 747 Model 200 and the Boeing 757 Model 200, as well as other items from Sporty’s Pilot Shop in Batavia, Ohio.”

“On or about Sept. 4, 2001, Mohamed Atta (AA #11) sent a Federal Express package containing Fayez Banihammad’s (UA #175) ATM card and a blank check to Mustafa al-Hawsawi’s Post Office Box (#19738) in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Mustafa al-Hawsawi collected the package on or about Sept. 8, 2001.”

Why don’t these seekers after truth at least corroborate or deny the facts that have been presented? Let them put it in writing that: “Mohammed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Waleed al-Shehri, Fayez Banihammad, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar did not return unspent money to al-Qaida representatives prior to Sept. 11, 2001.” Or else, let them write: “Yes, they did send that money, but it was a coincidence.”

If they could prove that any of the above charges were lies, they would succeed in discrediting the entire U.S. justice system. In fact nobody — not radical Islamists who claim that the CIA blew up the twin towers to justify a war against Islam, or liberal whackos who contend the same thing — have ever challenged these very specific allegations. What’s more, they avoid even mentioning that such charges were ever filed, or that proof of wrongdoing has already been irrefutably established.

Yulia Latynina hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio.

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