Fort Dix Fallout

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A jury has convicted five men of conspiracy to murder but acquitted them of attempted murder in the Fort Dix terrorism trial. Karen Greenberg, executive director of the NYU Center on Law and Security, looks at the implications of the Fort Dix verdict. And Jim Sues, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, gauges Muslim-American response to the convictions.


Karen Greenberg and Jim Sues

Comments [20]

paul from Jersey

I listened very carefully to this broadcast, especially to the parts about how the "informant" in this and other cases was gently guiding the defandants and entrapping them.
Lets be real here people, pick anywhere in America,walk up to anybody, (including good and decent muslims) and try to coerce them into being part of a terrorist plot to kill americans.
IMHO 99.9% of the people you will speak with will report YOU to the authorities.
These 5 guys that will spend the rest of eternity in jail were originally pursued because of beliefs that only extremists have and deserve exactly what they got.
Additionally, has anybody out there actually been to Fort Dix Lately?
Upon arrival, it is readily apparent that we are at war and that all the soldiers on base are armed and ready to react.
5 guys with automatic weapons would be met with the same greeting as if it were in Iraq. This would be like kicking a giant Hornets nest! What were they thinking?

Dec. 25 2008 10:22 AM
sheldon (Shelly) Ostro from New york City

From all the information that I have heard, this seems to be a bunch of jerks who were induced to come up with a hair-brained scheme that mostly existed in their dopey minds.

It seems that this case arises from hysteria primed by the Bush administration.

Dec. 23 2008 02:17 PM
Henry from Katonah

The problem with commenting is that one can react to a guest's attitude and pose an off the top-of-one's-head question. Or if someone makes a thoughtful comment, it does not always fit into the current situation or discussion.
I was trying to bring up the question of what a jury of peers is. The all white juries convicting blacks at at higher rate was on my mind. As was my own experience of not being selected for a jury in a Brooklyn criminal case either because I admitted that I had been mugged once or because I worked at a corporate law firm. So I have never served on a jury. I am sure they take their responsibilities seriously, but everyone enters the jury room with their own set of experiences. Would a gun owner who likes target practice have affected the verdict? Should that person be kept off a jury?
If not all the convicted participated in the attempted gun purchase or the military base surveillence, did they all get convicted of the same crime?
I will read the newspaper account more closely than I otherwise would have. It was a good discussion, on air and on this page.

Dec. 23 2008 11:07 AM
Max from East Village

What about negotiating down your current lease? Do you think a landlord would consider coming down to the previous year's rent, rather than risk losing good tenants, or is that just crazy talk...

Dec. 23 2008 10:57 AM
samir from Bay Ridge

I'll take the Justice Department any day over bin Laden groupies anyday.

I guess whenever Muslims are on trial we'll hear whining about entrapment and how bad our gov. is...

Dec. 23 2008 10:38 AM
Bob from New Jersey

Vow Samir! you must have been on that jury!

Dec. 23 2008 10:35 AM

Leo if that's what happened in this case -- all Arab and Muslim prospective jurors being separated from the pool before the trial -- then I would find that repugnant and a major story and cause for mistrial. I am guessing this did not happen though.

Dec. 23 2008 10:34 AM
Leo from Queens

Patriot - Unfortunately lawyers always screen prospective jurors and courts usually go along with it.

Dec. 23 2008 10:32 AM

Leo --(Personally I found the comment slightly offensive to Arabs and Muslims, since it implies that they would cut defendants a break just b/c of their religion or ethnicity, thereby questioning their partiality. Most people who have ever served on a jury, in my opinion, are blown away by how fair and thoughtful and patriotic their fellow citizens actually are when serving on a jury).

Dec. 23 2008 10:31 AM
Leo from Queens

your guest's comments on the manipulation of jurors by the 'emotional' evidence and misinformation they hear from the media is right on!!!. This is a major problem for these individuals to get a fair trial

Dec. 23 2008 10:30 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Who believes in the Justice Department anymore?

Dec. 23 2008 10:27 AM

True enough Leo -- assuming Arabs and Muslims living in the US are responding to their jury questionnaires then this issue is already covered.

Dec. 23 2008 10:27 AM
SteverR from Manhattan

It's good news. These guys are behind bars.

Dec. 23 2008 10:27 AM

"Just say no" when someone tries to get you to buy an AK47.

Er, thanks for stating the obvious Brian!

Dec. 23 2008 10:25 AM
Leo from Queens

adsf - I think Henry was thinking of being tried by a 'jury of your peers'. WOuld be good if there were SOME Arabs or Muslims in the Jury.

In the South ALL blacks put on trial would always be convicted of the most serious charges because the juries were ALWAYS White.

Dec. 23 2008 10:24 AM
samir from Bay Ridge

hey should serve their prison sentences here, in the country they apparently came to loathe after spending much of their formative years growing up in South Jersey. It will be only fitting for them to spend decades in prison in this country with all the time in the world to think about what they've done and with no means whatsoever to attack this country.

And, if decades from now some or all of them are ever paroled from prison, they should be deported and never allowed back.

These five men and their conviction serves as a reminder, seven years after 9/11, that there is still a very real threat posed by extremists who twist the Muslim faith to justify their appetite for death and their bleak world view in which the United States is evil and must be destroyed.

Since 9/11, there have been one or more terrorist plots to attack the United States foiled by authorities. Among them were: shoe-bomber Richard Reid who tried to blow up a plane in December of 2001, Jose Padilla who plotted a "dirty bomb" attack in 2002, the Lackawanna Six from upstate New York who attended terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Iyman Faris who wanted to collapse the Brooklyn Bridge. There have been at least two dozen others accused -- some already convicted -- of various plots to attack airports, train tunnels, synagogues and other facilities.

Thankfully, the FBI, police and other authorities have worked diligently and stopped all of these plots, including the Fort Dix conspiracy, which would have had the five plotters bringing automatic weapons onto the military base and opening fire on anyone in their path.

Dec. 23 2008 10:22 AM

Henry -- even in Somalia your thinking wouldn't fly. THis isn't a mosque it's a country.

Dec. 23 2008 10:19 AM
Leo from Queens

I don't have enough information to know if the charges and conviction against these men were justified.

But the conviction in this case does show that our current laws and judicial system are good enough to tackle the threat of terrorism. This undermines the view of the Bush administration and radical conservatives to create a separate, illegal 'judicial' system to address 'terrorists'. It clearly demonstrates that this administration does not believe in our constitution and our laws. Even though we have had jurors before and after 9/11, from anti-american, terrorist-loving, liberal states such as NY and NJ convict ALL people charged with terrorism.

Dec. 23 2008 10:17 AM
Hugh from Crown Heights

As I understand it, two of the defendants had little if any tangible connection but more of an associate of an associate connection.

Despite the comments of Karen Greenberg (whose comments seem right), my overwhelming impression is that the anti-Arab racism in the US is so great that no Arab or Muslim has much of a hope in an American court.

Dec. 23 2008 10:14 AM
Henry from Katonah

I would be ok with this verdict if there were Muslim- or Arab- Americans on the jury.
Any reports on that issue?

Dec. 23 2008 10:11 AM

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