By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
The Nidal Hasan trial is coming to a close. After the prosecution called 89 witnesses, Hasan, defending himself, called none, and on Wednesday, August 21st, stated three words: “The defense rests.” The judge said that if Hasan had taken the stand, she “would have ordered the jury to disregard any statements he would make to a religiously motivated attack.”
A troubled jihadist who had foresworn his oath to his country embarks on a shooting spree at Fort Hood, killing 13 and wounding 32, allegedly grinning while he guns down military personnel. A woman screams, “my baby, my baby, my baby!” before she dies. “I could see the blood, the crumpled uniforms I assumed were soldiers,” said one eyewitness of the incident.
For the if-it-bleeds-it-leads media, it seems awfully strange how silent the media have been about the story of Major Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter. Now, the Associated Press has dared to print that the motives of this killer—who has fully admitted to shooting the victims—are finally being explored during his trial.
“The prosecutors pursuing the death penalty against the Army psychiatrist accused in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage will soon begin trying to answer a difficult but key question: Why did Maj. Nidal Hasan attack his fellow soldiers in the worst mass shooting ever on a U.S. military base?” wrote authors Nomaan Merchant and Michael Graczyk in their piece, “Prosecutors getting to motive in Fort Hood trial.”
“Both sides offered a few hints so far.”
What about hints about the motives of the media? The coverage, in general, has been largely muted. While the American public was treated to every detail of the Trayvon Martin case, Hasan’s attempts to maintain his notoriety by leaking documents to the mainstream media have been treated with less enthusiasm than the hunt for racism was in George Zimmerman’s life. The first case has more substantiation; the accounts of Zimmerman’s supposed racism were proven to be false.
Hasan, who is representing himself at trial, has offered more than a hint about his jihadist outlook. “Hasan is said to have shouted the jihadist battle cry ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great) as he opened fire on his Army comrades,” writes William R. Hawkins for Family Security Matters. “But it was his earlier alleged claim that he thought of himself as a Muslim more than an American that is the real key.”
Hasan also sent a letter to Fox News exploring his views. Another letter, to the Killeen Daily Herald (KDH News), outlines his motive for the November 5, 2009 shootings: “I was defending my religion.”
“It is one thing for the United States to say ‘We don’t want Shariah (God’s) law to govern us’ but its [sic] not acceptable to have a foreign policy that tries to replace Shariah law for a more secular form of government,” the accused Fort Hood shooter wrote to KDH News.
“The rhetoric is nothing new to Hasan, who after years of silence suddenly announced in court he carried out the Fort Hood shooting to protect Mullah Mohammed Omar and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” reported KDH News. Members of al Qaeda currently swear allegiance to Mohammed Omar.
If anyone has any question about whether Hasan’s actions were premeditated, consider this: He has admitted to the killings, wants to die as a martyr, and even divested himself of most of his possessions immediately before the Fort Hood shooting. “On May 31, 2009, Hasan sent [al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula Anwar al-] Awlaki an email asking for the cleric’s views on suicide attacks. Hasan wrote [that] a suicide attack on the enemy on the eve of battle would be akin to a soldier jumping on a grenade to prevent the death of comrades,” reported KDH News. “Over seven months, he sent Awlaki 15 emails and messages.”
Hasan’s motives really aren’t being explored at trial—they’re being covered up by the actions of the judge. “A military judge blocked several key pieces of evidence Monday that prosecutors said would explain the mindset of the soldier accused in the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, including his belief that he had a ‘jihad duty’ to carry out the attack,” reported the Associated Press on August 19. “Prosecutors had asked the judge to approve several witnesses and various evidence to support what they allege motivated Maj. Nidal Hasan to kill 13 people and wound more than 30 others at the Texas military base. But the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, blocked nearly all of it.”
KDH News, which has proven to be an excellent resource of news about the trial, offered more details: “The presiding judge in Maj. Nidal Hasan’s court-martial ruled today the prosecution cannot use presentations Hasan created that may have shown sympathy toward Islamic extremism.” They added that “Judge Col. Tara Osborn ruled the presentations, authored while Hasan was in medical residency and in a fellowship years before the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting, were too far removed from the actual incident to be considered.”
As KDH News had earlier reported, Hasan authored a study known as “Grand Rounds,” the first draft of which “suggested revenge might be a motive for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and highlighted portions of the Quran he argued may justify the killing of non-Muslims.” And, he gave a presentation in August 2007 titled “Is the War on Terror a War on Islam: An Islamic Perspective?” that “theorized the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were wars against Islam and gave a hypothetical defense of Osama bin Laden.” Is it any surprise that the bipartisan Senate Report, “A Ticking Time Bomb,” concludes that “Evidence of Hasan’s radicalization to violent Islamist extremism was on full display to his superiors and colleagues during his military medical training?”
These are facts the judge considers irrelevant to the case, just as the Defense Department considers awarding Purple Hearts to the victims prejudicial, sending a message that the government has already decided Hasan’s guilt.
“Speciously, military prosecutors are arguing that granting Purple Heart awards to the wounded victims would somehow prejudice Major Hasan’s upcoming trial because it would be tantamount to a branch of the government rendering a judgment that he is a terrorist and therefore already criminally culpable,” wrote Andrew McCarthy. “If they are capable of shame, administration officials ought to be ashamed by this frivolous claim, which dishonors not only Hasan’s victims but also the military justice system itself.”
It’s hard to defend a case where the defendant so clearly wants to be found guilty and to receive the death penalty. “Standby defense lawyer Lieutenant Colonel Kris Poppe told the court on Wednesday he believed Hasan was actively seeking the death penalty and that the defense lawyers’ code of ethics prevented them from assisting,” reported Reuters on August 8. The judge, Col. Osborn, “denied a request by his standby defense lawyers to reduce their role,” reported Reuters.
Col. Osborn replaced Col. Gregory Gross, the prior judge, because it appeared the he was “biased against Hasan,” reported the Associated Press in April. “The court also tossed out Gross’ order to have Hasan’s beard forcibly shaved before his court-martial, though it didn’t rule on whether the order violated his religious rights as he claimed.” Osborn ruled Hasan’s beard a “voluntary choice.” NBC 5 Investigates outlined the sundry preferential treatment that Hasan has received since his arrest, including the fact that he has received nearly $300,000 in salary, since he hasn’t yet been convicted of anything.
Other evidence that Osborn won’t allow at trial has included three pages from his 2010 sanity board review that Hasan recently released to The New York Times. “He stated, ‘I don’t think what I did was wrong because it was for the greater cause of helping my Muslim brothers…I regret being paralyzed,’” according to the sanity board report, which can be read online. “…however if I died by lethal injection I would still be a martyr,” he said. “He denied having remorse for his actions.”
The judge has precluded the prosecution from using or reading the sanity board report. “You will not access, read or in any way review the full sanity report,” said the judge, according to the Houston Chronicle. “That goes for all members of the trial team.”
Now we learn this week that emails between Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaki aren’t to be included either. Some might doubt the judge’s sanity, not Hasan’s. But, as CNN reports, “A military judge on Monday excluded e-mails between an Army psychiatrist and a key member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula from being used in the psychiatrist’s death penalty case, evidence the prosecution contends goes to the heart of the motive of the shooting rampage at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead.”
“Investigations after the shooting rampage found Hasan had been communicating via e-mail with [the now-deceased] Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S. born cleric who officials say became a key member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” reported CNN. “Osborn ruled that the e-mails would have to be ‘redacted to prevent undue prejudice by association’ and would diminish its use as evidence.”
Ed Morrissey of Hot Air makes the point that these rulings by the judge “won’t hamper prosecutors at all, since Hasan admitted to the murders in his opening statement. The charges do not include terrorism, thanks to its lack of inclusion in the UCMJ, but the murder charges carry the death penalty anyway.”
Morrissey argues that “The real damage in this ruling is to the survivors and the families of the deceased. They want to pursue civil litigation against Hasan, and against the Obama administration’s designation of the attack as ‘workplace violence.’ Lawsuits will force the Department of Defense to answer for that decision, which keeps the dead and wounded from being recognized as victims of a terrorist attack. An attorney representing the families expressed his outrage yesterday, saying that the evidence of Hasan’s motives should have been allowed as they would in any first-degree murder trial.”
In reality, the cover-up has been going on since the day of this horrific attack. One person who testified to the carnage he saw during Hasan’s murderous attack was former private Lance Aviles. But back in 2010 Aviles was in the news for his testimony in an Article 32 hearing for Hasan where he was told to delete the video he took of the attack at Fort Hood on the very day of the shooting. He said he was ordered to do so by a non-commissioned officer on behalf of an officer.
In the real world, the Trayvon Martin case should have been a local crime story. A young Hispanic man unfortunately killed a young black man in self defense, as the police who investigated it determined. But after MSNBC and NBC got ahold of it and deliberately distorted it, they pretended this was the great civil rights story of our time, when it was no such thing. The rest of the media went along for the ride. Now, during a trial where the poisonous ideology of radical Islam is being exposed as not only waging war against the U.S., but throughout the world—against Christians, Jews and Muslims—the media have gone silent. They don’t want to be called Islamophobic, and they don’t want to make the non-jihadi adherents of Islam uncomfortable because of those who are killing in their name. The facts of this case demonstrate our unwillingness to acknowledge and confront this enemy of civilization. We wouldn’t do it when red flags were raised about Dr. Nidal Hasan, the military psychiatrist. And we won’t allow or acknowledge the overwhelming, self-described evidence put out there by Hasan himself, who wants to rub it in our faces.
Some might have thought that Hasan representing himself would make a mockery of the trial. The judge and the media are accomplishing this all on their own.
Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.