Commentary by Carlos Alvaro
The long anticipated trial of US Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan got underway this week and it is rather bizarre to say the least. Hasan has chosen to defend himself although he has some military provided defense attorneys available to advise him on his own defense. Hasan is widely known as the Ft Hood Shooter, the man who opened fire at an US Army base in Ft Hood, Texas.
Hasan delivered a brief opening argument at the beginning of his trial earlier this week in which he told jurors, “I am the shooter.” The prosecution delivered a much longer opening argument that was, frankly, damning to Hasan. Later in the week the trial was suspended due to outrage expressed by Hasan’s defense advisory team that claimed Hasan’s defense is an outrage and affront to their moral code. They claim that what Hasan is trying to do is ensure he gets the death penalty and he really has no defense strategy at all. The lawyers asked the judge either to put them fully in charge of Hasan’s defense so they could defend him or allow them to take a reduced role in the entire matter. Today the trial got back underway and the judge ruled against the arguments of his defense advisory team. Hasan will continue to represent himself with defense lawyers acting only as advisers.
Hasan originally wanted to argue that he attacked soldiers at Ft Hood in retaliation for the US role in Afghanistan against the Taliban. The judge would not allow this avenue of defense. Now it appears that what Hasan is indeed trying to do is secure the death penalty for himself so he can become a martyr. The story is not capturing major headlines in the Islamic or Arab media. Hasan is an American born Muslim and it is alleged that prior to opening fire he shouted “Allah Akbar” (God is Great) which is shouted as a mantra by many radical Muslim terrorists prior to beginning their attacks. It appears that Hasan wishes to be a martyr and it also appears that he has no remorse for the victims or their families. In fact, he sees what he did as part of an act of war in defense of the Taliban.
In his opening arguments he clearly let jurors know that he was the shooter and that’s a pretty straight forward admission of guilt. He has mostly sit through the trial silently refusing to cross-examine witnesses for the prosecution which has only further outraged his defense team. Additionally, he now sports a full beard even though officially he is still enlisted US Army. He is wheel chair bound as he was shot in the back during his attacks on US soldiers at Ft Hood.
Following his attacks many people thought Hasan would be charged with terrorism under the Patriot Act but that was not the case. Hasan is actually charged with work place violence and murder. Yet, as the trial begins this week he clearly admits to being the shooter. And he clearly admits that his intentions were in defense of the Taliban a known terrorist group in Afghanistan. How much more clear could it be that Hassan himself is in fact a terrorist? Further, he communicated numerous times via the Internet with a known terrorist leader and even asked that terror leader if it would be wrong for him to kill US soldiers in God’s sight.
Hasan has no defense. He’s already admitted his guilt in his opening arguments this week as the trial gets under way. It is clear his acts were acts of terrorism in defense of the Taliban. I’m sure the jurors have figured this out already even though the trial has only been going on for a few days. In some ways it is sad that this man is trying to fulfill a “death wish” as his defense team told the judge yesterday. Yet, I suspect Hasan is attempting to paint himself as a martyr in the world’s eyes. What is truly shocking to me is that he obviously has no remorse for the innocent victims he shot dead and injured that day at Ft Hood. This man is not only a terrorist in my opinion but he’s also a monster!
The motive of the terrorist is to spread terror. That’s what Hasan did that day at Ft Hood when he chose to open fire and shot his fellow soldiers. This was far far more than just workplace violence. This was a clear case of terrorism and the Obama administration has made a very big mistake in the prosecution of this case by not charging Hasan under the Patriot Act. Just one more BIG mistake in a growing list of other BIG mistakes this Corporatist administration has made and continues to make. In my opinion Hasan is a domestic terrorist and should be made an example for all future domestic terrorists. For the Obama administration to attempt to downplay his actions is just plain wrong.