The farce that is the courtmartial of mass killer Major Nidal Hasan is wending on its way with the military judge restricting evidence of Hasan’s jihadi motives:
Prosecutors will not be allowed to enter evidence that Nidal Hasan intended to commit jihad in his mass murder spree at Fort Hood nearly four years ago, the judge in the court-martial ruled yesterday. Col. Tara Osborn also struck from evidence the correspondence between Hasan and al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, although she did allow prosecutors to use records of Hasan’s Internet usage and search histories at the time of the shooting.
For my sins no doubt, I have spent the last 31 years as an attorney. I have done more than my fair share of criminal defense during that time. I cannot express adequately just how ridiculous this ruling of the court is. Hasan has already admitted in open court that he was the shooter and that his motivation was jihad. I can only assume that the true motivation behind the court’s absurd ruling was the same motivation that caused the administration to classify Hasan’s multiple murders as being workplace violence.
This courtmartial circus is merely the culmination of Hasan’s entire involvement with the Army during which he may as well have been wearing a sign saying “ENEMY COMBATANT”. His superiors knew that Hasan was at best deranged and at worst a soldier for the jihadis. The soldiers that Hasan murdered did not die because Hasan made any attempt to conceal what he was and is, a jihadist, but because his superiors cravenly did not wish to stand up against him for fear of harming their own careers and being accused of anti-Islamic bias.
NPR of all places has an excellent report showing that before he was assigned to Fort Hood from Walter Reed, that his superiors knew that Hasan was a likely threat:
When a group of key officials gathered in the spring of 2008 for their monthly meeting in a Bethesda, Md., office, one of the leading — and most perplexing — items on their agenda was: What should we do about Hasan?
Hasan had been a trouble spot on officials’ radar since he started training at Walter Reed, six years earlier. Several officials confirm that supervisors had repeatedly given him poor evaluations and warned him that he was doing substandard work.
Both fellow students and faculty were deeply troubled by Hasan’s behavior — which they variously called disconnected, aloof, paranoid, belligerent, and schizoid. The officials say he antagonized some students and faculty by espousing what they perceived to be extremist Islamic views. His supervisors at Walter Reed had even reprimanded him for telling at least one patient that “Islam can save your soul.”
Participants in the spring meeting and in subsequent conversations about Hasan reportedly included John Bradley, chief of psychiatry at Walter Reed; Robert Ursano, chairman of the Psychiatry Department at USUHS; Charles Engel, assistant chair of the Psychiatry Department and director of Hasan’s psychiatry fellowship; Dr. David Benedek, another assistant chairman of psychiatry at USUHS; psychiatrist Carroll J. Diebold; and Scott Moran, director of the psychiatric residency program at Walter Reed, according to colleagues and other sources who monitor the meetings.
But psychiatrists and officials who are familiar with the conversations, which continued into the spring of 2009, say they took a remarkable turn: Is it possible, some mused, that Hasan was mentally unstable and unfit to be an Army psychiatrist?
One official involved in the conversations had reportedly told colleagues that he worried that if Hasan deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, he might leak secret military information to Islamic extremists. Another official reportedly wondered aloud to colleagues whether Hasan might be capable of committing fratricide, like the Muslim U.S. Army sergeant who, in 2003, killed two fellow soldiers and injured 14 others by setting off grenades at a base in Kuwait.