Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Liberty City Seven: Another Mistrial (No Surprise)

"Judge declares mistrial in 'Liberty City 7' terrorism case"
CNN (April 16, 2008)

I'm not surprised.

"The decision comes after 13 days of deliberation and marks the second time government prosecutors have failed to convince a jury that the six defendants were guilty of terror-related charges."

Two points:
  1. It's now the Liberty Seven-Minus-One: One of the original seven was acquitted in the original trial
  2. The phrase, "failed to convince a jury", is technically accurate, but misleading: the jury did not acquit the remaining six - they did not reach a collective verdict in the case
There is a large difference between "acquitted" and "mistrial."

Someone who has been acquitted has been found not guilty.

The jury in this case did not find the defendants not guilty. The jury seems to have been "deadlocked," as the first jury was.

I don't have an insider's knowledge of this case, but I do have concerns, based on public knowledge.
  • Many Americans have more-or-less politically correct beliefs about race and relative poverty
  • Defense lawyers have frequently demonstrated competence, at least, at directing attention away from facts, and toward 'victimization,' real or imagined
  • The Liberty City Seven are
    • Members of an officially-recognized minority
    • From what Reuters called a "depressed part of Miami"
An earlier post in this blog, "The 'Liberty City Seven' - American Nitwits and Al Qaeda" (March 27, 2008), goes into more detail on how I see The Liberty City Seven in the context of American culture and the War on Terror.

Particularly these excerpts: The Liberty City Seven - Victims!

"I think that, given the available public information on the Liberty City Seven, that they are victims: of monumental, mind-numbingly profound, lack of judgment.

"Either they were trying to out-do 9/11, or they thought they were conning al Qaeda."

If they really thought they were conning Al Qaeda, I'll repeat what I said before, "they should be locked up for their own protection."

Get a Grip! "The Whole Muslim Community" isn't Suspect"

"Just the wannabe mass murderers.

"Not many people thought that the Feds were suspecting the white community, when Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were tried. Even though both were white, was influenced by "The Turner Diaries," and "embarked on a flirtation with" the American (right-wing) militia movement. That would have been silly.

"Of course, that was different."

I am very concerned that, if civil rights groups keep crying out "Racial Profiling" when members of their constituency fall afoul of the law, we'll see a real-life replay of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." I know that it's possible for members of a distinct ethnic group to be suspect, simply because of their ethnicity.

But, that doesn't mean that every accusation against members of particular groups is false.

I'm very concerned that members of the Liberty City Seven Minus One jury may have stumbled over a triple-score in the case: The defendants are
  • Not white
  • Members, in some cases at least, of a non-Judeo-Christian religion (Islam, more or less)
  • From a "depressed part of Miami" (Miami's Liberty City housing project")
Any one of those points would have granted them special consideration in the academic world I came from. Having all three is almost like being dealt a royal flush.

I don't know what was going on in the jury room, but I do know the alternatively-reasonable beliefs of political correctness, which still seem to rule many people's minds. This second mistrial could be the result of a collision between sincerely-held beliefs and awkward facts.

Related posts, on tolerance, bigotry, racism, and hatred.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.