The trial of a member of the US military, Maj. Nidal Hasan, who shot and killed many in Fort Hood on November 5, 2009 got underway Tuesday. The military trial has been a long time coming and a quick outcome of the trial is unlikely. Even if the trial is brief and the defendant is found guilty appeals are sure to follow.
Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan was on duty when he went on a killing spree. NYDailynews reports "Hasan, an American-born Muslim, faces the death penalty or life without parole if convicted of the rampage that left 13 dead and nearly three dozen wounded."
The military trial has faced a series of delays. Last week a military judge refused Hasan a plea of acting in the "defense of others". The major wanted to plead that he was protecting Taliban leaders in Afghanistan when he allegedly fired mercilessly into the young recruits who were in the Soldier Readiness Processing Center. The military personnel arrive here for checks and reassessments before returning to active service abroad, in this case Afghanistan. Hasan entered the building and opened fire only pausing to reload his weapon.
Many tried to stop his onslaught but he killed or wounded those who tried concentrating his gunfire on military personnel not civilians. Hasan was eventually shot and wounded by army civilian police, leaving him paralysed from the waist down.
Whilst some called the killings a terrorist attack it has been labeled a workplace killing as Hasan was an active member of the military. Wikipedia reports "Hasan was arraigned by a military court on July 20, 2011 and was charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder under the Uniform Code of Military Justice; he may face additional charges at court-martial. If he is convicted, he could be given the death penalty."
Some of the people he wounded will face Hasan in court. The judges will no doubt attempt to keep the trial focused and prevent Hasan using it as a platform for his radical militant beliefs. Security in and around the court is tight. Those who will try Hasan are all his rank or above.
Prior to the shooting there were allegedly email communications between Hasan and the Yemen-based cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed September 20, 2011. The Joint Terrorism Task Force had reportedly been aware of the communications between these two men, as the NSA had monitored them as a security threat.
Hasan has never denied he carried out the killings.
If he is guilty the verdict could be the death penalty. That will be an unusual outcome though not unprecedented. Will SSG Robert Bales who allegedly killed 17 civilians in Afghanistan in 2012 face similar treatment? Certainly military justice should be seen to be equal and fair. If it is not it could look as if greater value is put on the life of an American soldier tas opposed to an Afghan civilian.
Hasan may deserve what he gets after carrying out such a terrible attack on his comrades but then so does Bales. You can argue that Bales was suffering from PTSD and more but in reality it will just look as if the life of some nationalities is valued more than others.
Latest on the Bales case:
Wikipedia claims: On March 23, 2012 Bales was formally charged with seventeen counts of murder and six counts of assault and attempted murder. He is currently being held in detention at Northwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. On May 29, 2013 it was reported that Bales will plead guilty in return for a life sentence, avoiding the death penalty. Bales was found guilty in a plea deal on June 5, 2013. A hearing is set for August to determine whether Bales will be eligible for parole after 10 years.
More western hypocrisy??
As for this proving the worth of the NSA, the fact that they had information did nothing to stop this massacre. How come?
Updates as available.
Fox News latest on Fort Hood trial here