Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Terror Trials in NYC - "not off the table" Gibbs, Dep. Attorney General

note the proximity of the playground across the street
and the entrance to Chatham Towers

Pro-Terror Trial Proponents Still Don't "Get It"

-Terror Trial Proponents still don't "get" the uproar over holding the terror trials "Out of Our Living Room Windows" (OOLRW) just yards away.  This is not a case of "Nimbyism," this is a case of life or death for a community that has already suffered nine years of devastation and disruption to lives and commerce. The area near the courthouse has still not fully recovered. The nearby World Trade Center is still under reconstruction.  If the terror trials are held here, we would live in "an armed camp" for three years or more.
We are grateful to our Community Board #1 leaders, city, state and federal elected officials, Police Commissioner Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg for reexamining and supporting the move of the terror trials out of New York City.  Here is why the terror trials must go --
  Debunking some Inconvenient Truths
We have sponsored terror trials at our Federal Courts before and we can do it again  
  • Those who say this do not currently have bomb sniffing dogs on their street corner. Their streets and sidewalks were not shutdown, locked down and overrun by government permit parking commuters severely impacting and shuttering business. Their traffic and buses were not rerouted, parks taken away and returned only after lawsuits.  They did not have to pass through multiple security checkpoints just to get home. Their homes are not surrounded by security booths and clanging barricades. 
  • The proposed intensified "hard” security zone of rooftop sharpshooters, 2000 metal barricades on the streets, hovering helicopters, thousands of prying cameras, identification and daily searches would be imposed upon residents, workers, visitors, vehicles and deliveries.
  •  Worth Street in front of the courthouse is a critical interstate and interborough link to the Lower  Manhattan bridges and tunnel that would be locked down and would cause gridlock on surrounding streets.
  •  Park Row, our community's main street was closed temporarily after 9/11 and remains closed to this day. Police Headquarters has already created a "chokehold" in Chinatown, the Civic Center and indeed all of Lower Manhattan where its shutdown of major streets and roadways severely increases traffic at rush hours and slows emergency service access.  Are more streets in the "hard" and "soft" zone" destined for a similar fate?   
  •  Across from the courthouse are three funeral homes providing bereavement services for Chinese Americans along the eastern seaboard -- they will be checking the identity of all mourners, including the coffins and hearses of the dead at each service. 
  •  In a community with many not fluent in English, misunderstandings could easily arise and have serious consequences.
  •  Young children and their backpacks would be forced through security checks to attend after school programs at the church across the street. What will the long term effect be on their psyche?
  •  Across from the courthouse is Columbus Park, one of the most heavily used children's playgrounds in Manhattan -- the city already investigated using parts of it to stage the media.
  •  A block from the terror trial site, the DOT is planning a massive reconstruction of the Brooklyn Bridge where 5000 cars an hour will be rerouted through Chatham Square.  Chatham Square itself will be reconfigured and reconstructed along with a major Water Tunnel project for three years or more.  If Attorney General Eric Holder had checked first, this alone might have deterred his plan to hold the terror trials here.
The U.SFederal Detention Center has an underground tunnel to safely transport the terrorists to the U.S. Federal Courthouse and therefore is the ideal place for the trials 
  • Only considering how to keep the "accused" secure in moving them from prison to courthouse puts the surrounding neighbors and the whole city at risk.
  • Why risk locating some of the most dangerous terrorists of the decade in the midst of Lower Manhattan’s dense residential area and in Chinatown, one of Manhattan's major tourist attractions?  This location is blocks from City Hall and the seat of government, blocks from the financial center of this nation, half a block from the Brooklyn Bridge, blocks from the World Trade Center, two blocks from lower Manhattan's only full service hospital, a massive subway system alongside the court, beneath Police Headquarters and the Municipal Building; and at the critical intersection of several interstate and interboro bridges and tunnels.   
We’ll hold the terror trials here if we are compensated by the federal government 
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg have said they were not consulted before the terror trials announcement.  Both have given escalating cost estimates to our federal government.  We fear this is a “rain dance” for a magic number.  Mayor Bloomberg now estimates the cost to be almost a billion dollars over four years.  Is this the best use of taxpayer dollars in a recession?  Remember Bin Laden's broadcast in 2004:  "We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy....Every dollar of Al Qaeda defeated a million dollars, by the permission of Allah, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs."  Holding the terror trials in New York City is a bad idea at any cost. 



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