Saturday, November 13, 2010

Terrorist Kalid Sheik Mohammed will not be tried in The U.S. - Chinatown Residents Stand Firm Against the Trials EVER happening here.

This is an unpublished Letter to the Editor of The New Yorker magazine, written in response to their February 15, 2010 article written by Jane Mayer, "The Trial," that supported holding the 9/11 Terror Trials in the “courthouse at Foley Square."

The term "courthouse on Foley Square" in Jane Mayer’s article (“The Trial,” February 15th) is a dangerous misnomer that encapsulates the blindness Attorney General Eric Holder has shown in choosing lower Manhattan as the location for the trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed—the self-proclaimed planner of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001—and four co-conspirators.

“Colonnaded federal courthouse” is not a description of the courthouse in which the terror trials would be held, and “flanking the square" does not describe its location.

The accurate term is "Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Federal Courthouse.”
The accurate description is “the tallest federal courthouse in the United States.”
The accurate location is “across the street from New York's historic Chinatown.”

With an official address of 500 Pearl Street, the physical location of the Moynihan Courthouse can be difficult to visualize for those not familiar with the area. The Justice Department’s own web site, http://www.nysd.uscourtsgov/, only adds to the confusion by providing a link named “Manhattan Foley Square Courthouse” to bring up the web page for the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Federal Courthouse.

To complicate matters further, the entrance of the Moynihan Courthouse is on Worth Street, placing it across the street from one of the most heavily used public parks in New York City that functions as the heart of historic Chinatown, and only yards from the front door of a residential co-operative with 240 families that would be put under severe military lockdown if the decision to go forward with the terror trials is not changed.

Why does this matter? "Courthouse on Foley Square" and “colonnaded federal courthouse flanking the square” immediately bring up visions of the institutional area highlighted in the popular TV series, Law & Order. Everyone knows that Foley Square is totally non-residential. And they are correct.

But the terror trials will NOT BE HELD in the “courthouse on Foley Square.” The Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse in Foley Square has been closed for renovation since 2007.

The terror trials will be held in the “Moynihan Courthouse,” located across the street from the heart of historic Chinatown.

The terror trials will not cordon off the court district. The terror trials will cut the heart out of New York's historic Chinatown.

Political ideologues identify us as suffering from a case of “nimby (not in my back yard).” We suffer from “oimby” (only in my back yard). Since 2001 we are the only post 9/11 community in Manhattan still suffering from the “chokehold” of massive street shutdowns, security checkpoints, rerouting of traffic and bus routes, invasive government permit parking abuse requiring an NYPD internal affairs crackdown, takeaway of parks that were returned only after lawsuits, bomb sniffing dogs on our street corner and clanging barricades under our windows.
We are the only residential community now faced with having our neighborhood imprisoned behind a “hard” and “soft” security zone—basically a war zone—for three, four, even five years. Here are a few of the intensive security measures presented by Police Commissioner Kelly last week. Our streets and air space would be patrolled for years by:
ATLAS, Hercules, Special Operations, Armored Assault, Office of Emergency Management, surge and other armed, specialized security teams
2000 metal barricades completely restricting vehicles and pedestrians from Chatham Square to Broadway on Worth
License plate readers for the entire soft zone,
Surveillance towers with 24/7 video of all citizen
Additional vehicle check points with DELTA barriers
Helicopters “aerial surveillance”
For pedestrians inside the soft zone:

Random pat downs of anyone at any time (we assume this would include mourners/hearse/coffins of the three funeral homes across from the courthouse)
Random bag searches of anyone at any time (including backpacks of children attending after school programs across the street or playing in the one of the busiest playgrounds in Manhattan)
I.D check of anyone at any time
Radiation and bio-terrorism detection surveillance
Pop up check points for all three - pat down, ID check and bag search at different locations
Many signs to instruct GOVERNMENT workers where to enter the zone according to occupation and building of employment
Sharp shooters both Federal and NYPD located on government buildings and residential buildings throughout the two zones
Bomb sniffing dogs
"Conspicuous NYPD presence at all times"
It is an unbearable insult that we—the people who did not bow to terrorism and chose to stay after 9/11—are now being accused of NOT BEING TOUGH enough to “show the world” the U.S. terror trials can be held here safely.

How can “justice for all” be served when the true cost of the terror trials will be borne by a targeted group of American citizens: the tens of thousands of innocent residents and hundreds of small business and property owners located in Lower Manhattan, not only in Chinatown, but in the Seaport area, Tribeca and Battery Park City, as well?

President Obama repeatedly referred to his experience as a community organizer when he was running for the presidency. We appeal to him now to show us that this was not a campaign ploy—but a genuine commitment to the citizens of our country that they will be involved in planning the future of their own communities.

N. Linday

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