New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg spoke with press on Wednesday during a trip to Washington D.C., and told reporters he remains confident that New Yorkers would be safe during the 9/11 trials in downtown Manhattan, but the mayor seemed terribly nonchalant about the concerns surrounding the trials.:
“I’m very confident. People get tried in New York all the time. Terrorists, common criminals, and everything in between and we provide security. Keep in mind, if these terrorists were tried in a military tribunal in Guantanamo, we would raise the level of security anyway, so there isn’t that much difference. This is what we trained for, this is what we practiced, this is what we do…keeping the city safe.”
The 9/11 terror trials are likely to last a number of years, and downtown Manhattan is not known for being free of heavy traffic. It is one thing for New Yorkers to put up with blockage as result of construction, but security measures surrounding the Federal Courthouse could very well affect car and foot traffic flow around the areas of Wall Street, Battery Park, and the South Street Seaport. The Washington Times asked the mayor whether New Yorkers would tolerate the the security issues affecting their neighborhood during the trials. Mr. Bloomberg’s answer was disappointing, as it was vague, and he felt the need to point out New York’s low crime rate as proof that New York would remain safe during the terror trials.:
“It’s our job to keep them safe. New Yorkers are ready to live their lives without having to worry about their safety. That’s the kind of civilization we have in New York. Crime this year will be an all time low, since we started keeping records”.
What does citing New York’s crime rate have to do with issues involving terrorist activity? It seems as if Mayor Bloomberg compares being ready to defend against acts of terror to securing the city against regular street crime. The Washington Times asked Mr. Bloomberg if he thinks terrorism should be treated like street crime.:
“I don’t think terrorism is being treated like street crime. Keeping people safe is keeping people safe…period.”
Mr. Bloomberg fails to see the fact the 9/11 trials are happening in Federal Court means the cases are being treated like everyday crimes. The U.S. District Court in Southern New York list the following recent cases under “Rulings of Special Interest” on their website.:
October 22nd, 2009
September 30th, 2009
September 17th, 2009
September 10th, 2009
September 8th, 2009
August 4th, 2009
July 9th, 2009
March 18th, 2009
March 12th, 2009
February 6th, 2009
October 10th, 2008
October 10th, 2008
July 14th, 2008
June 12th, 2008
June 6th, 2008
The cases listed above may not be street crime, but they do not constitute terrorism trials either. The muder of almost 3000 Americans by individuals from a foreign country is a far cry from Madison Square Garden’s issue with the National Hockey League.
If New York City’s Federal Court is “trying terrorists” all the time, like Mr. Bloomberg says, would there not be more terrorism trials listed on their website under “rulings of special interest?” While the court’s website also lists 9/11 litigation on another page, the cases do not involve terrorist suspects from Guantanamo Bay prison appearing before the Federal Court. The defendants listed on this page are not hardened terrorist suspects but instead airlines, Mayor Bloomberg, the Commissioner of New York City, and the Chair of the New York City Department of City Planning.
The previous terror trials in New York occurred as a result of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa. However, these rare trials did nothing to prevent the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001. If anything, it only emboldened Al Qaeda to finish the job those involved in the 1993 terror plot on the World Trade Center failed to do. It is a shame Mayor Bloomberg fails to see this.