For Immediate Release: September 30, 2010
New York City – Despite repeated warnings that trying Guantánamo detainees in New York would result in chaos, mayhem, kidnappings, astronomical security costs, a police take-over of Lower Manhattan, snarled traffic, street closures, and “utter, unmitigated disaster,” New Yorkers interviewed by Human Rights First are going about their daily business within blocks of the federal terrorism trial of a former Guantánamo detainee.
In an exclusive video released today, the group reveals that many New Yorkers are not only failing to fear, they do not even realize that accused terrorist Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani’s trial is underway. Some, despite the urgent warnings from those trying to “Keep America Safe,” even expressed pride that the prosecution was happening in New York City.
“We have trials like that here all of the time,” one woman observed as Human Rights First correspondent Reagan Kuhn interviewed her near the federal courthouse in Foley Square.
Despite the best efforts of Liz Cheney, Deborah Burlingame, Rudy Guiliani, and Karl Rove to spread panic, many naïve New Yorkers seemed completely uninformed about the chaos that was supposed to reign. Some even observed that “everything seems pretty normal,” “I haven’t noticed anything,” and “I’m sure everybody knows what they are doing.”
As the Ghailani trial proceeds this week and in the weeks ahead, Human Rights First will continue to monitor New Yorkers’ failure to fear federal prosecution of this case. It will also continue to send representatives to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where military commission proceedings are set to commence next month. For those keeping score, U.S. federal courts have convicted more than 400 terrorists. Military commissions have secured only four convictions.