Many potential Padilla jurors unsure of 9/11 attacks blame

Many potential Padilla jurors unsure of 9/11 attacks blame

The Associated Press
Thursday, May 3, 2007

MIAMI: A significant number of potential jurors in the terrorism case against alleged al-Qaida operative Jose Padilla say they are not sure who is responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, many because they do not trust the news media or U.S. government pronouncements.

"There are too many ifs, too many things going on," one male juror said. "I don't know the whole story."

Others say they just do not pay close enough attention to world events to be certain.

"I'm oblivious to that stuff," one prospective female juror said during questioning this week. "I don't watch the news much. I try to avoid it."

As of Thursday, more than 160 people had been questioned individually since jury selection began April 16 for the trial of Padilla and two co-defendants on charges of being part of a North American support cell for Islamic extremists. A jury is expected to be seated next week, with testimony to begin May 14.

Padilla, a U.S. citizen held for 3 1/2 years as an enemy combatant, was previously accused of an al-Qaida plot to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a U.S. city, but that allegation is not part of the Miami case. Padilla is accused of filling out an application to attend an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan.

Before they came to court, each of the jurors filled out a 115-question form asking about a wide range of legal, political and religious topics, particularly their views of Arabs, Muslims and Islamic radicals. Question No. 60 asks for an opinion about responsibility for the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and many people said they do not know.

"I've been surprised at the number of our jurors who don't have an opinion about 9/11," U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke, who is presiding over the case and asks most of the juror questions, said Wednesday.

The questionnaires were used to weed out dozens of people with obvious biases or personal hardships before the face-to-face interviews began, meaning many potential jurors with strong views about Sept. 11 never made it to court because their ability to be impartial was in question.

Some conspiracy theorists have put forward various ideas about the Sept. 11 attacks, including U.S. involvement or that explosives planted inside the World Trade Center towers — not jetliners — brought down the buildings.

In the Padilla case, it is not so much conspiracy theories as the lack of any views at all.

Most jurors without a Sept. 11 opinion are aware that the attacks have been blamed on terrorists of some sort. But many seem unwilling to believe the conclusion reached by the national Sept. 11 Commission and the Bush administration, widely reported by news media, that blames al-Qaida and its leader, Osama bin Laden.

One female juror agreed that was a "general public consensus," but still held out skepticism.

"I don't have an opinion. I don't tend to trust the news media," she said.

Many jurors seem to be unwilling to state the al-Qaida connection as fact because they do not have firsthand knowledge. An older male juror said he answered "al-Qaida and bin Laden" on his questionnaire because "that was what the news said."

"I really can't say who did it," said the man, who was not being identified because Cooke has prohibited publication of jurors' names.

Samuel Terilli, a journalism professor at the University of Miami and former general counsel at The Miami Herald, said that hesitancy often comes naturally when people are asked in an official setting, such as federal court, for their opinions.

"You have a tendency among some people when they are called to jury duty to heighten their skepticism about what they have read or watched, and also they have a desire to be more neutral," Terilli said. "People are on guard too much."

Some people say they do not necessarily believe the U.S. government's statements about Sept. 11, with many of those individuals citing the faulty intelligence and misinformation about weapons of mass destruction that led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and toppling of President Saddam Hussein.

"It could have been Saddam Hussein. It could have been bin Laden. I really don't know who," one woman said.

Yet another group are those who watch, read or listen to virtually no news and like it that way. One man repeatedly said "No, I don't" on Wednesday when asked if he knew anything about the Sept. 11 attacks.

"That's why I don't get into the politics and the news," he said. "To me, the news is depressing."

That's awesome

I mean the part about people not believing the official line on 9/11.

The line that says some people believe bombs "not planes" took down the WTC is bullshit. It makes 9/11 Truth sound like no-planer nonsense.

Goverrnmental Study course

I bet there will come out with the official Goverrnmental Study course on what happened on September 11 2001 Narrated by Larry Silverstien and Michael Chertoff with the Introduction by Henry Kissinger It will be manadated for every Juror to read and understand.

Not knowing is an opinion

"I've been surprised at the number of our jurors who don't have an opinion about 9/11," U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke

I wonder if she is more surprised at the number of people who don't accepted the officially approved opinion of 9/11. Not knowing who did it is an opinion, and a strong one, I think.
I could imagine this being very troubling for a good judge.

Judging by this reaction:

It looks like Judge Cooke is a good judge.

Here's what she said when the government claimed it had lost an interrogation tape.

She is who they want on a jury...

"I'm oblivious to that stuff," one prospective female juror said during questioning this week. "I don't watch the news much. I try to avoid it."

Dumb and Dumber times six makes it a hell of a lot easier to get convictions.

"But truthfully, I don't really know. We've had trouble getting a handle on Building No. 7."
~~ Dr. Shyam Sunder - Acting Director Building and Fire Research Laboratory (NIST)