Fort Hood shooting suspect releases statement to Fox News, saying US at war with Islam

FORT HOOD, Texas — The Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 Fort Hood mass shooting said in a statement to Fox News that the U.S. government is at war with Islam.
It’s the first statement Maj. Nidal Hasan has put out to the U.S. Fmedia. In the past, he has spoken via telephone with Al-Jazeera, the transcript of which is evidence in his upcoming trial.
“My complicity was on behalf of a government that openly acknowledges that it would hate for the law of Almighty Allah to be the supreme law of the land,” Hasan said in the lengthy statement released to Fox News (http://fxn.ws/1cafkA2 ) on Saturday. He then says in reference to a war on Islam, “I participated in it.”
Hasan also said in the statement that he regrets serving in the Army.

Army’s highest legal branch appoints new judge to preside over Fort Hood shooting case

FORT WORTH, Texas — The military’s highest court ousted the judge in the Fort Hood shooting case Monday and threw out his order to have the suspect’s beard forcibly shaved before his court-martial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled that Col. Gregory Gross didn’t appear impartial while presiding over the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan, who faces the death penalty if convicted in the 2009 shootings on the Texas Army post that killed 13 people and wounded more than two dozen others.

But the court said it was not ruling on whether the judge’s order violated Hasan’s religious rights. Hasan has argued that his beard is a requirement of his Muslim faith, although facial hair violates Army regulations.

In a statement issued Monday night, Fort Hood officials said proceedings in the case will resume after a new judge is appointed by the Army’s highest legal branch. That indicates Army prosecutors will not appeal this ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

An Army appeals court had upheld the shaving requirement in October. But on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces said the command, not the judge, was responsible for enforcing grooming standards. The ruling said that was one example of how Gross did not appear impartial in the case.

Gross had repeatedly said Hasan’s beard was a disruption to the court proceedings, but the military appeals court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to show that his beard interfered with the hearings.

Fort Hood shooting rampage survivors, victims’ relatives want it declared terrorist attack

FORT HOOD, Texas — Nearly three years after the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, many of those affected are urging the government to declare it a terrorist attack, saying wounded soldiers and victims’ relatives otherwise won’t receive the same benefits as those in a combat zone.

About 160 people, including relatives of the 13 people killed at the Texas Army post and some of the more than two dozen wounded and their families, released a video Thursday expressing their frustration.

They say soldiers injured or killed deserve fair benefits and Purple Heart eligibility.

“The victims are being forgotten and it’s frustrating,” Kimberly Munley, one of the first two officers who arrived at the shooting scene on Nov. 5, 2009, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Maj. Nidal Hasan, an American-born Muslim, faces the death penalty if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. The case is on hold as his lawyers fight the trial judge’s order that Hasan either shave his beard, which violates Army rules, or be forcibly shaved before trial.

U.S. officials have said they believe Hasan’s attack was inspired by the radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and that Hasan and the cleric exchanged as many as 20 emails. Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last fall.

Defendant Told to Shave

An Army appeals court has ruled that the defendant in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting that killed 13 can have his facial hair forcibly shaved off before his murder trial. The United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals’ opinion issued Thursday upheld the military trial judge’s decision to order Maj. Nidal Hasan to appear in court clean shaven or be forcibly shaved. Major Hasan has said the beard is an expression of his Muslim faith. His lawyers say he will appeal. Major Hasan faces the death penalty if convicted.

Army officials say Fort Hood shooting suspect hospitalized in good condition; won’t say why

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage has been hospitalized for undisclosed reasons, military officials said Monday.

Maj. Nidal Hasan was listed in good condition after being admitted to the Texas Army post’s hospital Saturday, and he should be released within two days, according to a Fort Hood new release. Medical privacy laws prevent the disclosure of information about Hasan’s health or why he’s there, the release said.

Hasan, 42, faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted in the November 2009 attack that killed 13 people and wounded more than two dozen others.

Fort Hood shooting suspect tells judge beard is nod to Muslim faith, not sign of disrespect

FORT HOOD, Texas — The Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly Fort Hood shooting rampage told a judge Thursday that he grew a beard because his Muslim faith requires it, not as a show of disrespect.

 

Speaking in court for the first time since showing up with a beard in violation of Army regulations in June, Maj. Nidal Hasan responded to Col. Gregory Gross when the judge asked why he had the beard.

 

“In the name of almighty Allah, I am a Muslim,” Hasan said. “I believe my religion requires me to wear a beard.”

 

The pretrial hearing was the first since a military appeals court stopped proceedings Aug. 15 to consider the dispute over Hasan’s beard less than a week before his court-martial was to begin. Gross held Hasan in contempt of court and fined him $1,000 for a sixth time Thursday, and again sent him to a nearby room to watch the rest of the proceedings on closed-circuit television.

“I am not trying to disrespect your authority as a judge,” Hasan said before his latest removal from the courtroom.

Hasan’s attorneys have argued that forcing him to shave would violate his religious freedoms. They also have said Hasan wouldn’t shave because he had a premonition that his death is imminent, and doesn’t want to die beardless because he believes not having one is a sin.

According to military regulations, soldiers who disobey orders to be clean-shaven can be forcibly shaved.

Military judge asserts right to order Fort Hood shooting suspect forcibly shaved before trial

FORT WORTH, Texas — A judge has the authority to order an Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage to be forcibly shaved before his murder trial, military attorneys told an appeals court Wednesday.

The attorneys, in a document filed on behalf of Col. Gregory Gross, contend that forcibly shaving Maj. Nidal Hasan would not violate the American-born Muslim’s religious freedoms and said it is similar to “and no more invasive than” a judge’s right to restrain a defendant who is disruptive during a court-martial.

“Forced shaving is not a novel concept in the military,” military attorneys said in the judge’s response filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. They cited no specific cases of other soldiers being forcibly shaved. “Army regulations expressly authorize nonconsensual haircutting and face-shaving for recalcitrant incarcerated soldiers. … If the judge has authority to bind and gag a disruptive accused (soldier), then certainly he has authority to forcibly shave (Hasan).”  The trial is expected to last more than two months at Fort Hood, about 125 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

Military judge rules not to delay Fort Hood shooting suspect’s trial, set to begin Aug. 20

FORT HOOD, Texas — A military judge ruled Friday against delaying the trial of the Fort Hood shooting suspect, an Army psychiatrist who remains banned from the courtroom because his beard violates Army regulations.

Maj. Nidal Hasan’s trial will proceed as scheduled, beginning on Aug. 20. Defense attorneys wanted the trial moved to December, saying they needed more time to prepare.

But the judge, Col. Gregory Gross, said the defense already had plenty of time. Prosecutors had indicated they were ready for trial last fall, but the court-martial was set for March and postponed first to June and then August — all at the request of the defense team.

US government refused to share Fort Hood evidence with senate

The Obama Administration has refused to share the evidence related to the last year’s Ft Hood shooting with the Senate. Defense Secretary, Robert Gates argues that sharing the evidence with the Senate could compromise the prosecution process. Two U.S. Senators have threatened the Administration to subpoena.

UK Muslim TV channel linked to al-Qaida cleric al-Awlaki

Islam Channel, a London-based satellite broadcaster, has been accused with providing a platform for Anwar al-Awlaki, an extremist cleric with ties to al-Qaida, Major Hasan of the Fort Hood shooting, and Abdulmutallab, who recently tried to blow up a plane on a flight to Detroit. Islam Channel is said to have advertised a box set of DVDs of Awlaki’s sermons and events at which he was supposed to speak. Furthermore, the channel’s website facilitates download of other Awlaki sermons, such as “Stop Police Terror”, “Brutality Towards Muslims” and “It’s a War against Islam”.

Islam Channel is the largest Islamic program airing in the UK, claiming to be “the voice of authority for Muslims in the UK”. The channel denies having given a platform to Awlaki and removed the links on the website. Many Muslim scholars have expressed concern, such as Dr. Irfan al-Alawi of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism, who fears that young people might get radicalized or Maajid Nawaz, a former presenter on the Islam Channel who is now director of the counter-extremism thinktank Quilliam and who attributes the channel to have a large influence, and with that, responsibility.