Exclusive: Finally, justice - 9/11 victim Ron Clifford prepares for Guantanamo trial
Cork native Ron Clifford asked to testify against evil mastermind of WTC mass murder
Though testifying could make Clifford a target for violence, he said he chooses not to worry about the risks.
“I’ve often wondered, will someone come up and shoot me as a result?” he said. “I don’t think I could live in that kind of paranoia.”
When profiled in Irish Voice founding publisher Niall O’Dowd’s 2002 book "Fire in the Morning," Clifford expressed Christian mercy toward the plot’s masterminds. But time has now hardened his views.
“My attitude has changed,” he told the Irish Voice. “I do believe in forgiveness, but they don’t want to be forgiven. They want to be martyred.
“They’re getting more and more radical by the day,” he said. “For me it comes down to murdering people in cold blood.”
The interrogation techniques used on the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other defendants, techniques labeled in some venues as torture, were necessary, according to Clifford.
“Without the use of force and torture, the U.S. would have been unable to avert other catastrophic events and find out who was behind these events,” he said. “I think that was the only course in extracting this information.”
The Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial, for Clifford, is a necessary element to justice, but one that he’s looking forward to having behind him.
“The big thing is my belief in the American system of justice, at any level, whether it’s federal or military, it’s a very good, fair system,” Clifford said. “I’m confident they will get a fair trial, as Moussaoui did. He got a fair trial and we watched it.”
Clifford was against the short-lived push to move the trial from Guantanamo Bay to New York City because some necessary evidence wouldn’t have been constitutionally admissible in a criminal court, he said. Regardless of the venue, he said the trial will be cathartic for both victims and the nation as a whole.
Though news reports earlier this summer predicted a protracted trial that could last years, Clifford says he’s confident legal proceedings will now move ahead quickly.
“We’ve evolved into one of the few societies that can do this,” Clifford said. “That’s based on our good Constitution.”
Clifford, who still retains his Irish accent, says he’s 100 percent Irish but “living the American dream.”
A software executive, Clifford specializes in startup companies. His love for his adopted country is apparent, as is his optimism for the future.
“I see how New York has bounced back,” he said. “We’ve got the battle scars and the war wounds, but I think we’re better people. I enjoy life—I respect life more, and I treasure the relationships.”
Clifford has undergone treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, induced by his experience in the World Trade Center. Although his symptoms have improved over the past decade, he still feels anxious in crowded places.
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