Show Trials: 6 Gitmo Detainees Face Death

(wow. it’s time. to figure out how to stop these bastards. – promoted by pfiore8)


A Gitmo Detainee

Let the Gitmo show “trials” begin.  Let the Bushites promote fear of “terrorism” in behalf of McCain.  Let those who have been waterboarded be convicted on statements they made under torture.  Let the US show the entire world that it’s mired in its barbarianism and that it will kill to advance a partisan political agenda.  Let yet another national disgrace unfold.

Join me across the wire.

Killing to advance a partisan political agenda isn’t exactly new.  Two of the most glaring examples: Ricky Ray Rector and  Karla Faye Tucker. And now the eventual killing of 6 Gitmo detainees– even if they are convicted executions will not be possible for years– is planned.  Notice when this announcement was made.  It’s been 6+ years since the incident, and the detainees have been in custody for more than 5 years.  But the election season is upon us, and the Republican front runner believes that terrorism  is his most powerful issue.  Is this the earliest moment when the announcement could have been made that the death penalty would be sought?  Of course not.  But what better political time to announce this.

Today’s New York Times tells part of the story:

Six Guantánamo detainees who are accused of central roles in the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, will be shown all the evidence against them and will be afforded the same rights as American soldiers accused of crimes, the Pentagon said Monday as it announced the charges against them.

Military prosecutors will seek the death penalty for the six Guantánamo detainees on charges including conspiracy and murder “in violation of the law of war,” attacking civilians and civilian targets, terrorism and support of terrorism, Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann of the Air Force, legal adviser to the Defense Department’s Office of Military Commissions, said at a Pentagon news briefing.

General Hartmann said it would be up to the trial judge how to handle evidence obtained through controversial interrogation techniques like “waterboarding,” or simulated drowning. Critics have said the harsh techniques, which are believed to have been used on several of the defendants, amount to torture.

As expected, the six include Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the former Qaeda operations chief who has described himself as the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

The Military Commission system has not yet had a single “trial.”  The one case in which there was a disposition, David Hicks, involved a guilty plea.  So nobody knows whether the commission system works or how it works in practice and none of the procedures has been tested in an actual “trial.”  And, of course, the decision to seek the death penalty was announced before any of the charges were translated and served on the accused.  So the additional complications of having a death penalty trial, let alone the 6 announced at this moment, haven’t been worked out.  Today’s dramatic announcement means that a previously untested, unused procedure will now be invoked for the first time to decide if the six live or die.

This should spark a worldwide firestorm of criticism:

The decision to seek the death penalty will no doubt increase the international focus on the case and present new challenges to the troubled military commission system that has yet to begin a single trial. The death penalty is an issue that has caused friction for decades between the United States and many of its allies who consider capital punishment barbaric.

“The system hasn’t been able to handle the less-complicated cases it has been presented with to date,” said David Glazier, a former Navy officer who is a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Forget that the commission hasn’t been used yet.  Not once. In today’s announcement, to no one’s surprise, General Hartmann emphasized the procedural safeguards the accused would supposedly have:

General Hartmann said he could not predict when actual trials would begin, but that pretrial procedures would take several months at least. He said the accused will enjoy the same rights that members of the American military enjoy, and that the proceedings will be “as completely open as possible,” notwithstanding the occasional need to protect classified information.

In no sense will the proceedings be secret, the general said. “Every piece of evidence, every stitch of evidence, every whiff of evidence” will be available to the defendants, General Hartmann said.

Some officials briefed on the case have said the prosecutors view their task in seeking convictions for the Sept. 11 attacks as a historic challenge. A special group of military and Justice Department lawyers has been working on the case for several years.

Evidently a speedy trial isn’t one of the rights the detainees have.  Nor is the freedom from torture.  Nor is the suppression of statements extracted under torture or evidence derived from the fruits of torture.  And it remains to be seen exactly what kind of cross examination and confrontation rights the detainees have.  And what kind of rights the detainees have to call witnesses in their own behalf.  And what kind of non-secret, public “trial” they will receive behind the wire in Guantanamo.  General Hartmann’s statements aside, there’s more to due process than receiving the evidence against the accused. A whole lot more.  

Put simply, today’s announcement should be widely condemned for its barbarity. And for its obvious political motivations.   This a complete disgrace.

Update: (2/11/08, 3:35 pm ET):  This article was picked up by The Independent’s Newsblog. It’s a small world after all.


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    • pico on February 12, 2008 at 00:27

    which leaves the bulk of the trial to take place somewhere in late summer?  Say, during the middle of a presidential campaign?  Wow, what are the chances?

    Indefinite imprisonment + torture + “possible” death penalty.  Unbelievable what we are.

  1. the Military Commissions Act, for restoring habeas corpus, for ending torture, for ending the death penalty.

    This story is at the crossroads of several very important issues.  My hair’s been on fire since I saw the Times this morning, so I had to write about it.  

    Thanks for reading.  

    • OPOL on February 12, 2008 at 00:53

    6 years after arresting and imprisoning them?  This is right up there with torture if’n ya ask me.

    • pfiore8 on February 12, 2008 at 01:10

    oh my god

    i’m just broken right now. really just overcome.

    • Valtin on February 12, 2008 at 01:27

    in the tradition of the Rosenbergs.

    I’m sure it will be as fairly run as the Saddam Hussein trial.

    The rulers of America want the death penalty to prove they are numero uno in the world, can do anything they want to anyone they want at anytime. If it stirs up the Islamic world, so much the better for them, as it gives them more casus belli for keeping U.S. troops there indefinitely, to, uh, protect their democratic right to torture and execute people.

    All you have to do is look to the Jose Padilla trial to see what a mockery of justice they have in store: no right to bring up torture, “lost” evidence, bogus charges.

    I don’t know if the “6” are in fact guilty of anything. But I do know I don’t trust the Pentagon or the Bush people to determine it.

    • Edger on February 12, 2008 at 01:32

    The Bush Legacy.

    Old Sosa Stalin would be beaming right about now…

  2. I say something like “Well, it can’t get much worse” it does. There’s just no limit to what this administration will do. How incredibly sad that they’re getting away with this.  


  4. The best scenario is that the whole world, who already sees the death penalty as barbaric, as you mention, rises in protest & denounces the country as a whole, backing up those who are protesting now & have been for years about the kangaroo court that has been in session ever since those people were put in orange suits. I think that the country is ready to turn & start denouncing this administration, & the FISA vote tomorrow will hopefully show that to be the case. This cannot carry for very much longer. As for helping McCain, I think the opposite would happen.

    If his torture ever comes up (like it won`t), then convicting these people on evidence acquired by torture should hurt him, if he does not denounce the court.

    I think this news keeps the “torture” issue on the front burner, & more people are starting to get the bigger picture.

    I`m rambling but that`s caused by being sick about this since I heard about it at first light.

  5. … and I was living a mile away from ground zero when the towers were hit.

    I have never had a chance to be angry at bin laden’s suicide bombers … I’ve always been too fucking angry at Bush and his gang of thieves and criminals.

    New Yorkers did not vote for Bush in either 2000 or 2004.

    This is obscene.

  6. war crimes trial?

    • nocatz on February 14, 2008 at 00:06

    the best is that it’s Dana talkin’

    Amid a bitter dispute over US bases in Iraq, the White House signaled Wednesday it does not view any US military installations overseas — except perhaps Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — as permanent

    Asked about Guantanamo Bay, Perino replied: “I’m going to say that one doesn’t count.”

    Gitmo is kinda like part of the world and kinda not, kinda overseas, and kinda not, kinda Gulag, but kinda not…but it is permanent.

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