UPDATED. 9/11 Trials about to get underway. What will we learn, if anything?

The trials for some of the alleged masterminds of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentegon as well as others who allegedly helped to fund or participate in the 9/11 attacks are soon to be held and overseen by a US military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The question I would like answered up front is whether we will get to hear the defendents statements during these trials, or will the also alleged torture that was committed on their persons during the interrogation of these defendents cause the Military Brass and the Bush Administration to go into full secrecy mode as to not allow the world to hear what these prisoners have to say in their defense.

What are the odds of full and open trials?  

My guess.  Not real high.  Can you say redacted documents?

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From BBC News:

The alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the US is to appear at a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay.

It will be Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s first time in public since he was captured in Pakistan in 2003.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against him and four others also accused of plotting the attacks.

The BBC’s Jonathan Beale – one of 60 journalists attending the trial – says the hearings raise questions about the legitimacy of US military commissions.

The US describes Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, believed to have been al-Qaeda’s third in command, as “one of history’s most infamous terrorists”.

 My emphasis

Once again, the world is questioning the legitimacy of the United States of America in our treatment of prisoners taken and held for years without trial.  If President Bush is still looking for that legacy of his, he will get a chance to have this one attached to him for the remainder of history as well.

Waterboarding

Following his arrest he was held at a CIA secret prison, where he was subjected to harsh interrogation techniques and a practice known as waterboarding, that simulates drowning, until he was moved to Guantanamo Bay two years ago.

US military say that as well as admitting involvement in the 11 September 2001 attacks on Washington and New York, he has confessed to being involved in more than 30 terrorist plots around the world, including plans to attack London’s Big Ben and Canary Wharf.

He is among five so called “high value detainees” accused of plotting and aiding the 9/11 attacks who will appear before a military judge in a courthouse built inside the US detention facility on Cuba.

The other suspects are:

Ramzi Binalshibh, a Saudi man described by the US as the co-ordinator of the 9/11 attacks, who, according to intelligence officials, was supposed to be one of the hijackers, but was unable to get a US visa

Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, a Saudi man said by US intelligence officials to be one of two key financial people used by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to arrange the funding for the 11 September hijackings

Ali Ban al-Aziz Ali, also known as Amar al-Balochi, who is accused of serving as a key lieutenant to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – his uncle – during the 11 September plot

Walled bin Attach, a Yemeni national who, according to the Pentagon, has admitted masterminding the bombing of the American destroyer, USS Cole, in Yemen in 2000, which killed 17 sailors, and is who is accused of involvement in the 11 September 2001 attacks

The charges against them list “169 overt acts allegedly committed by the defendants in furtherance of the September 11 events”.

Let’s face it.  These sure do seem like some really bad men that got together to do some really horrible things.

Yet, with the world skeptical of the legitimacy of the US military commissions, it would seem to me that these trials need to be held in an open and very transparent manner in order for any possible legitimacy to be given to the trials by the world community.  Again, what are the odds of that happening with our current administration in place.

I’m often amazed at the straight forward disgust the Bush Administration shows to everyone NOT IN the Bush Administration when it comes to caring about what others think or feel.  They just simply DO NOT GIVE A SH*T about what others think or feel.  Imperial Presidency, indeed.

The trials have already raised questions about not just the treatment of detainees, but also the legitimacy of American military commissions.

Our correspondent says these trials will be as much a test case as a showcase of military justice.

The US authorities say they have bent over backwards to make sure that the trials are fair but some of its own lawyers have already condemned the process as fundamentally flawed.

US air force Brigadier General Tom Hartmann told the Associated Press news agency that the tribunals would allow the detainees the chance of a proper hearing.  

In the course of trial they’ll have opportunity to present their case, any way they want to present it, subject to rules and procedures,” he said. “That’s a great freedom and a great protection we are providing to them. We think… it is the American way.”

My emphasis

What are those rules and procedures, you ask?  Don’t ask.  They are secret.  National Security and all…..  

And that bit about the American way.  Well, not until just recently, lets say OH about the last 7 years or so has that been the American way.

snip

Human Rights Watch, a New York-based organisation, has said that the system lacks credibility.

“Possibly putting someone to death based on evidence obtained through water-boarding, or after prolonged periods of sleep deprivation while being forced into painful stress positions, is not the answer,” said Jennifer Daskal, a lawyer for the group.

Later this month the US Supreme Court is to rule on the rights of prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, threatening a possible delay or even halt to the proceedings.

The court ruled in 2006 that an earlier tribunal system was unconstitutional.

Get ready for another BushCo Dog and Pony Show.  Only this time the show and it’s timing just before another Presidential Election are not only questionable, but completely transparent.  Once more, in your face with the Boogy Men, America.  Once more, fear what you don’t understand.  

I think the overwhelming opinion of the world community regarding the legitimacy of US military commissions while under the watchful eye of BushCo might very well be warranted.

UPDATE

From CNN:

Defense attorneys had asked for Thursday’s proceedings to be delayed, arguing that they have not had enough time with their clients since the charges were announced in May.

Army Maj. Jon Jackson, al Hawsawi’s lawyer, said that it’s a good thing the cases are finally moving forward but that defense attorneys should have more time to discuss the cases with their clients.

“We, the defense, should have been granted a reasonable delay in order to develop a relationship with these men, to talk with them about their case, to discuss strategies before we are rushed into the courtroom,” Jackson said before heading to Guantanamo Bay.  Watch Jackson discuss the trials »

Kohlmann denied the delay request.

Defense lawyers also have accused senior Pentagon officials of pushing the cases forward “in order to influence the November elections,” as Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer, who is defending Ali, put it last week.

 My Emphasis.

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Gee, ya think?

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6 comments

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    • brobin on June 5, 2008 at 3:21 pm
      Author

    mud of world and national opinion because of a group of Neo-Cons that simply DO NOT CARE.

  1. these people don’t even know they are human anymore.  In the chaos of a war zone bounty was offered and scapegoats were rounded up.

    • DWG on June 6, 2008 at 12:02 am

    I cannot say I believe any of the charges or confessions of wrong-doing under duress.  I cannot say that these men are guilty of anything beyond getting caught, turned over for ransom, or given up by associates.  It is all a travesty of justice.  If the evidence cannot stand up in a US court of American defendants, then all we will do is give our war criminal politicians the scalps they desperately want for their belts.  

    Gosh, put on show trials to influence an electorate?  That sounds like the definition of barbaric to me.

  2. Dear ACLU Supporter,

    There is no justice at Guantánamo Bay.

    What I witnessed today in a Guantánamo courtroom made that clearer

    than ever.

    At their arraignment before a military commission on terrorism-related

    charges, detainees accused of participating in the 9/11 attacks

    refused legal representation by military and civilian defense

    attorneys.

    Every day, the Bush Administration’s un-American system of

    injustice continues to make a mockery of due process and the rule of

    law.

    It’s time to bring it to an end.

    Sign our ACLU Stand Up for Justice petition calling on America’s

    leaders to shut down Guantánamo Bay and end the military commission

    system of injustice.

    http://action.aclu.org/site/R?…

    At Guantánamo, convictions can be based on evidence derived from

    torture. Hearsay and secret evidence are permitted. And the

    proceedings are subject to unlawful political influence.

    Indeed, after years without a single trial completed, prosecutions are

    now being rushed through to sway public opinion before the November

    elections.

    This isn’t justice. And it hardly comes as any surprise that

    after being held in solitary confinement for five years and subjected

    to torture, these detainees would reject the legal system and offers

    to represent them. Without constitutional guarantees in place, any

    verdict rendered by these proceedings will be regarded as illegitimate

    by the American people and in the eyes of the world.

    Help close Guantánamo. Sign the petition, and stand up for the rule of

    law.

    http://action.aclu.org/site/R?…

    The need to get these prosecutions right cannot be overstated, both

    because of the need to achieve lasting and meaningful justice for what

    was done to us on September 11, 2001 and because how we achieve that

    justice will speak volumes about who we are as a nation.

    Unfortunately, the Guantánamo military commissions are so

    fundamentally flawed that they fail miserably by both measures.

    The ACLU is committed to opposing the injustice of these proceedings

    with every means at our disposal. ACLU representatives have attended

    every military commission proceeding since the system’s inception in

    2004 — and we have protested the use of torture and hearsay and

    coerced evidence.

    We have and will continue to offer legal representation to detainees

    at Guantánamo. Just as important, we will keep challenging the very

    existence and procedures of the Guantánamo military commissions

    themselves. And we need you to stand with us.

    Sign the petition, and stand up for the rule of law.

    http://action.aclu.org/site/R?…

    Let’s work together to apply the principles, the passion and the

    strength of the ACLU to prove to the world — and to ourselves —

    that, even when dealing with those accused of committing egregious

    acts of terror, America remains a nation of laws.

    Thanks for standing with us as we take direct, powerful, and

    persuasive action to end the Bush system of injustice.

    Keep working for freedom and justice,

    Anthony D. Romero

    Executive Director

    ACLU

    © ACLU, 125 Broad Street, 18th Floor New York, NY 10004

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