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Thread: Inmate Loses Bid To Call 9/11 Mastermind As Witness

  1. #1
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    Inmate Loses Bid To Call 9/11 Mastermind As Witness

    Inmate loses bid to call 9/11 mastermind as witness

    http://www.reuters.com/article/domes...57603120071206

    By David Alexander
    Wed Dec 5, 2007 8:59pm EST

    GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - Lawyers for Osama bin Laden's former $200-a-month driver lost a bid on Wednesday to call September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to testify about whether their client is an al Qaeda member subject to trial by U.S. military tribunals.

    A military judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, rejected the effort to gain access to Mohammed and other suspected senior members of al Qaeda at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. He said the defense had waited too long to request them, given the tight security measures under which they are being held.

    The motion came in a hearing to determine whether Salim Ahmed Hamdan is an unlawful enemy combatant and can be tried by U.S. military tribunals established by Congress in 2006 to hold war crimes trials for people captured in President George W. Bush's war on terrorism.

    "You should have started the process of getting the witnesses much earlier," Allred said in rejecting most of the 10 requests in a motion the judge said was filed on Tuesday evening.

    The defense had also sought access to Ramzi Binalshibh, who is suspected of having been involved in the September 11 plotting, and Abu Farj al Libi, a suspected al Qaeda military commander. The judge did grant the defense access to a detainee from Yemen Hamdan's lawyers said had known Hamdan.

    "(He) knew our client, knew he was only a driver, was aware there were many around bin Laden who were not members of al Qaeda," defense lawyer Charles Swift told the judge.

    The defense also requested a hearing on whether Hamdan should be considered a prisoner of war under the Geneva Conventions, which would give him the right to trial by a military court-martial rather than the new military commissions process.

    Allred agreed to hear testimony on the issue this week but said he would not make a decision until later on whether Hamdan should be considered for prisoner-of-war status.

    THIRD PROSECUTION ATTEMPT
    Hamdan, who arrived in court wearing white robes, a white headdress and a gray jacket, nodded and smiled broadly during the opening moments of the hearing, when a technical glitch with the translation headphones forced the judge to call an immediate recess.

    Hamdan, who was born in Hadramout, Yemen, around 1970, is accused of acting as bin Laden's driver and bodyguard and transporting weapons for al Qaeda. He has acknowledged working for bin Laden in Afghanistan for $200 a month but denies he was a member of al Qaeda and has said he never took part in any terrorist attacks.

    The rulings on Wednesday were part of the military's third attempt to prosecute Hamdan on war crimes charges and came six months after Allred dropped the previous charges against him.

    Allred ruled in June that Hamdan, who is about 37, had only been declared an enemy combatant and said he had no authority to decide whether the defendant was a lawful or unlawful combatant under the measure passed by Congress last year to provide a legal basis for the war crimes trials, formally known as military commissions.

    A U.S. Court of Military Commission Review ruled in September that tribunal judges could hear evidence and decide whether the prisoners were unlawful enemy combatants. That led to the latest attempt to prosecute Hamdan and a hearing to determine his status.

    Only unlawful enemy combatants who are not U.S. citizens can be tried by a military commission, the measure states. Lawful combatants, such as uniformed soldiers from countries at war with the United States, would have to be tried by court-martial or handled by other means, officials said.

    Hamdan initially was charged in 2004 but challenged his detention in a case that prompted the Supreme Court to rule in 2006 that Bush lacked authority to set up an alternative court system at Guantanamo.

    That decision prompted Congress to pass the military commissions act enabling the military to try the Guantanamo detainees.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #2
    AuGmENTor Guest
    Is 200$/month good pay in dracmas or whatever? I don't know how much the exchange is. Seeing how the dollar is going, I'll bet it's a pittance.

  3. #3
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    Why should requesting someone as a witness take so long?
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  4. #4
    AuGmENTor Guest
    That guy is lucky he's even GETTING a trial! Hate us for our freedoms INDEED!!!

  5. #5
    simuvac Guest

    Inmate loses bid to call 9/11 mastermind as witness

    Yet another failed bid to have KSM appear in person.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071206/...namo_hamdan_dc
    Inmate loses bid to call 9/11 mastermind as witness

    By David AlexanderWed Dec 5, 9:00 PM ET


    Lawyers for Osama bin Laden's former $200-a-month driver lost a bid on Wednesday to call September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to testify about whether their client is an al Qaeda member subject to trial by U.S. military tribunals.

    A military judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, rejected the effort to gain access to Mohammed and other suspected senior members of al Qaeda at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. He said the defense had waited too long to request them, given the tight security measures under which they are being held.

    The motion came in a hearing to determine whether Salim Ahmed Hamdan is an unlawful enemy combatant and can be tried by U.S. military tribunals established by Congress in 2006 to hold war crimes trials for people captured in President George W. Bush's war on terrorism.

    "You should have started the process of getting the witnesses much earlier," Allred said in rejecting most of the 10 requests in a motion the judge said was filed on Tuesday evening.

    The defense had also sought access to Ramzi Binalshibh, who is suspected of having been involved in the September 11 plotting, and Abu Farj al Libi, a suspected al Qaeda military commander. The judge did grant the defense access to a detainee from Yemen Hamdan's lawyers said had known Hamdan.

    "(He) knew our client, knew he was only a driver, was aware there were many around bin Laden who were not members of al Qaeda," defense lawyer Charles Swift told the judge.

    The defense also requested a hearing on whether Hamdan should be considered a prisoner of war under the Geneva Conventions, which would give him the right to trial by a military court-martial rather than the new military commissions process.

    Allred agreed to hear testimony on the issue this week but said he would not make a decision until later on whether Hamdan should be considered for prisoner-of-war status.

    THIRD PROSECUTION ATTEMPT

    Hamdan, who arrived in court wearing white robes, a white headdress and a gray jacket, nodded and smiled broadly during the opening moments of the hearing, when a technical glitch with the translation headphones forced the judge to call an immediate recess.

    Hamdan, who was born in Hadramout, Yemen, around 1970, is accused of acting as bin Laden's driver and bodyguard and transporting weapons for al Qaeda. He has acknowledged working for bin Laden in Afghanistan for $200 a month but denies he was a member of al Qaeda and has said he never took part in any terrorist attacks.

    The rulings on Wednesday were part of the military's third attempt to prosecute Hamdan on war crimes charges and came six months after Allred dropped the previous charges against him.

    Allred ruled in June that Hamdan, who is about 37, had only been declared an enemy combatant and said he had no authority to decide whether the defendant was a lawful or unlawful combatant under the measure passed by Congress last year to provide a legal basis for the war crimes trials, formally known as military commissions.

    A U.S. Court of Military Commission Review ruled in September that tribunal judges could hear evidence and decide whether the prisoners were unlawful enemy combatants. That led to the latest attempt to prosecute Hamdan and a hearing to determine his status.

    Only unlawful enemy combatants who are not U.S. citizens can be tried by a military commission, the measure states. Lawful combatants, such as uniformed soldiers from countries at war with the United States, would have to be tried by court-martial or handled by other means, officials said.

    Hamdan initially was charged in 2004 but challenged his detention in a case that prompted the Supreme Court to rule in 2006 that Bush lacked authority to set up an alternative court system at Guantanamo.

    That decision prompted Congress to pass the military commissions act enabling the military to try the Guantanamo detainees.

    (Editing by Jane Sutton and Peter Cooney)

  6. #6
    simuvac Guest
    Strangest line:

    ""(He) knew our client, knew he was only a driver, was aware there were many around bin Laden who were not members of al Qaeda," defense lawyer Charles Swift told the judge."

  7. #7
    simuvac Guest
    This version of the story has more details about what Hamdan allegedly heard from Bin Laden regarding 9/11.

    FBI: Gitmo Detainee Was With Bin Laden

    By BEN FOX – 2 hours ago

    GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — A Yemeni admitted he was a driver for Osama bin Laden and knew of the al-Qaida leader's role in the Sept. 11 attack, an FBI agent testified Thursday, countering defense assertions that the detainee was a minor employee with no role in terrorism.

    Salim Ahmed Hamdan told FBI agents that he had chauffeured bin Laden around Afghanistan in an al-Qaida convoy after Sept. 11 and overheard the leader say he had expected only up to 1,500 people to be killed in the attack, Special Agent George Crouch said.

    "When Osama bin Laden learned it was much larger than that he was very pleased," Crouch recalled Hamdan telling him and two other FBI agents during one of a dozen interrogation sessions at Guantanamo in the summer of 2002.

    The testimony, which revealed more about the allegations against Hamdan than previously known, came in a pretrial hearing to determine whether the detainee can be prosecuted before the first U.S. military tribunals since the World War II era. Hamden, who has been held at Guantanamo Bay for nearly six years, is charged with conspiracy and supporting terrorism.

    Prosecutors called witnesses to bolster their case that Hamdan is an unlawful enemy combatant eligible to face the special court. The defense maintains he was only one of several drivers for bin Laden and had no knowledge or role in any terrorist attacks.

    Defense lawyers want him declared a prisoner of war, which would entitle him to greater legal protections than those now afforded to prisoners at Guantanamo who are designated as "unlawful enemy combatants."

    Crouch said Hamdan left his native Yemen in 1996 to become an Islamic fighter in the former Soviet state of Tajikistan. After failing to get in, Hamden ended up in Afghanistan, where he was hired as driver by bin Laden and later became a member of the leader's security detachment, the agent said.

    Just before the 1998 al-Qaida bombings of the U.S. embassies in the East African nations of Tanzania and Kenya, Hamdan helped evacuate bin Laden's compound in Afghanistan, at the orders of superiors who feared retaliation, Crouch testified.

    "This was going to be the first time Osama bin Laden was going to go toe-to-toe or face-to-face with the United States and he was unsure what the reaction would be," the agent said.

    Hamden also knew of bin Laden's involvement in the attack on the USS Cole in 2000 and drove the al-Qaida leader to a news conference at which he warned of an impending attack, Crouch said.

    Earlier, a U.S. Army officer described Hamdan's capture, saying he wasn't wearing a uniform when he was captured in November 2001 in Afghanistan while driving a car with two surface-to-air missiles inside. The testimony was intended to underscore the U.S. contention that Hamden was not a traditional soldier deserving POW status.

    Defense lawyers used cross examination of the officer to point out that many Afghan fighters under U.S. command did not wear what might be considered typical military garb and that no other weapons were found in Hamden's car — even though he had a permit from the Taliban to carry a sidearm. They also noted Hamdan did not resist capture.

    The defense plans to call a college professor who has studied al-Qaida and says there were minor associates who had no real role in terrorism, but Crouch said the FBI believed Hamdan could not have been ignorant of the group's workings.

    "It didn't make sense to us as investigators that an individual assigned to drive Osama bin Laden, and be so close, would not be part of al-Qaida or have understanding of inner workings of al-Qaida," Crouch said.

    The FBI agent and the Army major were the first witnesses to testify at a Guantanamo hearing since Congress and the Bush administration last year came up with new rules for military trials, known as commissions, after the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out the old version.

    On Wednesday, the military judge presiding at the hearing rejected a defense request to talk to the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attack and two other "high value" detainees who are also prisoners at this isolated Navy base.

    Hamdan, who wore a flowing white robe and a gray-checkered sports coat at the hearing, faces up to life in prison if tried and convicted.

    He was first charged more than three years ago. But his prosecution has been delayed by legal challenges, including one he filed that went to the Supreme Court and resulted in the striking down last year of the original rules for military tribunals.

    The U.S. now holds about 305 prisoners here on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban and plans to prosecute about 80. So far, only three detainees have been formally charged and one, Australian David Hicks, was convicted in a plea bargain and sent home.

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