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Thread: Military Prosecutors Set To Open Major 9/11 Case

  1. #71
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    Jan 2005
    US to carry on military trials at Guantanamo despite ruling

    by Fanny Carrier
    Tue Jun 24, 8:59 AM ET

    WASHINGTON (AFP) - Hearings for terror suspects before US military tribunals in Guantanamo are going ahead despite a Supreme Court ruling that affirmed detainees have a right to challenge their detention in a civilian court.

    Legal experts had described the high court's decision as the death knell of the special tribunals created by President George W. Bush and his Republican allies in Congress to try "war on terror" suspects.

    But Justice Department chief Michael Mukasey said the controversial tribunals at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba would continue their work and last week, two preliminary hearings were held as scheduled.

    The hearings focused on Omar Khadr, a Canadian, and Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan, both detained in Afghanistan for having allegedly thrown grenades when they were still teenagers.

    Jawad, whose trial date was set for October 8, reportedly used his hearing to denounce his treatment, alleging during a two-week period US guards changed his cell every two hours to prevent him from sleeping, a technique dubbed the "frequent flyer-program."

    Meanwhile a three-judge panel in federal court on Friday declined to intervene in the Khadr case in an appeal that focused on a procedural dispute.

    The decision though does not preclude federal judges from wading directly into the tribunal trials in Guantanamo following the Supreme Court's ruling, which rejected the government's assertion that the detainees lack habeas corpus rights.

    The US Court of Appeals for the US capital on Monday ruled that Chinese prisoner Huzaifa Parhat, of the Chinese Muslim Uighur minority, is not an enemy combatant and has the right to seek his release from custody at Guantanamo.

    Parhat's release, however, was not expected any time soon since the appeals court said the Pentagon could hold a new tribunal on his status, which observers deemed likely.

    Details of the decision were not immediately available because it involved classified information, according to the appeals court statement.

    Although no trial has begun in earnest at the Guantanamo naval base, 19 detainees have been charged and "there will be more coming in the not too distant future," said Joe DellaVedova of the office of military commissions.

    "The military commissions process continues to move forward, in a fair, open and transparent manner," he said.

    Among those already charged are several suspects who allegedly planned the September 11 attacks, as well as Al-Qaeda militants accused of having fired rockets in the vicinity of US troops in Afghanistan or having undergone training in the use of explosives.

    The first tribunal trial is scheduled to start on July 21 in a newly set up "portable" courtroom to try Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as a driver and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden.

    The judge in the case, Captain Keith Allred, has scheduled a hearing for July 14 that will likely offer a chance to assess the consequences of the landmark Supreme Court ruling for the tribunals.

    The fallout from the high court's ruling is still unclear.

    The justices concluded that the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, officially on Cuban territory, can be treated as US territory where rights enshrined in the US Constitution must be respected.

    But it remains an open question if inmates enjoy all rights named in the constitution or only certain fundamental rights.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #72
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    Jan 2005
    9/11 detainees face separate hearings on intimidation claims


    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A military judge will hold separate hearings for five men accused in the September 11 terrorist attacks to determine if they were intimidated into asking to represent themselves.

    In June, lawyers for five men accused in the 9/11 attacks said their clients were denied the right to due process.

    Defense lawyers say Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, the judge in the case, scheduled individual appearances for the detainees on July 9 and 10 in response to claims that one of the defendants may have influenced the others to join him in rejecting lawyers.

    Last month, all five detainees made their first appearance together before Kohlmann and told him that they wished to represent themselves on charges stemming from the September 11 attacks.

    At the June 5 hearing, Kohlmann agreed to let Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid bin Attash and Ali Abdul Aziz Ali represent themselves. He reserved judgment on Mustafa al-Hawsawi and Ramzi bin al-Shibh. Read more about the detainees and the legal process »

    Immediately after the hearing, al-Hawsawi's lawyer said that Mohammed had intimidated his client into asking to represent himself.

    "It was clear that Mr. Mohammed was attempting to intimidate Mr. al-Hawsawi into not accepting me as counsel," said Army Maj. Jon Jackson, whose client is accused of helping finance the attacks.

    Jackson noted that Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the plot, had exchanged words with his co-defendants during the hours-long hearing, where he said he wanted a death sentence so he could become a martyr.

    "Al-Hawsawi never said he wanted to plead guilty or martyr himself," Jackson told CNN.

    Navy Lt. Cmdr. Suzanne Lachelier, bin al-Shibh's attorney, said her client may not be fit to decide on his representation because he is being medicated.

    Lachelier said the information she has received limited information about bin al-Shibh's medical condition, including a list of drugs but no information about why the drugs were prescribed.

    According to Lachelier, Kohlmann has ordered a medical report on bin al-Shibh, who is accused of coordinating the attacks, by August 8 and a hearing on his mental status on August 15.

    "I think that's a reasonable reading of the rules," she said, adding that it ignores a separate issue of whether bin al-Shibh is competent to act as his own lawyer.

    During the June hearing, bin al-Shibh was the only defendant who was shackled.

    "I have been seeking martyrdom for five years," he said. "I tried for 9/11 to get a visa, and I could not."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #73
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    Jan 2005
    Judge orders individual 9/11 trial hearings


    A military judge Tuesday said he would explore whether reputed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed bullied his alleged co-conspirators into firing their lawyers, and next week will question each of the men accused of plotting the 2001 terrorist attacks.

    At issue was whether Mohammed, who has boasted he plotted the 9/11 attacks "from A to Z," was a puppet master, a Svengali of sorts, at their June 5 arraignment at the U.S. Navy Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

    Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, the judge, notified lawyers in a six-page order that he would hold the special hearings starting July 9.

    One by one, the judge ruled, he would "address the issue of what role, if any, perceived or actual, intimidation between the several accused [conspirators] played or is playing" in their united stand to spurn Pentagon defense lawyers.

    The June 5 arraignment was the first time the public saw the alleged al Qaeda architects of the jetliner hijackings that killed 2,987 people. It was also the first time they saw each other at Guantánamo.

    All were secretly interrogated for years by the CIA. All rejected the legitimacy of the war court and all face execution, if convicted. Two said they welcomed death as Islamic martyrdom.

    But Pentagon defense lawyers said during the hearing, and afterward, that they believed some of the accused were intimidated by the man known in CIA circles as KSM.

    The Pentagon Office of Military Commissions refused to release or comment on Kohlmann's ruling, signed Tuesday. Lawyers who obtained copies explained it to reporters and read from it.

    In other key items:
    • The judge ordered a mental health examination of Ramzi bin al Shibh, a Yemeni accused of helping the 9/11 hijackers, to see if he is sane enough to stand trial.

      Guards shackled bin al Shibh's ankles to the floor at his arraignment, where it was disclosed that the prison camp has him taking unidentified "psychotropic drugs." In one exchange, he told the judge that he welcomed martyrdom -- and that he would've taken part in the 9/11 attacks but could not obtain a U.S. visa.
    • The judge scheduled "law and discovery motions" for Sept. 25, a timetable that suggests a jury might not start hearing the case before the presidential elections. The Pentagon had sought a Sept. 15 trial date.

    Pretrial hearings are crucial to deciding what law applies and what evidence the accused can see at the first U.S. war crimes tribunals since World War II. Later evidentiary motions are likely to tackle defense claims that government evidence was gleaned from "torture," when CIA agents waterboarded Mohammed in secret overseas custody to extract al Qaeda secrets.

    That was, in part, why Mohammed, 43, was the main attraction at the nine-hour hearing June 5. He appeared with a large white-speckled beard, a stern grandfatherly figure who recited Koranic verse.

    Mohammed went first, rejected his counsel and one by one the men who sat as co-defendants behind him echoed him -- until late in the day when Army Maj. Jon Jackson protested what he called a climate of intimidation of his client, Mustafa Hawsawi, the 9/11 plot's alleged financier.

    Mohammed allegedly told Hawsawi in Arabic, "Don't talk to your lawyer, talk to me" and ``What are you -- in the American Army now?"

    "I don't speak Arabic," said Jackson, who said he got a translation. ``But my impression was he changed his mind based on what people were saying to him and about him."

    Several other Guantánamo detainees have likewise refused their Pentagon-appointed lawyers, or sought to defend themselves at the war court.

    At the June 5 hearing, Mohammed was "something of a commanding presence," said attorney Joanne Mariner of Human Rights Watch.

    She monitored the hearing, at the invitation of the Pentagon, from the gallery, behind a thick, soundproof window.

    "They were all chatting with each other," she said. ``But I couldn't tell that KSM was in charge in any way."

    Security staff likely taped their Arabic conversation, she said, suggesting that the judge should order a transcript in English.

    Navy Capt. Prescott Prince, Mohammed's lawyer, said his client was clear in his desire to defend himself at trial.

    "What does he need to talk to Mr. Mohammed for?" said Prince after receiving Kohlmann's order. ``There is no allegation that Mr. Mohammed was intimidated by anybody."

    Several Pentagon defense attorneys are preparing to serve as stand-by counsel, if the judge later decides the accused are not competent to defend themselves.

    The U.S. Supreme Court rule 7-2 on June 19 that sometimes a mentally ill defendant can be sane enough to stand trial, but not to be his own lawyer.

    Kohlmann mentioned in his order a notice by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer, the Pentagon-appointed defense lawyer for Ammar al Baluchi, Mohammed's nephew.

    Mizer notified the court that, while Baluchi would defend himself, Mizer and some American Civil Liberties Union attorneys would write briefs and file motions on his behalf.

    "The government seems to be taking the position that he can't have it both ways," Mizer said in an interview Tuesday. ``He has to either stand naked and alone against the might of the United States government or he has to have no participation in his trial and accept fully the defense attorneys."

    Mizer said he and Seattle attorneys Jeffrey Robinson and Amanda Lee had worked out a different agreement. "We have full authority to file motions on his behalf," he said. But, ``I expect that Mr. al Baluchi may wish to represent himself . . . while he is in the courtroom. He doesn't want to break ranks with his uncle; that's the only issue."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #74
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    Jan 2005
    ACLU: U.S. blocking payments to Guantanamo attorneys

    By Carol Rosenberg | Miami Herald

    GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — The U.S. government is blocking the American Civil Liberties Union from paying attorneys representing suspected terrorists held here, insisting that the ACLU must first receive a license from the U.S. Treasury Department before making the payments.

    ACLU director Anthony Romero on Tuesday accused the Bush administration of "obstruction of justice" by delaying approval of the license, which the government argues is required under U.S. law because the beneficiaries of the lawyers' services are foreign terrorists.

    "Now the government is stonewalling again by not allowing Americans' private dollars to be paid to American lawyers to defend civil liberties,'' Romero said.

    Treasury Department spokesman John Rankin declined to comment on the showdown with the ACLU, citing privacy policies.

    But he said the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control "is treating this request with the seriousness it deserves and strives to process license applications as expeditiously as possible.''

    OFAC is perhaps best known for enforcing regulations against Americans' spending money in places like Cuba or North Korea. But OFAC also is responsible for making certain American funds aren't sent to terrorist groups.

    The ACLU announced in April that it was teaming with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to provide top-flight criminal attorneys to Guantanamo detainees facing the death penalty before military commissions at Guantanamo for their alleged role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks.

    Under the program, called the John Adams Project after the second American president, who earned criticism from fellow colonists from defending British soldiers, attorneys representing the detainees would be paid for travel, expenses, research and copying as well as $250 an hour. The ACLU said $8.5 million had been set aside for the project. Romero said attorneys already are due $200,000 in payments.

    The program was endorsed by a wide range of lawyers including former Attorney General Janet Reno and former FBI Director William Webster.

    Participants include Boise, Idaho, lawyers David Nevin and Scott McKay, who are defense consultants to alleged 9/11 architect Khalid Sheik Mohammed, 43; Seattle attorneys Jeff Robinson and Amanda Lee, defending Mohammed's nephew, Ammar al Baluchi, 30, who noted at his June 5 arraignment that he is a Microsoft certified computer engineer; and Chicago lawyer Tom Durkin, defending Ramzi bin al Shibh, accused of organizing some of the Sept. 11 hijackers.

    Nevin declared himself surprised at the standoff, especially since the ACLU had long been "in the business of defending people's rights.''

    He added: "Obviously, everyone is going to do whatever is required to be done. But, intuitively, it seems odd to me that anyone's permission is necessary.''

    The Treasury Department's Rankin this week offered no timetable for when the license might be issued.

    ''OFAC processes thousands of license requests each year for a variety of sanctions programs and consults with other offices and leadership in the U.S. Treasury and other agencies as the circumstances merit,'' he said.

    Rankin said OFAC's role in the case was triggered because the Bush administration has designated Mohammed, the alleged 9/11 mastermind, and the other four defendants as "Specially Designated Global Terrorists.''

    There was no explanation, however, of how that designation squares with the administration's insistence that the military commissions operate under the assumption that the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  5. #75
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    Jan 2005
    U.S. judge warns against delay for Guantanamo cases

    By James Vicini

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge said on Tuesday he would be concerned and suspicious if the Bush administration delayed cases brought by Guantanamo Bay prisoners seeking their release.

    Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan said at a hearing the government needed to understand "that the time has come to move these (cases) forward."

    The hearing took place after last month's landmark Supreme Court ruling that allowed prisoners being held at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to go before federal judges in Washington to seek their release.

    Hogan, named to coordinate the lawsuits, said he was committed to moving the cases forward as quickly as possible.

    There are about 265 detainees at Guantanamo, which was set up in 2002 to hold terrorism suspects captured after the September 11 attacks. Most have been held for years without being charged and many have complained of abuse.

    The U.S. District Court has pending nearly 250 cases involving more than 643 detainees who have been or are being held at Guantanamo. Several dozen new cases are expected to be filed in the near future.

    Hogan said some detainees have yet to get a court hearing after being held for 6-1/2 years.

    U.S. Justice Department plans to have up to 50 lawyers working on the cases may not be enough, Hogan said. The department has to understand these cases must be addressed first, before other matters.

    Hogan said delays would "reflect badly" on the government and would cause him to become concerned and suspicious. Lawyers for the prisoners have complained the government is not moving as fast as it could.

    One lawyer for the prisoners, Shayana Kadidal, told the hearing "speed and fairness" were the most important considerations for the court.

    Acting Assistant Attorney General Gregory Katsas asked the judge to allow the government to file new evidence to justify holding the detainees, a process expected to take months.

    The initial evidence, filed in 2004, was based on the findings of military tribunals that determined the prisoners were "enemy combatants."

    Hogan expressed concern about allowing the government to file amended information without showing it was necessary.

    The judge also said he planned to issue an order by the end of the week setting out various schedules.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #76
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    Jan 2005
    Defendant in 9/11 plot denies he was coerced to reject representation by military lawyers

    The Associated Press
    Published: July 9, 2008

    GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba: A Saudi accused of arranging financing for the Sept. 11 hijackers denied Wednesday that he was pressured by a co-defendant to reject his Pentagon-appointed attorney.

    Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, one of five Guantanamo prisoners charged in the attacks, said he has not decided whether to accept U.S.-appointed lawyers to represent him at the military tribunal. But he rejected allegations that accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed pressured him to represent himself.

    "Without doubt, no," al-Hawsawi told the judge through an interpreter.

    The five co-defendants were transferred to Guantanamo from secret CIA prisons in 2006 and face possible execution if convicted on charges including murder and conspiracy for the 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

    All are scheduled to appear separately this week as the judge, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, explores the coercion allegations. At a joint arraignment on June 5, the five said they would represent themselves. Lawyers for al-Hawsawi and another prisoner complained that they were intimidated by others into rejecting their legal representation.

    Al-Hawsawi wore a flowing white robe and wispy black beard to his second pretrial hearing at the isolated U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba. He said he was skeptical his American military lawyers would be able to represent him effectively.

    But Kohlmann told al-Hawsawi that he would not have the security clearances required to see some of the classified evidence against him.

    "If it sounds like I'm trying to talk you out of representing yourself, that would be accurate," Kohlmann told him.

    Al-Hawsawi allegedly helped the hijackers with money, western clothing and credit cards, according the charges.

    His lead attorney, Army Maj. Jon Jackson, said the defense team is trying to locate a Muslim lawyer in Egypt whom al-Hawsawi requested for possible representation.

    The U.S. has charged 20 of roughly 265 inmates held at Guantanamo on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida or the Taliban. So far none of the cases has gone to trial in the special military courts.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  7. #77
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    Jan 2005
    9/11 suspect to defend self at Guantanamo trial

    By MIKE MELIA – 1 hour ago

    GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — A Guantanamo prisoner accused in the Sept. 11 attacks complained Wednesday that his confinement and obstructions by the U.S. military are complicating his court-approved effort to serve as his own lawyer.

    Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, one of five men charged in the attacks, said the military did not deliver two letters and a law motion that he wrote to the judge ahead of the pretrial hearing.

    The judge, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, said Ali's situation will only become more difficult and tried to persuade him to accept his lawyers. Without a security clearance, he said Ali will not have access to classified material during the death penalty trial.

    "The way the rules are you will not have access to classified material to assist you in your case," he said.

    Ali said one of his letters disputed allegations that the defendants were coerced into rejecting their lawyers — the focus of this week's hearings — saying the allegations were the result of a poorly translated joke by the attacks' confessed mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

    "I should have a right to write a letter to the judge directly," said Ali, a nephew and alleged lieutenant to Mohammed who spoke in English.

    A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, said the military is looking into Ali's allegations. He declined further comment.

    The five co-defendants were transferred to Guantanamo from secret CIA prisons in 2006 and face possible execution if convicted on charges including murder and conspiracy for the 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

    Four of them say they will represent themselves, setting up further logistical challenges as they attempt to mount a defense while locked in a top-secret prison at the remote U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.

    They are all appearing separately this week as Kohlmann explores allegations that Mohammed bullied the others into going along with his decision to represent himself at the June 5 arraignment. One defense lawyer said an interpreter overheard other defendants asking a detainee, "So, you're in the Army now?"

    But Ali said Mohammed was only teasing another detainee, Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, about the white robe he wore inside the courtroom.

    "Mr. Mohammed was joking, just criticizing the clothes he was wearing. He was saying, 'Are you in the American Navy now,'" he said. "We need translators from our native language who understand our accent."

    Ali and al-Hawsawi, who are both accused of helping to finance the Sept. 11 hijackers, repeatedly denied taking direction from any co-defendants during their appearances Wednesday.

    "In our religion, nobody is above us," Ali said.

    Both men also said they were skeptical their Pentagon-appointed lawyers would represent them effectively. Al-Hawsawi said he has not decided whether to accept their help, but Ali stood by his decision to represent himself.

    Ali said he needs a computer as well as a better way to communicate with the Americans assigned to his case, whom he has retained as standby counsel. Currently, he said they do not receive his letters until they come to Guantanamo.

    He acknowledged his lack of a legal education and a security clearance could put him at greater risk of conviction, but he does not want to validate proceedings he sees as illegitimate.

    A spokesman for the commissions, Air Force Capt. Andre Kok, said the defendants will be allowed to see any classified evidence that is presented to the jury.

    The U.S. has charged 20 of roughly 265 inmates held at Guantanamo on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida or the Taliban. So far none of the cases has gone to trial in the special military courts.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  8. #78
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    Jan 2005
    Judge urges 9/11 suspects to accept legal help
    He says they will lose access to evidence. Both insist they were not bullied into firing their lawyers.,5326946.story

    By Josh Meyer, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    July 10, 2008

    GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA -- A military judge Wednesday strongly advised two accused co-conspirators in the Sept. 11 attacks not to represent themselves in their upcoming trial because their defense would suffer from several factors, including a lack of access to the classified evidence that the government plans to use against them.

    "It would be best for you to accept the assistance of counsel. If it sounds as if I am trying to talk you out of representing yourself, that would be accurate," Judge Ralph H. Kohlmann told one of the defendants, Mustafa Ahmed Hawsawi, who the government says was an Al Qaeda paymaster in the 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

    Kohlmann, a Marine colonel, had similar advice at a second military commission hearing later in the day for Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, who also is charged with being a financial conduit between Al Qaeda leadership and the Sept. 11 hijackers as they trained in the United States.

    Both men said at their June 5 arraignment at the naval base here that they wanted to represent themselves, as did the plot's self-described mastermind, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and the two other alleged plotters. At the time, Kohlmann allowed Ali to do so, at least for the time being, but said he was concerned that Hawsawi may have been coerced into firing his defense lawyers during a pre-hearing conversation with Mohammed.

    Kohlmann told both men that they could face the death penalty if convicted and that it would be all but impossible for them to defend themselves in such a protracted, complicated legal battle without experienced lawyers.

    Without a legal team on the outside, Kohlmann told them, they wouldn't be able to communicate with potential witnesses or perform other important administrative and investigative duties because they are locked up in a maximum-security facility. And they would have to draft complicated opening and closing statements and legal motions without any legal training or access to much of the case materials that specially approved lawyers would have, he said.

    "All of these things are usually done in a trial better by a lawyer with special knowledge and experience with the laws and procedures," Kohlmann said in separate comments to both men. "In addition, you will not be given access to classified materials before trial because you lack the security clearances, [which] would severely hinder any effort by you to represent yourself."

    Both men sat impassively in the sterile courtroom as the judge gave his advice. Both responded calmly and methodically, with Hawsawi using an interpreter.

    The judge noted that prosecutors had filed a motion the day before the hearing in which they too urged the judge to warn the accused about the hardships they would encounter by representing themselves, especially the lack of access to classified evidence.

    Although the men are slated to be tried together, each of them has at least two military lawyers appointed by the Pentagon's Office of Military Commissions and several civilian lawyers paid through the American Civil Liberties Union's John Adams Project.

    In the past, military commission officials have said that the so-called high-value detainees would get access to the classified information gathered against them, but only once the trial was underway. Army Col. Lawrence Morris, the chief prosecutor, said that Kohlmann's comments were not inconsistent with that policy.

    Some defense lawyers, including Hawsawi's, said that lack of access to the evidence was one of many unfair and possibly unconstitutional obstacles that the government had put in the way of the five men, even as it claimed publicly that they would be given a fair and transparent trial.

    Kohlmann ordered the hearings for the two men, and three more set for today, so that he could ask each of them separately whether they were unduly influenced by Mohammed, who said at the group arraignment that he wanted the men to coordinate their defense and, ultimately, "martyr" themselves -- in other words, ensure that they all received the death penalty.

    Army Major Jon S. Jackson, Hawsawi's chief appointed defense lawyer, helped trigger the hearings by saying that his client was visibly shaking and had been intimidated by Mohammed into saying he wanted to fire his lawyers.

    But on Wednesday, Hawsawi at first said he could not recall whether Mohammed had said anything to intimidate him. Ultimately, both he and Ali insisted that they had not been coerced, with Ali saying that it was all a misunderstanding based, in part, on a translator's mistakes.

    "Nobody is in a position to give such an order," Ali told Kohlmann. "I'm a free human being. I'm not a slave."

    Ali, a soft-spoken Pakistani with near-flawless English, was adamant Wednesday that he wanted to represent himself, even as he acknowledged that he lacked experience. "There are a lot of reasons for that -- some religious issues, ethical issues and, third, I am not satisfied with the proceedings," he told the judge. "Simply, the justice of these so-called top-secret trials are in question."

    But Ali also indicated that he had already run into problems in trying to represent himself. He told Kohlmann that he had, within the last few weeks, written the judge two letters and one legal motion but that he could not get anyone to take them to him.

    Kohlmann acknowledged that he had never received the letters and said that he would look into the matter, as did a spokesman for the Pentagon.

    Later, Jackson insisted in an interview that Hawsawi wanted him as his lawyer but changed his mind after being bullied by Mohammed and the other two accused men, Ramzi Binalshibh and Walid bin Attash. "It was clear to me then, and it is still clear to me today, that he was pressured," Jackson said of Hawsawi.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  9. #79
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    Jan 2005
    9/11 plotters tell Guantanamo judge of legal woes
    Self-described mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and another suspect, who are acting as their own lawyers, tell the judge they can't file motions or get pretrial documents translated.,6113380.story

    By Josh Meyer, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    July 11, 2008

    GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA -- Facing the death penalty for their roles in the Sept. 11 attacks, self-described mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and an alleged accomplice told a judge Thursday that the military commission process was so dysfunctional that they could not file legal motions in their defense or have pretrial documents translated into their native languages.

    In separate hearings, Mohammed and Walid bin Attash and their legal advisors ticked off one example after another of a pretrial system they say is barely operating. "We are not in normal situation. We are in hell," Mohammed told the military judge, Marine Col. Ralph H. Kohlmann.

    Some of the defendants' claims were confirmed by government prosecutors, a Pentagon official and Kohlmann, who said he would look into them.

    Last month, Kohlmann granted requests by Mohammed, a Pakistani, and Attash, a Yemeni, to act as their own lawyers in the case, in which they and three other men face a variety of charges in connection with the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001. That means they are entitled to file legal motions and have access to much of the evidence -- like the Justice Department and military prosecutors seeking to convict them -- according to officials from the Pentagon's Office of Military Commissions, which is overseeing the controversial and unprecedented trials.

    Kohlmann acknowledged to both men that he never received motions each of them had written in their detention cells, nor other communications the men wanted the judge to see.

    Three letters from Mohammed to his backup legal counsel, written more than a month ago, also were not delivered, according to Mohammed and the three lawyers. Recent court filings and other communications by prosecutors and the judge himself either were never delivered to Mohammed and Attash or were sent in English, not Arabic.

    Attash, accused of training some of the hijackers at Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, said he received one important six-page filing by prosecutors that had been translated into Arabic -- but not until Thursday morning, nine days after it was filed, as he was walking into the high-security court for his hearing. "I was handcuffed, and I didn't read it," he added, prompting the judge to call a recess so that Attash could read it.

    Kohlmann appeared taken aback by the assertions and promised to look into them if the two suspects filed court motions requesting that he do so. He said he would consider ordering a mass translation of potentially thousands of court documents.

    Several human rights special observers who attended Thursday's proceedings said there were breakdowns in the system that could take months, if not years, to address. Those problems have already undermined the credibility of the military commission process, they said.

    "The whole system is completely imploding," said observer Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "It is astonishing that they cannot get documents, file legal memos or have things translated for them. Today's hearing shows that these commissions are just not workable and that Judge Kohlmann realizes the headache he is in for."

    A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey D. Gordon, acknowledged some of the problems and said that Joint Task Force Guantanamo "has implemented a process to ensure that filings and legal mail to and from the court are handled appropriately and efficiently."

    The military's chief prosecutor, Army Col. Lawrence Morris, said authorities were working to ensure that the five suspected terrorists get a fair trial and that those who are acting as their own lawyers get the resources and access to documents they need, as long as it doesn't jeopardize national security.

    Kohlmann had ordered the two hearings, and three others over the last two days, to ensure that Mohammed and Attash understood the consequences of representing themselves. At both hearings Thursday, Kohlmann stressed to the accused men that they would fare better if they allowed the government-appointed legal teams to represent them, especially since the lawyers could file motions, track down witnesses and do other things the defendants could not from their cells.

    But Mohammed, in one of many back-and-forths with the judge, said the system was so dysfunctional that "it won't make a big difference if I reject my lawyer."

    Mohammed and Attash said they still wanted to represent themselves, but with some military and civilian lawyers as standby counsel.

    A third suspect, Ramzi Binalshibh, refused to attend his hearing Thursday for unspecified reasons. The judge has ordered a mental competency exam for Binalshibh, who is on government-administered psychotropic drugs, to see if he is fit to act as his own lawyer.

    Legal advisors for Mohammed and Attash said the problems with the military commissions went far beyond those the men face while acting as their own lawyers.

    Navy Capt. Prescott L. Prince and civilian lawyers David Nevin and Scott McKay said, for instance, that the government has decreed that anything Mohammed says or writes is considered classified, essentially prohibiting them from using it in court filings or in investigative efforts aimed at determining whether he is guilty of the terrorist acts for which he has claimed responsibility.

    "There is impediment after impediment after impediment," McKay said.

    Throughout the hearings Thursday, Mohammed and Attash remained polite and responsive, often engaging Kohlmann in discussions about their legal rights.

    Mohammed, who has said he wants to "martyr" himself, or be put to death for his self-described role as the orchestrator of the attacks, appeared especially interested in determining how he could oversee his defense.

    Attash said: "Any attack I undertook against America or even participated or helped in, I am proud of it and am happy about it."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  10. #80
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Guantanamo detainees say they're being denied legal tools

    By Carol Rosenberg | Miami Herald

    GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — Reputed al Qaeda kingpin Khalid Sheik Mohammed complained Thursday that he couldn't get a pad of paper to prepare for his capital-crimes court appearance.

    His nephew, Ammar al Baluchi, asked a day earlier for access to a law library. The alleged 9/11 co-conspirator, a computer engineer, complained to his military judge that he prepared a motion but his jailers wouldn't give it to the court. For 10 days.

    Congress may have given war-on-terrorism captives the right to act as their own lawyers in the Military Commissions Act of 2006, but based on pretrial hearings this week for the men accused of killing nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001, the Pentagon and the prison camps haven't provided the "worst of the worst" with the tools to defend themselves.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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