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

  1. #111
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    Jan 2005
    'Spray and pray': Pentagon's Gitmo adviser accused of bullying, rushing trials

    Associated Press
    Published: Wednesday August 13, 2008

    A Pentagon official who oversees the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals faced new internal criticism Wednesday as a prison commander accused him of bullying subordinates and trying to rush forward with trials.

    Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, whose management of the tribunals prompted the chief prosecutor to resign last year, was "abusive, bullying, unprofessional" when demanding files on prisoners, said Army Brig. Gen. Gregory Zanetti, the second-in-command at the U.S. prison.

    Zanetti testified that Hartmann, the legal adviser for the tribunals, pushed for the trials to start amid legal challenges filed by lawyers for the prisoners.

    "The strategy seemed to be spray and pray," he said. "Charge everybody. Let's go. Speed, speed speed."

    Zanetti's testimony came in a pretrial hearing for Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan accused of wounding two U.S. soldiers with a grenade in 2002. Jawad's lawyer is seeking to have the charges dismissed, arguing that Hartmann improperly interfered with the case.

    A judge in the trial of another detainee, Salim Hamdan, previously disqualified Hartmann from participating in that case, saying he aligned himself too closely with prosecutors.

    Hamdan was convicted last week and sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison, concluding the first Guantanamo war crimes trial.

    The U.S. has said it plans to prosecute about 80 prisoners at Guantanamo and others are expected to file similar challenges against Hartmann.

    At an April hearing at Guantanamo, former chief prosecutor Air Force Col. Morris Davis testified that Hartmann meddled in his office and pushed for certain cases to be pursued over others based on political considerations. Davis resigned in October.

    Zanetti, a liaison between the detention center and the tribunals, said Hartmann wanted control of the entire process without regard for command structure, but the approach was not considered all bad because it produced results.

    "We kind of respected it because the process hadn't been moving," Zanetti said.

    Hartmann supervises the chief prosecutor at Guantanamo and has extensive powers over the tribunal system.

    The legal adviser has said he believed he was doing his job properly. He was expected to testify Wednesday in a separate courtroom to address a challenge by lawyers for a Canadian detainee who have also accused him of "unlawful influence."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #112
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    Jan 2005
    Guantanamo trials put generals at odds

    By Jane Sutton
    Wed Aug 13, 6:50 PM ET

    GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - The U.S. military was so eager to get the sluggish Guantanamo war crimes trials moving that the legal adviser to the Pentagon overseer adopted a "spray and pray" approach to pursuing charges, a U.S. general testified on Wednesday.

    "The strategy seemed to be spray and pray, let's go, speed, speed, speed," Army. Brig. Gen. Gregory Zanetti said. "Charge 'em, charge 'em, charge 'em and let's pray that we can pull this off."

    Zanetti, the deputy commander of the military task force that runs the Guantanamo detention operation, testified in a pretrial hearing for Mohammed Jawad.

    The Afghan prisoner is accused of throwing a grenade into a U.S. military Jeep at a bazaar in Kabul in December 2002, wounding two U.S. soldiers and their Afghan interpreter.

    Jawad's military lawyers said the charges should be dismissed because they were tainted by unlawful influence from Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, the officer appointed to give impartial legal advice to the Pentagon official overseeing the war crimes tribunals at the U.S. military base in Cuba.

    Wednesday's testimony pitted one U.S. general against another, exposing some of the internal fractures within the military regarding a tribunal process long condemned by human rights advocates as corrupted by politics.

    Testifying by video link from the Pentagon on Wednesday, Hartmann said he viewed it as his mission to get the trials moving but in a fair and transparent manner. He acknowledged telling prosecutors he wanted cases that would "capture the public's imagination."

    Lawyers for Osama bin Laden's driver, Salim Hamdan, succeeded in getting Hartmann banned from further involvement in that case before Hamdan's trial began. Hamdan was convicted last week on charges of providing material support for terrorism and sentenced to 5-1/2 years in prison, most of which he has already served at Guantanamo.

    That was the first full trial since the United States began sending suspected al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners to Guantanamo in January 2002. The Pentagon plans to try as many as 80.

    The former chief prosecutor, Air Force Col. Moe Davis, testified in that case that Hartmann took over the prosecution office, demanding charges in "sexy" cases in which defendants had "blood on their hands" and dictating who would be charged and when.

    Davis testified on Wednesday that Jawad's case "went from the freezer to the frying pan thanks to Gen. Hartmann."

    He repeated allegations that prosecutors were pushed to file charges before the November U.S. presidential election against five prisoners accused of plotting the September 11 attacks.

    Zanetti characterized Hartmann as "abusive, bullying and unprofessional" and said he regularly delivered profanity-laced tirades that reduced an airborne ranger to "a puddle."

    He quoted Hartmann as saying he was "taking over this thing" and that he advised Guantanamo officers during videoconferences "who he was going to charge and when."

    Hartmann in his testimony said he did question prosecutors about the strengths and weaknesses of cases under consideration but never directed whom should be charged or with what.

    Hartmann's role is also the subject of a defense request to drop the charges against Canadian prisoner Omar Khadr, who is charged with murdering U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher Speer with a hand grenade during a firefight at a suspected al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan in 2002.

    Pretrial hearings were held simultaneously on Wednesday for Jawad and Khadr, who both face life in prison if convicted on charges stemming from alleged actions as juveniles.

    Hartmann acknowledged briefing Canadian government officials about Khadr's case and providing them with copies of legal filings that had been mentioned in news reports.

    The hearings continue on Thursday for Khadr who was 15 when captured and is now 21, and Jawad, who was 16 or 17 when captured and is now 23.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #113
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    Jan 2005
    Pentagon official removed from 2nd Gitmo trial

    Associated Press Writer

    GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) - A military judge on Thursday barred a Pentagon official from taking part in a second war crimes trial at Guantanamo Bay, providing more ammunition for detainee lawyers who allege that political interference taints the proceedings.

    The ruling will fuel defense challenges in other trials at this U.S. Navy base, where a former chief prosecutor and defense lawyers have accused Air Force Brig Gen. Thomas Hartmann, the legal adviser to the tribunals, of demanding that certain cases be pursued over others based on political considerations.

    The judge, Army Col. Steve Hanley, ruled that Hartmann compromised his objectivity in public statements aligning himself with prosecutors and defending the Pentagon's system for prosecuting alleged terrorists.

    Hartmann, who was also barred from the first Guantanamo war crimes trial, will not be allowed to provide further advice in the case against an Afghan detainee. But the judge rejected a defense request to dismiss war crimes charges against the prisoner, Mohammed Jawad.

    The former chief prosecutor, Air Force Col. Morris Davis, testified that Hartmann pushed for Jawad to be charged because the American public would be gripped by the details of the case - a grenade attack on two U.S. soldiers and their interpreter in Afghanistan.

    "The guy who threw the grenade was always at the top of the list,'' Davis said.

    Jawad's attorney, Air Force Maj. David Frakt, said the ruling "really affects some of the high-profile cases that Gen. Hartmann has had his hands in.''

    Guantanamo's chief prosecutor, Army Col. Lawrence Morris, said he expects further challenges over Hartmann's role in other cases.

    "We are going to have to address those in court,'' Morris told The Associated Press.

    Among those who have challenged Hartmann's involvement in the preparation of charges are lawyers for five men accused in the Sept. 11 attacks, including alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

    Hartmann supervises the chief prosecutor at Guantanamo and has extensive powers over the tribunal system. He testified Wednesday that he believed he was doing his job properly and said he has not offered to resign.

    A judge in America's first war-crimes trial since World War II disqualified Hartmann from participating in that case. The defendant, Salim Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden, was convicted last week and sentenced to 5 years in prison.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #114
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    Jan 2005
    9/11 mastermind takes lead role in Gitmo courtroom

    By MIKE MELIA – 59 minutes ago

    GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — Professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed took center stage in a military court Tuesday as he questioned the judge's impartiality and acted as the de facto spokesman for his four co-defendants.

    Mohammed, the highest-profile al-Qaida figure in U.S. custody, boasted at a 2007 closed hearing that he was responsible for 31 terrorist plots and the Sept. 11 attacks "from A to Z" — claims that U.S. officials said were exaggerated.

    Mohammed's interactions with the judge and his co-defendants on Tuesday underscored his taste for the limelight and sense of authority. The former al-Qaida No. 3 has led his co-defendants in raising challenges to the court and even assisted in getting a boycotting co-defendant to leave his cell.

    Glaring at Judge Ralph Kohlmann from beneath bushy eyebrows and a black turban, Mohammed pressed the Marine colonel to explain how he could provide a fair trial as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces that are at war with al-Qaida.

    "How can you, as an officer of the U.S. Marine Corps, stand over me in judgment?" Mohammed, who is acting as his own lawyer, asked in English. "How can you be unbiased, given your position?"

    Mohammed also questioned the judge about his religion, his Marine training and his knowledge of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics Mohammed experienced in CIA custody before he and his co-defendants were transferred to this U.S. military base in southeast Cuba in September 2006.

    Seeking to justify his question about Kohlmann's religious faith, Mohammed declared that "there are some extremist organizations in America that are against us."

    "If you for example were part of Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson's groups, then you would not at all be impartial toward us," Mohammed continued.

    Kohlmann, wearing black judge's robes over his uniform, responded that he doesn't belong to a church now but has attended Lutheran and Episcopalian services.

    He said he had seen references to the prisoners' treatment in CIA custody but has not read detailed accounts of their experience. According to the rules set forth for the first U.S. war-crimes trials since the end of World War II, the judge can exclude evidence that he determines was obtained through torture.

    But Kohlmann made clear his patience is limited. He scolded Mohammed twice for ignoring his instructions to stick to the topic at hand, and warned he could lose the right to represent himself.

    "You are not going to have free rein," Kohlmann intoned from the bench. "I will not allow you to act in a manner that is disrespectful to this court."

    During breaks, Mohammed pivoted in his seat at his defense table and chatted amiably in Arabic with his co-defendants who sat at their own tables arrayed behind him, despite complaints that he used a similar opportunity in June to pressure the others to reject their Pentagon-appointed defense lawyers. His co-defendants later denied they were intimidated.

    Kohlmann initially proposed beginning Tuesday's pretrial hearing with questions from lesser-known detainees. But the other four defendants agreed one by one that Mohammed, seated at the table closest to the judge, should go first.

    All five face the death penalty if convicted of their roles in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

    Mohammed has also offered himself as a problem solver. With his co-defendant Ramzi Binalshibh refusing to appear in court on Monday, Mohammed raised his hand and volunteered to help persuade him to come. The three others agreed to help as well and all four sent letters to Binalshibh.

    Binalshibh, accused of helping the Sept. 11 hijackers enter the United States and find flight schools, agreed to leave his cell and came to court on Tuesday. In court, Binalshibh followed up Mohammed's questions about the judge's religion.

    "As far as I know, your last name is Kohlmann, which is a Jewish name, not a Christian name," Binalshibh said

    The judge said Binalshibh's statement was inaccurate, told him not to interrupt, and asked Mohammed to resume his questions.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  5. #115
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    Jan 2005
    Guantanamo war-crime trials advisor is reassigned
    Military judges in three separate cases had barred Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann from further participation in various aspects of the military commissions.,5785697.story

    By Peter Finn, Washington Post
    September 20, 2008

    WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon transferred a controversial senior official involved in overseeing the war-crimes trials at Guantanamo Bay into a new position Friday, a move that was anticipated after military judges in three separate cases barred Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann from further participation in various aspects of the military commissions.

    Defense officials, who would discuss the reassignment only on the condition of anonymity, said Hartmann's position became untenable after judges ruled that he had improperly influenced prosecutors by pressing them to move to trial quickly and, over their objections, used evidence obtained from interrogations that involved coercive techniques. Legal disputes over Hartmann's role threatened to delay trials that the Bush administration wants to see up and running.

    The Defense Department said in a statement Friday that Hartmann will remain involved as director of operations, planning and development for military commissions. His deputy, Michael Chapman, will become the new legal advisor.

    "Gen. Hartmann has driven the commissions process forward since his arrival in July 2007," Daniel J. Dell'Orto, acting general counsel at the Pentagon, said in a statement. "In no small part because of his efforts and his dedication, the commissions are an active, operational legal system."

    Hartmann was the legal advisor to the convening authority, Susan J. Crawford, a Pentagon lawyer whose role is to exercise a neutral role in the commissions, overseeing but not dictating the work of prosecutors and allocating resources to both the prosecution and defense.

    Military defense lawyers, human rights groups and a former lead prosecutor expressed dismay that Hartmann will remain in a position that they say will allow him to continue influencing cases.

    "Elevating his deputy and leaving him in the process, I'm afraid, will be like the Vladimir Putin-Dmitry Medvedev relationship where there's some real doubt over who pulls the strings," said Col. Morris Davis, a former chief military prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, drawing a parallel to the Russian prime minister and the protege he helped elevate to the presidency.

    Lt. Cmdr. William C. Kuebler, military defense counsel for Canadian defendant Omar Khadr, said in a statement that "Hartmann's reassignment should be seen for what it is -- a thin veneer for what amounts to being fired for his excessive and unlawful interference in the military commissions process."

    Human Rights Watch said that "instead of trying to clean up house, the Pentagon has now moved a man accused of bullying prosecutors to bring cases to trial and dismissing concerns about evidence being tainted by torture into a position coordinating all matters relating to the commissions."

    Hartmann dismissed the criticism: "We are going to produce fair, open and just trials."

    Attorneys for some of the most high-profile defendants at Guantanamo, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is accused of being the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, are still seeking to have the charges against their clients dismissed because of Hartmann's actions.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #116
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    Jan 2005
    9/11 Defendant Queries Judge on Beliefs
    Accused Mastermind Tries to Prove Bias

    By Peter Finn
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, September 24, 2008; Page A16

    GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, Sept. 23 -- Invoking names such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Buchanan, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the admitted organizer of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, probed the private opinions of the military judge who is overseeing his case Tuesday in a series of sometimes testy exchanges during a hearing on the judge's impartiality.

    Mohammed, wearing a black turban, began by asking Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann about his religious beliefs and whether he had any association with the religious organizations of Pat Robertson or the late Jerry Falwell.

    "If you are in one of those denominations, you are not going to be fair," said Mohammed, who switched between Arabic and English when he spoke to the judge. The judge said he had not belonged to any congregation for some time but had attended Lutheran and Episcopal churches.

    The pretrial hearing provided Mohammed and four other defendants facing murder and war crimes charges for their alleged involvement in the terrorist attacks with the opportunity to discover any bias that would suggest Kohlmann should recuse himself. Three of the five, including Mohammed, are representing themselves.

    Kohlmann, who will rule on his own impartiality, noted that he had responded to nearly 600 questions in writing. Tuesday's proceeding allowed the defendants and their attorneys to ask follow-up questions.

    Ramzi Binalshibh, another defendant, interjected, "Your last name is Kohlmann, which is a Jewish name, not a Christian name." Kohlmann told him he was mistaken.

    Binalshibh had previously refused to appear in court but showed up voluntarily Tuesday after Mohammed and the other defendants, with the court's approval, sent notes to his cell asking him to take his seat.

    Binalshibh continued to insist that he represents himself and attacked his lawyers for, among other things, raising questions about his mental state. Navy Cmdr. Suzanne Lachelier, Binalshibh's assigned military defense attorney, noted that Binalshibh was reading a newspaper article and apparently oblivious when the judge was explaining the defendant's need to be in court and his rights.

    "She was busy writing," retorted Binalshibh, who said he simply did not want to look at the judge. He added forcefully: "I am not mentally incompetent."

    Apart from Binalshibh's interruption, Mohammed was the only defendant to question the judge. He focused for some time on a seminar the judge led at his daughter's high school in 2005. The judge, who revealed the seminar in a previous case held at Guantanamo Bay, held a class on the legal and ethical issues associated with torture or coercive interrogation.

    "It appears that you are supportive of torture for the sake of national security. Is that correct?" Mohammed asked.

    Kohlmann said he laid out a "ticking-bomb scenario" and then challenged the students to examine their initial responses. But he said he provided no answer to "what would be permissible or ethical or lawful."

    Lawyers for the other defendants also probed the judge's attitude toward torture and its definition, but Kohlmann largely sidestepped the issue.

    Mohammed's sometimes rambling disquisition even touched on the Marine Corps Rifleman's Creed. "Is that right: Every Marine is a rifleman?" Mohammed asked, wondering aloud how any Marine could judge him and the other defendants when the Corps was fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and "killing our people."

    When Kohlmann told Mohammed that some of his questions were irrelevant, the defendant muttered aloud, "You reject to answer."

    Kohlmann then warned Mohammed that he will be held to the same standard as any lawyer before the court and that he risked losing his ability to represent himself if he persisted with such asides.

    The judge also said Mohammed's questions seemed to be an attempt "to develop a personality profile." The exchange came after Mohammed asked whether the judge read books by Billy Graham or Pat Buchanan, and what movies he watched.

    "I decline to provide you with my reading list or my movie list," Kohlmann said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  7. #117
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    Jan 2005
    9/11 defendant mounts vigorous defense

    The Associated Press
    Published: September 24, 2008

    GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba: The proclaimed architect of the Sept. 11 attacks once declared that he wanted to be executed and become a martyr. But Khalid Sheikh Mohammed mounted a vigorous defense during a pretrial hearing on Wednesday, even asking the military judge to remove himself.

    Acting as his own attorney, Mohammed's readiness to raise challenges on behalf of himself and his four co-defendants ensured that their trial won't be short. The case now has little chance of going to trial before the end of the Bush administration.

    Charles "Cully" Stimson, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, said Mohammed aims to use the military tribunal to rally al-Qaida supporters.

    "KSM will mess with the system to the extent he can, and he will use the trial as a platform to speak to those who look up to him as a hero," Stimson told The Associated Press in an e-mail.

    Mohammed on Wednesday asked Judge Ralph Kohlmann, a Marine colonel, to recuse himself, arguing that Kohlmann sees the defendants as "Islamic extremists."

    I don't believe you respect Muslims and therefore won't provide me a just ruling," said Mohammed, who wore a black turban above a long gray beard streaked with white, using halting English.

    The judge dismissed Mohammed's challenges of his impartiality and refused to recuse himself.

    At Mohammed's arraignment in June — his first public appearance since he was captured in Pakistan in 2003 — Kohlmann warned him that he faces the death penalty for his confessed role as mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed 2,973 people. Mohammed said he would welcome becoming a martyr.

    The defendants, who all face the death penalty if convicted, have not yet entered a plea.

    But in court, Mohammed and his four co-defendants pressed requests for computer equipment, translated court transcripts and telephone access. All five are held with other "high-value" detainees in a secret location on this U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.

    "This is going to be a long, long, long battle before these accused get sentenced," said Army Maj. Jon Jackson, an attorney for defendant Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi. His client allegedly provided the Sept. 11 hijackers with money and Western-style clothing.

    Complaining of botched Arabic translations in the courtroom, the detainees also asked for the proceedings to be suspended until more competent interpreters are appointed. Mohammed filed a handwritten note in support of the motion, saying he has to resort to using "broken English."

    Kohlmann did not immediately rule on the defendants' requests, but lead prosecutor Robert Swann said the government is preparing to issue each defendant a laptop computer loaded with 40,782 pages of documents and more than 50 videos.

    Swann said they could not safely be provided with requested printers or other equipment with electrical cords, presumably because of the danger of suicide.

    Four prisoners at Guantanamo, which currently holds 255 men suspected of links to the Taliban or al-Qaida, have killed themselves since the military offshore prison opened in January 2002.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  8. #118
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    Jan 2005
    Tribunal misgivings drive Gitmo prosecutor to quit

    By Josh Meyer | Tribune Newspapers
    2:18 AM CDT, October 12, 2008

    WASHINGTON — Darrel Vandeveld was in despair. The hard-nosed lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve had lost faith in the Guantanamo Bay war crimes tribunals in which he was one of the prosecutors.

    His work was top secret, making it impossible to talk to family or friends. So the devout Catholic — working away from home—contacted a priest via the Internet.

    "I am beginning to have grave misgivings about what I am doing, and what we are doing as a country," Vandeveld wrote in an August e-mail. "I no longer want to participate in the system, but I lack the courage to quit. I am married, with children, and not only will they suffer, I'll lose a lot of friends."

    He even reached out for advice from his opposing counsel, a military defense lawyer.

    "How do I get myself out of this office?" Vandeveld asked Air Force Maj. David Frakt, who was representing the young Afghan Vandeveld had been ordered to prosecute for an attack on U.S. soldiers — despite his doubts about whether Mohammed Jawad would get a fair trial.

    Last month, Vandeveld resigned from active duty, becoming at least the fourth prosecutor to quit under protest. Their assertions raise fundamental questions about the fairness of the war crimes tribunals from the very people charged with implementing them, according to legal experts, human-rights observers and some current and former military officials.

    In a declaration and subsequent testimony, Vandeveld said the U.S. government is not providing defense lawyers with the evidence that it has against their clients, including exculpatory information—material that is considered helpful to the defense.

    Vandeveld testified that he went from being a "true believer to someone who felt truly deceived [by the tribunals]."

    Army Col. Lawrence Morris, the chief prosecutor and Vandeveld's boss, said the Office of Military Commissions provides the defense "every scrap of paper and information." Vandeveld, he said, simply was disgruntled because his commanding officers disagreed with some of his legal tactics.

    "I care not for myself; our enemies deserve nothing less than what we would expect from them were the situations reversed," Vandeveld said. "More than anything, I hope we can rediscover some of our American values." Some tribunal defense lawyers are preparing to call Vandeveld as a witness, saying his claims of systemic problems at Guantanamo, if true, could alter the outcome of every pending case there.

    Vandeveld, now 48, once lived a relatively placid life outside Erie, Pa., with his wife and four children. He worked as a senior deputy state attorney general in charge of consumer protection in the region.

    Called to active duty after the Sept. 11 attacks, Vandeveld received outstanding evaluations as a Pentagon legal adviser and judge advocate in Bosnia, the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq.

    "One of the Corps' best and brightest," his commanding officer, Gen. Charles Barr, wrote in Vandeveld's June 2006 evaluation. "Save the very toughest jobs in the Corps for him."

    From his Iraq assignment, Vandeveld went to Guantanamo, where he began locking horns over the Jawad case with Frakt.

    Frakt believed that his client was, at worst, a confused Afghan teen of about 16 who had been brainwashed and drugged by militant extremists who coerced him into participating in a grenade-throwing incident with other older — and guiltier —men.

    Vandeveld told the L.A. Times he kept finding information that appeared to bolster Frakt's claims that evidence was being withheld — including some favorable to the defense, such as information suggesting that Jawad was underage, that he was drugged before the incident and abused by U.S. forces afterward.

    With Frakt pressing for the charges to be dismissed due to "outrageous government misconduct," Vandeveld proposed a plea agreement in which Jawad, now thought to be 22, could return to Afghanistan and get rehabilitation. But his superiors rejected it, Vandeveld said.

    By late August, he had told Frakt that there were other "disquieting" things about Guantanamo and that his superiors were refusing to address them or to let him quietly transfer out, Frakt said.

    "Now might be a good time to take a courageous stand and expose some of the 'disquieting' things that you have alluded to, whatever they may be," Frakt replied in a Sept. 2 e-mail.

    Morris and other Pentagon officials say Vandeveld is not qualified to speak to systemwide problems at Guantanamo. But Frakt says he is, and that Vandeveld's declaration only scratches the surface of his concerns, according to their extensive conversations and hundreds of e-mail exchanges.

    "There is a lot more that he knows," Frakt said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  9. #119
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    Jan 2005
    9/11 suspects get laptop, no Net

    Posted by Richard Koman @ October 13, 2008 @ 10:53 AM

    Al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed gets a laptop and 12 hours of battery time a day, but no Internet. That’s what a military judge ruled last week, according to the Miami Herald.

    The issue in the 9/11 trail of Mohammed and his coconspirators is what resources they should get to defend themselves from their cells in Gitmo’s Camp Justice. They should have “reasonable access” to legal resources, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann ruled.
    ”Reasonable access does not equate to a right or an entitlement to be placed on the same footing as a technologically state of the art law office,” Kohlmann wrote in his three-page ruling.

    The defendants had asked for a long list of Internet sites and legal databases. Ammar al Baluchi asked for a DVD writer, PowerPoint software, printers, a scanner and a hot line to the Pentagon’s defense counsel’s office.

    Prosecutors volunteered to give the Toughbooks loaded with the government’s evidence and eight hours of battery a day. Kohlmann upped the battery time to 12 hours but ruled out phone link or live access to the Web.

    The alleged terrorists’ US-based lawyers can download material and deliver via storage devices, providing “a broad range of news and Internet research sources applicable to the defense in this case.”

    But first: government censors would review — and blackout material off-limits for ”operational or privacy concerns.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  10. #120
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    Jan 2005
    9/11 kin to watch terror trial at Guantánamo, by lottery
    Five relatives of Sept. 11 victims will be able to attend a hearing for an alleged al Qaeda kingpin in December.


    GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- With the war court's future uncertain, the Pentagon has made plans to bring victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- chosen by lottery -- to watch a hearing of reputed al Qaeda kingpin Khalid Sheik Mohammed's death penalty trial.

    Five will be chosen. In an Oct. 20 letter, the chief war crimes prosecutor invited relatives of those killed on 9/11 to submit names to watch a military commissions hearing Dec. 8, during the closing days of President Bush's administration, which has championed the tribunals.

    Scheduled that day is a hearing in the case of Mohammed and four other former CIA-held captives accused of conspiring to train, finance and orchestrate the hijackings that killed nearly 3,000 people in the 2001 attacks.

    Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, who has for years helped steer Bush administration detainee policy, issued an endorsement of the plan to airlift family members of those killed in the attacks to this remote U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.

    "Soon, some of those victim families will have the opportunity to see firsthand the fair, open and just trials of those alleged to have perpetrated these horrific acts," England said.

    A former military prosecutor has testified that England had discussed with Pentagon lawyers the "strategic political value" of charging some prized Guantánamo detainees before the 2006 congressional elections.

    But Pentagon officials attributed the Dec. 8 timing to finally implementing a long-promised victims witness program, which will enable thousands of family members of the Sept. 11 dead to watch the eventual trial through satellite feeds to four U.S. military bases.

    No trial date has been set.

    Meantime, the United States is proceeding this week with its second ever terror trial. Ali Hamza al Bahlul, about 38, is accused of recruiting jihadists while working as an al Qaeda media secretary and propagandist in Afghanistan. He faces a maximum life in prison.

    Like the first man tried, Osama bin Laden's driver, Salim Hamdan, 40, Bahlul is from Yemen. Hamdan's military jury sentenced him to spend the rest of the year in prison, a ruling the Pentagon's prosecutor is appealing.

    The prosecutor is starting the victims program by permitting five 9/11 family members to observe proceedings as the five alleged terrorists and their legal counsel argue about what law and evidence might be used at trial.

    The Defense Department notified kin of the 9/11 dead through letters and postings on electronic message boards offering a chance to visit this outpost for up to a week, at Pentagon expense. Thousands are eligible to apply. They include the parents, children, spouses or siblings of those killed in New York, at the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania field.

    Yet, the future of the war court itself is uncertain.

    Both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates have pledged to close the prison camps at Guantánamo.

    Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain has said through his campaign that he would keep the war court he helped establish through the 2006 Military Commissions Act but might move the trials themselves to U.S. soil.

    Illinois Democratic Sen. Barack Obama advocates trying alleged terrorists in traditional U.S. courts, not the special post-9/11 justice system that has been a keystone of the Bush administration's controversial detention policy.

    One person who applied to the Guantánamo visitors program is Queens, N.Y., antiwar activist Adele Welty, whose firefighter son, Tim, was killed at the World Trade Center.

    He is listed as victim No. 2653 on the conspiracy charge, which lists the names of 2,973 Sept. 11 dead.

    Pentagon prosecutors seek the death penalty for the five alleged co-conspirators. But Welty is concerned that her politics might exclude her from eligibility, especially since, she said, Pentagon prosecutors had her fill out a form that asked her position on capital punishment.

    She testified against executing alleged 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui during the penalty phase of his 2006 trial. ``I feel that if we're going to kill people, we're no different than the terrorists."

    And she took part in a January 2007 protest against Guantánamo detention policies on the Castro side of Cuba, which got her a warning letter from the U.S. government.

    But she wants to see a portion of the trial firsthand because she's heard about the secrecy of the military commission system.

    "He still needs to have a fair trial," Welty said, ``not because of who he is, but because of what kind of a country we want to be."

    The chief war crimes prosecutor, Army Col. Lawrence Morris, said someone's opinion on the death penalty would have no bearing on the lottery. Rather, he said, 9/11 family members were asked to voluntarily fill out "Victim Impact Questionnaires" as an information-gathering tool.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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