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

  1. #121
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    Jan 2005
    9/11 families in Mohammed hearing lottery

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- The Pentagon plans a lottery to pick family members of victims of the 2001 attacks on the United States to attend a hearing for the reputed terrorist leader.

    Five will be chosen to watch a military commissions hearing Dec. 8 ahead of al-Qaida kingpin Khalid Sheik Mohammed's trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, The Miami Herald reported Monday. The hearing will be for Mohammed and four others accused of conspiring to train, finance and orchestrate the hijackings that killed nearly 3,000 people in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England has endorsed the plan to airlift family members of those killed in the attacks to the U.S. Navy base in 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.

    No trial date has been set.

    Pentagon officials said the hearing date marks the implementation of a long-promised program that will enable thousands of family members of the nearly 3,000 Sept. 11 dead to watch the trial through satellite feeds to four U.S. military bases.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #122
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    Jan 2005
    Attorneys slam Bush for 9/11 actions
    A lawyer whose case helped secure rights for detainees speaks before an isle forum

    By Susan Essoyan

    In its single-minded pursuit of possible terrorists, the Bush administration has rounded up and imprisoned hundreds of people at Guantanamo Bay for years. So far, just one of them has been tried.

    Attorney Neal Katyal, who volunteered to represent that prisoner - Osama bin Laden's driver - spoke at a forum Monday sponsored by the Hawaii State Bar Association at the Pacific Club. He was joined by Honolulu attorney Edmund Burke, who also represents a Guantanamo detainee at no charge.

    "The president has taken very aggressive steps in the war on terror," said Katyal, a Georgetown University law professor. "The result has been not very much in moving the ball further in terms of protecting us against terrorism. Seven years after 9/11, we've had a whopping one trial at Guantanamo. That person, my client, was sentenced to four months and 22 days."

    His client, Salim Hamdan of Yemen, was convicted of supporting terrorism but acquitted of taking part in the al-Qaida conspiracy to attack the United States. He was sentenced in August and is due to be released by the end of the year, far short of the 30 years sought by military prosecutors.

    The Pentagon has indicated it may keep him locked up - something Katyal said he will vigorously oppose.

    Wherever he winds up, Hamdan's name will live on in American law. Katyal and co-counsel Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, a Navy attorney, took his case all the way to the Supreme Court, challenging the secret military tribunals set up by the Bush administration to try detainees at Guantanamo.

    The high court's June 2006 ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld was described as "simply the most important decision on presidential power and the rule of law ever" by former U.S. Solicitor General Walter Dellinger III, a Duke law professor.

    In an unusual rebuke of a president during wartime, the court struck down the tribunals as unconstitutional and in violation of military and international law. The story behind the case is featured in a new book, "The Challenge," by Jonathan Mahler, released in August.

    Katyal became involved after President Bush issued a military order establishing the tribunals with no authorization from Congress, asserting unilateral executive power.

    "The president said he was going to do this all on his own," Katyal said. "He said, 'I'm going to be able to try these people, pick the judges, write the rules for trial, define all the offenses. I'm going to pick the punishment and, by the way, the federal courts have no business reviewing what I'm doing.'

    "I thought that was a problem," said Katyal, 38, a former national security adviser in the Justice Department.

    After losing at the Supreme Court, the Bush administration turned to Congress, which swiftly passed a law in September 2006 setting up a military trial system that stripped the Guantanamo detainees of the bedrock American right to habeas corpus. That's the right of the accused to ensure there are legal grounds for detention or, as Katyal put it, to "come into federal court and say 'Hey, you got the wrong guy.'"

    In June of this year, that part of the law was also struck down by the Supreme Court.

    "Both court cases are important because they reaffirm the notion of the rule of law in America and the wisdom of our founders' system of checks and balances," Katyal said.

    The roughly 250 people held at Guantanamo are now entitled to some legal protection. The Pentagon says it plans to charge 80 of them with war crimes before military tribunals. It's not clear what's going to happen to the rest of them.

    Most of the prisoners were seized in 2001 and 2002 in Afghanistan, and none are from Iraq, said Burke, the Honolulu attorney who represents a Libyan detainee. Some were as young as 13, he said.

    "My client was just a person in the wrong place at the wrong time," Burke said. "I think he's very typical of many others. The main goal now is to at least give the mass of these individuals a real day in court where it can be determined whether or not they should be further tried or sent home."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #123
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    Jan 2005
    Gitmo judge tosses out detainee confession obtained through torture by Afghans,6129933.story

    By DAVID McFADDEN | Associated Press Writer
    10:38 PM CDT, October 28, 2008

    GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) _ A U.S. military judge barred the Pentagon Tuesday from using a Guantanamo prisoner's confession to Afghan authorities as trial evidence, saying it was obtained through torture.

    Army Col. Stephen Henley said Mohammed Jawad's statements "were obtained by physical intimidation and threats of death which, under the circumstances, constitute torture."

    Jawad's defense attorney, Air Force Maj. David Frakt, told The Associated Press that the ruling removes "the lynchpin of the government's case."

    Guantanamo's chief prosecutor, Army Col. Lawrence Morris, said he recognized how the judge made his decision and needed to study the ruling before making more comments.

    Jawad, who was still a teenager at the time, is accused of injuring two U.S. soldiers with a grenade in 2002. He allegedly said during his interrogation in Kabul that he hoped the Americans died, and would do it again.

    But Henley said Jawad confessed only after police commanders and high-ranking Afghan government officials threatened to kill him and his family — a strategy intended to inflict severe pain that constitutes torture.

    "During the interrogation, someone told the accused, 'You will be killed if you do not confess to the grenade attack,' and, 'We will arrest your family and kill them if you do not confess,' or words to that effect," Henley wrote in response to a defense motion to suppress the evidence. "It was a credible threat."

    Frakt said the ruling is a "further disintegration of the government's case," and that the Afghans' descriptions of Jawad's confession were never credible to begin with. He also praised the judge for "adopting a traditional definition of torture rather than making one up."

    The judge said torture includes statements obtained by use of death threats to the speaker or his family, and that actual physical or mental injury is not required. "The relevant inquiry is whether the threat was specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering upon another person within the interrogator's custody or control," Henley wrote.

    Hina Shamsi, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, welcomed the ruling, but alleged "evidence obtained through torture and coercion is pervasive in military commission cases that, by design, disregard the most fundamental due process rights, and no single decision can cure that."

    Tuesday's ruling comes a few weeks after Jawad's former Guantanamo prosecutor, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, quit after what he described as a crisis of conscience over the ethical handling of cases at the U.S. base.

    He said evidence he saw — some of which was withheld from defense attorneys — suggested Jawad may have been drugged before the 2002 attack.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #124
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    Jan 2005
    Guantanamo jury told video lured suicide bombers


    GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden's accused media chief incited murder and inspired al Qaeda suicide attackers, including two of the September 11 hijackers, a U.S. military prosecutor told the Guantanamo war crimes court on Friday.

    "You are a terrorist and a war criminal," the prosecutor, Army Maj. Dan Cowhig, told defendant Ali Hamza al Bahlul.

    A jury of nine U.S. military officers began deliberating on Friday in the second terrorism trial at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. At least six must agree in order to convict Bahlul of conspiring with al Qaeda to attack civilians, soliciting murder and giving material support for terrorism.

    The Yemeni defendant and his U.S. military lawyer sat in silent protest throughout the trial but Bahlul's earlier words to Guantanamo interrogators formed key evidence against him.

    The interrogators testified that Bahlul scripted the videotaped wills of two September 11 hijackers who were his roommates in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 1999.

    "He whispers in the ear of Mohamed Atta and Ziad al Jarrah," Cowhig said. "He motivated them to shred themselves and hundreds of others in the towers of the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon and the fields of Pennsylvania."

    Bahlul boasted that bin Laden assigned him to make a recruiting video and was so pleased with it that he promoted him to media secretary, the interrogators testified.

    Bahlul's fingerprints were all over a stash of books that U.S. soldiers found in Afghanistan, including a journal filled with bin Laden's dictation and a notebook full of production notes for the video titled "The Destruction of the American Destroyer USS Cole," prosecution witnesses said.

    The two-hour piece catalogues Muslim humiliations around the world. A segment labelled "The Solution" celebrates the suicide bombers who drove a boat full of explosives into the USS Cole in 2000, killing 17 American sailors.

    Cowhig called the video, released in early 2001, a recruiting tool for al Qaeda suicide bombers.

    Bahlul, who could face life in prison, is not accused of direct involvement in or advanced knowledge of any attacks. But prosecutors say he incited others to attack civilians through the release of his video on the Internet and DVDs.

    "The exploitation of modern media and the exploitation of modern technology has made terrorism more effective but it has not made it new," Cowhig said. "This is not a new kind of war. This is barbarity."

    Bahlul went into hiding with bin Laden shortly before the September 11 attacks, driving a minivan full of video gear and computers with a satellite uplink, interrogators testified.

    Prosecution witnesses said Bahlul's video was translated into several languages and cited admiringly in wiretapped conversations among terrorism suspects. Stacks of copies were found in a Pakistani guest house where alleged September 11 plotter Ramzi Binalshibh was captured in 2002, an FBI agent testified.

    "If it is not the most popular al Qaeda video of all time it is among the top five," terrorism consultant Evan Kohlmann testified.

    Bahlul was not allowed to act as his own attorney in the Guantanamo court he once called a farce, and his military lawyer honoured his request not to put on any defence.

    He is one of 255 suspected al Qaeda and Taliban captives held at Guantanamo, and only the second to face trial in the special tribunals created by the Bush administration to try foreign suspects on terrorism charges outside the regular civilian and military courts.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  5. #125
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    Jan 2005
    Verdict to be read Monday in trial of Bin Laden’s videomaker

    (Gold9472: To help McShame out in the elections?)

    By Carol Rosenberg • McClatchy Newspapers • October 31, 2008

    UPDATED AT 7:47 PM -- GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — A military jury reached a swift verdict in the terror trial of an alleged Al Qaeda propagandist today, hours after a prosecutor emotionally accused the man of inciting suicide bombers to kill Americans.

    Guards had already returned the accused terrorist to the barbed-wire ringed prison camp elsewhere on the base. So the judge, Air Force Col. Ronald Gregory, ordered the verdict sealed, and told the jury to return Monday to announce it.

    “You are a terrorist and a war criminal,” Army Maj. Dan Cowhig, the prosecutor, had told Ali Hamza al-Bahlul in his closing argument before sending the jury to deliberate for what turned out to be fewer than four hours.

    Al-Bahlul, about 40, is charged with three war crimes covering 23 counts — conspiracy, solicitation to murder and providing material support for terror for allegedly serving as Osama bin Laden’s media secretary from 1999 until his capture in Afghanistan in 2001.

    He sat silently through the trial each day, offering no defense.

    Nine jurors heard the case, all colonels and Navy captains. Under the Military Commission format, only six jurors must agree on the verdict.

    Pentagon prosecutors say al-Bahlul committed war crimes by producing a crude anti-American Al Qaeda recruiting video that spliced bin Laden’s speeches with grisly news clips and a tribute to suicide bombers. They called 14 witnesses, including three ex-jihadists, interrogators and forensic experts.

    Then the prosecutor evoked powerful, provocative imagery in urging his fellow U.S. officers to convict al-Bahlul.

    Cowhig said Bahlul’s work stirred the 9/11 hijackers “to shred themselves and hundreds of the others through the towers of the World Trade Center and the walls of the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.”

    As bin Laden’s video maker, he said, al-Bahlul “shouts through the medium of video ... to recruit, to motivate and to incite others to join Al Qaeda,” which he labeled “a band of lawless wretches in armed conflict with the United States.”

    Al-Bahlul sat silently at the defense table in a tan prison camp uniform, never once speaking to the Air Force Reserve major assigned to represent him.

    Before the closing, the judge had twice cautioned jurors that they should draw no conclusions from the defense strategy. “He is under no obligation to say or do anything to establish his innocence,” he said. “The accused has an absolute right to stand silent and do nothing but require the government to prove its case against him beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    U.S. agents testified at the trial that al-Bahlul told interrogators that he worked for bin Laden in Afghanistan as his media secretary from 1999 to 2001.

    In prison camp confessions, al-Bahlul reportedly boasted that bin Laden personally assigned him the recruiting video, which glorified the October 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen. Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed.

    Al-Bahlul also allegedly prepared talking points for bin Laden’s interviews, followed the Al Qaeda leader’s motorcade in a van equipped with video equipment and an AK-47 assault rifle and swore a pledge of allegiance to the former Saudi millionaire who now tops America’s Most Wanted List.

    Evidence at trial never revealed the circumstances of al-Bahlul’s capture in late 2001, but Defense Department documents show that he was transferred to the prison camps here when they opened in January 2002.

    Al-Bahlul is only the second Guantanamo captive among the estimated 255 war-on-terror detainees to face the military commissions created after the 9/11 attacks.

    The first was Salim Hamdan, 40, bin Laden’s $200-a-month driver, also a Yemeni who worked for the Al Qaeda founder in Afghanistan.

    Another jury convicted him of providing material support in August and sentenced him to time served plus the rest of the year.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #126
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    Jan 2005
    The Gitmo Dilemma
    Four reasons Obama won't close the controversial prison soon


    The detention center at Guantanamo Bay and the flawed justice system created to try terrorist suspects held there are among the most complicated legacies of the Bush administration. They're Obama's problem now. The president elect has said he will shutter Gitmo and put some of the detainees on trial in American criminal courts or military courts martial (his campaign did not return calls seeking comment. But the prisoner mess created by Bush with the stroke of a pen in November, 2001, and made messier over seven years, will take time and resourcefulness to clean up. Here are four reasons the controversial facility will probably still be open for business a year from now.

    The Yemeni Factor. Any route to closing Guantanamo involves repatriating most of the roughly 250 detainees still held in Cuba. Sending detainees home requires negotiating the terms of their release with the home country. Since Yemenis make up the largest group of prisoners in Cuba, talks with the government in Sanaa will be key. But Yemen has been the hardest country to engage on the issue, according to a former senior official familiar with the process. The Bush administration has asked home countries to impose restrictions on the returnees. Saudi Arabia, for example, has imprisoned some Gitmo veterans, limited the travel of others and put the those it thought it could co-opt through a "de-radicalization" program. "Yemen doesn't want to be seen as doing anything for the United States," says the former official, who declined to be named discussing sensitive diplomacy. Even if it agreed to U.S. demands, Yemen might not have the capability to honor them. "It has areas of the country that are poorly governed and its borders are porous," said the former official, who requested anonymity discussing sensitive matters. If the new administration is willing to release detainees without demands on the home country, the process can go quickly. But the risk is that some might pose future security threats to America.

    Other detainees face possible torture if sent home—most notably Gitmo's 17 Uighurs from China. Ken Gude of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank headed by former Clinton White House aide (and Obama ally) John Podesta, has suggested the U.S. ask its allies to help create an international resettlement program for those detainees who can't return to their countries. The good will Obama has already generated in Europe and elsewhere will help. But the process will take time.

    The NIMBY Problem: The U.S. will continue holding a few dozen suspects it intends to put on trial or deems too dangerous to release. But where? A secret study conducted by the Pentagon in 2006 outlined alternative sites within the U.S., including the military facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and at Charleston, South Carolina, according to a former Pentagon official familiar with the details. But congressmen representing those and other districts with military brigs have already vowed to fight the move. "What you have is a NIMBY problem (Not In My Back Yard)," says Charles Stimson, who served until last year as the deputy assistant Defense Secretary for Detainee Affairs. "I haven't seen one congressman raise his hand and say, 'give them to me'." Even if Capitol Hill could be persuaded to go along with the relocation, Stimson said, extensive work would have to be done on existing military brigs before Guantanamo detainees are housed there. "You can't commingle them with military detainees, so you'd have to set up a separate wing or clear out the facility," he says. The structures would have to be reinforced so they wouldn't be vulnerable to terrorist attacks. "And you would have to address secondary and tertiary [security] concerns within the town, the county and the state."

    Miranda This: Once moved, the high value detainees already indicted for their role in the attacks of 9/11 or other crimes would presumably be tried in either federal criminal courts or in military courts—a suggestion put forth by Obama in a statement earlier this year. But it's not at all clear that convictions could be won against even top Al Qaeda suspects like the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khaled Sheikh Mohammed. Federal and military courts are much more protective of a defendant's rights than the military commissions operating at Guantanamo. In a federal court, an Al Qaeda defendant held for years at a secret CIA site could complain that his right to a speedy trial was violated, that he was never read his Miranda rights, that the evidence against him did not go through a proper chain of custody and that confessions were gleaned through coercive interrogations, according to retired Col. Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor in the Guantanamo trials. "Any one of these issues could jeopardize the prospect of a conviction," he said. Some legal scholars, like Neal Katyal at Georgetown University, have suggested creating new "national security" courts, where suspects would have more rights than they do in military commissions but would not get the full range of criminal protections. The idea is controversial in the legal community, but might be the only viable alternative to the discredited Gitmo commissions. Establishing the new courts would require a lengthy legislative process.

    We'll Always Have Bagram? Obama will also have to think through where the U.S. can put detainees it captures in the future. The detention center at Bagram air base in Afghanistan is currently being expanded. But Bagram shares Guantanamo's dark record of abuse, secrecy, and detention without trial. Human rights groups describe it as Gitmo with a different zip code. To really change course, the new administration will have to formulate a new policy for holding terrorist suspects that allows them some form of quick and fair adjudication. "In my mind, Guantanamo is a symptom of a larger problem," says Matthew Waxman, a law professor at Columbia University who has held senior positions in the State Department and the Pentagon. "We're going to continue capturing and detaining Al Qaeda members. We need a durable system for handling them." Ideas abound. Choosing one and building a new structure around it will require strong leadership—and time.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  7. #127
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    Jan 2005
    Chief military judge in Guantanamo to retire early

    WASHINGTON, Nov 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. military judge in the case of the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks has decided to retire rather than continue to oversee the complex proceedings, defense officials said on Monday.

    Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, chief judge for the U.S. Military Commission trying detainees accused of terrorism in the Guantanamo naval base, will retire five months earlier than expected, officials said. On Monday, he named U.S. Army Col. Steven Henley as his replacement.

    A defense official said Kohlmann had planned to retire in April but decided to do it now after concluding that the proceedings would likely continue beyond next spring.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused al Qaeda planner of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, faces a military commission trial with four co-defendants at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they are being held.

    Mohammed and his co-defendants -- Ramzi Binalshibh, Mustafa Ahmed al Hawsawi, Walid bin Attash and Ali Abdul Aziz Ali -- are charged with conspiracy and 2,973 counts of murder representing all of those killed when hijacked airliners crashed into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

    President-elect Barack Obama, who enters the White House on Jan. 20, has vowed to shut the U.S. prison at Guantanamo.

    The American Civil Liberties Union, which has long called for the shuttering of the jail, suggested in a statement on Monday that Kohlmann's departure could be a consequence of Obama's plans.

    "The timing of the announcement to replace the military commission judge on the 9/11 cases is highly suspect and disturbing," ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said.

    He said Bush administration could try to "sabotage" Obama's plans by "ramming through these cases in its last days."

    But a second defense official said there was nothing suspicious about Kohlmann's departure, nothing that his retirement plans were discussed in open court in September.

    Hearings are scheduled to resume in the case on Dec. 8.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  8. #128
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    Jan 2005
    Military judge in 9/11 case replaced


    A new military judge has been named to the trial of accused September 11 mastermined Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other defendants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a Pentagon official said Monday.

    Colonel Stephen Henley was tapped to replace Colonel Ralph Kohlmann, who will retire in April, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    Kohlmann, who is the chief judge of the military commissions at Guantanamo, stepped down because he realized that the September 11 trial would not be completed by the time he retired, the official said.

    "So he appointed Judge Steve Henley to take over the 9/11 case," the official said.

    The American Civil Liberties Union called the timing of the move "highly suspect and disturbing," noting that it came a day after president-elect Barack Obama pledged in an interview with CBS Television to shut down Guantanamo.

    "We cannot allow the Bush administration to sabotage president-elect Obama's plans by ramming through these cases in its last days," said Anthony Romero, the ACLU's executive director.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  9. #129
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    Jan 2005
    With Gitmo war court in doubt, 9/11 case gets new judge


    GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- The military has assigned an Army colonel to take over the upcoming war crimes trial of alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, a sign that the Pentagon is plunging ahead with plans for military commissions of alleged 9/11 co-conspirators.

    Army Col. Stephen R. Henley replaces Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, who at an earlier 9/11 hearing revealed he was retiring from active-duty service in April. He will join a legal clinic at Camp Lejeune, N.C., as a civil servant.

    Henley has been a military judge for 10 years and has a law degree from George Washington University. As an Army judge, he presided at the courts martial of Maryland soldiers accused of abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Iraq. As a commissions judge he is the only officer so far to exclude a confession on grounds it was derived from torture.

    The American Civil Liberties Union derided the timing of the assignment: a day after President-elect Barack Obama restated his vow to close the prison camps here in a post-election interview on CBS' 60 Minutes.

    ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero called the timing ''highly suspect and disturbing'' and a bid ``to sabotage President-elect Obama's plans by ramming through these cases . . . while the new administration is making plans to dismantle the military commission system.''

    War court spokesman Joe DellaVedova said there was nothing sinister about the timing or the selection of Henley by Kohlmann to replace him.

    ''Retirements happen all the time in the military,'' said DellaVedova, a civilian who had been an Air Force public affairs major. He called the announcement, three weeks before the next 9/11 hearing at Guantánamo, ``an effort to establish some continuity for the accused.''

    At issue is what, if anything, a future Obama administration would use in place of military commissions, the special post-9/11 war court the Bush administration created to prosecute accused terrorists as war criminals.

    Obama has said that he wants terror suspects tried in criminal courts or perhaps in some instances by traditional military courts martial.

    The ACLU, which has mounted a defense fund for those accused in death penalty cases at Guantánamo, wants Obama to close the commissions by executive order on Inauguration Day and switch cases that should be prosecuted to traditional courts.

    The ACLU's ''John Adams Project'' funds seasoned civilian criminal defense attorneys working with Pentagon lawyers assigned to the five 9/11 suspects for whom the prosecution proposes military execution.

    Mohammed and four others allegedly financed, orchestrated and trained the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers who killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.

    The timing leaves Henley to decide some thorny pretrial issues, among them what evidence might be heard about the treatment of the five men across years of secret CIA interrogation before their arrival at Guantánamo in September 2006.

    The spy agency has confirmed it waterboarded Mohammed to extract al Qaeda secrets.

    Also still hanging is what to do about the mental health status co-conspirator Ramzi bin al Shibh, a Yemeni who is being prescribed psychotropic drugs at a secret detention facility here called Camp 7.

    In pretrial hearings, the two judges have displayed starkly different styles.

    Kohlmann is a sharp-tongued Marine who at the commission chambers has allowed the accused terrorists to deliver monologues but displayed little patience for attorneys.

    On occasion he has cut off an attorney's effort to argue a point with, ''Which part of no do you not understand?'' Or, ``Sit down.''

    Henley has shown more patience, particularly at the pretrial hearings of a young Afghan, Mohammed Jawad, in which he engaged in legal discussions with military defense attorneys.

    He also has excluded Jawad's Kabul confessions from his upcoming January trial. In a war court first, Henley ruled that an accused was tortured -- notably through threats against his family -- while he was interrogated at an Afghan police station into confessing that he threw a grenade in December 2002 that maimed two U.S. soldiers and their Afghan interperter.

    Henley's first 9/11 hearing is scheduled for Dec. 8, when the Pentagon has plans to bring down five family members of those killed on Sept. 11 to watch the proceedings.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  10. #130
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    Jan 2005
    Detained 9/11 figure faces new charges


    NEW YORK - Military prosecutors have decided to file new war crimes charges against a Guantanamo detainee who has been called the 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11 terror plot, discounting claims that his harsh interrogation would make a prosecution impossible.

    Earlier charges against the detainee, Mohammed al-Qahtani, were dismissed without explanation by a military official in May, and there had been speculation that the Pentagon had accepted the argument that coercive techniques used in questioning him would undermine any trial.

    The decision will put additional pressure on the incoming Obama administration to announce whether it will abandon the Bush administration's military commission system for prosecuting terror suspects. Qahtani's well-documented interrogation at the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has made his case a focal point in debates about Guantanamo and interrogation methods that critics say amount to torture.

    In response to questions about the military commissions yesterday, Brooke Anderson, the chief national security spokeswoman for the transition, said, "President-elect Obama has repeatedly said that he believes that the legal framework at Guantanamo has failed to . . . swiftly prosecute terrorists."

    In an interview, the chief military prosecutor for Guantanamo, Colonel Lawrence J. Morris of the Army, said he would file new charges against Qahtani, a Saudi who was denied entry into the United States at the Orlando, Fla., airport in August 2001.

    The interrogation of Qahtani, public military documents show, included prolonged isolation, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, exposure to cold, and involuntary grooming, as well as requiring him to obey dog commands.

    A Pentagon inquiry in 2005 found that the methods were "degrading and abusive."

    Morris said prosecutors had decided there was "independent and reliable evidence" that Qahtani had been plotting with the Sept. 11 hijackers.

    The 9/11 Commission concluded that Qahtani was to have been one of the "muscle hijackers" and that the lead hijacker, Mohamed Atta, went to the Orlando airport to meet him, on Aug. 4, 2001.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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