We now know much about the brutal mistreatment of prisoners in secret prisons, inflicted according to specific legal guidance from Yoo and others in the Justice Department–although the Obama administration is shamefully still seeking to suppress the details, arguing that Guantanamo detainees should be barred even from discussing the facts in their public trials. But what we still lack is any form of accountability. The courts have proved unwilling not only to impose such accountability, but even to let suits seeking accountability go forward at all. – No Accountability for Torture, by David Cole
THE 9/11 TRIAL is already producing fantastic reports that are about what you’d expect from ad hoc trial procedures created for KSM and four others, but never put into action before. So far, it’s an unadulterated disaster.
The T-word was uttered when one of the defense attorneys tried to explain to the judge why the defendants were being so defiant. The headphones, he explained, reminded them of the torture. But the people watching the proceedings didn’t hear him finish. When he said the word torture, all anyone heard was white noise. The military commissions pipe white noise into the viewing rooms whenever there is a concern that classified information is being revealed. Because the sound coming out of the courtroom is on a 40-second delay and outsiders are behind soundproof glass or watching on monitors, censors have time to block out classified information with static. – Sept. 11 Defendants Focus On Torture During Hearing (NPR)
I think of Kristen Breitweiser, one of the “Jersey Girls” whom I interviewed when her book was released and who didn’t seek fame but got it after that horrible day because of her activism, and who also offered guest posts here. I listened to her indictment of Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as she offered the knowledge she’d acquired after her husband was killed on 9/11.
“… To be clear, the only danger posed by prosecuting men like KSM in an open court in New York is the red alert it poses to the Republican Party’s faltering reputation in fighting their “war on terror.” – Kirsten Breitweiser
Steven Kay, an international criminal lawyer in London, told Al Jazeera Mohammed had been subjected to “waterboarding”, or simulated drowning, by US interrogators more than 180 times and that confessions extracted through torture would be disregarded.
“Statements obtained by coercion cannot be used as evidence. However, the laws do not say that evidence obtained by coercion is inadmissible,” he said.
“I’m afraid this whole business since George Bush [Obama's predecessor] introduced the military trials has gone out of control.
“If the Americans had gone down the proper and orthodox path when dealing with these suspected terrorists, and provided a justice system that was coherent, rational and based upon sound principles, they would not be in the mess that they are in now.”
Unlike what would happen in U.S. federal court, the defendants are allowed to pray during court time, as well as challenge the judge on his own personal beliefs. Listening to NBC’s Michael Isikoff’s report was jaw dropping.
The 9/11 trial should have been held in New York City. That it wasn’t should be laid at the feet of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“It’s going to cost an awful lot of money and disturb an awful lot of people…” – Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Yeah, can’t have that.
The blame also belongs to Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with Rep. Peter King, with most of the current political class thinking separate and unequal trials are just dandy, especially considering what was involved in assessing guilt.
See George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s policy of torture, which is why the 9/11 trial now going on at Gitmo will stretch into years, costing the American taxpayer millions of dollars, while not producing any justice whatsoever.
Part of the reason for this lies at the feet of Pres. Obama, who refused to do the right thing and investigate the Bush administration all the way up the line for their policies of torture that disgraced this nation. That wouldn’t have been sportsmanlike of him, now would it? It’s a cousin of what Gerald Ford did for Richard M. Nixon, only at least he had the excuse of helping one of his own, a fellow Republican. Obama’s excuse was more likely wedded to the notion of being a uniter. He wasn’t going to investigate Republicans, not even when it came to illegal methods of torture, because it might scare off people he actually thought would be his pals once he was president.
None of our politicians have acted in a manner befitting what the founders envisioned when they created our democratic republic.
It’s ironic that Barack Obama, who railed against the Iraq war, while calling Afghanistan the “good” war, has now committed U.S. treasure to that country through 2024, while assembling a military industrial complex that not only assassinates people without trial, but continues many of the policies that began under George W. Bush, sometimes doubling down on them.
The rise of this national security state has entailed a vast expansion in the government’s powers that now touch every aspect of American life, even when seemingly unrelated to terrorism. Some 30,000 people, for example, are now employed exclusively to listen in on phone conversations and other communications within the United States. – Fareed Zakaria
The case reconvenes in June.