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Accused 9/11 plotters due in Guantanamo court

Accused 9/11 plotters due in Guantanamo court

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - Almost seven years after terrorists hijacked airliners and used them as missiles to kill 2,973 people, five men who allegedly plotted the attacks face a military tribunal Thursday.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, will be arraigned simultaneously with four other detainees inside a high-security courthouse at the remote U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Mohammed boasted of numerous attacks and plots against the United States in a closed military hearing last year, and the al-Qaida kingpin and his confederates will be given the chance to speak out again in their war crimes trial, according to a top tribunal official, Air Force Brig. Gen. Tom Hartmann.

"In the course of trial they'll have opportunity to present their case, any way they want to present it subject to rules and procedures," Hartmann told The Associated Press. "That's a great freedom and a great protection we are providing to them. We think ... it is the American way."

The arraignment will launch the highest-profile test yet of a tribunal system that faces an uncertain future. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down an earlier system as unconstitutional in 2006, and is to rule this month on the rights of Guantanamo prisoners, potentially delaying or halting the proceedings.

And with less than eight months remaining in U.S. President George W. Bush's term, presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain both say they want to close the military's offshore detention center.

Dozens of U.S. and international journalists arrived at Guantanamo on Wednesday on a military plane from Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, joining prosecutors, defense attorneys and observers who arrived earlier at the Navy base.

Mohammed and the four alleged coconspirators all face possible death sentences. They are expected to be seated Thursday morning at separate defense tables aligned in a row inside the prefab courthouse. Many of the participants and observers will stay nearby in tents erected on an abandoned airport runway as part of the "expeditionary" legal complex.

Family members of those killed on Sept. 11, 2001, wanted to attend, but the military said it was too difficult logistically to accommodate dozens more people. Instead, the military is planning to show the trial but not the arraignment on closed-circuit television to victims' families gathered on U.S. military bases.

"For transparency and to add legitimacy to the trial, they should have the loved ones there," said Dominic J. Puopolo, whose mother Sonia Morales Puopolo was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11, the first jet that crashed into the World Trade Center.

Puopolo said he also wanted to see the defendants, especially Mohammed, who claimed he personally proposed the plot to Osama bin Laden.

"This is an architect of such pure evil," Puopolo told AP. "I want to see him eye to eye."

Hartmann told reporters Wednesday evening here that it was a "mistake" not to have invited a group of relatives of Sept. 11 victims for Thursday's hearing, and that an undetermined number would be allowed to come to future sessions.

Even without televised coverage of his arraignment Mohammed's first public appearance since his capture in 2003 the U.S. is taking a security risk by giving him an opportunity to spread al-Qaida propaganda, said Benedetta Berti, a research fellow at Tufts University's Jebsen Center for Counter-Terrorism Studies.

"This is a very educated man," she said. "It is a risk because he could attack the U.S. in terms of international opinion and his audience is not just the international community, it is more specifically potential jihadists."

The tribunals, which Congress and the Bush administration resurrected after the 2006 Supreme Court ruling, have been mired in confusion over courtroom rules and dogged by delays. No detainee has been tried yet, although David Hicks was convicted through a plea bargain and allowed to serve a nine-month sentence in Australia.

Critics say men accused of such horrific crimes must be brought to justice, but in a way that shows the world that the U.S. has treated them fairly.

"While everyone seems to recognize that the time to bring those responsible for 9/11 to justice is long overdue, this needs to be done in a system that has credibility," said Jennifer Daskal of Human Rights Watch.

Hartmann insisted the trials will be fair even though the evidence may include coerced statements. He said defendants are allowed to see any evidence, even if it is classified, that goes before the jury.

Hartmann also sought to draw a distinction between the tribunals and the sometimes brutal U.S. detention and interrogation practices that have been condemned around the world.

"We are not Guantanamo, we are not Camp X-Ray, we are not Abu Ghraib," he said, referring to notorious holding centers at Guantanamo and Iraq. "We are the military commissions, uniformed officers on the prosecution and the defense, with established court procedures."

Attorney General Michael Mukasey also said Wednesday that the tribunals will be "in the best traditions of the American legal system" even though the military judges can consider hearsay evidence and confessions obtained through coercion, which aren't admissible in civilian courts. "Different situations call for different solutions," he said.

The four defendants due to appear with Mohammed are: Ramzi Binalshibh, said to have been the main intermediary between the hijackers and al-Qaida leaders; Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, known as Ammar al-Baluchi, a nephew and lieutenant of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; al-Baluchi's assistant, Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi; and Waleed bin Attash, a detainee known as Khallad, who allegedly selected and trained some of the 19 hijackers.

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Added: Jun-5-2008 
By: bellava
In:
Iraq, News
Tags: 9/11, plotters, Guantanamo, court
Location: Guantanamo, Guantanamo, Cuba (load item map)
Views: 7843 | Comments: 17 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 1 | Times used in channels: 1
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  • Verdict: Death!!!

    Method in my opinion: As slow as possible!!!

    Posted Jun-5-2008 By 

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  • The Arab Islamist cowards have been spared the worst fate of all. The sister of one of the murdered pilots was going to observe the proceedings but was barred at the last minute. When they are hanged it won't be bad fate, it will be their salvation from Islam. There will be no Islam for them after hanging, ever again.

    Posted Jun-5-2008 By 

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    • if it's a military tribunal without public access they can accuse Mickey Mouse of doing the attacks and the outcome will be predictable

      telling us that not showing us anything will spread "Al Qaeda propaganda" is an insult to our intelligence given all the Al Qaeda videos that are freely available across the Internet

      Posted Jun-5-2008 By 

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    • Surprisingly I agree with you that it was unfair to keep them in the process for so long. They should have received the Sharia justice 7 years ago. The widows of the pilots or other men killed in 9/11 would have cut their heads off with kitchen knives. Those men call for Sharia justice in the world. It is unfortunate we couldn't give it to them and instead fed them 3 hot meals per day for so many years.

      Posted Jun-5-2008 By 

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    • i don't trust the "3 hot meals a day" and "club med" descriptions being released by the Pentagon in regards to how prisoners of war are being treated in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib

      have you read anything about 'ghost detainees'? because i have plenty of interviews of US interrogators and information about that. ghost detainees aren't signed into either prison in order to keep their actual condition, their real situation, away from the eyes of the Red Cross that is legally al More..

      Posted Jun-5-2008 By 

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    • the confession would have been taped by audio and video and shown across all the major American news channels -- like that picture of Saddam when he was changing his clothes and in his underwear and the fact that he ate Doritos while under guard (that information was transmitted across the world)

      then Republican Neocons could then get on their podiums/pedestals and go, "YOU SEE? WE TOLD YOU SO!" and reference those confessions for years and years to come

      even if he DID confess on More..

      Posted Jun-5-2008 By 

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  • Dumb shirt.
    walmart?

    Posted Jun-5-2008 By 

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  • I had no idea Ron Jeremy had gone off the rails so badly.I guess when you get all the pussy you want it can leave you a little empty inside...

    Posted Jun-5-2008 By 

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  • LOL

    Posted Jun-5-2008 By 

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  • Kill the terrorists. Kill! Kill! Kill!




































    Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way...

    Posted Jun-5-2008 By 

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  • He does kinda look like Rosie O'Donnell...After a crack binge..lol.

    Posted Jun-6-2008 By 

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  • Guantanamo is a good place to be american.

    Zig heil!!!

    Posted Jul-5-2008 By 

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  • yeah that will be a fair trial...

    not

    Posted Jun-5-2008 By 

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  • pardon me, i meant "telling us that they cannot show anything to prevent the spread of 'Al Qaeda propaganda' is an insult..."

    my bad

    Posted Jun-5-2008 By 

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    • I read all all of your threads and quotes on this and one thing one has to remember is like I said yesterday, "We as human beings have no control over people, places and things. One would have to say that American life has changed since 9/11 and as a president isn't one of his duties is to protect our homeland. I for one do not want a repeat of that day.
      So why are people getting so up tight about the CIA playing good cop, bad cop to retrieve information that could possibly be helpful in br More..

      Posted Jun-5-2008 By 

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    • what the CIA does is intelligence operations

      that is different from a military occupation of another country

      as far as being invaded. whom invaded whom? Al Qaeda isn't a country.

      Posted Jun-5-2008 By 

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