Thursday, June 05, 2008

9-11 Terrorists Will Be Arraigned Today at Guantanamo

Picture credit from September11News.com

Today the accused 9-11 terrorists are going to be arraigned.

A former Justice Department official, David Rivkin, appeared on FOX News today and said that he expected the accused terrorists to boast about their horrific crimes and to justify why they want to kill Americans, Christians, and Jews. [Mr. Rivkin defends CIA waterboarding of high-value detainees in this video.]

Of course, most people killed by Al Qaeda fanatics have been Muslims, but Al Qaeda doesn't want to talk about that. Probably the accused mass-murderers will sound a lot like that arrogant, bigoted, sociopathic, unhinged little prig Adam Gadahn.

Gadahn, also known as Azzam Al Amriki, is the California boy who became Al Qaeda's mouthpiece and is now wanted for treason. A transcript of Gadahn's rant is available and a video can be downloaded from LauraMansfield.com here.

According to the Washington Post (6-4-08):

The conspiracy case could end up focusing as much on evidence of the suspects' wrongdoing as on the legitimacy of the military commissions themselves, with lawyers challenging their legality, the use of statements obtained via coercive interrogation methods, and rules that allow hearsay evidence.

...David Rivkin, a member of the Justice Department under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, said the public will see a "legitimate process" that will convince the world the alleged al-Qaeda operatives are guilty.

"It is enormously important to bring them to justice," Rivkin said. "People have argued about what is the right framework, but I don't think anybody has seriously claimed that they shouldn't be prosecuted. It will be therapeutic for the victims and American society as a whole to see this unfold. It's about a sense of closure, it is about a sense that there is no immunity for the wrongdoers." [full text]

FOX News (6-5-08) reports:

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 Qaeda 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.

...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.

...[T]he military is planning to show the trial but not the arraignment on closed-circuit television to victims' families gathered on U.S. military bases.

...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 Qaeda 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 four defendants due to appear with Mohammed are: Ramzi Binalshibh, said to have been the main intermediary between the hijackers and Al Qaeda 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. [full text]

Update:
AP News (6-5-08) reports:

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said Thursday [during his arraignment] that he would welcome the death penalty for his confessed role as mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"Yes, this is what I wish, to be a martyr for a long time," Mohammed told a military judge who warned that he faces execution if convicted of organizing the attacks on America. "I will, God willing, have this, by you."

...The arraignment of the alleged al-Qaida co-conspirators begins the highest-profile test yet of the military's tribunal system, which faces an uncertain future. The Supreme Court is to rule this month on the rights of Guantanamo prisoners, potentially delaying or halting the proceedings.

...Military commissions have been conducted since George Washington used them after the end of the Revolutionary War, but this is the first time the United States has used them during an ongoing conflict, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Tom Hartmann, a top tribunal official.

...Obama opposed the Military Commissions Act that in 2006 resurrected the military commissions, but McCain supported it. [Here is the link to the DOD Military Commissions.]

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