Archive for military tribunal

Military judge restricts more materials in 9/11 trial. UNclassified materials.



Just now on MSNBC, Alex Witt said this (I'm coming in mid-sentence, but she was discussing the Zero Dark Thirty controversy): "...Enhanced interrogation techniques-- torture-- some will call it that."

SOME? Or anyone but the Bushies and their stellar, upstanding, patriotic Department of Justice that decided to call it something else in order to duck prosecution of Bush and the Waterboardettes? Torture is torture, and it doesn't work, it's illegal, immoral, and just plain wrong on every level.


Witt casually tossed off the "some will call it that" as if it were an afterthought, not fact. "Enhanced interrogation techniques" is a Bushian euphemism for torture. That has been well established. Documented. End of story. It's about time everyone reports about it accurately.

Which brings me to the L.A. Times piece I read today:

The military judge overseeing the trial for alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four others has ruled that lawyers cannot make public even unclassified materials.

The ruling by the judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, follows an order on Dec. 6 in which he directed that any evidence or discussion about harsh interrogation techniques used against the five men also be kept secret. He issued the ruling despite accusations by human rights groups that the government was trying to hide the fact the men were tortured. [...]

In another development, President Obama this week signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which supports overall military operations but also puts on hold his plan to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay — a pledge he repeated in October during his run for reelection.

Of course, GOP debate audiences cheered waterboarding, which means they were cool with illegally torturing other human beings. So much for the "family values" "pro-life" crowd.


here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at


Attorney: Gitmo plea deal pledge broken


It's probably a good idea for the U.S. government to keep its word on a plea deal so that other Gitmo detainees would be encouraged to trust them to follow through on their own plea deals:

The attorney for a former al-Qaida cook said Monday that the government did not deliver on a promise that led him to plead guilty to supporting terrorism, and she said that could discourage other inmates at Guantanamo from reaching deals with prosecutors.

Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al-Qosi of Sudan was removed from a communal-living compound over the weekend, and placed in more isolated confinement, despite a recommendation in the plea agreement that he stay, a Pentagon official said.

His defense attorney, Navy Cmdr. Suzanne Lachelier, said the move could make other detainees reluctant to accept plea deals.

The prosecutors and a Pentagon official who oversees the tribunal system made the broken pledge to al-Qosi.


Dick Cheney's "fairly large concessions"


By GottaLaff

I found it harder than usual to post a video of Cheney today, so I refrained. I didn't want to subject any of us to his face, his speech patterns, his lies, his offensive digs, or his nasty demeanor.

However, Greg Sargent posted a comprehensive recap of Dickless McHeartStent's appearance on ABC today. Here it is, in part, but please go read the whole thing.

And thank you, Greg, for saving me from the torture (pun intended) of having to sit through another one of his nauseating interviews:

Some real news in the Dick Cheney interview on ABC: First, Cheney basically endorsed repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

And second, he made fairly large concessions when it comes to his criticism of the current administration: He conceded that the shoe bomber could have been placed in military custody under Bush, but wasn’t. And he acknowledged that some in the Bush administration — not himself, obviously — saw trying terror suspects in civilian courts as an effective weapon against terrorism.

No question, Cheney repeated many standard attacks on Obama — he doesn’t view our hunt for terrorists as a war; he’s trapped in a pre-9/11 mentality; etc.

But Cheney struggled to explain why it’s fair game to criticize Obama’s use of Mirandizing and civilian trials when these techniques were used under his administration.

There now. That was relatively painless.


VIDEO- Meet the Press: Rachel Maddow on trying terrorists in federal court


By GottaLaff

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

She is the finest talker on the Talk Tee Vee Machine. If brains were Nielsen ratings, she'd beat the Grammy Awards tenthousandfold.

"There have been 3 convictions under military tribunals. Three. And two of the people convicted are now free."

Aaron Schlock on the other hand....


Official: Terror case may happen outside Manhattan


I actually understand and think this is good idea, at least on the financial basis.

WASHINGTON – Facing growing opposition to its plans to hold the Sept. 11 terrorist trial in New York City, the Obama administration is considering moving the proceedings elsewhere.

Two administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Friday the Justice department is drawing up plans for possible alternate locations to try professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged accomplices in case Congress or local officials prevent the trial from being held in Manhattan.

The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the deliberation.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced last year that the trial would be held in Manhattan federal court, generating stiff opposition in Congress and in New York.

Word that the administration is considering a backup plan for its most high-profile terrorism trial comes after President Barack Obama and Holder have spent weeks on the defensive about their handling of terrorism threats.


The officials did not say where else the trial might be held, but others have suggested an unpopulated island near Manhattan, or nearby military installations.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who originally supported the plan, reversed his position this week and called Holder to lobby for moving the trial outside lower Manhattan. The city has claimed it will cost them hundreds of millions of dollars to provide security for a court case that is expected to last at least a year.


Video- King: Obama Should Have Put Flight 253 Suspect In Military Tribunal


Richard Reid, "The Shoe Bomber"-

In January 2003, he pleaded guilty to terrorism charges at a federal court in Boston, Massachusetts. During the sentencing hearing he stated that he was an Islamic fundamentalist and declared himself an enemy of the United States and in league with Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

He was sentenced by Judge Young to life imprisonment on each of the three charges, 20 years imprisonment on four other charges, and 30 years on four other counts, to be served consecutively, followed by five years of supervised release. Eight fines of $250,000, restitution of $298.17, and $5,784,800 special assessment were imposed. There is no parole in the federal prison system. He is serving his sentences in the ADX Florence, a Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.

Will anybody EVER call them on their bullshit?


The case against military tribunals


By GottaLaff

After many, many conversations with Lt. Col. Barry Wingard, who represents Gitmo prisoner Fayiz al-Kandari, I have had my eyes opened about military commissions (tribunals) and their system of injustice. Hearsay is allowed. Testimony derived from torture is accepted. Access to evidence is denied to the defense.

Here is an op-ed that explains further:

The casual use of the word "war" has lead to a mentality among the public and even in the government that the rules of war could apply to those held at Guantanamo. But the rules of war apply only to those involved in a lawfully declared war, and not to something that the government merely calls a war. Only Congress can declare war -- and thus trigger the panoply of the government's military powers that come with that declaration. Among those powers is the ability to use military tribunals to try those who have caused us harm by violating the rules of war. [...]

]T]he [Supreme] court declared that a formal declaration of war is the legal prerequisite to the government's use of the tools of war. The federal government adhered to this principle of law from World War II until Bush's understanding of the Constitution animated government policy.

The recent decision to try some of the Guantanamo detainees in federal District Court and some in military courts in Cuba is without a legal or constitutional bright line. All those still detained since 9/11 should be tried in federal courts because without a declaration of war, the Constitution demands no less. [...]

The framers of the Constitution feared letting the president alone decide with whom we are at war, and thus permitting him to trigger for his own purposes the military tools reserved for wartime. They also feared allowing the government to take life, liberty or property from any person without the intercession of a civilian jury to check the government's appetite and to compel transparency and fairness by forcing the government to prove its case to 12 ordinary citizens. Thus, the 5th Amendment to the Constitution, which requires due process, includes the essential component of a jury trial. And the 6th Amendment requires that when the government pursues any person in court, it must do so in the venue where the person is alleged to have caused harm. [...]

We have a "war" on drugs; can drug dealers be tried before military tribunals? We have a "war" on the Mafia; can mobsters be sent to Gitmo and tried there? The Obama administration has arguably declared "war" on Fox News. Are Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and I and my other colleagues in danger of losing our constitutional rights to a government hostile to our opinions? [...]

Only unflinching public fidelity to the Constitution will preserve the freedoms of us all.

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at the Fox News Channel. His next book is "Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History."

There is much, much more here.


All my previous posts on this subject matter can be found here; That link includes one specific to only Fayiz al-Kandari's story here. Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you are inclined to help rectify these injustices: Twitterers, use the hashtag #FreeFayiz. We have organized a team to get these stories out. If you are interested in helping Fayiz out, e-mail me at The Political Carnival, address in sidebar to the right; or tweet me at @GottaLaff.

If you'd like to see other ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer's book The Dark Side. You'll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I'm all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz's story here, at