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jueves, junio 05, 2008

The Trailer For The Gitmo Joke Show

Today the US Government tried unsuccessfully to move the Gitmo death penalty show trial of five "enemy combatants" toward a "trial" by arraigning the accused. Unfortunately for the US, today's proceedings were a complete and utter joke show. And a complete embarrassment. And they were the previews of the upcoming Gitmo Joke Show "trial"

Reuters reports:
The accused al Qaeda mastermind of the September 11 attacks stood in a U.S. military court on Thursday, sang a chant of praise to Allah and said he would welcome the death penalty.

"This is what I wish, to be martyred," Pakistani captive Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the highest-ranking al Qaeda operative in U.S. custody, told the Guantanamo war crimes court.

As the judge questioned him about whether he was satisfied with the U.S. military lawyer appointed to defend him, Mohammed stood and began to sing in Arabic, cheerfully pausing to translate his own words into English.

"My shield is Allah most high," he said, adding that his religion forbade him from accepting a lawyer from the United States and that he wanted to act as his own attorney.
Isn't that just a super beginning to the arraignment before a death penalty "trial"? A "trial" that is supposed to lead to convictions and not acquittals? A "trial" that is supposed to result in five executions? But that's not all. Not by a long shot.
[Mohammed] criticized the United States for fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, waging what he called "a crusader war," and enacting "evil laws" including those authorizing same-sex marriages. /snip

The judge, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, tried to persuade the men to accept their military lawyers, but all refused.

Aziz Ali said he had barely been allowed to meet with his lawyer anyway and described him as "a signboard" hung up so the government could say, 'Hey, we give these people lawyers."'

"All this is just a stage play," he said.
But that wasn't the only part of the stage play arraignment that raised issues of fairness and propriety. Oh no. It's never that simple.
Binalshibh, whom the lawyers said was receiving psychotropic medication, wore leg chains bolted to the floor but the rest of the accused were unshackled in the courtroom.

A security officer cut the audio feed to the spectators' section when he described the reason for the medicine, and again when another defendant discussed his capture.

Binalshibh said he had sought martyrdom since trying and failing to get a U.S. visa "for 9/11" but that his life was in God's hands and that "America and the whole world cannot extend my life by one day or make it one day earlier."
Last year Mohammend allegedly told a review panel that the idea of hijacking planes and crashing them into buildings was his idea and that he oversaw the implementation of the plan.

Today he said
"They mistranslated my words and put many words in my mouth," he said in broken English learned as an engineering student in North Carolina.

He called the trial "an inquisition" and added, "All of this has been taken under torturing. You know that very well."

The New York Times provided further details of the arraignment. Mohammed made it entirely clear at today's arraignment that he wanted to be killed:
He told the court he wanted the Americans to put him to death.

“This is what I want,” he told a military judge here in his first appearance to answer charges for the terrorism attacks. “I’m looking to be martyr for long time.” /snip

He said his American lawyers were agents of the Bush administration’s “crusade war against Islamic world,” he chanted in Arabic (and then translated for himself), and he made it plain that he wanted to rally the other four accused men to his approach.

He was, he cheerfully told the court, unable to accept lawyers untrained in Islamic law, and he asked for the chance for all five men facing terrorism, conspiracy and other charges here in the Sept. 11 case to meet to plan a joint defense. /snip

The request for the meeting, like most from the defense, was rejected by the stern military judge, Col. Ralph H. Kohlmann.
Let's review today's arraignment. The five accused, each of whom faces the death penalty, have refused US appointed lawyers, claiming in part that providing lawyers is just part of the show and that accepting them is against their religion. Apparently, they want to represent themselves. Some of them apparently wish to be martyred. They would like to plan a joint defense, but they will not be allowed to. At least one of the accused is apparently psychotic and/or receiving psychotropic medication and was shackled to the floor in court. One of the accused has argued that statements attributed to him were false and the result of torture. Spectators were prevented from hearing parts of the proceeding by a security officer who twice cut off the audio of the proceeding.

If this is how the arraignment ran, you can only imagine what the "trial" will be like.

Meanwhile, prosecutors want to start the trial on September 15, a date the defense says was chosen to influence the U.S. presidential election in November. It's not clear how conducting this farce and mockery of justice will influence the presidential election.

One thing is clear. If today is any indicator, the "trial" is sure to emit a terrible stink. And it is sure to be a colossal, worldwide embarrassment to the US. It's hard to imagine any proceeding that could less fair or bring more criticism from those concerned about fairness and human rights and justice. In sum, the joke show is just beginning and the entire world is watching while the US thoroughly and perhaps irredeemably embarrasses itself.

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