U.S. to seek death penalty for 6 Gitmo detainees

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States will seek the death penalty against six Guantanamo Bay detainees who are suspects in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, an Air Force general said Monday.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is one of six Guantanamo detainees to be charged, a general says.

1 of 2 The government will submit criminal charges against the detainees, who include alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Brig Gen. Thomas Hartmann said during a Pentagon news conference. The government hopes to try the men together, he said.

All six have been charged with conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, destruction of property in violation of the law of war, terrorism and material support of terrorism, said the general who is serving as legal adviser to the military commissions trying the detainees. Four of the suspects will also be charged with hijacking, he said.

The 169 charges allege a "long-term, highly sophisticated plan by al Qaeda to attack the United States of America," Hartmann said. Watch how the trials could prove to be difficult »

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"There will be no secret trials," Hartmann said. "We will make every effort to make everything open."

The exception will be when classified information is presented that could compromise national security, he said.

All six suspects are accused of helping plan the September 11 attacks in which hijackers flew two jets into the World Trade Center in New York and another jet into the Pentagon in Washington. Another hijacked plane crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

According to the 9/11 Commission Report, 2,974 people were killed in the attacks, not including the 19 hijackers.

Charged along with Mohammed are: Mohammed al-Qahtani, the so-called 20th hijacker in the 9/11 attacks; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, accused of being an intermediary between the hijackers and al Qaeda leaders; Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, who has been identified as Mohammed's lieutenant; Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, one of the financial backers of the attacks; and Walid bin Attash, who is accused of selecting and training some hijackers.

Mohammed, bin Attash, al-Shibh and Ali will be additionally charged with the offense of hijacking or hazarding an aircraft, Hartmann said.

Military prosecutors will submit the charges along with a request to seek the death penalty in the cases, and Judge Susan Crawford will have to approve the charges and the request, defense officials told CNN.

A military commission would thereafter be held at the U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. If a judge approves the charges, it will mark the first time that Guantanamo detainees have been charged in the September 11 attacks.

Within 30 days of the judge's approval, the detainees will hear the charges against them and enter pleas, Hartmann said. Within another 90 days, the military panel will be assembled and motions and discovery will ensue, he said.

"We are going to give them rights that are virtually identical to our military members," Hartmann said.

About 380 foreign nationals are being held at Guantanamo. The detainees' lawyers have repeatedly complained that their clients are being denied due process.

The U.S. Supreme Court also has twice expressed reservations about how the government handles detainees at the U.S. naval base.

In 2006, the high court struck down the Bush administration's use of military tribunals to try terror suspects, saying the process was unconstitutional because the system did not allow prisoners to challenge their detention.

Congress last year passed the Military Commissions Act, which provided terror suspects with a limited right to appeal any conviction. It also reduced the jurisdiction of federal courts.

The commissions were specifically established to try crimes related to the war on terror. Not much is known about the commissions system. The detainees will have lawyers, and they will be allowed to see at least some of the evidence against them.

However, several legal and political challenges remain, and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said it could be five years before the trials are complete.

"One thing's clear about Guantanamo is that the next president is going to have to resolve this," Toobin said.

Bob Hughes, whose 30-year-old son died in the World Trade Center, said he was disappointed with the slow legal process, but he applauded the government's efforts to impose the death penalty on any conspirators.

"Anyone involved that helped these people get to America to do what they did, they definitely deserve the death penalty," he said.

One legal issue expected to stall the process is whether prosecutors will be able to use confessions or other information gleaned using controversial interrogation techniques.

Hartmann said Monday that a military judge will determine whether information obtained during interrogations is admissible.

On Tuesday, CIA Director Michael Hayden for the first time publicly confirmed Mohammed and two other terror suspects were subjected to a technique called waterboarding, which is intended to simulate drowning.

The technique was used on top al Qaeda detainees in the aftermath of the attacks to "help us prevent catastrophic loss of life of Americans or their allies," Hayden said.

After Monday's announcement, Hayden, in a memo obtained by CNN, wrote CIA employees to laud the decision to try the detainees and called it "a crucial milestone on the road to justice for the victims of 9/11."

Am I overreacting?


I noticed the article stated:

"Charged along with Mohammed are... ...Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, one of the financial backers of the attacks."

But wait a second! According to the 9/11 Commission, the question of the origin of 9/11 funding "is of little practical significance."

It seems to me they're again being hypocritical and/or contradictory. Either bringing the sources of funding to justice is important (as evidenced by their seeking the death penalty for alleged 9/11 financier al-Hawsawi), or, it is of little practical significance (as suggested by their unwillingness to act on overwhelmingly clear-cut evidence showing massive ISI-connected financial support, traceable to an individual whose name I can't recall at the moment).

These sons-of-pitches want to have their cake and eat it, too. Darn them all to heck!
"All that is required for evil to fail is for good men and women to do something."

Ah yes, well...

You see, it was the 9-11 Commission which said the financing was of little significance. But the Armed Forces are a different animal. What do they care about the 9-11 report? This whole affair is so outrageously disgusting! They will give these folks a military trial, probably under the cloak of secrecy, and then kill them. We will never see the evidence against them. We will never know if it was all a sham, because of so-called "national security." Isn't it strange that they kept the so-called "mastermind" of 9-11 under wraps for all these years so that nobody could test the government's story? We must demand a public trial for these falsely accused individuals.

Right you are...

You make good points that had evaded me. It just goes to show you how magically useful the massive compartmentalization of elite institutional power can be to its corrupt occultist infiltrators. Have one head of the hydra act one way and say one thing, while another head does and says the opposite. If things get too out of control, one of the many bureaucratic power centers can be scapegoated, gutted, and even dismantled, giving the illusion of having dealt with the source of the problem. It's the exact same mechanism behind the left/right paradigm which continues to blind so many.

Also; is it just me, or are they charging a conveniently diverse 'grab-bag' of 9/11 participants as though they were trying to convey the completion of a very comprehensive and in-depth prosecution of all those evil 9/11ers? They've got a little bit o' highjacker, a lil' dash of financier, a splash of recruiter/trainer, a dollop of evil mastermind, etc... Many useful idiots will likely be left with the hideously ironic conviction that the USGov't has been really thorough in "gettin' us some justice."
"All that is required for evil to fail is for good men and women to do something." -- Awake

This is bad news

Russ Hallberg

This is a very sophisticated psychological operation, like 9/11 was. Many will ignore the fact it is a show trial in a kangaroo court. This will make them feel like 9/11 is a closed book.

We need to bring this show trial to the public attention as much as 9/11 truth. Much of the case is based upon false confessions from torture. The "secret evidence" protected by national security will get them convicted.

The left wing gatekeepers will lament the death penalty, all the while diverting attention from the false assumptions of the case.

show trial indeed

This 'trial' must be protested and brought out in the open. Some good stuff in the comments above.
We gotta get more ORGANIZED as a group... someone with webpage skills might try sending a small embed button to all the 911 sites so a common '9-11 alert button' could be more widely seen and acted on. ..much like what has gone on with Ron Paul's run. His webpage is accesible from MANY sites.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
- Dale Carnegie

Anyone subjected to waterboarding will confess to anything

in under two minutes and be rendered insane in under two days.

Thus, any confessions are illegitimate (and illegal) and the defendants will be unable to contribute to their own defense.

The government has no legitimate case and will only conduct the most limited show "trials" in order to breathe life into their rotting myth of 9/11/01.

We have to counter this farce with all the facts we can muster.

To those who promote these "trials" as legitimate, simply ask them why the government is not trying Ali Abdelsoud Mohammed, who is under the protective custody of the FBI and is connected to over a decade of "terrorist" activities, including the African embassy bombings, the 1993 WTC bombing and 9/11.

I could not be more disgusted as a human being and feel more disgraced as an American that our "legal" system has devolved into this abomination.

The truth shall set us free. Love is the only way forward.