Nuts and Bolts of the Kangaroo Court

While prosecuting the Guantanamo "9/11 suspects" in a military tribunal is outside of the normal protections of the U.S. federal court system, at least the suspects will be provided with an adequate defense. Right?

Well, actually . . . no.

According to the Washington Post:

The cadre of civilian lawyers representing terrorism suspects held by the military at Guantanamo Bay are not allowed to meet their clients in private, without video surveillance. All their mail and notes must be turned over to the military. Classified information cannot be shared with their clients. They are not entitled to everything the government knows about their clients.

Hmm, that sounds bad. But surely clever defense lawyers will be able to adequately represent their clients, right?

Well, here is what legal experts say about the process (from the same Post article):

  • "The American Bar Association, which the Pentagon had said would help arrange such representation, has refused to participate because it objects to the trial procedures. Those appointed must obtain security clearances and sign highly restrictive agreements barring them from discussing anything their clients say."
  • "some of the attorneys say the Defense Department's regulations for their work are so onerous that they will be unable to provide a fair and adequate defense of their clients."
  • "How can I defend him if he is not allowed to see or hear classified information?" asked ... the Washington attorney representing alleged al-Qaeda operative Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, commonly known as Abu Zubaida."
  • One of the 9/11 suspect's defense attorney "said she is concerned that prosecutors will cite 'national security concerns and will deny the lawyers and the detainees any background about the [witness] statements that are offered. That will be a way of manipulating the process and of keeping the taint of torture secret.' She is barred by the military rules from discussing anything related to her meetings with Khan."

And while the White House is talking nice about not allowing confessions obtained under torture to be used at the trials, "The Bush administration [is taking the position] that ... evidence obtained through treatment considered 'cruel, inhuman, and degrading' is to be allowed."

Bottom line: According to the legal experts actually involved, the 9/11 trials will be nothing but kangaroo court show trials. Then again, the 9/11 prosecutions were never supposed to be about truth or justice anyway.

The only two things the trials will be good for is: (1) making a spectacle for public consumption, like all good kangaroo court show trials do; and (2) suppressing information the suspects wish to express which is inconvenient for the government prosecutors.

Evidence obtained through torture, used in sham proceedings by

mock tribunals, void of constitutional, civil, and due process rights--is an exceedingly serious crime itself!!! Those doing & allowing this to occur must be put on trial & face severe consequences themselves!!!

Consider mass emailing truth messages. More info here:

Compared to the

Nuremberg trials. This isn't too bad.

What will make this particularly bad for us

is that the tribunal will serve to legitimate hearsay and evidence acquired through torture, thereby giving the appearance of substantiating ambiguous or erroneous information in the Report. This will put suspect information beyond our ability to interrogate it.

We already know that more than 25% of the Report's footnotes reference evidence obtained through torture.

As Ernst May said of the Report, "A reader of the commission report should bear in mind that its documentary base was extraordinarily deep but also extraordinarily narrow."

Kean and Hamilton add in their book, ""Where we could corroborate these detainee reports from other witnesses or evidence, we did. Where we could not, it was left to the reader to consider the credibility of the source—we had no opportunity to do so."

May adds: "We never had full confidence in the interrogation reports as historical sources…. I think the commission could have successfully challenged the CIA on both access to detainees and release of names, but it chose not to fight these battles."

When you consider that the most important information, the stuff that details what was plotted behind closed doors, relies on the most unreliable sources, it foregrounds the importance of the tribunal and the way it will legitimate the detainee interrogation reports.