Bin Laden driver wants '9/11 braintrust' as witnesses

A testament to the power of words and truth, and the weakness of deceit and injustice:

"Meantime, a Pentagon prosecutor warned the judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, of dire consequences if he lets the defense call suspected Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and six other former CIA captives to testify for Hamdan.

''It's not the sky that might fall. It's another building,'' said prosecutor Clayton Trivett Jr. ``In the minds of some of these individuals, they hold some of the mostly closely guarded secrets in the national intelligence community.''"

Bin Laden driver wants '9/11 braintrust' as witnesses
Posted on Mon, Jul. 14, 2008


GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- A Pentagon prosecutor warned Monday that testimony from an alleged al Qaeda kingpin, meant to clear Osama bin Laden's driver of war crimes, could help terrorists topple another American building.

A defense lawyer argued that the charges against the driver, Salim Hamdan of Yemen, were unconstitutional and urged dismissal.

Thus opened a week-long military commissions session, with a Navy judge acting as referee in the pre-trial motions that will set the ground rules for Hamdan's trial next week -- the first, full-blown U.S. war crimes tribunal since World War II.

Cascading rulings this week will determine who can testify, what evidence will be introduced and what charges a military jury will hear. Unless a federal court issues an injunction, the Pentagon on Sunday will bring here U.S. officers stationed around the globe to serve as jurors, known as commissioners.

Meantime, a Pentagon prosecutor warned the judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, of dire consequences if he lets the defense call suspected Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and six other former CIA captives to testify for Hamdan.

''It's not the sky that might fall. It's another building,'' said prosecutor Clayton Trivett Jr. ``In the minds of some of these individuals, they hold some of the mostly closely guarded secrets in the national intelligence community.''

Hamdan is accused of supporting terror and conspiring in the al Qaeda spectacles -- from the 9/11 attacks stretching back to the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole and the 1998 East African embassies bombings. Conviction could carry life in prison.

His lawyers argue that the driver was a nobody, a $200-a-month member of Bin Laden's motorpool who never fought anyone. They want to call Mohammed and other members of the alleged al Qaeda brain-trust to describe the role in the organization of the wiry Yemeni with a fourth-grade education.

At issue is CIA efforts to gag their formerly held high-value captives -- except at their own carefully screened national security trials, which seek their execution, if convicted.

The agency confirms that it clandestinely waterboarded two of the proposed witnesses, Mohammed and Abdul Rahim al Nashiri. But the CIA has forbidden the military from disclosing the circumstances of their capture, how agents interrogated them, the interrogators' names, where they were held -- and what nations helped the United States.

Were the driver to hear what happened to them at trial, prosecutors argued, he might tell other detainees who could someday be freed. Defense lawyers proposed to have them testify, like at their own trials, with Hamdan seated in a soundproof booth, listening on a broadcast delay. That lets a security officer mute any secrets they might seek to spill.

The judge told prosecutors that he agreed with Hamdan's lawyers that the men could help clear him -- and ordered the two sides to work out a method for their testimony.

''I want the government to know that I see this as relevant and necessary and exculpatory in terms of giving the defendant a fair trial,'' Allred said.

He didn't react to Trivett's suggestion that their testimony would topple a tower. Nor did he flinch when the prosecutor said that neither the judge nor jury -- all senior U.S. military officers -- had special security clearances to hear testimony from the former CIA captives.

Defense lawyers don't want to know what the CIA did to the witnesses, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer, just what they knew of Hamdan's al Qaeda role, if any, before they disappeared into agency custody in 2003.

The week is shaping up to be one of high drama in the case of Hamdan, the Yemeni whose lawyers in 2006 won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found unconstitutional President Bush's first military commissions.

• Hamdan testifies about his treatment in U.S. custody on Tuesday, including a defense discovery in his prison camp records that Hamdan was subjected to a 50-day sleep deprivation program called Operation Sandman in the summer of 2003. His attorneys want to block all of his confessions from the trial on grounds he was abused in U.S. custody -- with isolation, sexual humiliation and, now, sleep deprivation.

• U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson decides Thursday or Friday in Washington D.C. whether to issue an injunction against the trial. Defense lawyers want the trial stopped until they can argue that the implications of a June Supreme Court ruling, Boumediene v Bush, once again makes Hamdan's war crimes trial unconstitutional.

Almost 400 European officials sided with Hamdan, saying the military commissions violate the notion of fairness and due process, the Associated Press reported Monday.

• A California psychiatrist who has spent 100 hours with the driver testifies about the mental health consequences of his treatment by the guards and interrogators behind the razor wire at Guantánamo Bay.

Hamdan, 37, worked for Bin Laden for five years, until his November 2001 capture and allegedly helped him elude U.S. capture, sometimes served as his bodyguard, and as a weapons courier.

Also, this week, the Navy judge is ruling on an ''ex-post facto'' motion brought by Hamdan's lawyers, who argue that the case is unconstitutional in the first place. Congress may have authorized the prosecution of war on terror captives in the Military Commissions Act of 2006. But the charges -- conspiracy and providing material support for terror -- were not war crimes at the time he allegedly committed them, they argue.

The driver appeared in his typical war court attire -- a traditional Yemeni gown, neat trim beard and headscarf. He never cracked the trademark grins of bewilderment at his 2004 court appearances. Rather, he looked stern like at his last session when he threatened to boycott his trial in disgust over the four-year on-again, off-again process.

Also Monday, Pentagon defense lawyers protested to the judge that the four-member prosecution team was still releasing evidence that could help Hamdan at trial -- despite a December 2007 deadline.

Saturday night, Mizer said, the government gave the defense team a carton of 500 randomly stacked pages, which appeared to reinforce a defense claim that Hamdan was mistreated in military custody.

• In May 2003, on the eve of FBI interviews used to charge him, he was moved to a ''punishment block'' and ``stripped of his so-called comfort items.''

• Another notation referred to his 50-day experience with 'Operation Sandman' in 2003, which reportedly denied sufficient sleep to detainees facing interrogation.

• One entry also noted that ''Alfred Hitchcock'' visited Hamdan in his cell. The famed Hollywood horror film director died in 1980, at age 80. Mizer surmised it was a codename.

Pentagon spokesmen did not offer any immediate explanations, nor did a prison camp spokeswoman.

The Pentagon's deputy chief defense counsel Mike Berrigan, who has oversight of all the defense teams, later protested to reporters that the 11th hour disclosure should ``put the lie to the world that these are full and fair proceedings.''

The Pentagon's war court legal advisor, Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, has punctuated his podium appearances with remarks on the transparency and fairness of the trials in a time of war. Hamdan's judge has excluded Hartmann from oversight of the trial, in a ruling that said Hartmann appeared to favor the prosecution.

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could it be??

Could it be that the prosecution doesn't want OBL's driver to testify because he will implicate the CIA and others who were involved with OBL during the time when he was supposed to be enemy number one?

they obviously don't him and/or them to talk

Liars are afraid of truth- they can't count on KSM to not recant any of his ridiculous "super-terrorist" confession, and he might implicate the CIA, too- likewise, any of the others in this so-called "brain-trust". As I recall, at KSM's confession ceremony, which Sen. Levin and some other insiders were present at, he wasn't allowed to talk; his/their prepared statement was read, and he affirmed it- with no chance of escape, did he figure it was better to be remembered as a "super-terrorist"- with an embellished resume?

Light makes cockroaches scatter.

9/11 Family Steering Committee Review of the 9/11 Commission Report:

Complete 9/11 Timeline

Transparency Might Reveal Western Intelligence Ties

This may also be the reason why the U.S. has never pursued figures and organizations in Pakistan, because a genuine independent effort could lead to information that may very well implicate western intelligence.

The war on terror after all, is an apparent hoax.

Prosecutor Clayton Trivett Jr. is really a persecutor who wants

to insure that any trials at Gitmo are sham hearings in kangaroo courts, for reasons the others have stated above!!!

Consider mass emailing truth messages. More info here:

US judge to consider blocking 1st Guantanamo trial

US judge to consider blocking 1st Guantanamo trial

By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer Thu Jul 17, 4:35 AM ET

WASHINGTON - A federal judge is considering whether to block the first Guantanamo Bay war crimes trial from beginning next week. If he does, it could throw another kink into the Bush administration's legal strategy in the war on terrorism.

Salim Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden, is scheduled to go on trial Monday as the first defendant in a special military commission system set up to prosecute detainees at the Navy base in Cuba. Other detainees, including alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, are awaiting trials of their own.

But a Supreme Court ruling last month jeopardized those plans. The court ruled that detainees must be allowed to challenge their detention in civilian courts, a right that the Bush administration said for years did not exist.

Hamdan quickly asked a federal judge to delay his military commission trial, saying he must be allowed to challenge the legality of the system before he can be prosecuted. Otherwise, he says, he could be convicted in a process that is later revealed to be unconstitutional.

Furthermore, he says only enemy combatants can stand trial before a military commission. And since the Supreme Court says he has the right to challenge that label, Hamdan argues he cannot be prosecuted until that challenge plays out.

A military judge at Guantanamo Bay has already refused to delay the trial and the Justice Department is urging U.S. District Judge James Robertson not to get involved. Robertson scheduled a hearing Thursday in Washington to consider the matter.

Prosecuting suspected terrorists is a key part of the war on terrorism, the Justice Department said, and a necessary step toward closing the Guantanamo Bay prison.

"Putting the military commission proceedings on hold now would be contrary to these interests and hamper the government's war efforts, not to mention constitute a significant intrusion into areas within the province of the executive branch," government attorneys said.

Robertson may rule from the bench Thursday.