Scott Fenstermaker, the 9/11 Lawyer, Speaks Out

Scott Fenstermaker has become the lightning rod for 9/11. He is the only defense lawyer mentioned in the upcoming trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-conspirators. Although he won’t be defending them in court, he’s been pilloried by the press for daring to suggest that these detainees have any legal rights.

I called him this weekend, and asked him why.

Scott Fenstermaker has represented Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali in various legal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay. Mr. Ali stands accused of conspiracy, murder, destruction of property, hijacking, and terrorism for his part in the September 11th attacks. I could not understand why Mr. Fenstermaker would not defend his client in court, so I began the interview by asking him to clarify this:

TP: Why won’t you represent Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali when he stands trial in New York for the September 11th attacks?

SF: The government would not let me represent him.

TP: Why not?

SF: Well, that’s a good question. The government goes crazy every time the detainees want me to represent them, and the government doesn’t like it.

TP: How does the government prevent you from representing the detainees?

SF: The government wants to control who represents the detainees. The government not only wants to, but it is. The government does this by controlling the judges. The judges are doing exactly what the government wants them to do in these cases. The judges ask what the government wants them to do, and then they do it.

Mr. Fenstermaker flew to Guantanamo Bay when he found out that Ali and four other detainees would stand trial in Federal Court for the 9/11 attacks. On November 21st he told the New York Times that Mr. Ali and his co-defendants will plead not guilty “so they can have a trial and try to get their message out”. Thus began last week’s media circus.

Bill O’Reilly called him “a weasel” on national television. David Horowitz anointed him a member of the “traitor class”. Even the highbrow Huffington Post accused Mr. Fenstermaker of “bringing his own politics to the case”.

Sam Stein wrote the hit piece for the Huffington Post. He quoted “an employee with an NGO working on national security issues”. But he did not name this mysterious employee, or the Non-Government Organization.

Stein’s source said that “Fenstermaker was causing a lot of trouble and was in no way qualified to be representing these guys but had managed to set up a relationship with these detainees”. I read parts of Stein’s essay to Mr. Fenstermaker, and he had no doubt about the NGO.

TP: Who is the Non Government Organization?

SF: The American Civil Liberties Union. They’re working with the government and the judges involved in the cases.

We spoke at length about the ACLU’s collusion with the US Government. In my opinion, this is why the Obama administration is so confident these alleged 9/11 conspirators will be convicted and sentenced to death. Since they will be representing themselves, the trial will be a sham, a show for the American People.

TP: You mean their Government appointed legal defenders would not be working in their best interests?

SF: Yes, that’s why they’ve rejected assigned counsel.

TP: Is that why they are going to represent themselves at trial?

SF: Yes.

I asked Scott Fenstermaker a final series of questions to clarify his legal representation of Mr. Ali and the other defendants at the upcoming trial. I still could not believe that five men accused of the most heinous crimes in US history would try to defend themselves in court. I asked Mr. Fenstermaker if there was any chance he would defend Mr. Ali.

TP: Did you ask Mr Ali if you could represent him at the trial in New York?

SF: No.

TP: Do you plan to ask Mr Ali if you could represent him?

SF: No.

TP: What if Mr. Ali or one of the other defendants asks you to defend them in court?

SF: I would refuse to do it.

TP: Why?

SF: Because I think the international community may one day open up a war crimes investigation into the war on terror, and a lot of these judges and lawyers may be prosecuted themselves.

SF: It’s illegal, what we’re doing with these detainees.

If anyone has more info on this, and particularly on the role of the ACLU, please inform. Thanks, Alvin

The issue surrounding legal

The issue surrounding legal representation of these defendants should see some light. I believe a fair number of Americans, left right and center who might even believe them guilty, believe in the 19 hijackers with box cutter thesis, would still expect the government to have a proper trial where the defendants are given the right to effective counsel. If these men are defending themselves the reason for this will surely get out in some media outlets.

Is there really a fear that skilled lawyering will get them off? Does the government even care or fear that if these men are not moun ting a vigorous defense the trial will look like a show trial and it will be seen as an abuse of justice?

And what about the fact that many of these defendants are the victims of torture? How credible can anything they say now be taken seriously. Wasn't Jose Padilla rendered practically insane after his isolation and detention? I recall his trial and conviction seem terribly off. How many times can the DOJ pull of these fake trials before the BAR and the people demand that the courts act as they are supposed to.

People are already up in arms about the way accoutability works or does not work in this country and are keenly aware that money buys justice.

This is just another pillar of this society crumbling.

We are not a nation of laws where you are innocent until proven guilty and guaranteed effective legal counsel when charged with a crime.

This trial promises to expose this wound yet again.

Well said

The media has tried to control the discussion. However, there are too many blockbusters in the alternative/internet media these days. They can't be ignored.

As far as the ACLU is concerned, they seemed to have dropped the ball as soon as their efforts to obtain a civilian trial bore fruit. It seemed strange, considering that having a civilian trial by no means ensures the trial will be fair. However, ACLU has re-entered the fray, histerically opposing the transfer of Guantanamo inmates to Illinois.

In the last few days, I took some time to read the constitution. I seem to remember coming across a passage that says anyone on American soil is afforded all the rights and protections of the US constitution. If this is so, then whatever doubts one might have had about detainees' rights ought to be erased as soon as they are transferred to US soil. The ACLU's opposition to the transfer to Ill. appears rather confused. Why would they even care where the detainees were held? One can read it at One wonders what Obama's agenda is. There is so much opposition to it, yet he is persevering.

Of course any collusion between the courts and the executive branch of government as suggested by Fenstermaker is in direct violation of an independent judiciary--one of the cornerstones of our republic.