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Defense lawyers in Guantanamo war tribunals are upset over third party monitoring, document disappearance

They're the men allegedly behind some of the worst terrorist attacks on the U.S.  As work at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility winds down, the Pentagon prepares to hold special war tribunals -- military trials -- for prisoners deemed too dangerous to release.

I. Defense Discovers Documents Delete, Smoke Alarms Were Really Mics

Those prisoners include five men responsible for helping plan the September 11 terrorist attacks.  They also include Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, who masterminded an attack on the USS Cole during its deployment to Yemen, an attack that killed 17 U.S. sailors.

But the pretrial hearings, which were supposed to start this week in some cases may be delayed due to allegations of foul play, according to Reuters.

Smoke alarm
What appeared to be smoke alarms in client meeting rooms were really disguised microphones.
[Image Source: Adeoma]

Defense lawyers for several of the suspects, who face the death penalty say they have evidence that their emails and internet searches were monitored by third parties.  And they say documents involved with the case began to disappear from their assigned Pentagon computers in February.  

Navy Commander Walter Ruiz represents Mustafa al Hawsawi, who is alleged with funneling funding for the 9/11 attacks. Ruiz states, "three to four weeks' worth of work is gone, vanished."

Aside from deletions, there was also evidence that prosecutors ordered system administrators to grant them access to 500,000 files on defense lawyers machines, files which included confidential attorney-client communications.  The Guantanamo detention camp's legal advisor also revealed that device that appeared to be smoke alarms in rooms where defense attorneys met with their clients were really microphones; but don't worry -- he claimed no conversations between the lawyers and their clients were recorded.

II. Human Rights Watchers: Trial "is a Sham"

International human rights watchdog group Human Rights First blasted the latest developments as "absolutely outrageous".  Its expert on the current proceedings -- Daphne Eviatar comments, "This is just further evidence that the military commission system is a sham and that all terrorism trials should be held in real U.S. federal courts on U.S. soil, where the rules are clear, defendants' rights are respected and the verdicts will have credibility."

Guantanamo Bay
Human rights watchers have complained that the Guantanamo Bay proceedings are a sham.
[Image Source: Getty Images]

The issues have been so severe that Colonel Karen Mayberry has advised the defense lawyers to stop storing case documents on Pentagon machines.  James Connell, a defense attorney for Ali Abdul Aziz Ali (aka Ammar al-Baluchi) -- the other alleged 9/11 plot funding funneler -- comments "I'll be filing a handwritten motion very shortly to ask for an abatement of the proceedings."

Given the extraordinary and unusual circumstances Army Colonel James Pohl -- the presiding judge in the trials -- has already delayed the pre-trial hearings of al Nashiri till June and is considering pushing the death penalty trial for the 9/11 conspirators as well.

Until February the preliminary hearings were being broadcast to the public and media via a closed circuit.  But the judge in February ordered those feeds cut, around the same time the alleged harassment of defense lawyers began.

Source: Reuters

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RE: Trials? Juries?
By ritualm on 4/12/2013 4:35:16 PM , Rating: 1
The Geneva Convention doesn't apply to them precisely because USA refuses to recognize the Geneva Convention in the first place.

Not surprising this comes from a country whose previous President publicly declared waterboarding is legal.

RE: Trials? Juries?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/12/2013 4:38:59 PM , Rating: 2
The Geneva Convention doesn't apply to them precisely because USA refuses to recognize the Geneva Convention in the first place.

We absolutely DO recognize it. Again, the Geneva Convention applies to a declared war against another nation state, and their uniformed soldiers and civilians. What part about that are you NOT getting? Terrorists aren't technically soldiers or militia, they don't declare themselves for any particular nation, and they aren't uniformed or otherwise clearly marked. Hence, they get NO Geneva Convention protection status.

If you just hate the United States and want to say whatever crazy crap you want, hey, have at it. But you're just wrong here.

RE: Trials? Juries?
By Spuke on 4/12/2013 5:32:58 PM , Rating: 2
The Geneva Convention doesn't apply to them precisely because USA refuses to recognize the Geneva Convention in the first place.
LOL! We don't. Guess the US military's been lying to its soldiers then AND having them living a lie by following the Geneva Convention when we really weren't supposed to. BTW, Rec is right, terrorists aren't covered by the Geneva convention and I find it interesting we're even giving them ANY rights.

RE: Trials? Juries?
By Ammohunt on 4/12/2013 9:58:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I mean I have been out of the ARMY for 20 years but I distinctly remember the covering the rules of land warfare. We follow the rules to our own detriment.

RE: Trials? Juries?
By BRB29 on 4/15/2013 7:42:38 AM , Rating: 2
You do realize the Geneva Convention and Rules of Engagement are exactly why our progress was so slow right? Have you ever seen its complexity and scope? I have to remember all of that. Please read it and tell me how easy it is to remember a whole small book of rules when you're receiving fire or a guy with a bomb is running at you. Or You're surrounded by civilians and you know terrorists are there in the crowd but there's not much you can do to protect your men.

In fact, from my experience, it seems like the only country out there that tried to follow the Geneva Convention was the US. But our forces make up over 95% of total coalition forces so we always get the bad rep.

Don't let a few bad eggs that had been blown up by the media fool you. Almost everyone follow the rules, the ones that break them usually have something personal or are racists. There is always a small amount of turds in every large group. You cannot completely avoid that.

Let's not forget our enemies doesn't follow any rules. They can care less about ours besides to use it against us. You think waterboarding is bad? The torture they put on both our and their people are unimaginable. Let's just say a gutted pig on a hook had a much better death. People are quickly to hate on the US without knowing what is really going on.

RE: Trials? Juries?
By Skywalker123 on 4/15/2013 11:58:21 AM , Rating: 2
You clearly don't have a clue what the U.S has done

RE: Trials? Juries?
By BRB29 on 4/15/2013 1:00:43 PM , Rating: 2
you clearly have no clue of what's really happening besides what you've read.

RE: Trials? Juries?
By Skywalker123 on 4/15/2013 4:13:56 PM , Rating: 2
and where do you get your info?

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton

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