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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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By mike66 on 4/13/2013 12:50:51 AM , Rating: 2
I'm all for a fair trial but you guys just don't get it, if those who are accused are to go on trial, then it should be conducted by a criminal court not a military court otherwise what you are doing is calling them lawful combatants, the results would be the same if they were guilty. Now did you monsters notice the second picture with the guys kneeling on the ground, of course it's not the guys who are up for trial but it shows you monsters torturing the prisoners, the are kneeling on sharp gravel, eye's hooded, with ear muffs. That is a pain amplication device so any confession given afterward should be invalid by any weastern civilized nation. I had some friends who worked in the twin towers so don't bother with the ends justifies the means. At least Major Morey who defended David Hicks ( not his choice it was his duty) Immagrated to Australia after Hicks was released and now works for Shine Lawyers in their Social Justice section learned a valuable lesson, you guys are now the monsters of the world. Those five terrorists will never receive a fair trial, what would you do if the local warlord said to you " I will kill you and your family if you don't do this". USA will not even conduct or house the prisoners on your own soil because it would mean you would have to conduct your business in a humane way, Sicko's.

By FITCamaro on 4/14/13, Rating: -1
By linkreincarnate on 4/14/2013 2:18:33 PM , Rating: 2
How do we know we got the right people if we don't give them a fair trial? If we just punish whoever we catch then the actual criminals go free. Also that that attitude what are you going to do when the government just starts declaring anyone who makes it squirm an enemy combatant? War criminals don't have rights, right?

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

By mike66 on 4/15/2013 7:17:46 AM , Rating: 2
Over the weekend there was a riot, it is now come to light threw the BBC news service that there are one hundred people who are still being held there who have been proven innocent ( by the USA Intelligence service ) of any wrong doing and still are not being released for various reasons ( retaliation and such ) and some can no longer be returned to their country of origin. So you are just ignorant of what really goes on there.

By Wulf145 on 4/15/2013 8:27:07 AM , Rating: 2
So, in your Opinion Calvin Gibbs and Jeremy Morlock and the rest of the "Kill Team" should have had no rights?

Or are you saying that the Afgan Government would be justified in detaining them in a Camp somwhere untill they deem it expedient to give them an Afgan military tribunal?

By maugrimtr on 4/15/2013 8:48:45 AM , Rating: 2
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I know a few old guys who might disagree with you. Then again, their definition of "men" might have varied.

You have to love the US. Best founding principles on the Planet. An example to everyone. Sadly populated in part by people without a sense of justice or proportion. Tell me, how were these people proven to all be War Criminals? It wasn't in a court of law. I guess we all should believe the folk with guns blindly then.

By Skywalker123 on 4/15/2013 11:51:09 AM , Rating: 2
cause your an ignorant redneck, they haven't been tried yet so they not "war criminals" many were turned in for the rewards offered for "terrorists"

By BRB29 on 4/15/2013 1:03:37 PM , Rating: 2
wow you're a duck penis

By Skywalker123 on 4/15/2013 4:20:22 PM , Rating: 2
and you sir, are a ignorant fool even more naive than fit, the american government appreciates for being "useful idiots" for believing their line

By Methusela on 4/14/2013 10:58:18 AM , Rating: 5
I'm not going to defend the actions of terrorists or call the USA a bunch of monsters, but there is little reason why, if there is a preponderance of evidence against the accused, they should not be tried fairly and swiftly.

Think about this before veering off into biasville:

If there is a bunch of conclusive proof that the people in custody actually committed crimes and/or terrorist actions, why wouldn't they be quickly charged with crimes (war or other), and tried completely fairly? Isn't that how it works?
We have a bunch of proof you did it. Arrest & detainment. Here are the charges. Trial. What happened? Here's how the law applies to this case. Verdict.

Holding them indefinitely, without charges, and not obeying the rules when prosecuting them simply sounds like

1) They're being held illegally.

2) There is no concrete evidence linking the prisoners with crimes.

3) Cheating & lying in the proceedings, ignoring the rights we extend to prisoners and their defense teams, seems like the cases are flimsy at best.

4) Even if you could claim these were war circumstances, which they aren't because there has been no formal declaration of war, the tenets of fair trials, military or civilian, dictate you should never cheat to win, and you would never have to if your case was solid.

This isn't a formal war, nor are these wartime combatants. What happened to due process? The idea that someone is presumed innocent until proven guilty; where is the fairness and equity in trial conditions & the security of evidence and private communications?

If this is happening as reported, here and elsewhere, there is some dirty dealing going on. A constitutionally righteous cause/man has no need to get dirty.

By Reclaimer77 on 4/14/13, Rating: 0
By 91TTZ on 4/15/2013 7:34:16 AM , Rating: 2
Sir, these are NOT US citizens on US soil. The protections granted to us by the Constitution do NOT apply here. Get over that premise. These people fall under the rules of military tribunal, where their rights are more narrow, the burden of proof much less, and the entire process is more streamlined.

There are certain rules that apply to detaining enemy soldiers, and there are certain rules that apply to detaining criminals who aren't soldiers. The US is holding these people illegally under both scenarios. If you want to classify them as enemy soldiers they would need to be freed within a certain timeframe. If they were not soldiers but just criminals, they would need to be given a trial. The US is trying to claim that these people are neither and are somehow in a permanent state of legal limbo because we're holding them on a military base that we strangely own in an enemy country.

Our political leaders are ruining our country's reputation by not obeying international laws. We've become that kid on the playground who claims that rules don't apply to him because there's nobody around that can beat him up.

By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/13, Rating: 0
By ClownPuncher on 4/15/2013 12:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
Guerilla "insurgency" isn't even close to being a new type of war. Don't they teach history anymore?

By BRB29 on 4/15/2013 1:14:24 PM , Rating: 2
they do and it's an every day occurrence.
The real question is do kids learn history from facebook or school.
Hit "like" and comment amen if you want to save babies.

By 91TTZ on 4/15/2013 2:30:29 PM , Rating: 2
Because as much as you and others like to believe all of these men are simply misunderstood decent people who are victims of a racist America, that's patently absurd.

I'm not one of those feel-good liberals who makes excuses on behalf of others to explain away reality. Personally I would have killed these people on the spot. I just don't support detaining them indefinitely.

By JonnyDough on 4/14/2013 2:41:21 PM , Rating: 3
I have met people who have worked at GB, and they are aware of international laws and the United States LOAC/Geneva Convention, etc. Our military is trained to know these laws and to follow them.

Anyone unfamiliar with these laws, is probably too ignorant to be commenting on this article.

By chromal on 4/14/2013 3:51:03 PM , Rating: 2
I'm all for a fair trial, because I am an American and not a hypocrite.

There, I fixed it for you.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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