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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 Reclaimer77 on 4/14/2013 11:20:44 AM , Rating: 0
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?

Quickly? Sir, have you SEEN our legal system in action? And that's when it comes to US citizens in a US civil/criminal court. It takes YEARS just to have a trial most of the time.

Now we have a completely even less-efficient situation with these detainees. It's a mess honestly. But we've done the best we can with it.

1) They're being held illegally.

Find me the law that states we cannot do what we're doing in Guantanamo, Cuba. (hint: there is none). Like it or not it's in a legal no-mans land.

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

Speculation. And in the eyes of the military in wartime, there's much less burden of proof. If they were there, if they were armed, if they even appeared to be aiding the enemy or collaborating...well they're guilty.

This isn't a formal war, nor are these wartime combatants.

lol so because they didn't formally issue a declaration of war, our hands our tied and we can't defend ourselves? This is ridiculous! Maybe it wasn't "formal", but 9/11 seemed like a pretty effective goddamn declaration of war to me!

What happened to due process?

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.

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.

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