Raw Story: U.S. war crimes in the so-called War on Terror were back in the spotlight Tuesday as pretrial hearings for alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-defendants resumed at Guantánamo Bay, with a lawyer for one of the men asserting that a “continuing cover-up” of CIA torture is the reason none of the suspects have been tried 15 years after their transfer to the extralegal prison.
“Enter the Guantánamo Bay military commissions, purpose-built to launder the CIA torture program.”
—Alka Pradhan, human rights lawyer
After a 17-month delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the five defendants—Mohammed, his nephew Ammar al-Baluchi, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi bin al-Shib, and Mustafa al-Hawsawi—appeared before a U.S. military court at Gitmo’s “Camp Justice” Tuesday.
The men—two Pakistanis, two Yemenis, and one Saudi—stand accused of what military prosecutor Clayton Trivett Jr. has called the “summary execution” of nearly 3,000 people in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania during the September 11, 2001 attacks. They face execution if convicted.
However, the defendants’ attorneys argue that their clients’ confessions should be thrown out because they were extracted through torture, evidence of which has been blocked from the courtroom. Experts also say that confessions and information resulting from torture are highly unreliable.
“Make no mistake. Covering up torture is the reason that these men were brought to Guantánamo and the continuing cover-up of torture is the reason that indefinite detention at Guantánamo still exists,” Jay Connell, the lawyer representing al-Baluchi, said Tuesday. “The cover-up of torture is also the reason that we are all gathered at Guantánamo for the 42nd hearing in the 9/11 military commission on the 15th anniversary of the transfer of these men to Guantanamo.” Read more…