Monday, February 11, 2008

Six men who helped plot 9/11 to be tried before military tribunal

Six men captured overseas and held at Guantanamo will be charged with the 9/11 attacks and tried before a military tribunal in a manner similar to that allowed for US soldiers. The government expects to ask for the death penalty, but the military judge might not accept the request. The procedure may take several years.

The list of persons is Mohammed al-Qahtani (the "20th hijacker"), Ramzi bin al-Shibh (the intermediary with Al Qaeda, "The Base"), Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali (alias Ammar al-Baluchi), Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, Walid bin Attash, and Khalid Shaikk Mohammed. The United States has not executed a military prisoner since 1961.

The story ("U.S. Charges 6 With Key Roles in 9/11 Attacks") is by William Glaberson, appears on p A1 of the Feb. 11, 2008 New York Times, and the link is here. All major media outlets have similar stories today.

The government is finally making formal charges. Human rights advocates have criticized the used of waterboarding and other techniques, as noted in the previous posting, and this was apparently used against Khalid. However, a story in the Feb. 12 Washington Post by Josh White, Dan Eggen and Joby Warrick, "U.S. to Try 6 On Capital Charges Over 9/11 Attacks; New Evidence Gained Without Coercive Tactics," indicates that the FBI and intelligence services used great care in interrogation. The Post link is here. Media reports indicate that executions by injection would happen at Guantanamo.

Bruce Fein has a commentary, "Torture Exonerated?" in the Feb. 12, 2008 Washington Times, link here.

Zacarias Moussaoui was tried before a US district court in Alexandria, VA with a jury. He did not get the death penalty, and will serve life without parole in a super-max in Colorado. This new action, against suspects captured overseas, will be more like a military court martial.

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