You knew this was going to be a circus.
‘This is propaganda for the jihadists and puts American troops at risk’: Families of 9/11 victims OUTRAGED as judge allows terror suspects to appear in court wearing camouflage ‘because they want to look like soldiers’
men Koranimals who do not deny engineering the massÂ murder of 3,000 innocents on 9/11 spent much oftheir time in a U.S.Â courtroom with their “heads buried inÂ Qurans” or on their prayer mats. (ROP)
- Ruling comes as families upset over allowances being granted to terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay
- Sister of 9/11 victim says wearing camouflage is ‘propaganda for jihadists’
16 October 2012
The sister of one of the pilots who died on September 11th said that it is outrageous that the military judge is allowing the terror suspects to wear camouflage clothing inside the courtroom.
‘This judge has to grow a backbone,’ Debra Burlingame told MailOnline.
The leeway that the judge granted the accused terrorists comes during the second day of the pretrial decisions in the case against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the hijacked plane attacks and his four alleged al Qaeda conspirators.
The request for the different dress code comes as the men want to portray themselves as soldiers during the trial- a move that Ms Burlingame says shows that their intention is to promote their violent cause.
‘They are trying to use their situation to rally jihadists around the world and that puts American troops in danger,’ she said.
‘If these defendants were members of the Klu Klux Klan and they were on trial for killing a black family, for burning their house, would they be allowed to wear their Klan uniforms in court to show their solidarity with their fellow Klan members? Absolutely not!
‘These men are guilty of war crimes- you have to strip them of all those things that promotes their murderous cause.’
The only stipulation that the judge, Army Col. James Pohl, made regarding the dress code for the five defendants is that the camouflage that they wear must not be U.S. military uniforms.
‘I’m sympathetic because he’s under a microscope and he wants the proceedingsÂ to be fair and to be perceived as fair and legitimate,’ explained Ms Burlingame, who is a former attorney,Â ‘but he doesn’t have to take it when defence council and the defendants go over the line.’
‘It is the judge’s job to insure a fair trial for the defendants and prevent them from making propagandist statements from inside an American military courtroom.
‘They are speaking to Islamists members of al Qaeda and those who would be ripe for recruitment for their cause. They want to portray themselves as soldiers of Allah.’
Prosecutors have asked the judge to approve what is known as a protective order intended to prevent the release of classified information during trial.
WHO IS THE JUDGE?
Colonel James L. Pohl is the lifetime soldier who is at the heart of the biggest terrorism trial since the September 11th attacks.Â
Mr Pohl attended Pepperdine University in California for law school, has been a soldier since the 1980s before making the switch to a more legal focus in the early 2000s.
While known to many as the man presiding over the court room in Guantanamo, this is far from his first time in a contentious situation.Â
Mr Pohl, 61, was appointed to lead the Guantanamo military commission, and first made headlines while serving over several of the cases involving American soldiers who were tried for their role in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal.Â
He butted heads with President George Bush over the issue of whether or not that prison should be destroyed, with Bush arguing that in favor and Mr Pohl deciding that it could not be razed because it is a crime scene.
From there, he went on to preside over the trial of the Fort Hood shooting in 2009.Â
Though it happened in 2000, Mr Pohl is still working on the case relating to the suicide attack that left 17 American soldiers dead on board the U.S.S. Cole.
Lawyers for the defendants say the rules, as proposed, will make it harder to mount a defense. The American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed a separate challenge, says the restrictions are overly broad and would improperly keep the public from hearing the men speak about their captivity.
The U.S. government has acknowledged that the defendants were subjected to ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ before being transferred to Guantanamo in 2006, which in some cases included the simulated drowning method known as waterboarding.
Mohammed and his four co-defendants face charges that include terrorism, conspiracy and 2,976 counts of murder in violation of the law of war, one count for each known victim of the September 11 attacks at the time the charges were filed. They could get the death penalty if convicted.
Mohammed was not in court on Tuesday, opting to boycott the hearing after dismissing the military tribunal with scorn on Monday, saying ‘I don’t think there is any justice in this court.’
The defendants who chose with Mohammed to boycott the hearing were Saudi defendant Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi and Pakistani national Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, a nephew of Mohammed. Neither provided any reason for their absence but a lawyer for al-Aziz Ali had said on Monday that his client’s father had recently died and he was grieving for him.
Those who showed up in court were Walid bin Attash, a Yemeni who grew up in Saudi Arabia, and Ramzi Binalshibh, another Yemeni who was originally chosen to be one of the hijackers but couldn’t get a U.S. visa to enter the country.
The judge presiding over the case, Army Col. James Pohl, ruled, over the objections of prosecutors, that the defendants have the right to be absent from a weeklong pretrial hearing in a case considered to be one of the most significant terrorism cases in U.S. history.
The chief prosecutor, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, had argued that the rules for the special war-time tribunals known as military commissions require the defendants to attend all sessions of the court.
Prosecutors also said in court papers that their presence was required to ensure that the proceedings are viewed as legitimate.
But lawyers for the men disagreed, and said the threat that they could be forcibly removed from their cells would be psychologically damaging for men who had been brutalized while held during their captivity by the CIA in secret overseas prisons, prior to being taken to Guantanamo in September 2006.
The argument provoked groans from a small group of family members of September 11 victims who were chosen by lottery to come to Guantanamo to view the proceedings. A few other families watched the proceedings on closed-circuit TV from U.S. military bases in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland.
In the end, the judge ruled that the defendants didn’t have to attend the rest of the weeklong session, which was called to hear arguments on 25 pretrial motions on preliminary legal issues. He reserved the right to require their attendance at future hearings and said they would have to attend the actual trial.