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Pentagon held in contempt for failing to tape Guantanamo detainee's testimony

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posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 07:08 AM

Pentagon held in contempt for failing to tape Guantanamo detainee's testimony

Washington (CNN) -- A federal court has held the Defense Department in contempt after officials at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, failed to videotape the testimony of a Yemeni detainee as ordered.

(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 07:08 AM
I actually find this article to be interesting primarily based on what's NOT said and what was NOT done.

As everyone knows, the closure of Guantamano Bay was received with praise, but the question of where to move the detainees has been met with reservations from across both aisles.

The article goes on to say:

However, the government notified the court on July 23 that the testimony had not been videotaped, blaming "oversight and miscommunication" for the "inadvertent" error, the order said. "There is no question that there is clear and convincing evidence that the government has violated a clear and unambiguous court order," Kessler wrote.

Kessler also ordered the Pentagon to post a transcript of al-Adahi's testimony on the federal courts' Web page for Guantanamo Bay cases, and required government officials to submit a "detailed explanation of all steps taken to ensure that such errors not occur in the future" within 30 days.

Although the judge found the Pentagon in contempt for not following a direct order, which required the interview and testimony [ which occurred over a four-day period] of the detainee to be videotaped, the judge is allowing the Pentagon to simply post a transcript of the testimony -- yes, the same one that was never taped -- onto the Federal Court's web page for perusal.

It seems to me that there is a distinct and frankly bitter line between what our justice system requires versus what the Pentagon and military are willing to comply with.

Is there any question that the testimony as it was given will not be what was published? Is there anyone that really feels videotaping a testimony is something that simply can go overlooked due to "oversight"? For four days?

If you ask me, our own government is putting us more at risk than the al-Qaeda mystery figure-heads we are searching for in Afganistan and Pakistan. Not only will "their" side be crying for the same democratic treatment we are always preaching about, but it's also pretty obvious that the testimony that is going to be provided by the Pentagon will be considered by many as tainted -- adding yet another layer of mistrust that seems to be growing between our government and the general public. Not to mention the countries from which these detainees originated.

This, to me anyway, casts yet another shadow of doubt on the legitamacy of those being held in Guantamano Bay as well as their treatment.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 08:30 AM
One of the Guantanamo Bay defence lawyers has been unflinching in his criticism of the process. Scott Fenstermaker said he was blocked by the government from representing 9/11 detainees and would refuse to take part in the NYC civil trials because he fears the judges and lawyers may themselves be prosecuted in a future war crimes tribunal.

His whistle-blowing statements really deserve a separate thread.

Scott Fenstermaker, the 9/11 Lawyer, Speaks Out The Populist, November 30th, 2009

An Interview with Scott Fenstermaker The Populist, December 7th, 2009

An Interview with Scott Fenstermaker, Part II The Populist, December 9th, 2009

Scott Fenstermaker has become the lightning rod for 9/11. He is the only defense lawyer mentioned in the upcoming trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-conspirators. Although he won’t be defending them in court, he’s been pilloried by the press for daring to suggest that these detainees have any legal rights.

I called him this weekend, and asked him why.

Scott Fenstermaker has represented Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali in various legal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay. Mr. Ali stands accused of conspiracy, murder, destruction of property, hijacking, and terrorism for his part in the September 11th attacks. I could not understand why Mr. Fenstermaker would not defend his client in court, so I began the interview by asking him to clarify this:

TP: Why won’t you represent Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali when he stands trial in New York for the September 11th attacks?

SF: The government would not let me represent him.

TP: Why not?

SF: Well, that’s a good question. The government goes crazy every time the detainees want me to represent them, and the government doesn’t like it.

TP: How does the government prevent you from representing the detainees?

SF: The government wants to control who represents the detainees. The government not only wants to, but it is. The government does this by controlling the judges. The judges are doing exactly what the government wants them to do in these cases. The judges ask what the government wants them to do, and then they do it.

Mr. Fenstermaker flew to Guantanamo Bay when he found out that Ali and four other detainees would stand trial in Federal Court for the 9/11 attacks. On November 21st he told the New York Times that Mr. Ali and his co-defendants will plead not guilty “so they can have a trial and try to get their message out”. Thus began last week’s media circus.

Bill O’Reilly called him “a weasel” on national television. David Horowitz anointed him a member of the “traitor class”. Even the highbrow Huffington Post accused Mr. Fenstermaker of “bringing his own politics to the case”.

Sam Stein wrote the hit piece for the Huffington Post. He quoted “an employee with an NGO working on national security issues”. But he did not name this mysterious employee, or the Non-Government Organization.

Stein’s source said that “Fenstermaker was causing a lot of trouble and was in no way qualified to be representing these guys but had managed to set up a relationship with these detainees”. I read parts of Stein’s essay to Mr. Fenstermaker, and he had no doubt about the NGO.

TP: Who is the Non Government Organization?

SF: The American Civil Liberties Union. They’re working with the government and the judges involved in the cases.

We spoke at length about the ACLU’s collusion with the US Government. In my opinion, this is why the Obama administration is so confident these alleged 9/11 conspirators will be convicted and sentenced to death. Since they will be representing themselves, the trial will be a sham, a show for the American People.

TP: You mean their Government appointed legal defenders would not be working in their best interests?

SF: Yes, that’s why they’ve rejected assigned counsel.

TP: Is that why they are going to represent themselves at trial?

SF: Yes.

I asked Scott Fenstermaker a final series of questions to clarify his legal representation of Mr. Ali and the other defendants at the upcoming trial. I still could not believe that five men accused of the most heinous crimes in US history would try to defend themselves in court. I asked Mr. Fenstermaker if there was any chance he would defend Mr. Ali.

TP: Did you ask Mr Ali if you could represent him at the trial in New York?

SF: No.

TP: Do you plan to ask Mr Ali if you could represent him?

SF: No.

TP: What if Mr. Ali or one of the other defendants asks you to defend them in court?

SF: I would refuse to do it.

TP: Why?

SF: Because I think the international community may one day open up a war crimes investigation into the war on terror, and a lot of these judges and lawyers may be prosecuted themselves.

SF: It’s illegal, what we’re doing with these detainees.

[edit on 11-12-2009 by EvilAxis]

posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 08:50 AM
Although discussed a little here on ATS, I think that Obama's declaration that these men will obviously be found guilty of all charges is poised to become a major faux pas as this trial moves forward.

No matter the outcome, Obama has already tainted the process. I believe that at this point if a poll were conducted asking if people believed this trial would be fair and democratic, the answer would unequivcably be no. Which is extrememly dangerous since that leaves only one side to defend -- the side painted as the terrorist.

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