GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — As the US prepares to mourn the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist assaults of Sept. 11, 2001, one other anniversary is being marked at Guantanamo Bay — the fifteenth anniversary of President George W. Bush saying 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and different al Qaeda members had been transferred to the U.S. naval base.
Fifteen years later, a trial nonetheless hasn’t occurred.
Within the twenty years since 19 al Qaeda terrorists crashed hijacked planes into the World Commerce Heart buildings, the Pentagon, and a area close to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing practically 3,000 individuals, the 5 males believed to be answerable for the planning and execution of the plot have but to face trial on the specialised island conflict courtroom.
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Mohammed, dubbed “KSM” and described as “the principal architect of the 9/11 assaults, was a detailed ally of Osama bin Laden and was repeatedly waterboarded throughout quite a few classes whereas in U.S. custody.
KSM is being tried in a loss of life penalty case alongside 4 co-defendants: his nephew, Ammar Baluchi, who despatched cash transfers to 9/11 hijackers contained in the U.S.; alleged hijacking coach Walid bin Attash; 9/11 facilitator Ramzi bin Shibh; and al Qaeda cash man Mustafa Hawsawi.
The protection groups are in search of to throw out confessions that the 5 males made to FBI “clear groups” at Guantanamo Bay after that they had been subjected to “enhanced interrogation strategies,” thought of torture by many, at CIA black websites. Some al Qaeda operatives, akin to Abu Zubaydah, are being held in indefinite detention at Guantanamo.
Bush touted the U.S. interrogation packages throughout a Sept. 6, 2006 speech from the White Home’s East Room, arguing that the secretive efforts had been crucial for U.S. nationwide safety and had stopped plots, additionally saying publicly for the primary time that 14 high-value detainees had been transferred to Guantanamo Bay.
“We’re now approaching the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 assaults — and the households of these murdered that day have waited patiently for justice. A few of the households are with us at the moment — they need to have to attend not. So I am saying at the moment that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi bin al Shibh, and 11 different terrorists in CIA custody have been transferred to the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay,” Bush stated to applause on the time.
“As quickly as Congress acts to authorize the army commissions I’ve proposed, the boys our intelligence officers imagine orchestrated the deaths of practically 3,000 Individuals on September the eleventh, 2001, can face justice. … With these prosecutions, we are going to ship a transparent message to those that kill Individuals: Not — how lengthy it takes, we are going to discover you and we are going to deliver you to justice.”
James Connell, the protection legal professional for KSM’s nephew, Baluchi, lamented the 15-year anniversary throughout a small dialogue with press in a convention room at a Guantanamo Bay motel.
“15 years in the past, on Sept. 6, 2006, President George W. Bush introduced that 14 males, together with Ammar al Baluchi, had been moved from a CIA black website to the darkish grey website at Guantanamo, over which the CIA would proceed to have operational management,” Connell stated. “Make no mistake. Protecting up torture is the rationale that these males had been delivered to Guantanamo, and the persevering with cover-up of torture is the rationale that indefinite detention at Guantanamo nonetheless exists. The duvet-up of torture can also be the rationale that we’re all gathered at Guantanamo for the forty second listening to within the 9/11 army fee on the fifteenth anniversary of the switch of those males to Guantanamo.”
Bush argued in 2006 that “this program has been topic to a number of authorized critiques by the Division of Justice and CIA legal professionals” and that “they’ve decided it complied with our legal guidelines” and added: “I need to be completely clear with our individuals, and the world: The US doesn’t torture. It is in opposition to our legal guidelines, and it is in opposition to our values. I’ve not licensed it — and I can’t authorize it.”
The upcoming twentieth anniversary of 9/11, which comes because the Taliban guidelines Afghanistan as soon as once more , introduced round 100 individuals, together with victims’ households, the prosecution, 5 protection groups, army members, judicial workers, greater than a dozen journalists, and others, to Cuba on a constitution airplane that took off from Andrews Air Drive Base exterior Washington, D.C., on Saturday.
The case has been delayed many instances following unfavorable Supreme Court docket selections underneath Bush and an deserted effort by former President Barack Obama to strive the boys in a New York Metropolis federal courtroom. After a number of scuttled army commissions, quite a few retired judges, battles over categorised data, and accusations of torture, the loss of life penalty trial had been set for 2021, however COVID-19 upended that, and with one more new choose beginning this week, it’s unclear the place issues now stand.
Roughly 780 complete suspected terrorists are identified to have been detained at Guantanamo Bay since 2002, and it’s believed that 39 suspected terrorists stay, in response to the New York Instances Guantanamo Docket tracker. No new detainees are believed to have arrived since 2008. Bush transferred greater than 500 of them out of the jail, and Obama transferred out an extra 144, together with 5 high-ranking Taliban members who had been a part of a 2014 prisoner swap that secured the discharge of former Military soldier and deserter Bowe Bergdahl.
President Donald Trump transferred out Ahmed Mohammed Haza Darbi to Saudi Arabia to proceed to serve practically a decade extra on his jail sentence after he pleaded responsible to a bunch of terrorism expenses in 2014. Abdul Latif Nasser, a former fighter for the Taliban, was transferred to Morocco this yr.
The 9/11 pretrial hearings had been paused in February of final yr because the prosecutors and protection groups battled over a wide range of authorized points and took testimony associated from these concerned in interrogating the accused plotters, together with a number of days of testimony by two of the three males identified to have waterboarded KSM.
The choose should rule on whether or not confessions made to the FBI shall be admissible.
Obama promised to shut Guantanamo whereas working for workplace in 2008, and on his second day in workplace, he signed an govt order to shut it inside a yr. However he confronted steep opposition from Congress, amongst different hurdles, and didn’t ship on the promise.
Then-candidate Trump promised in February 2016 that “we’re going to load it up with some dangerous dudes,” which he didn’t do as president. However Trump did signal an govt order in January 2018 asking then-Protection Secretary James Mattis to maintain the jail open.
President Joe Biden has been working quietly to attempt to shut Guantanamo Bay as effectively. The lawyer for KSM’s nephew stated: “If 15 years of indefinite detention at Guantanamo have proved something, it’s that justice for America can’t coexist with abandonment of American democratic ideas. … Now’s the time for this administration to ascertain a post-Guantanamo world.”