Allegations of CIA torture proceed to be stumbling block in 9/11 trial

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — As the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorism assaults looms, and as greater than 15 years have handed since alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others had been despatched to Guantanamo Bay, delays proceed to plague the efforts to place the boys on trial, with torture on the forefront.

Within the 20 years  since 19 al Qaeda terrorists crashed hijacked planes into the World Commerce Middle buildings, the Pentagon, and a discipline close to Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing almost 3,000 folks, 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 court docket. The important thing questions of whether or not confessions obtained by the FBI following their CIA custody ought to be admissible, and whether or not america was really at conflict with al Qaeda previous to 9/11, stay unresolved.

Khalid Sheikh 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 whereas in U.S. custody. KSM is being tried in a demise penalty case alongside 4 co-defendants: his nephew, Ammar Baluchi, who despatched cash transfers to 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 lads had been subjected to a wide range of interrogation methods — together with stress positions, sleep deprivation, bouncing the detainees off of partitions, slaps to the face, and extra.

The protection groups are in search of to throw out confessions that the 5 males made to FBI “clear groups” at Guantanamo Bay after they’d been subjected to those “enhanced interrogation methods,” thought-about torture by many, on the CIA black websites.

Jay Connell, the demise penalty protection lawyer for KSM’s nephew, spoke with the press on Sunday at a Guantanamo Bay motel.

“Make no mistake. Overlaying up torture is the explanation that these males had been dropped at Guantanamo and the persevering with cover-up of torture is the explanation that indefinite detention at Guantanamo nonetheless exists,” Connell stated. “The duvet-up of torture can also be the explanation 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.”

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David Bruck, a lawyer for Shibh, claimed that his shopper nonetheless experiences “intense painful vibrations targeted on explicit elements of his physique” and claimed that “it’s as if the torture program for him by no means ended.”


When asserting that KSM and his co-defendants had been despatched to Guantanamo Bay in 2006, President George W. Bush argued “this program has been topic to a number of authorized critiques by the Division of Justice and CIA attorneys” and added, “I wish to be completely clear with our folks, 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 approved it — and I can’t authorize it.”

The 9/11 case has been delayed many occasions following unfavorable Supreme Court docket choices beneath Bush and an deserted effort by former President Barack Obama to attempt the boys in a New York Metropolis federal court docket. After a number of scuttled army commissions, quite a few retired judges, battles over categorised info, and accusations of torture, the demise penalty trial had been set for 2021, however COVID-19 upended that, and with one more new decide beginning this week, it’s unclear the place issues now stand.

A conflict over the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 2014 report on the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program, which the Democratic majority known as torture , took heart stage all through the latest listening to — in early 2020. Dr. James Mitchell, a psychologist who helped design interrogation methods for the CIA within the wake of the 9/11 assaults , spent a lot of his testimony defending his actions  as authorized and arguing that he’d helped cease future assaults.

However protection attorneys for 5 alleged 9/11 plotters disagreed, repeatedly pointing to the 2014 Senate report that concluded, “the CIA’s justification for the usage of its enhanced interrogation methods rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.” The chairwoman of the committee on the time, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, said that “beneath any widespread which means of the time period, CIA detainees had been tortured.”

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Mitchell, a former Air Pressure survival college psychologist, helped put collectively interrogation methods that stemmed from the army’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape program. The psychologist personally used the simulated drowning approach in opposition to KSM in 15 classes, utilizing at the least 183 water pours in March 2003.

Mitchell testified his aim wasn’t simply to get KSM to confess to previous assaults “however relatively to cease that second wave of assaults that he deliberate with Hambali that was actual and that we stopped.”

Riduan Isamuddin, aka Hambali, was the chief of the Southeast Asian al Qaeda-linked terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, which carried out the lethal Bali nightclub bombing in 2002, killing 202 folks. The U.S. authorities alleges Hambali was a part of a “second wave” plot to launch follow-up assaults contained in the U.S.

The abstract of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 2014 report concluded that “the CIA didn’t adequately consider the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation methods.”

Republicans on the committee, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and others, launched a response disputing the bulk’s conclusions.

Former CIA Administrators George Tenet, Porter Goss, and Michael Hayden wrote a joint Wall Avenue Journal op-ed claiming the interrogation program led to the seize of senior al Qaeda operatives, disrupted terrorist plots, and “fashioned a necessary a part of the muse from which the CIA and the U.S. army mounted the bin Laden operation.”

Connell additionally argued that his shopper had not dedicated a “conflict crime” and added: “The federal government says their place for his or her total case for guilt relies on the concept that Osama bin Laden had the facility of the president of a rustic or the legislature of a rustic to declare conflict in 1996.”

Alka Pradhan, one other lawyer for Baluchi, additionally stated that “to listen to senior members of the army argue that an alleged terrorist can declare conflict in opposition to america of America is jarring as a result of it contravenes all current legal guidelines.” She stated she felt “absolute all-consuming rage” in regards to the general course of and known as it a “clear farce continuing.”

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