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9/11 Case, October Session: Statement of the Chief Prosecutor

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Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 8:57 AM

In advance of this week’s hearings in the military commission case United States v. Mohammed et al, Brigadier General Mark Martins, Chief Prosecutor of the Military Commissions, delivered the attached remarks.

They open:

Good evening. As we begin a week of pre-trial sessions in United States v. Mohammad, et al., let us pause to remember the Americans killed and the survivors of the attack on the USS COLE thirteen years ago this month. We recall the sailors who on that day were doing the job they loved—making our Navy a global presence for good; willingly placing their lives on the line so that others might live. We also remember this week the victims of the attacks on September 11th.

Seventeen lives were lost in the attack on the USS COLE on October 12, 2000, and nearly 3,000 more on September 11, 2001. Yet none of these lives is a number. We might not have met them, but we all should know the contributions they have made. They are first responders, like Peter Freund, who instinctively rushed toward danger on September 11th and whose remains were recovered from the North Tower of the World Trade Center 12 years ago today. They are dear daughters and sons as well as dedicated coworkers, like Ralph Gerhardt, who spoke to his parents daily and who, as a vice president for Cantor Fitzgerald, fulfilled a lifelong dream when he transferred to Cantor’s Manhattan offices 18 months before September 11th. They are kind neighbors and generous friends, like Robin Kaplan, whose friends affectionately named her “the peacekeeper.” We honor them all, and we thank the family members of other victims here this week for their willingness to share their memories and to travel to Guantanamo Bay to witness these proceedings. We cannot begin to comprehend the awful depths of your loss or how you have summoned the will to endure. Your resilience is a tribute to the fallen and to the lives they lived.