Terrorism Trials & Investigations

Statement From the Chief Prosecutor on This Week's Hearing in the 9/11 Case

By Wells Bennett
Sunday, June 15, 2014, 9:46 PM

You'll find it here.  We'll cover the two-day mini-hearing, which will commence tomorrow at 0900 down at Guantanamo.

The statement opens:

Good evening and Happy Father’s Day. I refer to Father’s Day with a heavy heart because I know it is a difficult reminder for the fathers who have lost children, and for the sons and daughters who have lost fathers. As we pause to honor them, I reflect upon one father who lost three loved ones on September 11th when United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Declining to dwell on their last moments or the futures that might have been, I recall instead the fullness of their lives that make him proud.

His son: a successful software salesman. His daughter-in-law: a scientist and doctoral candidate in micro-biology immunology. His granddaughter: a tender-hearted two-year-old girl remembered by her grandfather as “love personified.” Together, they were a close-knit family that enjoyed growing plants in their garden and visiting the park near their local library. They, like so many of the September 11th fallen and their survivors, furnish us all a lasting and affirming legacy from which we can continue to draw strength as pre-trial sessions resume this week.

I emphasize that the charges against Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, Walid Muhammad Salih
Mubarak Bin ‘Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi are only allegations. The Accused are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Matters under consideration by a military commission in this or any other particular case are authoritatively dealt with by the presiding judge, and any comments below addressing systemic issues that are the subject of frequent questions by interested observers should always be understood to defer to specific judicial rulings, if applicable.

This week’s pre-trial sessions are different from recent past sessions in two respects.
First, the Commission has indicated in its Amended Docketing Order that it will hear argument in a shortened week on only the Appellate Exhibit 292 series of pleadings. Appellate Exhibit 292 is the defense motion to abate the proceedings to inquire into whether a conflict of interest exists between defense counsel and the Accused. (The Amended Docketing Order is available on the military commissions’ website at Appellate Exhibit 302C.) Second, I detailed five Special Trial Counsel to represent the United States with regard to the Appellate Exhibit 292 pleadings. (See Appellate Exhibits 3C and 3E.) As the Prosecution explained in April, I detailed these prosecutors to ensure that the Prosecution Team (including myself), which represents the United States on all other matters in this case, remains walled-off from learning about any privileged communications between defense counsel and the Accused that might arise during the Appellate Exhibit 292 litigation. Unofficial/Unauthenticated Transcript at 7811-7816. Such an approach of detailing separate counsel is common in situations such as this.