Get ready for the onslaught of lies and propaganda. We will hear one activist and lawyer after another claim that these people were tortured and denied their due process. No trial short of jury trials in civil courts will satisfy them. We will be tortured by the lies and propaganda.
Executions may be carried out at Gitmo
By MICHAEL MELIA and ANDREW O. SELSKY, Associated Press Writers
If six suspected terrorists are sentenced to death at Guantanamo Bay for the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. Army regulations that were quietly amended two years ago open the possibility of execution by lethal injection at the military base in Cuba, experts said Tuesday.
Any executions would probably add to international outrage over Guantanamo, since capital punishment is banned in 130 countries, including the 27-nation European Union.
Conducting the executions on U.S. soil could open the way for the detainees' lawyers to go to U.S. courts to fight the death sentences. But the updated regulations make it possible for the executions to be carried out at Guantanamo.
David Sheldon, an attorney and former member of the Navy's legal corps, said an execution chamber at Guantanamo would be largely beyond the reach of U.S. courts.
"I think that's the administration's idea, to try to use Guantanamo as a base to not be under the umbrella of the federal district courts," he said. "If one is detained in North Carolina or South Carolina in a Navy brig, one could conceivably file a petition of habeus corpus and because of where they're located, invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court."
"We are a long way from determining the details of the death penalty, and when that time comes ... we will follow the law at that time and the procedures that are in place," Hartmann said.
Eugene Fidell, a Washington defense attorney and expert on military law, said Guantanamo Bay could be an execution site, but added that the U.S. would face an international outcry.
"It would be highly controversial because a lot of the world simply doesn't believe in the death penalty any more," Fidell said.
The Bush administration has instructed U.S. diplomats abroad to defend its decision to seek the death penalty for the six men by recalling the executions of Nazi war criminals after World War II.
A four-page cable sent to U.S. embassies and obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press says that execution as punishment for extreme violations of the laws of war is internationally accepted.
The cable points to the 1945-46 Nuremberg war crimes trials in Germany. Twelve of Adolf Hitler's senior aides were sentenced to death at the trials, though not all were executed in the end.
No death chamber is known to exist at Guantanamo, but Scott Silliman, a former Air Force lawyer and who is now a Duke University professor, said the military may decide to build one there. The 2006 Army regulations also call for a viewing room to the death chamber, where at least two news media representatives would be witnesses.
The trial for the six detainees is still months away. And given the slow pace of the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, verdicts are unlikely before President Bush leaves office next January.
The accused include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of Sept. 11; Mohammed al-Qahtani, whom officials have labeled the 20th hijacker; and Waleed bin Attash, who investigators say selected and trained some of the 19 hijackers.
Many support the use of the death penalty for men blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks.
"If these guys are found guilty, I can't think of any other case more appropriate for the death penalty," said Charles "Cully" Stimson, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. "An overwhelming majority of Americans support the death penalty."
Michael Khambatta of the International Committee of the Red Cross said his organization would approve the death penalty only when there are "procedural and judicial guarantees that meet international standards."
Khambatta, who is the deputy head of the ICRC's Washington delegation, declined to comment publicly on whether the ICRC considers the U.S. war-crimes trials fair.___________
On the Net:
U.S. Army execution procedures: http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/r190_55.pdf
This will make for some interesting campaign debates. McCain, Obama and Clinton have all called for Guantanamo Bay to be closed down. Obama and Clinton will most likely call for "civil trial" procedings. McCain says he will move the detainees to Fort Leavenworth and give them military tribunals. He has also said that confessions obtained under duress of torture, i.e., waterboarding, will be inadmissible. Does anyone else see a circus coming to town?