August 9, 2010 / by emptywheel


More Kangaroo Court Craziness

Not only did our Kangaroo Court in Gitmo decide that it’s okay to threaten teeenaged boys with rape to get them to confess, but it also announced that the sentence for Ibrahim al Qosi would remain sealed until he was released.

In one courtroom, Air Force Lt. Col. Nancy Paul, a military judge, announced that the length of Ibrahim al Qosi’s plea bargain sentence would be a secret until he was released. The judge then began questioning a jury pool of 15 senior American officers who would on Tuesday deliberate Qosi’s prison sentence.

So much for using the transparency of trials to win hearts and minds! David Iglesias, of the US Attorney firing scandal, is about to issue a statement on this secret sentence.

Then, back to Khadr’s Show Trial, the judge admitted a video crafted by a someone with little real experience in terrorism that has nothing to do with Khadr.

The other disappointing part of today’s hearing was that the government has once again introduced Evan Kohlmann as an expert on al Qaeda and related terrorist groups. The 31-year-old Kohlmann is an NBC news analyst who started his own company that provides reports on terrorist groups to corporations and media organizations, based largely on surfing the Internet. He admitted in court today that he does not speak Arabic or have an advanced degree in anything related to terrorism, Islam or Islamic extremism. He has an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University where he wrote his senior thesis on al Qaeda and Arab-Afghans. All of his research and writing on that and related subjects was based on information he found on the Internet. He appears to believe that his inability to speak or read Arabic did not hinder his ability to review or understand what he found. Kohlmann has created a video that tells the history of al Qaeda and its goals, based, likewise, on video clips and other public documents he’s found online.

Whether Kohlmann is accepted as an expert or not (he probably will be, as he has been in two previous military commission cases and in 16 federal court trials, all testifying for the prosecution), the real issue here seems to be what his expertise has to do with Omar Khadr. Kohlmann testified today that he knows nothing about Omar Khadr except the charges against him. From what I can tell, the defense isn’t contesting that the U.S. is at war with al Qaeda or that al Qaeda has tried to attack the U.S. repeatedly, including on September 11, 2001. But the prosecution isn’t alleging that Omar Khadr had anything to do with that attack, or any of the others that constitute the bulk of Kohlmann’s movie. So I don’t see how the 90-minute historical survey of al Qaeda and Islamic extremist terrorism is going to shed light on whether Omar Khadr is guilty as charged.

Just in case there were any doubts about this being a show trial or not.

And, from Daphne’s update, the Judge also accepted the US claim that killing a uniformed soldier during a war is illegal.

And finally — and perhaps most significantly — Judge Parrish ruled that he is accepting the government’s statement of the laws of war, which defines the killing of a uniformed soldier as a war crime. Never mind that killing the other side’s soldier in a war has never before been considered or prosecuted as a violation of the laws of war.

Happy Monday! You can get more up-to-the-minute updates on the Gitmo Show Trials by following Carol Rosenberg, Muna Shikaki, and Daphne Eviatar on Twitter.

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