Browse by Category
Graphic image for 9/11 foreknowledge
Graphic: unanswered questions
Graphic of paper shredder- destruction of evidence
Graphic: conflict of interest
Cui bono graphic
Alleged Hijacker graphic
9/11 Commission Shield

9/11 Victims’ Families Send Letter Decrying Politicization Of Guantánamo Military Commissions

CleanPrintBtn gray smallPdfBtn gray smallEmailBtn gray small

(6/3/2008)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (646) 206-8643 or (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK — Family members of 9/11 victims have sent a letter today to
Susan Crawford, Convening Authority of the Guantánamo military commissions,
sharply criticizing the politicization of the system. According to news reports,
a Pentagon representative secretly invited an outspoken supporter of the military
commissions to Guantánamo Bay for Thursday’s arraignment of Khalid
Sheikh Mohammed and four other detainees on terrorism-related charges, but did
not make this option available to family members who have expressed criticism
of the commissions. This type of politicization is symptomatic of the unconstitutional
and biased tribunal system, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

The letter echoes the widespread call for a system to try the Guantánamo
detainees that adheres to the Constitution, stating, “As people who lost
loved ones in the terrorist attacks of 9/11, we want nothing more than to see
that justice is served in the prosecution of suspects. However, we know that
no justice will come out of a system that has been compromised by politics and
stripped of the rule of law.”

The military commission proceedings have been subject to unlawful political
influence since they started. After holding detainees for over six years, the
government is now rushing through these cases, giving the defense just three
months to prepare for a trial timed to begin only weeks before the November
elections.

“The American public has every right to expect that prosecutions of 9/11
suspects will be conducted in a fair, open and honest manner that is not compromised
by crass political considerations. Selectively inviting only 9/11 family members
whose views are in alignment with those of the Bush administration is only one
example of the repeated attempts to infuse politics into what should be an impartial
process that has the goal of achieving justice,” the letter stated.

Since the inception of the Bush administration’s military commissions,
a growing number of lawyers, legal scholars, government officials, military
personnel and others have raised concerns about prosecuting detainees under
a system that ignores the fundamental tenets of due process and allows the admission
of highly questionable evidence – particularly evidence possibly obtained through
torture. According to the ACLU, these cases belong in a civilian court of law
or a traditional military court operating in accordance with the Uniform Code
of Military Justice that upholds due process and in which judges and attorneys
are held to constitutional obligations and accountable to the rule of law.

In April, the ACLU launched the John Adams Project — a partnership with
the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) — to provide
civilian legal representation to assist under-resourced military counsel of
Guantánamo detainees.

For more information on the ACLU and NACDL’s John Adams Project, see:
www.aclu.org/johnadams

Letter To Susan Crawford, Convening Authority, Office of Military Commissions

Susan J. Crawford
Convening Authority
Department of Defense
Office of Military Commissions
1600 Defense Pentagon
Rm. 3B652
Washington DC 20301-1600

June 3, 2008

Dear Ms. Crawford:

Many of us learned for the first time this week that only one relative of a
9/11 victim was invited to attend the proceedings at Guantánamo Bay.
The Defense Department’s belated disclosure that Debra Burlingame, a staunch
supporter of this administration and the military commission system, was secretly
invited to attend the arraignment of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is but the latest
example of a covert, politicized military commission system that has little
hope of bringing any legitimate outcome.

As people who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks of 9/11, we want nothing
more than to see that justice is served in the prosecution of suspects. However,
we know that no justice will come out of a system that has been compromised
by politics and stripped of the rule of law. Unfortunately, the government insists
on trying those accused of participating in the 9/11 attacks in military commissions
that operate largely outside the realm of public scrutiny and rely on confessions
derived by torture, secret evidence that a defendant cannot rebut, and hearsay.

The American public has every right to expect that prosecutions of 9/11 suspects
will be conducted in a fair, open and honest manner that is not compromised
by crass political considerations. Selectively inviting only 9/11 family members
whose views are in alignment with those of the Bush administration is only one
example of the repeated attempts to infuse politics into what should be an impartial
process that has the goal of achieving justice.

We know that we are not the only ones who object to the illegitimacy of these
proceedings. Respected military figures as well as law enforcement officials
like Janet Reno and William Webster have spoken out. And in an effort to make
this system more in line with our constitutional values, the American Civil
Liberties Union has assembled civilian legal teams to assist the woefully under-resourced
military defense counsel. If the prosecution of these suspects is carried out
in a manner that is not in accordance with American values of due process, the
rule of law, and transparency, any verdict will lack legitimacy and we will
be left to wonder if those responsible for the deaths of our loved ones have
really been brought to justice.

Sincerely,

Anne M. Mulderry
Mother of Stephen V. Mulderry

Adele Welty
Mother of Firefighter Timothy Welty

Mindy Kleinberg
Wife of Alan Kleinberg

Lorie Van Auken
Wife of Kenneth Van Auken

Patricia Perry
Mother of Police Officer John Perry

Monica Gabrielle
Wife of Richard Gabrielle

Patty Casazza
Wife of John F. Casazza

cc: Capt. Karen Loftus, DoD OGC

Source URL: http://www.aclu.org and letter at http://www.aclu.org/safefree/detention/35514res20080603.html