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September 11th Advocates Re Guantánamo Quagmire and Accountability

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For Immediate Release
February 10, 2009

September 11th Advocates
Statement Regarding Guantánamo Quagmire and Accountability
February 10, 2009

The Military Commissions System at Guantánamo Bay was an attempt by the Bush Administration to create an “extralegal zone”, wherein the rule of law was ignored. Many Guantánamo detainees were subject to detention without charges, rendition and illegal torture. The Military Commissions System, which allowed evidence obtained through torture and coercive interrogation tactics, has been a dismal failure both legally and practically. The Supreme Court has rejected the policies of this system each time it has reviewed them. Because of the Bush Administration’s mistaken belief in its ability to craft a new legal system, which clearly created avoidable moral and legal challenges, justice may never be served.

President Obama has paused all proceedings at Guantánamo Bay for 120 days in order for his legal team to attempt to design a system in which the verdicts will withstand the scrutiny of the inevitable appeals process. He is rightfully attempting to fix the quagmire that was created by the previous administration.

If, ultimately, the detainees held at Guantánamo Bay are unable to be properly prosecuted because of the fatal flaws in the system, then those in the Bush Administration who were responsible for creating that failed system should be held accountable.

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Patty Casazza
Monica Gabrielle
Mindy Kleinberg
Lorie Van Auken

Additionally, please see earlier statements.

For immediate release
January 23, 2009

September 11th Advocates
Statement Regarding the Closing of Guantánamo Bay
January 23, 2009

The Guantánamo Bay Detention Center continues to be an enormous stain on America’s reputation. Newly elected President Obama has taken the first step in removing this stain by keeping his campaign promise to the American people.

The temporary halting of proceedings at Gitmo gives us the “audacity to hope” that President Obama will be able to restore America’s good name, which has been repeatedly tarnished during the past eight years.

We appreciate the tough decisions that President Obama has been forced to make and admire him for taking these difficult tasks on. We look forward to hearing his plan for closing Guantánamo Bay forever, finding a just way to try the detainees and putting an end to this horrific chapter in America’s history.

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Patty Casazza
Monica Gabrielle
Mindy Kleinberg
Lorie Van Auken

Additionally, please see earlier statement below, which further explains our position.

September 11th Advocates Statement
April 3, 2008

As women whose husbands were killed on September 11 2001, we feel strongly that the perpetrators of that horrific crime should be brought to justice. But first it is imperative to prove that these six detainees are indeed the guilty parties.

Unfortunately, the Administration insists on trying the suspects in the broken military commissions system. Prosecuting these men within a system that is secretive in nature and lacking in due process, and which uses evidence tainted by questionable interrogation methods and possibly even torture, is a dangerous endeavor. All Americans, and indeed the entire international community, must have the opportunity to witness for themselves the body of evidence that ties these individuals to the 9/11 terrorists’ plot. Otherwise the credibility of any verdict will lack legitimacy. Moreover, unless these trials are above reproach, any convictions will bring the wrath of the international community, damaging what is left of America’s standing in the world. Considering that we continue to rely heavily on cooperation from other nations to provide us with intelligence information on would be terrorists, this course of action can only be detrimental to these crucial relationships, thereby jeopardizing our national security.

These trials, when they finally take place, will be scrutinized around the globe. Unless the victims’ families, the American public and the entire world can be convinced that we are trying and convicting the people who are truly responsible for the 9/11 crimes, these trials will be seen as a miserable failure, dimming our prospects of improved international relationships, and making us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks in the future.

On behalf of ourselves, our husbands, and our families, we support the American Civil Liberties Union in its pursuit of justice and insistence on due process. The only outcome worth pursuing is the truth, and the only way get there is by fair trials that uphold the Constitution.

September 11th Advocates

Patty Casazza
Monica Gabrielle
Mindy Kleinberg
Lorie Van Auken