9/11 plotters disrupt their arraignment at Gitmo
The lawyer for one of the terrorists says that the outbursts at the arraignment of the 9/11 plotters was ""peaceful resistance to an unjust system" - the irony lost on the barrister as well as the defendants. Still, it appears that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others responsible for 9/11 will try to turn the proceedings into a circus.
All five men are charged with terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury and destruction of property in violation of the law of war.
If convicted, they face the death penalty.
There were so many allegations behind the charges, it took more than two hours for officers of the court just to read into the record the details of the 9/11 hijackings.
Earlier, the refusal of the defendants to speak caused an issue with the court translations.
Mohammed's lawyer said that his client "will decline to communicate with the court."
Because the men wouldn't speak, the judge could not confirm that they could hear the translation of the proceedings. Time elapsed while they set up loudspeakers in the court to carry the translations. Some lawyers objected to this solution, too, and translation remained a problem at the outset of the hearing.
Pohl said he would enter a not guilty plea on Mohammed's behalf, if he refused to enter a plea. Later, the five men chose to defer entering a plea, a routine practice during military court proceedings.
The next hearing is scheduled for June 12. It will likely be at least a year before the case goes to trial, Pohl said.
Hours into Saturday's proceeding, one of the defendants broke his silence with an outburst.
Binalshibh shouted in heavily accented English: "You may not see us anymore," he said. "They are going to kill us."
It is incredible that more than a decade after the attacks, we are only at the arraignment stage of the trial of these murderers. Obama's ill-thought out idea to try them in civilian court set things back a bit, and wrangling in Congress over what rights the defendants will enjoy slowed things down even further.
And the idea that it will be another year before the trial begins is ridiculous. One can only hope that when the terrorists eventually face the firing squad, that they don't have to be wheeled to their execution on a hospital bed, suffering from the infirmities of old age.