By Paul Courson
Accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed asserted on Wednesday that the U.S. government sanctioned torture in the name of national security, and compared the scale of the terror attack that killed nearly 3,000 people to the "millions" he said have been killed by America's military.
"Many can kill people under the name of national security, and torture people under the name of national security," Mohammed said during a pretrial hearing at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"This is a resilient definition," he said in open court, as military censors stood ready to interrupt the video and audio.
"Every dictator can put on shoes to step on this definition, every law, every constitution, with this definition any can evade the rule and also go against it," he said.
He also compared the nearly 3,000 victims killed in the 9/11 hijack attacks in New York, Washington and western Pennsylvania to killings he blamed on the American military that he said number in the "millions."
By Paul Courson, reporting from Ft. Meade, Maryland.
A question about whether al Qaeda suspects in the 2001 hijack attack on New York and Washington could still be tried in their absence caused some unexpected confusion at a hearing.
Defense lawyers argued that their clients, who are currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, should not have to attend the hearing because it brings up memories of their harsh treatment by the Central Intelligence Agency. The military judge ruled that the men could decide each day whether they wish to attend but if they decline they must answer a series of questions about their rights.
The list that the judge, Army Capt. James Pohl, developed to address concerns when a detainee voluntarily waives his right to be present at trial, was agreed to by both defense and prosecution. But one of the questions, regarding their rights should the defendant be out of control of the U.S. military, caused considerable confusion. FULL POST
The nomination of the president's pick to be ambassador to Iraq appeared to be in jeopardy Thursday as Senate Democrats raised concerns about recent revelations of questionable conduct, reports CNN's Ted Barrett and Paul Courson.
The Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he is "evaluating" controversies surrounding Brett McGurk and may postpone a scheduled committee vote on the nomination next Tuesday.
"I need to talk to senators and evaluate where we are," Sen. John Kerry told CNN. "People have become aware of things they weren't, so we have to evaluate."
By Paul Courson
Majid Shoukat Khan, a terror suspect who has been held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, pleaded guilty Wednesday to all charges against him as part of a plea deal that would require him to testify against other detainees.
Khan is expected to spend up to 15 years behind bars in exchange for the deal, according to Army Col. James Pohl, the presiding military commission judge. FULL POST