It's no secret that the Guantanamo Bay detention center is a huge government money-suck.
On Monday, the first day of the final week of hearings in the 9/11 case during President Obama's tenure, the Guantanamo military commission was focused on whether one of the five accused men had sufficiently recovered from hemorrhoid surgery to sit in the courtroom.
Among the many questions Donald Trump will have to consider when he takes office in January is whether to keep trying to prosecute the five alleged masterminds of the 9/11 terror attacks in the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay.
The military commission system is uniquely bad at bringing alleged terrorists to justice.
The problem with the Guantanamo military commissions is not the defendants' right to appear at hearings in their own trial. It's that the government keeps meddling in the cases in such cockamamie ways that they have to adjourn for months at a time while the lawyers scramble to figure out how to respond. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Watching the procedural details getting worked out can get pretty boring, which is why you won't hear many news reports about it. But underlying this dragged-out ho-hum process is a critical fact: The government could have avoided putting itself on trial and instead focused on seeking accountability for the mass murder that took place simply by conceding its mistakes from the beginning and working out an accommodation in an experienced federal civilian court.
It shouldn't have been such a difficult issue. After all, defendants on trial for mass murder in a death penalty case often aren't happy with how things are going. That may include being disappointed with their lawyers. But that's in federal court. The military commissions are different.
President Obama has been saying for the past eight years that he wants to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Although Congress hasn't made it easy, his insistence on continuing to prosecute these cases in the military commissions only undermines the credibility of his convictions.
The injuries that resulted from the government's "excessive force" have gone untreated.
The Guantánamo Bay military commission is a secretive court that uses secret evidence chosen by the prosecution and often denied to the defense, where secret agents spy on the defense without consequences.
When Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, called a military judge's order "outrageous" earlier this week, they probably didn't intend to throw a wrench into the pending 9/11 military commission case.
An Army judge at Guantanamo Bay on Thursday refused to allow one of the five defendants charged with orchestrating the 9/11 attacks to dismiss his lead lawyer, ruling the accused hadn't shown the necessary "good cause" to do so.
The hearing ensued in confusion, as the attorneys and judge argued over what the law is, who's required to explain it to the defendant and how bin Attash can inform the judge why he wants a new lawyer. Underlying the entire discussion was a sense that no one in the room knows all the relevant facts.
We've all spent money on things we shouldn't have. As a teen, I blew my Saturday job earnings on a stud earring I thought would make me irresistible. A few weeks ago my brother-in-law impulse-bought a kilt. But the richer you are, the more spectacular the mistake you can make.
It was a typical Monday morning at the Guantanamo military commissions. Within the first 15 minutes, the judge had to adjourn the pre-trial hearing in the case of the five defendants accused of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, this time because one of the defendants had asked a question. And no one knew the answer.
The military commissions have once again cancelled two weeks' worth of hearings scheduled in the case of the five alleged plotters of the September 11 attacks. Although the attacks themselves took place nearly 14 years ago, the five men accused of masterminding the deadliest terror attack to ever take place on U.S. soil are still nowhere near trial.
“The interrogation techniques as applied to former CIA detainees, as well as those detainees' conditions of detention, are
It's time for the U.S. government to put an end to this fiasco. The legitimacy of such important terrorism cases as the September 11 attacks is not something to be disregarded, nor is the impact on the victims' families, who have yet to see justice done. All the military commission cases could be reliably tried in the seasoned and successful U.S. federal court system.