Military Commissions Update

Military Commissions Update from Karen Loftus

Dear 9/11 Families,

The Military Judge issued a Docketing Order on 4 June 2014 clarifying the issues that will be heard during our next session in Guantanamo Bay (see attached). First, he shortened the week of hearings to two days only (16 and 17 June) and also ordered that the only argument he will hear relates to AE292, the Defense Emergency Motion to Abate the Proceedings to Allow the Military Judge to Conduct a Thorough Inquiry to Assess a Potential Conflict of Interest Between the Accused and the Defense Counsel Because of a Separate Criminal Investigation.

During the April hearings, the Chief Prosecutor detailed a special prosecutor to represent the United States on the above motion, and in May he detailed four additional special prosecutors to assist in that representation. See AE003C (attached). Due to the possibility that defense attorney-client privileged information and or work product may be discussed and at issue during this hearing, the entire 9/11 Prosecution Team has been “walled off” from participation in any matter that relates to AE292. The special prosecutors will travel to GTMO to litigate this motion on behalf of the United States next week. Consequently, due to the privileged nature of the information that may arise during this litigation, it is likely that some, if not all, of the hearing next week will be conducted in camera and the public will be excluded from the hearing.

Knowing how difficult it is for our families to make this trip to GTMO, and with the likelihood that the families may get an hour or two in court at most, we decided not to bring families to GTMO in June. Those families that had already been selected and planned to travel will be offered the next available opportunity to attend, which is currently scheduled for 11-15 August 2014.

Despite the unusual circumstances surrounding the litigation, the CCTV sites will remain open, although it is uncertain how much (if any) of the proceedings will actually be transmitted due to the potentially privileged information that may be at issue. VWAP personnel will travel to our four CCTV sites [see note below -- only Fort Devens, Fort Hamilton and Fort Meade will be open -- power is out at JBMDL] and open them for the 16 June session. Depending on how the Military Judge decides to conduct the hearing, however, the proceedings may be transmitted only for a short time. We also do not know, yet, if the site will be open on 17 June.

At 2 p.m. on 18 June, Abd al Hadi al Iraqi will be arraigned on charges that, as a senior member of al Qaeda, he conspired with and led others in a series of unlawful attacks and related offenses in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere from 2001 to 2006. These attacks and other offenses allegedly resulted in the deaths of U.S. and coalition service members. The news release announcing referral of the charges against Abd al Hadi is here, and the actual charges and commission filings in that case are here. The charges are only allegations that the accused has committed offenses punishable under the Military Commissions Act, and by law he is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This letter is written so you have all the information necessary to make an informed decision on whether to still travel to the sites, and, of course, we welcome your attendance should you choose to still come. We will provide you the Chief Prosecutor’s statements from Guantanamo over the course of the week via email. If you wish to contact one of us before you make the trip, please contact the following personnel who will be at the sites: Fort Devens – Domini McDonald; cell 703-201-1222 Fort Hamilton – Karen Loftus; cell 703-973-5050 Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst – Kim Soderberg; cell 703-489-4642 Fort Meade – Sgt Steve Shaw; cell 760-730-2262.

With Respect,

Karen Loftus
Director, VWAP and VFM CCTV Programs Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Military Commissions
Karen.v.loftus.civ@mail.mil
703-275-8266
703-973-5050

This was followed by —

Dear Families,

We’ve just been informed that there is no power at the Base Theater at JBMDL. There is a transformer down and no estimated date of repair. We will not open the JBMDL site next week. We will open Fort Devens, Fort Hamilton and Fort Meade, as planned and as announced in my previous email to you.

Sincerely,

Karen Loftus
Director, VWAP and VFM CCTV Programs
Office of the Chief Prosecutor of Military Commissions

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