Bellingham Herald : Pentagon rebuffs request to televise 9/11 trial from Guantanamo

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pentagon rebuffs request to televise 9/11 trial from Guantanamo

By CAROL ROSENBERG — The Miami Herald | November 26, 2012

MIAMI — A surrogate of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Monday rejected a request by the Sept. 11 defense lawyers to let media organizations televise the Sept. 11 trial from the war court at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

William Lietzau, deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee policy, wrote the defense lawyers that the Pentagon provides ample transparency for the trials through news coverage, a remote viewing site at Fort Meade, Md., and a website that posts transcripts of the pre-trial proceedings within 24 hours of hearings.

"At this time, there are no plans to televise military commission proceedings," Lietzau wrote in a single-page response to the lawyers for five men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

A total of 13 defense lawyers for the former CIA prisoners now facing military capital penalty proceedings wrote Panetta on Nov. 1 requesting that he use his authority as secretary of defense to enable the broadcasts.

The chief military commissions judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, said at a hearing earlier this year that only Panetta could make that decision.

Lietzau said he was responding for Panetta.

The lawyers, who defend alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men, argued that the trial, likely a year away, "is the most significant criminal trial in the history of our country." They argued there's a "pervasive distrust of these proceedings," and that the Guantanamo system has harmed the reputation of the United States.

"Allow the entire country, and world, to observe the proceedings for themselves," they wrote.

Lietzau responded that the war court was following U.S. military courts-martial and federal criminal practice. His letter was dated Nov. 20, but the defense lawyers said they received the reply Monday and provided a copy to The Miami Herald.

Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the chief war crimes prosecutor, has opposed broadcasts in remarks that suggest cameras in the court could harm the dignity of the death-penalty proceedings.

Defense lawyers have said that the public might be surprised to realize how much of the proceedings will be held in closed session.

They also want wider scrutiny on the hybrid nature of the proceedings that borrow from both military and civilian justice.

The Local (Germany) : Cops: 'Mafia-style killing' was complex suicide

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cops: 'Mafia-style killing' was complex suicide

November 22, 2012

Police in Hamburg investigating the death of a man who was found shot in the head in a tied-up sack floating in a river, suspect that rather than having been the victim of a Mafia hit, he killed himself.

The body of 43-year-old Uwe Sattler was found in the River Elbe in July by a fisherman. He was wearing a rucksack full of rocks and had been shot in the head and put into a sack fastened with cable ties before he hit the water.

Local media was rife with speculation about a Mafia murder - but after extensive investigation, the police now say they are nearly certain that the Sattler killed himself.

"We are 99.999 percent certain it was suicide," a Hamburg police spokeswoman told The Local.

"There is no other explanation; no other motive and no other evidence."

Detectives have worked out that there was enough of an opening in the sack between the cable ties for Sattler to get an arm out and shoot himself so that afterwards the gun would fall to the ground. He would have had to have done this while perched on the edge of a bridge or jetty to ensure falling into the water.

Why he would make such an effort to do this remains a mystery - as does the whereabouts of the gun, which was never found. "It just goes to show, there is nothing that does not exist," the police spokeswoman said.

After using fingerprints to identify the body, police went to his flat in Hamburg which reportedly looked newly renovated - and held absolutely no furniture. Officers found only a small box of documents, including a note to say that the belongings in the cellar should be given to the building landlord, Die Welt said.

Back in the summer when detectives were trying to piece together Sattler's life, they also found little to work with. He was single and unemployed, and seemed to have no friends, nor any contact with his family. Despite intensive efforts, the police admitted in July that they had been unable to find a single friend or acquaintance.

He had moved from Berlin to Hamburg in September 2008, but no friends could be found in the capital either. Die Welt said that he had rented a van in 2004 and crashed head-long into a bridge pillar. He survived the crash but was seriously injured. When police went to his flat after the crash they found it was completely empty just like his place in Hamburg.

This would seem to be reason to suggest he was suicidal - although might leave open some questions about the immensely complicated method he supposedly chose in Hamburg.

The investigation has been put on ice, but the case remains open.

The Local/hc

see also: Anorak : The mysterious death of Uwe Sattler – Germany’s Gareth Williams