Evidence From Torture Now Admissable, Apparently

by dday

There's absolutely no way that you can credibly charge Khalid Sheikh Mohammed with anything related to the September 11 attacks without using the evidence gained through torture.

Military prosecutors will seek the death penalty for the six Guantánamo detainees on charges including conspiracy and murder “in violation of the law of war,” attacking civilians and civilian targets, terrorism and support of terrorism, Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann of the Air Force, legal adviser to the Defense Department’s Office of Military Commissions, said at a Pentagon news briefing.

General Hartmann said it would be up to the trial judge how to handle evidence obtained through controversial interrogation techniques like “waterboarding,” or simulated drowning. Critics have said the harsh techniques, which are believed to have been used on several of the defendants, amount to torture.

As expected, the six include Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the former Qaeda operations chief who has described himself as the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

“The accused are, and will remain, innocent unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” General Hartmann said.

So we're going to leave it to a trial judge, and not a judge in a criminal court but a military trial judge, as to whether or not to admit evidence gained through the same technique that prosecutors convicted the Japanese for doing to prisoners in World War II. Not only is torture on the table, not only might the Bush Administration use the practice again if they so choose, but anything the victim says afterwards may be used in a legal proceeding, if this sets a precedent.

What has happened to America?

Also, I found the timing interesting:

General Hartmann said he could not predict when actual trials would begin, but that pretrial procedures would take several months at least. He said the accused will enjoy the same rights that members of the American military enjoy, and that the proceedings will be “as completely open as possible,” notwithstanding the occasional need to protect classified information.

So there will certainly be extensive news reports, if not video of the trials. And pre-trial motions would take "several months." Several months from now puts us into the fall of 2008. Is there anything else going on around that time?