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US to Show 9-11 Trials to Families

The US to Televise Hearings to 9-11 Families. Thoughts?

The US military has decided to televise the Guantanamo trial of accused September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five other suspects so relatives of those killed in the attacks can watch the proceedings. The chief prosecutor said, "we're going to broadcast in real time to several locations that will be available just to victim families."

The defendants are charged with murder and conspiracy, and prosecutors have asked that they be executed if convicted of plotting to crash hijacked planes into New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. The six will be the first Guantanamo prisoners charged with direct involvement in the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Some of the families are grateful for the information. One man whose father and stepmother died on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, called the prosecutors "true patriots," and is glad for "the ability to see justice being fulfilled in one of the most significant attacks on America's heartland."

But detractors say showing the trials is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. A lawyer for the defense says, "I can just imagine American soldiers and sailors and airmen being subjected to similar show trials worldwide."

Though I'm not the almost lawyer around here, does choosing to show the trials to the families somehow imply guilt before the proceedings? Is this something you feel like you could watch if you were one of the family members? Will it make Americans more vulnerable or is it justice of information? Where do you stand on the decision? Is it as complex as it seems?

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stephley stephley 9 years
Geez, why would any Middle Easterner fear our motives toward them? Our survival isn't at stake unless we persist in taking resources that aren't ours and imposing our will on other people. The U.S. survived a very long time without Middle Eastern resources - we are taking their resources now to maintain and grow our wealth and power.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
My survival instinct says nuke 'em. We have the firepower and ability to erase all middleeasterners off the map. Then we could go back and harvest the oil for ourselves and those who don't want to kill us. The Christian part of me feels pretty much the same way. The humanitarian part of me thinks we should put them out of their misery. The environmental part of me says we can clean up the mess easier if bullets aren't flying over or at our heads. The realist part knows that the other parts are just having delusional fantasies....
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
That's a good point, UnDave. One should never stoop to the level of one's opponents, whether in war or friendly debate. :deadpan: We survive, as individuals and a species, by adapting. New styles of war demand the development of new tactics. I believe that's the underlying source of many of our disagreements on this topic. My heart would prefer to remain sedate and civilized. My survival instinct advises me better.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I agree with you Lainetm, but remember, we can't excuse something just because the other side does something worse (little note of sarcasm).
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Usually trials are held near where the alleged crime was committed. This allows the victims' families to attend in person. Since that is not the case in this situation, the authority in charge of the proceedings is making a *limited* accommodation to compensate. In that sense, it's really not a huge change of precedent. What if, for example, Timothy McVeigh's trial had been piped--this is closed circuit, remember, not public airwaves for general publication--to an adjacent auditorium? The immediate topic here is just the "closed circuit television" aspect of this whole affair. I believe this is a reasonable accommodation for the victims' families. uDave, you have an excellent point, this is entirely new territory. And remember, this is an enemy that beheads civilians and puts the videos up on the internet. How can anyone feel that limited televising of the trial is inhumame? Puleeze!
stephley stephley 9 years
The uniform doesn't change anything - it's the fact that the military has decided that this trial is important enough to break precedence and air 'just for the victims' families'. Of course, once precedence is broken it's hard to reinstate.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
But it's fun to watch you pull your hair out.. ;)
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Dave, don't ever make me that confused again. :)
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
arrg! I meant, " I hear..."
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
And how does having the trial on close circuit TV imply guilt?" Dave, Are you talking to me? Are you talking to me? J.K.(DeNIro fan? NO?) Sorry once I say it the first time I here DeNiro's voice, can't help it. Um, I wasn't thinking it did imply guilt. I was just responding to Stephs reply to (at least, I thought it was to me): "And as I mentioned before, other court cases are live on TV for all to watch. It doesn't imply guilt there." She replied with: "What's shown on court t.v. is not federal court action and absolutely not military court action." So then, I replied with: "IMPLYING GUILT by it (the court being on tv) shouldn't matter if it's military or civilian. What does implying guilt by being on tv have to do with being in the military, or not?" Meaning, how does having a military uniform suddenly change what viewers are thinking when they watch something on tv?
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Let's not look at "all the regular U.S. Constitutional rights that have been subverted at Guantanamo". That's a different discussion altogether (I also disagree that there has been any wrongdoing). This is unchartered territory, and I think the military, and the judicial system is doing everything they can serve both the rights of the accused and the rights of the victims.
stephley stephley 9 years
I hope you're right, but if it was the trial of my family member being televised for the specific benefit of the victims' families, on top of all the regular U.S. Constitutional rights that have been subverted at Guantanamo - I'd feel that the deck was stacked against them. I'm an American, raised in a family that's been career miltary for three generations, and I think the whole thing is a mockery of everything I was taught we stand for.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Would you rather they hold the trials in an arena that is large enough to hold all the families of the victims, so that they can attend it live and in person? I don't see how televising equals guilt. Also, Whenever a precedent is made, another precedent is generally broken.
stephley stephley 9 years
It implies guilt because the U.S. military does not televise trials for anyone, yet in this one case, it will air the trial at certain bases to the benefit of the victims' families. They are putting on a show for a select audience. In the interest of true fairness, they could air it for everyone to see, or air it in the Middle East as well so that the families of the accused, who are innocent until blah blah blah, can feel certain that their loved one is getting a fair trial. The military is breaking precedent; it would be unusual enough if this was simply a federal trial.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
And how does having the trial on close circuit TV imply guilt?
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Thank you Harmony! :)
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
I agree hartsfull!
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
IMPLYING GUILT by it (the court being on tv) shouldn't matter if it's military or civilian. What does implying guilt by being on tv have to do with being in the military, or not?
stephley stephley 9 years
UnDave, the military is running the trials, military prosecutors, showing the trials at military sites. If it's not their jurisdiction, then the trials are useless. Which society wants to get rid of religion? Americans overwhelmingly consider themselves a religious/spiritual people - in 2003, 6 out of 10 Americans told Gallup religion played an important role in their lives. Have I ever said I wanted to get rid of religion? I've identified myself as Catholic several times. If you don't want to consider the option of forgiveness, which is not just a religious concept by the way, then don't, but blame other people for it.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Technically, this isn't a military trial. Yes the military are helping guard the prisoners, but since these people are not part of a military, it isn't their jurisdiction. This should be in a criminal court. "If Americans are allowed to remain angry and forget other people have rights as well, please remember that other people in the world feel equally justified in their pain and anger and will also give themselves the right to act on that anger." Americans are trying to close the chapter on the attacks. That involves a trial of the accused, and if they are found guilty, sentencing to fit their crime(s). I am amazed that in a society that wants to get rid of religion as much as this one does, you want us to also use that religion and forgive others. You can't have it one way without the other. If you want and expect Americans to forgive others, then we need to recognize that this is nation founded on Christian philosophies, and forgiveness is part of that philosophy. Since the masses consider us a secular society, forgiveness is not part of that.
stephley stephley 9 years
What's shown on court t.v. is not federal court action and absolutely not military court action. If Americans are allowed to remain angry and forget other people have rights as well, please remember that other people in the world feel equally justified in their pain and anger and will also give themselves the right to act on that anger. In South Africa and Burundi, after years of very brutal repression and killings, they're actually trying something different - admission of guilt on both sides and forgiveness.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Most excellent point Lainetm!
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
I don't see any prejudgment of guilt in the quote about being grateful for "the ability to see justice being fulfilled in one of the most significant attacks on America's heartland." In fact, if you read on, one of the victims' family members says "I don't want it to be a lynching. I'm concerned that people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, we won't be able to find them guilty because of what we've done with them. It's a horrible conundrum." That sounds pretty fair, to me. The accused do have lawyers, we'll see how good they are as the events unfold. I think even our government understands that the best thing we can do to protect our international credibility is have a fair trial and transparent proceedings. (I wish it had been a little speedier, though.) The best thing we can do to disarm the jihadists is to show them we can be fair, even to those who declare themselves our enemies. Because it is a military trial, the standards of evidence are a bit different, but I'm crossing my fingers that this different standard isn't abused.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
I'm with you Harmony. I couldn't care less about the rights of someone who didn't have any regard for others LIVES, much less the RIGHTS of the lives they took. And as I mentioned before, other court cases are live on TV for all to watch. It doesn't imply guilt there.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
That second sentence didn't make any sense. Basically I'm saying that I know that I should care if the terrorist's rights are being violated, but that unfortunately I am too angry to care about that.
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