The Boston Globe - 31.08.2019

(Joyce) #1

AUGUST 31, 2019


By Carol Rosenberg
WASHINGTON — A military judge
Friday set Jan. 11, 2021, as the start of
the joint death-penalty trial at Guan-
tánamo Bay of Khalid Sheikh Moham-
med and four other men charged with
plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks
that killed 2,976 people in New York,
Washington, and Pennsylvania.
The date set by the judge, Colonel
W. Shane Cohen of the Air Force, sig-
nals the start of the selection of a mili-
tary jury at Camp Justice, the war
court convening at the Navy base in
Cuba. It is the first time that a trial
judge in the case actually set a start-of-
trial date, despite requests by prosecu-
tors since 2012 to two earlier judges to
do so.
If the 2021 timeline holds, jury se-
lection would start nine months be-
fore the 20th anniversary of the Sept.
11 attacks. One major issue the judge
has yet to resolve is what evidence will
be used at trial. He is set to begin a se-

ries of hearings next month with wit-
nesses in an effort by the defense
teams to exclude confessions the de-
fendants made to FBI agents in early
2006 as tainted by years of CIA tor-
The judge’s instructions were in-
cluded in a 10-page scheduling order
that set deadlines toward reaching
that trial date. As the first step, the
prosecutors must provide the defense
teams a list of materials by Oct. 1.
The five men are charged in a con-
spiracy case that describes Moham-
med as the architect of the plot in
which 19 men hijacked four commer-
cial passenger planes and slammed
ter towers and one into the Pentagon,
with one crashing into a Pennsylvania
field. The other four men are de-
scribed as helping the hijackers with
training, travel, or finances.
The charge sheets lists the names
of the 2,976 people who died in the at-

The five men were captured in Pak-
istan in 2002 and 2003. The CIA then
held them incommunicado in its se-
cret prison network, the black sites
where the United States tortured pris-
oners with waterboarding, sleep de-
privation, and other abuse before de-
livering them to Guantánamo in 2006.
That period has complicated the path
to an actual trial.
The men were initially charged
during the George W. Bush adminis-
tration at Guantánamo. President Ba-
rack Obama stopped that case and
suspended the war court, known as
military commissions, to overhaul it
with Congress by adding more protec-
tions for due process. The case was al-
so delayed by an Obama administra-
tion plan to try them in federal court
in New York City, a proposal that drew
political protests and legislation to
prevent it.
Besides Mohammed, the other
men charged are Waleed Mohammed
Bin Attash and Ramzi Binalshibh,

who are described as deputies to car-
rying out the attacks — Binalshibh is
said to have organized a cell of hijack-
ers in Hamburg, Germany — as well as
Ammar al-Baluchi, who is Moham-
med’s nephew, and Mustafa al Haw-
They were arraigned in this case
May 5, 2012. Since then, the judges
have held more than 30 pretrial hear-
ing sessions to work out questions of
law and evidence that would apply at
the trial by military commission.
Another issue yet to be resolved is
what protocols will be used to conduct
MRI exams of the five defendants to
see if they suffered brain or other
physical damage that defense lawyers
might use to argue against their execu-
tion, if they are convicted. The judge
gave the prosecutors until Oct. 1 to es-
tablish those.
Selection of the jury — 12 members
and four alternate members — is ex-
pected to last months, with US mili-
tary officers shuttled by air to and

from the base in groups because of
cramped and limited housing at
Guantánamo. Under the current time-
table, that would mean that the prose-
cution’s presentation of the case could
begin as the 20th anniversary of the
terrorist attack approaches.
Because it is a national security
case, the hearings are held in a special
courtroom that lets people sitting be-
hind the court in a spectator’s gallery
watch live but hear the proceedings on
a 40-second delay. Some of the tens of
thousands of people who are victims
or relatives of the Sept. 11 victims, in-
cluding police officers and firefighters,
have also been able to watch the pro-
ceedings through video broadcast to
military bases in New York, Massachu-
setts, and Maryland.
The war court itself is a hybrid of
federal and military courts. Prosecu-
tors work for both the Justice and De-
fense departments. The five suspects
have both military and civilian law-
yers who are paid by the Pentagon.

Judge sets 2021 start for trial in 9/11 attacks

RICHMOND, Va. — A law-
suit over a faulty background
check that allowed Dylann
Roof to buy the gun he used to
kill nine people in a racist at-
tack at a South Carolina
church was reinstated Friday
by a federal appeals court.
A three-judge panel of the
US Court of Appeals for the
Fourth Circuit reversed a rul-
ing from a lower court judge
who threw out the claims.,
brought by relatives of people
killed in the 2015 massacre at
Charleston’s AME Emanuel
Church, and by survivors.
The lower court judge
found that the government
was immune from liability.
The appeals court disagreed.
The FBI has acknowledged
that Roof’s drug possession ar-
rest weeks before the shooting
should have prevented him

from buying a gun.
Roof has been sentenced to
death for the slayings.
The appeals panel dis-
agreed with the judge’s finding
that the families’ claims do not
fit into narrow exceptions to
laws that shield government
employees from liability while
carrying out their official du-
ties. The ruling means the law-
suit can move forward.
The FBI has acknowledged
that Roof’s drug possession ar-
rest in Columbia, S.C., before
the shooting should have pre-
vented him from buying a
gun. In his ruling last year, US
District Judge Richard Gergel
described a series of clerical
errors and missteps that al-
lowed Roof to buy the hand-
gun he later used in the mas-

Suit reinstated in church shooting

Democratic officials will
block plans to allow caucus-
goers to vote by phone in Iowa
and Nevada next year because
of concerns the technology
could be hacked, according to
three Democrats familiar with
the plans.
An advisory from Tom Per-
ez, chairman of the Democrat-
ic National Committee, and
the co-chairs of the Rules and
Bylaws Committee will recom-
mend against the virtual cau-
cus or tele-caucus in the two
early-voting states. Internal se-
curity and technology analysts,
working with a panel of out-
side experts, found that there
was no teleconference system
that met security standards,
according to the Democrats,
who were not authorized to
discuss plans ahead of the rec-
ommendation’s release.

The recommendation will
trigger a meeting of the Rules
and Bylaws Committee, which
has ultimate say over the plans
but is unlikely to deviate from
the guidance of its leadership.
Rules approved by the DNC
last year pressed caucus states
to convert to a primary system
or else to take steps to let vot-
ers participate without attend-
ing an hours-long meeting.
A vote to scrap plans for a
virtual caucus would illustrate
the difficulty involved in en-
gaging more voters. It would
also reflect the gravity of con-
cerns about interference in the
electoral process.
State leaders are staring
down a Sept. 13 deadline for
the DNC to endorse proce-
dures for primaries and cau-

Democrats wary on Iowa, Nev. vote

for Michael T. Flynn, the pres-
ident’s first national security
adviser, asked a federal judge
Friday to delay his sentencing
in an apparent bid to relitigate
the case in which he has twice
admitted guilt.
The latest move by the de-
fense lawyers could anger the
federal judge who will sen-
tence him, Emmet G. Sullivan,
who already rebuked Flynn
for suggesting in earlier court
papers that the FBI had
tricked him into lying when
agents questioned him at the
White House in January 2017
as part of the Russia investiga-
tion brought by Robert Muel-
The judge then delayed Fly-
nn’s sentencing in December
2018 so he could testify for
the government against a for-

mer business partner, Bijan
Kian, to maximize the help
that Flynn was providing to
But Flynn changed his sto-
ry on the eve of Kian’s trial on
charges of violating foreign
lobbying laws. Flynn had pre-
viously admitted that he lied
on foreign lobbying disclosure
forms submitted to the Justice
Department, but then blamed
his former lawyers for filing
inaccurate forms without his
Prosecutors declined to use
Flynn as a witness in the trial
of Kian, who was convicted in
Flynn’s change of course
has heightened speculation
that he could be making a bid
for a pardon from the presi-

Lawyers seek delay in Flynn case

By Lori Rozsa, Leonard
Shapiro, Laura Reiley, and
Christian Davenport
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Hurricane
Dorian grew in strength and size Fri-
day, turning into a major Category 4
storm and posing an ever-greater
threat to the crowded metropolitan
areas of south Florida.
Dorian will be powerful enough
— a dangerous Category 4 hurricane
with a track that has it slamming in-
to Fort Pierce on Tuesday afternoon
— that it could maintain hurricane
strength as it churns through the
center of the state,or perhaps heads
north along the coast. Though still
days away and having already shown
a propensity for variability, Dorian
seemed to be aiming to rake much of
Florida’s Atlantic coast, all the way
to Jacksonville.

The storm developed ‘‘a distinct
eye’’ Friday as it moved into an area
of the Atlantic with warm waters
and low wind shear. The hurricane’s
winds are expected to reach 130
miles per hour Saturday and are like-
ly to continue to increase until land-
fall, making it potentially cata-
Florida Republican Governor
Ron DeSantis was in West Palm
Beach on Friday, warning residents
to pay attention to upcoming evacu-
ation orders.
Homeowners and businesses
rushed to cover their windows with
plywood. Supermarkets ran out of
bottled water, and long lines formed
at gas stations, with fuel shortages
reported in places. The governor
said the Florida Highway Patrol
would begin escorting fuel trucks to
help them get past the lines of wait-

ing motorists and replenish gas sta-
‘‘The precise path is still some-
what uncertain, but the intensity, I
think there’s a pretty high degree of
certainty that this is going to be a
major hurricane, Category 4, even
Category 4-plus,’’ DeSantis said.
‘‘Make the preparations that you
need,’’ DeSantis said. ‘‘You have
some time, but that time is running
If its strength holds, Dorian
would be the first hurricane of Cate-
gory 4 or higher to make landfall on
Florida’s east coast since 1992, when
Andrew ripped through the Miami
area as a Category 5 storm, causing
widespread damage.
In response to a request from De-
Santis, President Trump declared a
statewide emergency Friday and or-
dered federal assistance to all 67

counties in the state. Dorian’s uncer-
tain path through the tropics be-
came more targeted Friday, as up-
per-level steering winds were expect-
ed to funnel the hurricane more west
than north. Originally thought to be
a Labor Day threat, forecasts pushed
the storm well into Tuesday as it
Late Friday, the National Hurri-
cane Center’s projected new track
showed Dorian hitting near Fort
Pierce, some 70 miles north of Mar-
a-Lago, then running along the
coastline as it moved north. But fore-
casters cautioned that the storm’s
track was still highly uncertain and
even a small deviation could put
Dorian offshore or well inland.

Material from the New York Times
and the Associated Press is included
in this report.

By Maria Sacchetti
and Carol Morello
WASHINGTON — The Trump ad-
ministration has scrambled to contain
a political firestorm that erupted over
a highly technical policy that officials
say will affect the citizenship applica-
tions of ‘‘a very small’’ number of chil-
dren born abroad to American service
members and federal employees.
Some initial news reports said the
administration’s new policy would
broadly bar such children from auto-
matic US citizenship, but federal offi-
cials said it would only affect children
whose families fall into atypical catego-
ries: children adopted overseas by gov-
ernment workers or military members;
children whose parents weren’t citizens
when they were born; and children of
Americans who didn’t meet the resi-
dency requirements needed to auto-
matically transmit citizenship at birth.
Officials for US Citizenship and Im-
migration Services estimated that the
policy, which goes into effect Oct. 29,
would affect 20 to 25 people a year,
while the Pentagon said it may affect
fewer than 100 a year.
Most American citizens can easily
transmit citizenship to their children
born abroad under federal law, and
federal immigration and State Depart-
ment officials emphasized that the pol-
icy would not change that. Instead,
they said, the policy update resolves a
longstanding bureaucratic dispute be-
tween the citizenship agency and the
State Department.
USCIS said it updated its policy
manual to eliminate conflicting rules
between the Department of Homeland
Security and the Department of State
that were making it difficult for some
of these children to obtain passports
from consular offices abroad.
Officials say the shift is mainly
about paperwork: Parents who could
not easily transmit citizenship to their
children can still apply to naturalize
them, though they have to file different

US seeks

to explain



Workers placed hurricane shutters over a window as they prepared a business for the arrival of a category 4 storm in Florida.

Stronger Dorian poses greater threat

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