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An Interview with Scott Fenstermaker, Part II

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"In the Name of Allah; Censured by the United Satan of America

Slave of Allah, Zacharias Moussaoui vs.

Slave of Satan, Bush and Ashcroft"

"To be seen in all God Fearing World Theatre Cinema. Deadline for 3000+ hotseat tickets (please contact United Booking Limited)."

According to Wikipedia; "No evidence directly linking Moussaoui to the 9/11 attacks has yet been released." Moussaoui was convicted of conspiring to hijack planes and crash them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, even though he was in jail in Minnesota on 9/11.

I think the Obama administration expects these trials to be a replay of Zacharais Moussaoui's, and that is why they are so confident. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed certainly appears eccentric, and relishing his role as a dangerous Islamic fanatic. Mr. Mohammed has confessed to being the mastermind of the attacks and he has stated that he wishes "to be a martyr for a long time".

On December 8, 2008, he and the other four defendants told the judge that they wished to confess and plead guilty to all charges. When the trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-conspirators were announced, they were expected to plead guilty. However, since returning from Guantanamo Bay you have stated that the detainees will plead not guilty.

Why do you think the detainees are going to plead not guilty? Were they planning to plead guilty, then changed their minds, or their legal strategy? What is the reason for their switching pleas?

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SF: Before I answer your question regarding the 9/11 defendants' attempt(s) to plead guilty, I must explain some background of which you are almost certainly unaware. You assert that the defendants attempted to plead guilty on December 8, 2008. That may, or may not, be true. However, if it is true, it is not the first time they attempted to enter a guilty plea. Allow me to explain.

On October 22, 2008, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was first brought before his military commission for his arraignment on charges that he helped perpetrate the bombing of the United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in August of 1998. At his arraignment, Mr. Ghailani informed the military judge that he wanted me as his attorney, although I am informed that he also said he was willing to work with military counsel. I learned this from his military counsel.

Upon informing the court of his desire that I represent him, Mr. Ghailani was informed by his military counsel that I had been suspended from the group of attorneys authorized to represent detainees at Guantanamo Bay before the military commissions. My suspension was effective as of August 29, 2008. I have attached a copy of my suspension letter for your review. At the time, Mr. Ghailani's cell at the prison at which he was housed at Guantanamo Bay adjoined the cell of Ammar al-Baluchi, my client who has been in the news the past couple of weeks. While Mr. Ghailani was transferred to Guantanamo in September of 2006, Mr. al-Baluchi was the only other detainee he had seen or spoken to at Guantanamo Bay, as of October 22, 2008.

Upon returning to his cell after his arraignment, Mr. Ghailani informed Mr. al-Baluchi of my suspension from practicing before the military commissions. That same day, Mr. al-Baluchi filed a motion in his military commission (the 9/11 commission), complaining of certain treatment, and asking that I be added to his military commission defense team. At the next 9/11 military commission court proceeding, which took place on either November 3rd or November 4th of 2008, all five 9/11 defendants announced (1) that they wanted to fire both their military and civilian attorneys, and (2) that they wanted to enter guilty pleas in the 9/11 case.

I have no proof that the 9/11 defendants' learning of my suspension was the catalyst for their firing their attorneys and attempting to enter guilty pleas. However, the timing is striking. Upon learning of my suspension, the detainees were certainly made aware that there were (and remain) serious procedural problems with the military commissions. In the military commissions, one side of the litigation (the government) can apparently suspend the other side's (the detainees') attorney without warning and without just, or any, cause. That circumstance can present both practical and perception problems, to say the least.

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As a result of these circumstances, I am not convinced that the 9/11 defendants ever really wanted to voluntarily take guilty pleas. While the public has certainly been made aware that the 9/11 defendants attempted to take guilty pleas, the public has never been made aware of (1) my suspension, or (2) the close temporal relationship between my suspension and the 9/11 defendants' apparent attempt to plead guilty.

When they learned of my suspension, the detainees' suspicions regarding the bogus, sham nature of the commissions was confirmed. They realized they had little hope of a fair day in court and that the proceedings were taking place simply to add some perceived legitimacy to the government's decision to either kill them or to hold them for the rest of their lives.

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I am a writer living in bucolic Spokane, Washington. It wasn't always this way, back in the day I was a restless wanderer. I left home and traveled to straight to Europe, came back and hitchhiked across America. I joined a carnival, then the (more...)

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We only know of the 183 waterboardings of KSM and ... by Philip Dennany on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 4:11:03 PM
I agree with every word of your comment Mr. Dennan... by A. Scott Piraino on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 4:24:31 PM
Just finished reading the third: "This trial will ... by Peter Duveen on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 9:09:43 PM
Thank You Peter Duveen;I am the interviewer, and h... by A. Scott Piraino on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 9:17:27 PM
Scott, I'm totally awed by what you have done. I c... by Peter Duveen on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 10:09:09 PM
Peter Duveen;My first contact with Mr. Fenstermake... by A. Scott Piraino on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 10:24:03 PM
Scott:On November 22, I wrote Fenstermaker as foll... by Peter Duveen on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 11:17:12 PM
Peter;Scott Fenstermaker's e-mail is probably slam... by A. Scott Piraino on Saturday, Dec 12, 2009 at 11:26:20 PM
Painful.Corrupt.America, what ever happened?... by Nick van Nes on Friday, Dec 18, 2009 at 9:49:22 AM