This is second in a series of interviews with Scott Fenstermaker. He is the lawyer for Ammar al-Baluchi. one of the detainees accused of taking part in the the September 11th attacks. In our previous exchange Mr. Fenstermaker revealed a pattern of government obstruction that prevented him from contacting the detainees, or representing them in legal proceedings.
His persistence in securing the legal rights of detainees led to his suspension, and even drove him to sue several members of the Bush administration, including the President.
TP: Kudos for suing President Bush, although I don't think his administration was the problem, since we are now in the Obama administration and nothing has changed.
The one detainee you have not mentioned is the "self-cast star" of this show, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. He claims to be the mastermind of 9/11, and the CIA claims he was waterboarded 183 times. He has not only confessed to orchestrating the September 11th attacks, but to the 1993 World trade center Bombing, the nightclub bombing in Indonesia, plots to blow up oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and bridges in New York City, plans to assassinate Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and the Pope.
He has also confessed to the beheading of Daniel Pearl. This last confession is problematic for the prosecution, because Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, has already been convicted for beheading Daniel Pearl, and is in a Pakistani prison. Mr. Saeed Sheikh is also the man who wired lead hijacker Mohammed Atta $100,000, on orders from the head of Pakistan's ISI, General Mahmud Ahmed.
The trial would get interesting very quickly if the defense managed to depose Mr. Saeed Sheikh.
What do you know of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's case, and what do you think of his chances in court? Also, what do you think of CIA torture techniques such as waterboarding, and how will they affect the trial?
SF: Thank you. I agree that the administrations are not the problem. The democratically elected officials in our country have, to a certain extent, lost control of the government, which is largely run by the bureaucracy.