In a pretrial hearing set to begin Monday, prosecutors in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal will push to set September 2014 as a trial date for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four alleged 9/11 co-conspirators. Defense attorneys say the trial can’t move forward because the prosecution hasn’t shared evidence on what happened during their clients’ years in CIA custody before being transferred to the prison, when the suspects say they were repeatedly tortured. “The CIA and (Defense Department) have revealed far more information about what happened during that time to the makers of Zero Dark Thirty than they’ve revealed to us,” said defense attorney James Connell, who’s also come forward with disturbing accusations about the prisoners’ current treatment.
Last week Connell, who represents Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s nephew, was finally allowed to spend twelve hours inside Camp 7, the ultra-secret area of the prison that houses “high-value detainees.” The camp’s location on the base is classified, and Connell wasn’t allowed to see how he got there. He’s also prohibited from discussing exactly what he saw, but he said it amounts to illegal pretrial punishment. He plans to file a motion challenging the conditions, which he says violate the standards established by the Geneva Conventions. Chief prosecutor Brig. Gen. Mark Martins denied his claim, saying, “We take very seriously humane standards.”
Connell is also challenging one of the most widely circulated (and ridiculous) stories to come out of Guantanamo of late: That prisoners in Camp 7 love Fifty Shades of Grey. The book is prohibited by the camp’s library, and Connell says he thinks military commanders told members of Congress about the book as “a joke or some kind of disinformation.” He didn’t weigh in on whether KSM is really trying to build a better vacuum cleaner.