Pre-Hearing Comments from the Prosecution
General Mark Martins, Chief Prosecutor for the U.S. Government
Martins responded to the question of why the Military Commissions have taken so long to come to this point, and why they will
take longer to go to trial by stating flatly: "This is a process governed by law and principle, not time."
- General Martins went to great effort to dispel notions that the Military Commission hearings
were somehow unfair or unconstitutional, stating clearly that "Any statement obtained as the result of torture or cruel and unusual
punishment is inadmissable in court" and adding that "We are not going to
use any secret evidence that will not be used in an open hearing."
- General Martins noted that the Prosecution wants to share
classified disclosure with the Defense teams, but that four of the five teams have, to this point, refused to sign the requisite
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will facilitate release. The Government seeks to avoid having the defendant "graymail" the
Government in the course of legal proceedings. (Graymail is a legal tactic whereby the accused threaten to reveal sensitive
details that the Government would not want revealed in order to bargin for a better outcome.) General Martins asked
observers to acknowledge that, CIA overreach notwithstanding, "there are sources and methods that are still relevant
today" and worth protecting.
- General Martin dismissed the
notion, raised in recent discussions, that the cessation of high intensity conflict in Afghanistan and the retrograde of U.S.
troops to CONUS could/would result in any change of status for the detainees held at GTMO. He implied that the so-called
War on Terror was not geographically bounded.
- When asked whether he was confident
of achieving convictions of the five defendants, General Martin observed: "I don't speak in terms of confidence"
adding that there is a legal standard for bringing charges that has clearly been met."
- New information from the press conference included General Martins' observation that, with the recent legal determination
that materiel support for terrorism engaged in prior to 2006 is not a cause for changes, the number of GTMO detainees that
can be tried will drop from the mid-thirties to the mid-twenties in number.