Interesting interview from The Populist.
Scott Fenstermaker has become the lightning rod for 9/11. He is the only defense lawyer mentioned in the upcoming trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-conspirators. Although he won’t be defending them in court, he’s been pilloried by the press for daring to suggest that these detainees have any legal rights.
I called him this weekend, and asked him why.
Scott Fenstermaker has represented Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali in various legal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay. Mr. Ali stands accused of conspiracy, murder, destruction of property, hijacking, and terrorism for his part in the September 11th attacks. I could not understand why Mr. Fenstermaker would not defend his client in court, so I began the interview by asking him to clarify this:
TP: Why won’t you represent Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali when he stands trial in New York for the September 11th attacks?
SF: The government would not let me represent him.
TP: Why not?
SF: Well, that’s a good question. The government goes crazy every time the detainees want me to represent them, and the government doesn’t like it.
TP: How does the government prevent you from representing the detainees?
SF: The government wants to control who represents the detainees. The government not only wants to, but it is. The government does this by controlling the judges. The judges are doing exactly what the government wants them to do in these cases. The judges ask what the government wants them to do, and then they do it.
Mr. Fenstermaker flew to Guantanamo Bay when he found out that Ali and four other detainees would stand trial in Federal Court for the 9/11 attacks. On November 21st he told the New York Times that Mr. Ali and his co-defendants will plead not guilty “so they can have a trial and try to get their message out”. Thus began last week’s media circus.
Bill O’Reilly called him “a weasel” on national television. David Horowitz anointed him a member of the “traitor class”. Even the highbrow Huffington Post accused Mr. Fenstermaker of “bringing his own politics to the case”.
Sam Stein wrote the hit piece for the Huffington Post. He quoted “an employee with an NGO working on national security issues”. But he did not name this mysterious employee, or the Non-Government Organization.
Stein’s source said that “Fenstermaker was causing a lot of trouble and was in no way qualified to be representing these guys but had managed to set up a relationship with these detainees”. I read parts of Stein’s essay to Mr. Fenstermaker, and he had no doubt about the NGO.
TP: Who is the Non Government Organization?
SF: The American Civil Liberties Union. They’re working with the government and the judges involved in the cases. The detainees know that the government appointed counsel is working to prosecute.
TP: You mean their Government appointed legal defenders would be working to convict them?
SF: Yes, that’s why they’ve rejected assigned counsel.
TP: Is that why they are going to represent themselves at trial?
In my opinion, this is why the Obama administration is so confident these alleged 9/11 conspirators will be convicted and sentenced to death. Since they will be representing themselves, the trial will be a sham, a show for the American People.
I asked Scott Fenstermaker a final series of questions to clarify his legal representation of Mr. Ali and the other defendants at the upcoming trial.
TP: Did you ask Mr Ali if you could represent him at the trial in New York?
TP: Do you plan to ask Mr Ali if you could represent him?
TP: What if Mr. Ali or one of the other defendants asks you to defend them in court?
SF: I would refuse to do it.
SF: Because I think the international community may one day open up a war crimes investigation into the war on terror, and a lot of these judges and lawyers may be prosecuted themselves.
SF: It’s illegal, what we’re doing with these detainees.