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May 2024 Newsletter

Updated: Jun 5

 MAY 12: Peaceful Tomorrows is proud to co-sponsor "The Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day"  

 

The Joint Memorial Ceremony provides a unique opportunity for Israelis and Palestinians to grieve together and stand strong in demanding an end to the occupation and ongoing violence. The ceremony occurs yearly on the eve of Yom Hazikaron (Israeli Memorial Day). In Israeli mainstream culture, the ceremonies that are most often held to honor this day serve to reinforce cultural narratives of pain, victimhood, and hopelessness. The Joint Memorial transforms this narrative by bringing Palestinians to the Memorial alongside Israelis to mourn side by side and model another way forward. CLICK HERE to join the call. 


 "Serial" Podcast Focuses On Guantanamo: The Season Continues Through May 16 

 

The “Serial” podcast returned for a fourth season on March 28, this time with a focus on the Guantánamo detention facilities and the military commissions. Told through the voices of people who lived through key moments in Guantánamo’s history, the podcasts can put Guantánamo and the related issues of human rights violations, torture, and the failed military justice system squarely before a larger American public. They offer a crucial opportunity for PT members to advocate for final resolution of the 9/11 case and the closure of Guantánamo. 

 



The episodes released so far provide a wide-ranging perspective on the men who were brought to Guantánamo and detained, many of them long after being cleared for transfer, the experiences of those who worked at the prison, and the challenges of reporting just what has gone on and continues to go on at this remote U.S. naval base since the opening of the detention facilities on January 11, 2002. You can listen to the available episodes HERE.  

 

Episode 9, which will be released on May 16, will focus on the 9/11 case and the work of Peaceful Tomorrows’ members to address the lack of justice and accountability for the crimes of 9/11, our continuing search for answers concerning who did what to plan and support the 9/11 attacks, and our advocacy for plea agreements that would end the 9/11 case with guilty verdicts that cannot be appealed. After May 16, you can find the episode HERE


Peaceful Tomorrows Files An Amicus Brief Urging A Mixed Medical Commission For One Of The 9/11 Defendants 

 

Once again, torture and its impacts on a 9/11 defendant, this time Ammar al Baluchi, is an issue in the 9/11 case. We learned during pre-hearings that Mr. al Baluchi was used as a “teaching prop” by CIA agents practicing the “enhanced interrogation” technique of walling. Concerned about his deteriorating mental and physical health, his attorneys sought to have a Mixed Medical Commission, a panel of non-U.S. experts, examine their client. This was denied by the Sec. of the Army, despite the fact that Guantanamo detainees had previously been entitled to such commissions. The issue is now being litigated through the federal court system. 

 

Peaceful Tomorrows submitted an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia in support of Mr. al Baluchi receiving an examination, arguing that “Granting the Mixed Medical Commission will ensure that the U.S. government does not compound the lawless injustice of the 9/11 terror attacks and will expedite resolution of proceedings seeking accountability for the crimes committed on that day." Read PT’s brief HERE. 


 An Unprecedented Five Weeks Of 9/11 Pre-Trial Hearings – April 15 Through May 17 

 

The judge in the 9/11 case continues to press forward with witnesses and arguments intended to allow him to rule on the key issue of the admissibility of the FBI “clean team” interrogations of the 9/11 defendants: whether they were indeed independent of the CIA interrogations in the black sites, and whether it was possible to ever question the defendants in a way that was untainted by their previous torture. Having extended his time of the bench until the end of 2024, we are expecting a decision before the judge retires. READ MORE. 

 

Two PT members, Chanel Shum and Colleen Kelly, attended the hearings in person at Guantanamo. What emerged over days of testimony was how the significant passage of time is making it increasingly difficult to call witnesses, some of whom have died, and for witnesses to fully recall past events. At one point, when the prosecution explained two witnesses were not available because of medical issues, the judge expressed his frustration, “Counsel should have another witness locked and loaded…The media and the public are watching, and they see us struggle to make progress.”  

 

FBI agent Kim Waltz admitted on the stand that she may indeed have seen CIA cables before preparing her analysis of evidence against the defendants. FBI special agent Aaron Zebley, who testified later, revealed that an FBI agent was present at yet another of the CIA black sites. 

 

Perhaps the most surprising development in this session of 9/11 hearings, so far, was the first-ever lengthy public discussion of the process of plea agreement negotiations. What the discussion from both prosecution and defense attorneys made very clear, is that despite the Biden Administration’s rejection of the so-called “policy principles” – terms of confinement, medical care, and communication with family members – attorneys continue to negotiate with hopes of crafting a plea agreement that the convening authority can approve. READ MORE. 

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