Judge orders end to secret censor at Guantanamo trials

Courtroom sketch of spectators' gallery at Guantanamo Bay 28 January 2013
The start of the trial could still be a year away
The judge overseeing a military trial at Guantanamo Bay has ordered an end to secret government censors after courtroom sound was cut during a discussion about CIA prisons.

Army Col James Pohl ordered an unnamed government agency to remove censorship equipment, as a second round of pretrial hearings finished on Thursday.

The order could add further delays to the proceedings, correspondents say.

Defence lawyers want assurance talks with their clients were not tapped.

The judge said in his ruling that he had sole authority to decide when to close a hearing or stop spectators - including journalists and relatives of the victims - from listening to testimony.

Spectators watch the proceedings behind soundproof glass, and receive audio on a 40-second delay so that a court security officer can switch on a white noise machine while classified information is being discussed.

No 'unilateral decisions'
But on Monday, the white noise machine was activated without the prior knowledge of the judge or the courtroom security officer.

The interruption came as a defence lawyer referred to a secret, overseas CIA prison where the defendants were held before they were brought to Guantanamo Bay.

Later, the judge decided the information was not secret and released a transcript of what was said.
Prosecutors said the courtroom audio was suspended by an OCA - Original Classification Authority - which could refer to any agency responsible for the classified information at stake.

"This is the last time that an OCA or any other third party will be permitted to unilaterally decide that a broadcast should be suspended," Col Pohl said in his order.

Defence lawyers also filed an emergency motion on Thursday asking to halt proceedings until they can be sure officials were not eavesdropping on communications with their clients.

The five defendants, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, face death penalty charges that include murder and terrorism for their alleged roles in planning the 9/11 attacks.

Col Pohl did not rule on the defence lawyers' request, but said it would be addressed at the next session, scheduled for 11 February.

"This needs to be resolved before anything else," he said.

Meanwhile, a range of other legal issues that remain unresolved must be dealt with before the case can proceed to trial.

The four-day hearing was concerned with procedural matters, such as the rules for calling witnesses and handling classified evidence.

North Korea imposes martial law, orders troops to ‘be ready for war’ - report

AFP Photo / KCNA via KNS
AFP Photo / KCNA via KNS

North Korea has allegedly been placed under martial law and its ruler Kim Jong-un has ordered the army to “prepare for war”, a South Korean daily claims.

­The North Korean leader issued a series of orders to his top defense and security officials on Saturday to conclude preparations for a new nuclear test, the Seoul based Korea JoongAng Daily alleges citing an unnamed source.

The source reportedly said that Kim Jong-un issued a secret order to “complete preparations for a nuclear weapons test <…>and carry it out soon”. 

According to the source, Kim Jong-un also said, “The country will be under martial law starting from midnight January 29th and all the frontline and central units should be ready for war.”

The source told the South Korean daily that the nuclear test could come earlier than expected. Other analysts have said it would likely be held on February 16th, the birthday of the former leader Kim Jong-il, who died in 2011.

Another suggestion as to the test’s timing included February 25th, the inauguration day of South Korean President-elect Park Geun-Hye, the Korea JoongAng Daily reported. 

North Korean media also reported that Kim Jong-un told his top defense officials to take “effective, high-profile state measures” at a meeting on Saturday.

The alleged measures come amid a new spike in tensions caused by a new round of sanctions on North Korean entities and individuals, including travel bans and asset freezes, which were passed unanimously by the United Nations Security Council in December 2012.

The Security Council, including China, backed Resolution 2087, after Pyongyang carried out the launch of a long range rocket in December 2012.

Pyongyang claimed it was for the peaceful launch of a satellite, but critics say it was a thinly veiled test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Since the resolution was approved North Korea has issued a number of warnings, including a statement on the day it was implemented, that there will be “no more dialogue or denuclearization.”  It also threatened “all-out war” against Washington, which it said was its sworn enemy and blamed for leading the sanctions.

However, the source also said that Kim Jong-un is concerned about China’s reaction to a nuclear test.

“China is still useful to us. We need to be careful of the relationship with China,” Kim allegedly said at the meeting.

A South Korean government official told reporters Wednesday that satellite images had discovered increased activity and movement of equipment near the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in the northwest of the country and that the mouth of the test shaft had been sealed in readiness for a nuclear test.

According to the report in the Korea JoongAng Daily, the South Korean military, as of Tuesday, had not detected any movements in North Korea’s frontline units.

The President of South Korea, Lee Myung-bak, has ordered the military to make a “strong response” to any provocation from North Korea.
The last time North Korea was placed under martial law was in March 1993, just days before it withdrew from the Treaty for the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and the regime also ordered its troops to be ready for war.

North Korea carried out its first nuclear test in October 2006 and conducted a second underground blast in May 2009.

There is also international concern about whether Pyongyang will use highly-enriched uranium to get better results in its third nuclear test. Previous tests used plutonium, were detonated underground, and had reportedly limited success. 

North Korea ‘under martial law’; troops readying for war ahead of nuclear test

North Korea ‘under martial law’; troops readying for war ahead of nuclear test

This screen grab taken from North Korean TV on January 1, 2013 shows North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong-Un delivering a rare address in Pyongyang. 

North Korea has been placed under martial law and Jong-Un has told his front-line troops to “be ready for a war,” according to South Korean media reports.

Photograph by: NORTH KOREAN TV , AFP/Getty Images

North Korea has been placed under martial law and Kim Jong-un has told his front-line troops to “be ready for a war,” according to South Korean media reports.

In an emergency meeting of his top defence and security officials on Saturday, the North Korean leader issued a series of orders that included the conclusion of preparations for a new nuclear test, the Joongang Daily reported.

North Korean state media has also reported that Kim ordered his officials to take “effective, high-profile state measures”.

While it has been anticipated that Pyongyang will go ahead with what will be the regime’s third nuclear test, in spite of international pressure to refrain from doing so, analysts had predicted that the blast would be timed to coincide with the birthday on February 16 of Kim Jong-il, the former leader who died in late 2011, or the inauguration of the new government in South Korea nine days later.

The reports now suggest that the demonstration of North Korea’s nuclear prowess is more imminent.

In March 1993, North Korea placed the nation under martial law shortly before it announced it was withdrawing from the Treaty in the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The regime also ordered its troops to be ready for war.

Pyongyang’s preparations have been corroborated by South Korean government officials and sources in Beijing, with surveillance images suggesting that the mouth of the shaft has been sealed in readiness for the test at the Pyunggye-ri site.

North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006 and carried out a second underground detonation in May 2009.

This latest test is in direct response to international criticism of its launch of a rocket in December that Pyongyang claimed was for peaceful purposes. The United Nations Security Council concluded unanimously that it was a test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Lee Myung-bak, the president of South Korea, ordered the military to be ready to make a “strong response” to any provocation from North Korea.

The Daily Telegraph


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SPLC: Hatewatch Headlines for January 31, 2013

Hatewatch is a weekly summary of the latest news about hate and extremism compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Week of January 31, 2013

Hatewatch Blog

Hatewatch Headlines
IL Three Charged With Hate Crime in St. Charles
Chicago Tribune | Jan. 29, 2013

NY Woman Attacked During Alleged Hate Crime in Riverside
Patch | Jan. 29, 2013

Decorated Combat Veteran arrested in New York: Charged with 5 felonies for possession AR magazines

Army Vet Nathan HaddadIn the latest attack on the American people, a decorated War Hero has been arrested and charged with five counts of third degree criminal possession of a weapon, for having empty 30 round AR-15 Magazines in his vehicle.

On Sunday January 6th Staff Sgt. Nathan Haddad, a decorated combat veteran, was driving through Jefferson County New York when he was randomly pulled over for a vehicle check. Haddad, who had five 30 round empty magazines in his possession, was arrested by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and charged with five felony counts.

According to Haddad’s brother, Michael Haddad, Nathan thought these magazines were legally made before the New York Assault Weapons Ban. When Nathan Haddad was arrested the new ban had not even been fully enacted yet.

This is not a criminal, this is not some thug looking to hurt people; this is a decorated combat veteran who was recently honored by the Philadelphia chapter of Blue Star Mothers and the Union League’s Armed Services Council for helping disabled vets get back on their feet. What’s happening to Army veteran Nate Haddad is an absolute attack on liberty. Here we have a man who honorably served his country, who was trusted with weaponry that far exceeded anything he was carrying, that now finds himself facing the possibility of spending years in prison.

Still think these gun control laws are meant to stop criminals?

Nathan Haddad’s brother has set up a legal defense fund for his brother who cannot afford to fight these charges on his own. We ask that you share this story with everyone you know so that this attack on Hassad is seen for what it is, an attack on every law abiding citizen in America.