Dear Secretary Panetta,
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows respectfully requests that you telecast the legal proceedings at GB around the world broadly and without restriction. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, along with four other Al-Qaeda men, currently stand accused of masterminding the murder of 2,973 civilians on September 11, 2001. We are family members and loved ones of those who died.
The global scope of the defendants’ alleged crimes and the global impact of the United States’ response, in essence renders the military commission trial a global war crimes trial that should be open to all observers. People around the world witnessed the televised horror of 9-11. Persons around the world similarly deserve the opportunity to witness the judgment of men accused of initiating this immense cycle of violence. Cloaking the proceedings in secrecy, and severely restricting access does nothing but cause doubt in both friend and foe. Further, we have an obligation to make good on the values we champion — transparency and honesty, the pillars of democracy and freedom.
It is not enough to allow only nearby September 11 family members, first responders, and select representatives of the media and human rights field access to this legal struggle. Yet that is what the military proposes—the continuation of limited access to the trials via closed circuit TV, which the Department of Defense regards as an act of public service. Wide broadcast via C-SPAN and other global news outlets would be one means of truly serving the public good.
We have been told for over a decade that September 11 changed the world. If that is so, let the world witness this trial. The United States should be highlighting our system of justice, not hiding it.
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows