May 13, 2012

Gitmo Trial PR Strategy: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed & Co. vs. the 9/11 Families



Khalid sheikh mohammed walid bin attash ramzi bin al shibh ali abudl aziz ali mustafa al hawsaw Gitmo

You know when you should really be worried about the offshore, kluged-together, military trial that finally got underway a week ago? (And no, it’s not when you hear about it first from BagNews.)

It’s when the government, pressing its thumb on the scale, feels compelled to pit the five defendants against the 9/11 families as a visual tactic to distract from the otherwise-Rube Goldberg process in place. Flying victims families to Gitmo to not just witness, but pose for group portraits in front of the prison. Creating courtroom drawings imagining the family members in direct confrontation with Sheikh Mohammed, Waleed bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi (who, incidentally, were not allowed to wear civilian clothing). Framing the families larger and higher as if they were judges or jurors, as opposed to spectators. Also, no court room drawings of defendants jumping out of their chairs to pray on the ground or being strapped to their chairs — just docile illustrations of justice going forward.

And that was just for the preliminary hearing.

(photos/illustrations 1: Reuters/caption: Seeking justice: Family members of the 9/11 victims pictured at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, where they came to witness the arraignment of five prisoners accused of plotting the September 11 attacks. 2 & 3: AP

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Michael Shaw
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