Reuters reports this morning on Pentagon plans to beam television coverage of the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay to four military bases in the United States, where relatives of victims of 9/11 can watch the proceedings for defendants like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The plan mirrors what was done in the federal criminal trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, when family members were allowed to watch court proceedings via closed-circuit television (despite a general ban on television in federal courts).
I understand the Pentagon's impulse to let victims' families watch these proceedings. I also understand the strategic imperative to broadcast the trials to show the world that something is being done to prosecute terrorist suspects. If we made these trials fair (such as by conforming their rules of procedure to those used for courts-martial) and broadcast them, that might have some value. But the commissions today are kangaroo courts that confer little legitimacy on the outcome. The transparency of a televised trial will only highlight that to the world.
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