Monday’s war court over the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole saw some major changes as the video feed of the pre-trial proceedings were not transmitted to the US.
The Lead prosecutor Mark Miller said that the transmission of the video costs a massive $60000 as the link is secure and fool proof for any hackers to hack into, hence making the transmission of the video very expensive.
The link connects Cuba and U.S. Military bases and requires extra protection to avoid leaking any important information.
The view sites were set up in Fort Meade, Maryland, during the Obama administration, and was used in the case of Saudi captive Abd al Rahim al Nashiri as he underwent trial. He was accused of bombings of the USS Cole killing 17 sailors on October 12th 2000.
When asked to comment on the lack of pre-trial broadcast through closed circuit television the Judge, Air Force Col. Vance Spath, had no comments.
The witness from prosecution Ahmed al Darbi, a Saudi who pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in exchange of his repatriation was expected to close his statement, which was video-taped to serve as evidence in the original trial of Nashiri.
Miller explained to the court that there was very little progress that was expected this week and hence the decision to sever the video link was made for monetary reasons.
Pentagon spokesman Air Force Maj. Ben Sakrisson told in his statement that the Judge Sparth has the authority to challenge the decision and reopen the video links for the court’s ease, but it is advisable to save the costs.
The war court is facing a lot of difficulties recently, including having to manage a very busy 2018 caseload.
The families and close friends of the sailors killed were advised not to attend the pre-trials as neither side is expecting much to happen at these early stages. However, NGOs and media observers were allowed to travel in order to keep their facts accurate and keep themselves involved in the details before entering the main trial.
Military spokesman Maj. Ben Sakrisson said, “The military judge has authority to approve or disapprove the transmission of any military commission’s proceedings. While he can prohibit the transmission of any proceedings, he does not generally decide whether the CCTV feeds (other than those required for security purposes) will be activated or not, especially those feeds which provide the transmission to CONUS CCTV locations for the public, media, or victim family members, since activation of those feeds is paid for by the Convening Authority. However, the military judge must be informed when they occur because those locations become an extension of his court room … Likewise, if the military judge were to order that a particular session be transmitted, the government would either comply or file a motion for appropriate relief. In this instance, the government verified with the Trial Judiciary, prior to making the decision regarding CCTV transmission, that the only substantive session scheduled for this week was the closed deposition.”