The Cole capital case that MacDonald approved Wednesday included nine charges, from terrorism and murder as a war crime to treachery and attacking civilians. It also accuses Nashiri of a lesser known attack two years after the Cole bombing on a French oil tanker off the Yemen coast. A Bulgarian crewmember was killed.
Next, the chief war court judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, gets to assign a military judge to the case, if not himself, to formally charge Nashiri within a month at the war court at Guantánamo. It will be the Saudi-born Yemeni Nashiris first public appearance since he disappeared into CIA black site custody in November 2002.
The new website appeared on Wednesday morning without an announcement from the Secretary of Defenses Public Affairs office, which has handled war court releases for the past six years.
Instead, a former Bush era Defense Department deputy responsible for detention issues broke the news on a Heritage Foundation blog. His headline: Military Commissions Just Became More Transparent.
It was the second Guantánamo revelation this week from the Obama Defense Department leaked in conservative circles. Sunday, The Weekly Standard included a profile of the new Obama era War Crimes Prosecutor, Army Brig. Gen Mark Martins, pledging to beam closed-circuit broadcasts of remote Guantánamo proceedings to both victims and media viewing centers on U.S. soil.
The Pentagon has declined to say whether theyve established a viewing center for the Nashiri case in Norfolk, Va., the Coles homeport, nor whether media would watch proceedings alongside the victims or at a separate location.
Nashiri and the alleged 9/11 plotters got to Guantánamo in September 2006 and have been sequestered at a secret prison camp, which some members of Congress have inspected. The detention center commander, Rear Adm. David B. Woods, said earlier this month that the camps and compound were ready for trial although he had yet to receive an order to prepare or plan for an execution chamber.
It will be up to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to pick what method of death penalty the post-9/11 tribunals will employ.
Meantime, the Pentagon has assigned two military lawyers, Reyes and Air Force Maj. Allison Danels, to defend Nashiri. MacDonald has also approved the funding of veteran death penalty defender Richard Kammen of Indianapolis, a civilian. The Pentagon has assigned a federal prosecutor from Kansas, Anthony Mattivi, to prosecute the case as well as a Navy Lt. Cmdr. Andrea K. Lockhart.