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Obama may deny KSM a trial: report

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White House has given up on shutting down Guantanamo Bay: report

President Barack Obama will have the final word on whether Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be given a trial or whether the man dubbed the “mastermind” of the 9/11 attacks will remain imprisoned without trial indefinitely, the Washington Post reports.

Peter Finn and Anne Kornblut write that conservative opposition to a civilian trial in Manhattan and liberal opposition to a military tribunal are prompting the administration to consider simply not trying Mohammed at all.

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The administration has concluded that it cannot put Mohammed on trial in federal court because of the opposition of lawmakers in Congress and in New York. There is also little internal support for resurrecting a military prosecution at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The latter option would alienate liberal supporters.

The administration asserts that it can hold Mohammed and other al-Qaeda operatives under the laws of war, a principle that has been upheld by the courts when Guantanamo Bay detainees have challenged their detention.

The Post adds that the White House “has made it clear that President Obama will ultimately make the decision.” If a trial does happen, it won’t be before the next presidential election. And even then a trial would require “a different political environment.”

The report’s assertion that the administration is considering abandoning military tribunals because of “liberal opposition” suggests confusion within the White House on how to proceed with trials of Guantanamo detainees. The administration has seen fit to convict Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen captured in Afghanistan at age 15, in a military tribunal. A plea deal that saw Khadr admit guilt in the murder of a US Army Sgt. Christopher Speer was criticized as a “????.”

Last year, the New York Times reported that Mohammed had been waterboarded 183 times while in US custody. A debate has raged back and forth over whether the torture led to any actionable intelligence.

The Post also reports that the White House has effectively given up on shutting down Guantanamo Bay, a key promise in Obama’s presidential campaign.

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Administration officials also think that they will probably not secure the funding and legal authority from Congress to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and transfer any remaining detainees to the United States. There are 174 detainees at Guantanamo Bay, down from 241 when Obama took office. Diplomatic efforts continue to reduce that number through the resettlement or repatriation of detainees cleared for transfer by an interagency task force.

But, one official said, “Gitmo is going to remain open for the foreseeable future.”


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World virus cases top 6 million as leaders disagree on pandemic response

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The number of coronavirus cases worldwide topped six million Sunday, with Brazil registering another record surge in daily infections as divisions deepened on how to deal with the pandemic.

Latin American countries are bracing for difficult weeks ahead as the disease spreads rapidly across the region, even as much of the world exits lockdowns that have wrecked economies and stripped millions of their jobs.

In Brazil -- the epicenter of South America's outbreak with nearly 500,000 confirmed cases, lagging only behind the United States -- disagreement among leaders over lockdown measures has hampered efforts to slow the virus as the number of fatalities in the country nears 30,000.

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Curfews and clashes as police brutality protests escalate

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Curfews were imposed on major US cities as clashes over police brutality erupted across America with demonstrators ignoring warnings from President Donald Trump that his government would stop the violent protests "cold."

Minneapolis, the epicenter of the unrest, was gripped by a fifth consecutive night of violence on Saturday with police in riot gear firing tear gas and stun grenades at protesters venting fury at the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during an arrest in the city on Monday.

Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta were among two dozen cities ordering people to stay indoors overnight as more states called in National Guard soldiers to help control the civil unrest not seen in the United States for years.

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‘Insanity outside the White House’: After Trump stokes tensions, fresh clashes between police and protesters

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As protests against police violence and the killing of George Floyd continued in cities across the U.S. on Saturday, a massive crowd gathered outside President Donald Trump's White House as demonstrators again turned their ire and demands for justice and healing towards the nation's most powerful elected official. After tensions built, clashes erupted between law enforcement and demonstrators.

Tensions flared near the White House. Not sure what triggered it, all I saw was a blast of pepper spray and a sudden sprint backward. There’s a lot more pressure on the police cordon and they’re pulling out gas masks. pic.twitter.com/X4uCQRzPkw

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