Gary Swenchonis Sr. reports from Gitmo on the Trial of Bahlul, “Its Just Not Right”
Gary Swenchonis, Sr. is the father of Gary Swenchonis, Jr. who was one of 17 sailors murdered in the terror attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Swenchonis Sr. is in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, attending the trial of Ali Hamza Bahlul. The al-Qaeda operative was convicted today on multiple counts on charges of conspiracy, solicitation to commit murder, and providing material to support terrorism.
Here’s Gary’s statement,
I am so disappointed the courtroom is filled with supporters of the terrorists’ rights, but no one is here to support the victims.”
Representatives from Amnesty International and several other human rights groups are here attending the trial in a show of solidarity with Bahlul. But the dead sailors have no one on their side besides the prosecution. These are American sailors who died in a sneak terror attack, and they have no one here demanding justice. Its just not right.
Jane will be posting more on the trial.
Michelle Malkin is also posting on the verdict.
Revised statement, in Jane’s post (see above link)
Update- Gary’s victim impact statement
AP: Gary Swenchonis Sr., whose son Gary was killed in the attack, said he was devastated by al-Bahlul’s video and by the fact that it has been widely available on the Internet. “It’s pervasive,” said Swenchonis, of Rockport, Texas, his voice thick with emotion. “That’s what’s so bad. That’s what’s so wrong.”
Miami Herald: ”Our son and his 16 mates were minding their own business, refueling in a supposedly friendly harbor and weren’t out to hurt anybody and were viciously attacked and murdered,” said Gary Swenchonis Sr., his hands shaking and voice trembling after using a cane to take the war court’s witness stand.
Update 2: Life.
Update 3: An observer writes from Gitmo to say, “There were no Bahlul rights advocates at the court today, unless you count his U.S. government paid Saudi-American translator, who was silent, and his Air Force Reserves defense attorney, whom Bahlul likewise muzzled…”
We’ll get another statement from Gary in a few days to clarify things
CORRECTED STATEMENT, since the prior one got dictated incorrectly
“I was in court today at Guantanamo to testify at a military commission trial of an al Qaeda terrorist who created a recruitment video that exploits the death of our son and his mates who were killed or wounded in the attack on the USS Cole attack.
My wife and I have had the continuous support of the members of the prosecutors office and the military personnel stationed on the base. And for that we are extremely and sincerely grateful.
Its unfortunate and sad that representatives of the media and groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch seem to show more solidarity with the accused terrorists than with the actual victims of terrorist attacks.
American sailors died in the sneak terror attack on the USS Cole and none of these groups are demanding justice for these sailors. I would have hoped that the national media would have been interested and present at this trial which effects our whole nation. Their absence at this trial is just not right.”