Bob Seay: The war court in Guantanamo is in session this week. Military commission hearings in the trial of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators. WGBH's Arun Rath is in Guantanamo covering the pre-trial hearings at the legal compound known as Camp Justice. Good morning Arun.

Arun Rath: Good morning.

Seay: Arun, we talked on Monday about how this trial has become less about 9/11 and more about the way the five accused men have been mistreated and tortured, but that abruptly changed yesterday. Tell us what happened.

Rath: Yeah, it was a pretty dramatic day because the narrative pretty much flipped. The prosecutor, Ed Ryan, in starting this motion that he was filing, pointed out that over the last several years here in this court, he noted that the word 'torture' had been used 500 times, and he said '9/11' had been used only about 200 times. What they were doing was, the prosecution was filing a motion to call witnesses who were victim's family members from the 9/11 attacks, right now during the pre-trial stage before the actual trial begins. The reason they cited for that unusual move is that they're worried about basically these witnesses dying before they get a chance to testify; that's already happened with two witnesses whom they wanted to call. So what they want to do is get the testimony in now before more potential witnesses pass away from old age or health issues. 

Seay: So that certainly sounds like a compelling reason to get the testimony now, but do the defense teams have a problem with that?

Rath: They have a huge [problem] with that, and that feels like that's putting it mildly. They say there is no precedent for something like this-- not getting depositions ahead of a trial, but doing it on the stand in open court. That means that everybody will be able to know about it, this will go on the record, this will go on transcripts, which will go up on the military website, and that they think is prejudicial. It could taint any potential members of the military who would be empaneled as jurors because, you know, they will see all these details about the attacks, the victim testimony, well ahead of the actual trial beginning. 

Seay: So when exactly would they be taking this victim testimony?

Rath: Well, that's another big issue for the defense. They want to schedule those witnesses for a session coming up in October, this October, which is right before the presidential election. Jim Harrington, who is one of the defense lawyers, he said he didn't want to accuse anybody, but he called the timing of this, along with the election, incredible. And I think he meant that word in its core sense that he maybe didn't believe that the prosecution was doing this for the reasons that they were putting out-- that this had to do with politics. 

Seay: Arun, can you tell us what's on the docket for today?

Rath: Yeah, there are a couple of points of interest. One involves a dispute where one of the defendants has been having communication with his family interfered with, and they're complaining about that. It relates to a fundamental issue they've had all along with what communication is OK, what could be dangerous, what's legitimately legal. The other thing, 9/11, the actual attacks will come up today because the prosecution is filing a motion to introduce the audio from the flight data recorder from the flight that crashed into Pennsylvania. That was the flight that crashed after the passengers tried to take control back from the hijackers. 

Seay: That's flight 93. Thank you so much, WGBH's Arun Rath speaking with us from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Thank you Arun.

Rath: Thank you.