Drama fills Guantanamo war court but sound remains off

The Pentagon took its new $12 million war court complex out for a test run Wednesday with the arraignment of an alleged al Qaeda propagandist — and the state-of-the-art facility failed.

Observers in the gallery sat behind soundproof glass while the accused, Ali Hamza Bahlul, spoke and gestured to the judge at the start of the proceedings. But no sound was broadcast into the spectators' booth where international media, human rights observers, a Canadian diplomat and FBI agents were sequestered.

The prosecution, the accused and the military judge, Army Col. Peter Brownback II, exchanged words for several moments but the sound was not audible. Military escorts scrambled to halt the proceedings and notify the judge — even as the accused offered hand-written notes to the court.

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