Alleged 9/11 Plotters Offer to Confess at Guantánamo
GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — All five of the Guantánamo detainees charged with planning and coordinating the Sept. 11 attacks have asked a military judge to accept their confessions in full.
The request appeared to be intended to cut short any effort to try them, and to challenge the United States government to put them to death. But the military judge in the case, Col. Steven Henley of the Army, indicated that he would not accept guilty pleas from the men right away, and that formal proceedings to do so may be a while off.
At the start of what had been expected to be routine proceedings Monday, Judge Henley disclosed that he had received a written statement from the five men. The statement said the five planned to stop filing written motions and instead “to announce our confessions to plea in full.”
Judge Henley began methodically questioning each of the five men to determine if they agreed with the joint statement, which was written after lengthy meetings among them that military officials had permitted them to hold in recent months. The statement was submitted Nov. 4, but the judge said he did not read it until Sunday because he was not at the secure facility here before then, and he cannot examine classified materials related to the detainee cases anywhere else.
Whatever they are: defendants, actors, patsies, guys really involved who were nevertheless tortured into behaving one way or another. How they've been held, treated and tried, and how we've been informed about whatever it was they supposedly said or did, makes travesty of any concept of due process, habeas, or human rights. I'm sure even you can agree there's reason to doubt their stories and possibly even their reality. All of a sudden on Nov. 4, Obama's elected, everyone thinks Gitmo might close, and bang, they want to confess and get it over with. Uh huh.
22. As a matter of principle, I don't believe anything...
that comes out of a restrictive, unconstitutional military court in violation of all post-Enlightenment (post-Magna Carta, in fact) standards of law. It doesn't matter if Jesus and Gandhi are reporting from it. It's not a valid court proceeding. The defendants are known to have been tortured, they can't choose anyone as their lawyer but are restricted to defenders approved by the military. Thus anything that comes out of this process is tainted and invalid. Not so hard to understand. (So are you going to come up with reasons why this process was valid? Necessary, perhaps?)
25. Leave that straw man alone. What's he done to you?
Edited on Tue Dec-09-08 12:08 AM by boloboffin
You stated the idea that the defendants are not being truthful, that they are somehow being coerced into this latest confession. I pointed out that family members of the 9/11 victims were there when they presented the letter of their own volition in the tribunal. The family members reported that the five defendants seemed sincere when they did this.
36. I believe the family members allowed by the military to go to Guantanamo...
Or at any rate I see little reason to doubt them when they say, as observers of the tribunal proceedings through bulletproof glass, that the defendants "seemed sincere" in their desire for a confession. Winston Smith also "seemed sincere" after a few weeks of less sophisticated torture and brainswashing (as opposed to the years these guys got) when he said he loved Big Brother. And an actor playing Winston Smith would also "seem sincere." These outsiders' perceptions of sincerity change nothing in the validity, legality, constitutionality or reliability (in producing good information) of the rendition system, the torture system, or the military tribunal process: all are null and void. The perceived sincerity of confessing subjects held in such a system is irrelevant.
So, having answered your question, please answer mine: Do you believe the tribunal process is valid? Necessary, even?
37. Some sort of trial is necessary for these people.
This one, as much as it is based on torture and the confessions elicited from it, should be illegitimate in any system of justice. One more thing Bush has truly fucked up beyond all recognition.
It isn't just their sincerity on display but their open mockery of the proceedings that the family members remarked upon, their desire to be as much trouble as possible for all concerned. That's not Winston Smith behavior.
87. i blame you for inferring that the comment was inflammatory to the family members. it wasn't.
Edited on Wed Dec-10-08 07:22 PM by reinvestigate911
i try to point out that the comment was fair considering how over-politicized the trials are, and that asking hard questions is important, but not always easy when you have a strong emotional investment let alone a complex series of events, motivations, and multiple people involved... and you responded with immature sarcasm instead of withdrawing your inference.
you seem incapable of seeing any of this beyond the filter of the official narrative, it's script, and it's objectives. calling the accused "murderers" without evidence -- without any proof of the crime -- is a pretty good example of how incredibly biased you are. you do exactly what you accuse the "CT advocates" of doing. and suggesting that anyone pointing that out is siding with the terrorists is on par with bush saying "you are either with us, or with the terrorists."
27. I think there is a larger legal strategy here, for the purpose of getting INTO an Article III court
Given that the incoming administration will be looking at ways to close Guantanamo and process out the detainees in some orderly manner, the timing of this suggests to me that the defendants are seeking to get an appealable conviction now, rather than having their status transferred to an Article III court in an "improved" procedural setting.
While I haven't thought about it in detail, the general outline would be to get a conviction as soon as possible, in order to render any subsequent proceeding objectionable on double jeopardy grounds.
I don't think this is as simple as you think it is. I may not have the basic strategy figured out, but I'm certain there is one.
40. I don't think you should impute what I think...
And I don't know what's in their heads either. Given the selective nature of any information released out of Gitmo (and wrt the capture, rendition and torture that preceded it), I wouldn't pretend to be certain about anything, including whether these guys really are the same ones as claimed.
I find your speculation about this very interesting and wouldn't bet for or against it, though I suppose if they are following the strategy you describe, we'll know for sure later. Who would be advising them along these lines?
and guesses are natural when we're dealing with yet another black-box situation where all we hear out of the whole process from capture to this is always what the military specifically wants us to hear.
53. I don't think the Bush admin wanted a guilty plea
The last thing the Bush admin wants is a final disposition of this case prior to Jan. 20th.
It would be much easier for them to claim "the Obama administration de-railed the proceeding" instead of having a final disposition before the changeover, and being able to say "the Bush administration f---d up this thing from the get-go".
54. Again, you can't know what the captors want...
if there are differences of opinion, etc. The "Bush admin" in this case is probably too abstract or large a category. These prisoners have specific captor/controller/interrogators who are unknown and whose interests are unclear. Then there are the tribunal organizers, whose interests would be to gain some measure of justification by completing the case.
At any rate, we also disagree about what the "Bush admin" would want. I think it's plainly obvious they would prefer the case to be done before Jan 20 and say: "We brought the perpetrators of 9/11 to justice!" (They could add a FOX-type myth that it was just in time, because Obama might have fucked it up and let them escape via a liberal technicality in a Stateside court!)
A final sentence prior to Jan. 20th would be appealable after Jan. 20th, even if based on a guilty plea. If that sentence is thrown out, the answer is "Bush screwed up the process, rendering a constitutional verdict impossible."
If the proceeding drags on past January 20th, then the blame goes to Obama for de-railing it.
So now we'll see (assuming the guilty plea goes through to a conviction prior to Jan. 20) whether they appeal, which would tend to support your guess as to why they are trying to plea guilty (although no outcome necessarily proves any of our speculations, at this distance). And remind me, doesn't the process include an automatic appeal on death penalty?
Anyway, one thing I don't see happening, if they are convicted or also sentenced on the basis of this guilty plea prior to Jan. 20th, is Obama doing anything other than letting the process take the rest of its course (i.e., to execution) before moving to shut down Gitmo and military tribunals on behalf of the other prisoners. Maybe I'm cynical? No way will he commute death sentences if they have already been handed down, or move this into civilian courts if a verdict was already reached. He will not be known as the guy who "let off the 9/11 perpetrators."
...and what's been done at Guantanamo is such a farce that I have no clue what the process is, but... as you note, one would assume there is some sort of automatic review of a death penalty decision. Given the way this thing was set up, that's probably not the best assumption in the world. We agree there SHOULD be an automatic review of a death sentence, and we know that the Supreme Court has, how many times now, not found the Guantanamo proceedings to comport with due process.
So, I should say, I *assume* the sentence remains appealable - or subject to some sort of review by an Article III court. Otherwise, it's back to the Supreme Court to once again say, no, you can't do this without an Article III court.
OTOH, I wouldn't expect Obama to commute any sentences.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but is there or is there not enough non-tainted evidence to put KSM away on something without all of these shenanigans?
I try to provide rational responses and questions, but you instead resort to personal attacks. By the way, as a person who strongly believes in justice and every person's right to a fair trial, I will withhold judgment as to these people being terrorist, until they have been convicted in a court of law.
Considering how many of the Gitmo prisoners that have been released or found not to be among "the worst of the worst", just because the Government say they are terrorist doesn't make them so.
And even if they are, they are still entitled to all the protections a civilized legal system can afford them. No more no less.
17. there's no evidence to back up more than half of those so-called indictments
a day one trial lawyer could move for mistrial just on the torture part alone... let alone the doubt one can cast on such claims as "flew Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan"
You're not claiming that he was tortured, are you?
Pay attention now: I don't think these people should have been tortured. I think the people who tortured any of them should be punished themselves. However, these people remain very bad people who helped to plan and carry out the 9/11 attacks. They, also, should be punished. Humanely.
Now, back to the point. I presented some evidence. You were handwaving. Continue.
As you properly know, an indictment is not evidence, but merely allegations, later to be proved by evidence.
Second, Khalid Sheik-Mohammad's name does not appear in the indictment.
As for these individuals motivation for pleading guilty, I have no idea, and neither do you. People who have been tortured and locked up in solitary confinement do the strangest things. Not always rational.
31. The indictment lists evidence the prosecutors intend to present in court
Edited on Tue Dec-09-08 11:50 AM by boloboffin
Things like credit card receipts, phone call data, videos from ATMs and security cameras, etc.
This is evidence.
KSM is not listed in that indictment, but the trail connecting him to them is rather clear. Check out The Looming Tower for more.
To hear the family members tell it, the individuals are now bored with it all and want it to be over. They've finally had a chance to talk to each other, and they've chosen death with all its fringe benefits for the martyr. Regardless of their actual motive, their part in the 9/11 attacks is clear.
but in a normal trial, meaning a trial using recognized rules of evidence and rules of procedure, there is a long way from claiming something is evidence, to actually being allowed to present it as evidence.
The party seeking to introduce evidence must prove its authenticity, chain of custody etc. Again, this applies to normal trials. This is not a normal trial and other rules applies, which is why any ruling out of Gitmo is suspect.
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