9/11 Detainees to Plead Guilty in Military Commission Trials

Update: AP article here. They made their decision based on Obama's election to the Presidency. My translation: They don't want to be moved to federal court where they would be more likely to get life in a Supermax prison than the death penalty, and if they got the death penalty, face years in prison before it was carried out.


Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other detainees facing the death penalty in military commission trials decided today to plead guilty. Human Rights Watch responds:

"What should have been a major victory in holding the 9/11 defendants accountable for terrible crimes has been tainted by torture and an unfair military commissions process," said Jennifer Daskal, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch. "These five men are known to have been mistreated and tortured during their years in CIA custody, including the acknowledged waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed."


HRW is calling on the judge to conduct an extensive inquiry into the voluntariness of the pleas.

My view: If you can't trust in the integrity of the process, the verdict has no credibility. The trial process provided for by the Military Commissions Act is so fundamentally flawed, any guilty pleas cannot be trusted.

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  • Display: Sort:
    suicide bombings (2.00 / 0) (#13)
    by diogenes on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 10:18:45 AM EST
    Why should we take the chance that over the next thirty years the Supermax will be the target of a suicide bombing designed to create chaos and free these guys?  Or of suicide bombings or hostage takings abroad demanding that they be freed?  These aren't lone killers who will quietly rot in prison, after all.

    OK (1.00 / 1) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 12:37:53 PM EST
    They have said they are guilty.

    You folks don't want to hang them.

    They don't want to go to Supermax?

    The solution is???

    Whats with you (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by jondee on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 01:00:10 PM EST
    and hanging, any way? Attend a few community "lynching bees" as a child or something?

    Survey says, a place where they cant harm others that isnt an antiseptic version of slow torture over many years.

    You know, to show other people we're not just the sadistic ignoramouses so many suspect that we are.


    I know (1.00 / 1) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 05:42:53 PM EST
    Let's put them in a 200 foot tower, set it on fire and left them decide to jump to death or burn to death.

    Poetic justice and all that.

    As for the rest of the world... I am sure you know the word that goes in the middle of "They can .... off!"

    Have a nice day.


    Jeralyn, help me understand this please... (none / 0) (#3)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 01:40:30 PM EST
    If these men plead guilty in a Military Commission trial does that mean a de facto guilty outcome?

    What would the sentence then be? Is the death penalty mandatory, or is there an option for a lesser sentence, like life in prison? If so, where would they serve their time?

    If they're sentenced to death, where would the executions actually take place?

    If an investigation finds that their guilty plea is involuntary, can't they still insist on pleading guilty? Or could the case be thrown out altogether?


    If They Don't Want (none / 0) (#4)
    by john horse on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 02:39:32 PM EST
    to go to the Supermax, then isn't that an arguement for sending them to the Supermax?



    Hmmmmm (1.00 / 1) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 05:39:47 PM EST
    Well, it might be that they know that an argument for sending them to Supermax would be seen as something they want, so we won't send them to Supermax.

    Just speculating.


    Not sure they plead guilty at all (none / 0) (#5)
    by trickydix2000 on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 02:53:33 PM EST
    Not sure they plead guilty at all, how would we know the conditions these people were subjected to for a coached confession.  If you bash in my toes with a brick I will confess to anything.  We have had these guys for like 5 years and suddenly they decided to confess? Smells fishy to me, not buying this one.  Call me Crazy but it sure sounds convenient now that someone is leaving office.

    From Haaretz: "A Farce" (none / 0) (#6)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 05:19:56 PM EST
    Mohammed said that after he was tortured by the CIA, he no longer trusts anyone, accusing the court and lawyers of working for the U.S. government.

    The military commission hearing on Monday seemed like a farce, with no one was listening to the other. Everyone had their own agenda and script, and was playing by different rules. The judge did his best to conduct the hearing as if it was any normal trial.


    They just want to die and become martyrs.

    Well, after 9/11 I no longer trust radical Muslim (1.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 05:37:14 PM EST
    terrorists... so I guess that makes us even, eh??

    Particularly The Ones Hiding (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 05:40:29 PM EST
    Under your bed? They are coming to get you, trust no one.

    I say praise the lord, pass the (1.00 / 1) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 08:07:45 PM EST
    ammunition and giggle at such as Squeak.

    Update (none / 0) (#7)
    by Peter G on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 05:20:51 PM EST
    I have just heard from one of the organizations which has provided volunteer defense counsel in these cases that because two of the accused are of questionable mental competency (following their lengthy detention and in light of how they were treated), the military judges did not accept the guilty pleas, pending a psychiatric report.  After hearing this ruling, it is my understanding that the accused then withdrew their requests to plead guilty. I agree with Jeralyn that the accused appear to be trying to get themselves executed, probably for a combination of reasons (religious martyrdom as well as avoiding the SuperMax).