Gitmo Judge Accepts Detainees Filing Despite Obama Cessation Order

President Obama issued an order halting the military commissions trials at Guantanamo. Yet, the judge accepted the latest filing by the five detainees whose trials were halted. The ACLU reports:

In defiance of President Obama’s order halting the Guantánamo military commissions, a military judge accepted a legal pleading filed by the five 9/11 suspects. Judge Col. Stephen R. Henley ordered the immediate public release of the filed document despite the fact that all other legal filings have been kept sealed for months by the military commissions. Remarkably, the judge accepted the pleading from all five 9/11 defendants despite the fact that the competency of two of them has not been determined and their attorneys were not informed.

The New York Times reported on the pleading today. [More...]

The five detainees at Guantánamo Bay charged with planning the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have filed a document with the military commission at the United States naval base there expressing pride at their accomplishment and accepting full responsibility for the killing of nearly 3,000 people.

The ACLU says:

“Judge Henley apparently doesn’t know what the word ‘halt’ means since he has blatantly defied President Obama’s executive order for an end to the military commissions. Why Judge Henley accepted pleadings and issued an order in halted proceedings is confounding. The judge’s actions extending the military commissions call into question the true intentions of the Pentagon leadership at a time when the Obama administration is searching for a solution to the disastrous detention policies of the Bush administration.

...“Moreover, to selectively release a filing that clearly serves the objectives of the prosecution when defense motions have regularly been suppressed raises the suspicion that political motivations are at play.

The remedy, according to the ACLU:

“The only way to put an end to these sham proceedings, once and for all, is for Secretary Gates to withdraw the charges in all pending commission cases so we can truly begin the journey on the road to real justice.”

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    Rogue Judges (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 02:40:55 PM EST
    And rogue military support of them scares me much more than any terrorist.

    Something tells me that we are going to be seeing a lot of this sentiment as private contractors and PSD soldiers return to the streets of the US.  

    One of the more disturbing trends we've been observing is the return of far-right "Patriot" rhetoric about government oppression with the election of President Obama. Fueled in no small part by mainstream right-wing talkers proclaiming we're headed into "socialism" -- not to mention a "radical communist" who must be "stopped" or else America will "cease to exist" -- the overheated rhetoric has been gradually getting higher in volume, intensity, and frequency with each passing week.

    The initial concern that this raises is the possibility of a new wave of citizen militias, particularly when you have mainstream pundits like Glenn Beck out there helping to promote the concept. As Glenn Greenwald observed, the "Patriots" are back with a vengeance.

    Dave Neiwert

    I think (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 02:41:25 PM EST
    these 5 detainees will not be difficult to try and convict in civilian courts. Apparently they may even plead guilty from what we can tell.

    I think they seem to want to be convicted and executed.

    The NYTimes article asks what "the strategic motive" was. I believe the word the reporter might have been searching for is "martyrdom."

    Indeed (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 02:53:00 PM EST
    It seems like they've all but confessed, and would do so again. I wonder if they're of sound mind. If not, were they before they were place in Gitmo?

    Yes (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 03:46:42 PM EST
    "You are the last nation that has the right to speak about civilians and killing civilians," the five said in a response this month to the U.S. government's war crimes charges.

    "You are professional criminals, with all the meaning the words carry," the response said. "Therefore, we will treat you the same. We will attack you, just like you have attacked us, and whomever initiated the attacks is the guilty party."

    I would have disagreed (none / 0) (#7)
    by eric on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 03:57:38 PM EST
    with these statements before Bush, but after our invasion of Iraq, I don't disagree.

    Well (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 04:37:58 PM EST
    They also said in their filing:

    "Our religion is a religion of fear and terror to the enemies of God: the Jews, Christians and pagans. With God's willing, we are terrorists to the bone."

    It also predicts that the United States "will fall, politically, militarily and economically."

    "Your end is very near and your fall will be just as the fall of the towers on the blessed 9/11 day," the court filing said.

    "We ask from God to accept our contributions to the great attack, the great attack on America, and to place our nineteen martyred brethren among the highest peak in paradise," the response said, in reference to the al Qaeda militants who hijacked the airplanes that crashed into the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania.

    apparently (none / 0) (#11)
    by lilburro on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 05:38:19 PM EST
    Ramzi bin al-Shibh is/was on psychotropic drugs intended to treat schizophrenia.  But who knows how necessary/legit the treatments were...or if they were just trying to f*ck up his brain.

    A kangaroo (none / 0) (#1)
    by eric on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 02:38:08 PM EST
    court, complete with a kangaroo colonel.  Obama has to reign these people in, hard.  It's clear they don't respect him.

    This Colonel Needs to Be Brought Up On Charges (none / 0) (#8)
    by msaroff on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 04:18:09 PM EST
    of insubordination.

    the talking dog (none / 0) (#5)
    by lilburro on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 03:38:26 PM EST
    raises an interesting question...what were 5 of the most supposedly dangerous people at GITMO, hanging out in Camp 7, doing planning legal strategy together??  In a place where their attorneys are not even allowed to visit?

    Will Pres Obama (none / 0) (#12)
    by good grief on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:07:58 PM EST
    treat Henley's's insubordination as an action "in the past" (a few days ago) and "look forward to the future"? As to "Power is all the feeble-minded understand," not sure who 'feeble-minded' refers to but something that communicates big time when disregard of a direct order is not disciplined is weakness. We're already destined to see the result of Obama's current weakness in not enforcing the laws broken by Bush, Cheney et al unfold in the much-heralded "future" when the Constitution and other laws are broken again by  members of the Executive Branch. If Obama doesn't immediately bring military "judge" Henley on the carpet with maximum effect via court marshall etc, his weakness will be devastating to good order and discipline of the military under his command. This is no time to be political. No time to be Mr. Nice Guy. Hope he doesn't try.

    CX: should read "court martial" (nt) (none / 0) (#13)
    by good grief on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:14:27 PM EST
    You fire-breathers ought to be aware (none / 0) (#14)
    by wagnert in atlanta on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:26:23 PM EST
    that under the Uniform Code of Military Justice any attempt by anyone in the chain of command to influence the course of a trial is a punishable offense -- just as a politician shouldn't try to influence a civil trial.  I can imagine your squeals if you thought Bush was trying to command the Supreme Court to bring in a particular verdict, yet you think Obama should be able to turn military justice on and off like a spigot.

    five terrorists confess, and... (none / 0) (#15)
    by diogenes on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:30:09 PM EST
    Five terrorists confess and all we can do is wax indignant about the judge?  This really is "Hate America First" time; what about some indignation towards the men who were proud of the attacks and who would repeat them if released?
    Why is everyone so scared of the public release of these statements if we believe in open government?  I'm sure that the defendants wouldn't object.

    I am indignant ... (none / 0) (#18)
    by cymro on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 01:43:56 AM EST
    ... that people are willing to resort to simplistic arguments and jingoism in support of otherwise untenable positions, and thereby avoid actually addressing the real issue being discussed.

    I think we discussed this (none / 0) (#16)
    by Steve M on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:42:44 PM EST
    the last time an "insubordination" issue comes around.

    In the world of court-martials, the convening authority (which is usually a superior officer, but in this case means the President/Secretary of Defense) has the power to disband a tribunal, but as long as the tribunal remains intact, they are not permitted to dictate the course of proceedings.  That's how we keep court-martials independent of command influence.

    So legally, unless Obama disbands the military tribunals altogether, he can certainly ask for a stay of proceedings but he can't demand it.

    Technically (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 08:36:52 AM EST
    This was an unsolicited ex parte communication by the defendants to the judge  - without their lawyers' knowledge. This was not a regular "filing" - this was a manifesto.

    The judge ordered that copies of this statement be turned over to the prosecutors, as they should have been, and then they were released to the public because there was no national security reason to keep them quiet. Since the commissions are temporarily suspended for 120 days while the Obama administration is looking into what to do about the folks in Guantanemo (including restarting military commissions, by the way), the judge ruled that no further action is required by either the prosecution or the defense. So, in spite of the spin by the ACLU, it does not appear that anything improper took place.