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Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Addresses the Court

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was allowed to address the military commission trial judge today at Guantanamo. When he was done, the judge said it will be the last time the defendants are allowed to comment on the course of proceedings:

Mohammed told the judge, Army Col. James Pohl, that "the government uses national security as it chooses," urging him to keep that in mind as he considers requests from defense lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union to scale back the rules for evidence and testimony.

"Many can kill people under the name of national security, and to torture people under the name of national security," the Arabic-speaking Mohammed said through a translator. "And detain their underage children under the name of national security."

In an apparent reference to Osama bin Laden, Mohammed noted that "the president can take someone and throw them into the sea in the name of national security.

[More...]

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9/11 Defendants Military Commission Proceedings Scheduled

The five detainees charged with participating in the 9/11 attacks will appear in court at Guantanamo within 30 days to schedule proceedings in their trial by military commission. They include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Waleed bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi

An arraignment will be held at Guantanamo next month, and all of the pretrial issues that surfaced in the earlier case will have to be litigated again, including the issue of self-representation and the mental health and capacity of Binalshibh and Hawsawi.

All of them were held in secret overseas prisons until 2006 when then President Bush ordered them moved to Guantanamo. All alleged being tortured. The death penalty is being sought for all of them.

The 123 page charge sheet is available at the Military Commission's website here (click on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed et al (2), and then use the arrow to go to "Docket." They will also be tried on the charges returned in January, 2012, available at the same link. [More...]

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DOJ to Announce Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to Be Tried By Military Commission

Attorney General Eric Holder will announce at 2:00 pm today that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 detainees at Guantanamo will be tried by military commission instead of in federal criminal court.

Obama and Holder deserves there lumps over this, but the primary fault lies with Congress and officials in New York. [More...]

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Former Bush DOJ Officials Back Holder on Trial of 9/11 Suspects

James Comey and Jack Goldsmith, high-ranking Department of Justice officials under Bush, have an op-ed in the Washington Post defending Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other detainees in federal criminal court instead of a military commission proceeding. The conclusion is fine:

But Holder's critics do not help their case by understating the criminal justice system's capacities, overstating the military system's virtues and bumper-stickering a reasonable decision.

In reaching that correct assessment, however, there's a few statements I take issue with. They posit that Holder made the decision to keep the U.S.S. Cole detainees in a military proceeding not for the reasons he said (that the attack happened outside the U.S.) but because the case against them is weak and the chance of conviction is greater in a military commission trial. In other words, Holder forum-shopped (as, they say, Bush's DOJ did before him) and there's nothing wrong with that. I think when it's done hoping to skirt the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt because you know you can't meet it, there's definitely something wrong with it.
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Khalid Sheikh Mohammed : Unsolved Mysteries

Where are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's wife and sons? What is the name of his wife? Were the children really brought to the U.S. for questioning or were they kept in detention in Pakistan, Afhanistan or elsewhere? Were they tortured? Were they ever released? Who got the reward for KSM's capture?

Back in 2003, when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured, there were varying reports on his capture and the seizure and detention of his children. In 2004, Amnesty International wrote this open letter to Pakistan President Musharraf inquiring as to their whereabouts (See page 11.)

The timeline appears to go like this: [More...]

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CIA Releases Documents in Ghost Detainee FOIA Lawsuit

In addition to the CIA's Inspector General report (pdf) released today, the CIA and Justice Department finally released documents in the ongoing FOIA litigation with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International and other organizations over ghost detainees. (Background here.)

The first is a 2005 CIA report entitled Detainee Reporting Pivotal in War Against Al-Qa'ida. The second is a 2004 report, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, Preeminient Source Against Al-Qa'ida.

These are the documents Dick Cheney said would support a case for torture. [More...]

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OIG Report: Interrogators Threatened to Kill Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's Children

The Inspector General's 2004 Report is out and available here (pdf). Hightlights are here. (According to the AP, the correct spelling is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.)

One thing that leapt out at me was Paragraph 95 on page 43: Interrogators threatened to kill Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's children. Then there's a blacked out portion, followed by a statement that the interrogator reporting this did not believe the threat violated the law.

Do the blacked out lines refer to what they did to convince Khalid Shaikh Mohammed they could carry out the threat? In March, 2003, I wrote about the CIA's acknowledgement it had taken custody of Mohammed's sons from Pakistan to use them as leverage to get their father to talk: [More...]

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Federal Court Orders Disclosure to Detainee Who Worked for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina last month ordered the Government to provide Guantanamo inmate and habeas petitioner Abdul Raheem Ghulam Rabbani, who allegedly worked for accused 911 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, with some of the discovery he requested about his interrogation in overseas prisons.

Judge Urbina also ruled that Rabbani can submit written questions to KSM. The declassified and redacted opinion has now been released. It's a long opinion, here are some of the more notable parts:[More...]

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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.

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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."

More....

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Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's Day in Gitmo Court

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed this week took the lead for himself and four other accused terrorists during pre-trial hearings in their military commissions proceeding.

Mohammed, Ramzi Binalshibh, Mustafa Ahmed al Hawsawi, Walid bin Attash and Ali Abdul Aziz Ali are charged with conspiring with al Qaeda to kill civilians in the September 11 attacks. All face the death penalty. While blasting the procedures as an "inquisition" and requesting recusal of the judge, Mohammed also offered to try and convince Ramzi Binalshibh to come out of his cell voluntarily and attend the proceedings. [More...]

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The CIA's Black Torture Hole In Poland


Meet Deuce Martinez. Career narcotics agent turned Five-Star CIA interrogator. Credited with getting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Ramzi Binalshibh to talk.

Waterboarding, belly slaps, sleep deprivation and more. Martinez didn't like getting his hands dirty with the physical abuse, he waited in the wings while others did it and then conducted the interrogations. If the detainee stopped cooperating, it was back to the torture, then back to Martinez. Ultimately, they talked. The value of their information? The CIA says huge, even accounting for the misinformation they were fed. Of course, there's no way to test that theory.

Where did this all occur? Inside the CIA's black hole of choice -- in Poland. [More...]

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Khalid Sheik Mohammed: Sings in Court, Welcomes Death Penalty

At his arraignment today, Khalid Sheik Mohammed sang in court, praised Allah and said he welcomed the death penalty so he would be a martyr.

He has rejected his attorneys and says he wants to represent himself.

My shield is Allah most high," he said, adding that his religion forbade him from accepting a lawyer from the United States and that he wanted to act as his own attorney .

Shades of Zacarias Moussaoui, who having been tried in federal court, is now serving life at Supermax. Moussaoui has a chance to appeal. If Mohammed stays on this course, he'll be dead. [Update below]

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Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Arraignment at Gitmo Today

Alleged "9/11 Mastermind" Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is being arraigned today at Guantanamo. The ACLU is on scene and will be reporting.

The ACLU has committed $15 million to a joint project with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to provide adequate representation to Mohammed and other Gitmo detainees facing unfair trials under the Military Commissions Act.

Trial by military commission permit convictions based on secret evidence, hearsay, and evidence derived from torture – including waterboarding, a technique the government admits was used on Mohammed. [More...]

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The Torture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Others


Jane Mayer in The New Yorker Magazine today exposes the torturous interrogation practices the C.I.A. used on its prize detainee, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, during his not-so secret stay in an overseas prison.

Author Jane Mayer, on the CBS Evening News, said:

"The Red Cross went in and got to interview these people for the first time," said Mayer on the CBS Evening News. "What these people described was hanging from the ceilings by their arms and being water-boarded, partially drowned, put on leashes and knocked into walls and basically deprived of all kinds of sensory imagery for years."

The article also puts the lie to President Bush's continuous insistence that the U.S. does not engage in torture.

Mayer's article further described the CIA program of physical and psychological abuse as completely regimented and deliberate.

"There have always been mistakes made in the past when prisoners have been abused in wars," Mayer told Mitchell. "But this is the first time it's been done on purpose."

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U.S. Interrogating Children

We're shocked that this hasn't gotten more coverage. We are outraged. The CIA has acknowledged that last September, the seven and nine year old sons of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, arrested last week and alleged to be a "mastermind" of the 9/11 attacks, were seized by Pakistani authorites, and that this weekend, the kids were turned over to the CIA and then flown to America so that the young boys could be interrogated in an undisclosed location about their father's activities and used to get their father to talk.
Yousef al-Khalid, 9, and his brother, Abed al-Khalid, 7, were taken into custody in Pakistan in September when intelligence officers raided an apartment in Karachi where their father had been hiding.

He fled just hours before the raid, but his two young sons, along with another senior al Qaeda member, were found cowering behind a clothes closet in the apartment.

The boys have been held by the Pakistani authorities, but this weekend they were flown to America, where they will be questioned about their father.

CIA interrogators confirmed last night that the boys were staying at a secret address where they were being encouraged to talk about their father's activities.... [Mohammed] has been told that his sons are being held and is being encouraged to divulge future attacks against the West and talk about the location of Osama bin Laden, officials said.

"His sons are important to him. The promise of their release and their return to Pakistan may be the psychological lever we need to break him."
First, let's translate. The operative and missing word from that last sentence is "safe." As in what Mohammed is really being told is that something awful will befall his sons if he doesn't cooperate. Legal? Probably. It's also morally bankrupt. But let's leave the father out of this for the moment. Our concern is the kids.

Isn't this kidnapping? How about a human rights violation? What kind of precedent does this set? Seven and nine years old -- has this Administration lost its mind?

We didn't realize that enemy combatant status was hereditary. A lawyer and a guardian ad litem should be appointed for these kids immediately. The kids should be returned home without delay to whatever family they have left. This is taking "sins of the father" to an unprecedented and unconscionable level.

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