December 8, 2008

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants tell the judge they want to confess and plead guilty.

"We all five have reached an agreement to request from the commission an immediate hearing session in order to announce our confessions ... with our earnest desire in this regard without being under any kind of pressure, threat, intimidations or promise from any party."

That's the note sent to the military judge during the pretrial hearings at Guantanamo.

MORE: William Glaberson sheds some light on the possible strategy of pleading guilty now:
Many people inside and outside the government expect President-elect Obama to close down the military commissions that have been used by the Bush administration, and to direct that many detainees now held in Guantánamo Bay be prosecuted instead in the civilian American legal system.

If that indeed happens in the first days of the Obama administration, then Monday’s proceedings will have been the detainees’ last opportunity to challenge the widely criticized system here with guilty pleas that could yield them the opportunity for what they see as martyrdom.

33 comments:

Simon said...

They want to be martyred, preferably sooner rather than later (maybe they feel their chances are better with this administration than the next).

dave™© said...

Gee, how many months of non-stop torture produced that?

USA! USA!! USA!!!

Palladian said...

"Gee, how many months of non-stop torture produced that?"

Some torture! I could have gotten this confession a hell of a lot sooner if they'd handed me the pliers.

You just can't face that your heroes finally gave in to the Great Satan!

jdeeripper said...

All morality aside torture doesn't work. People will say anything to reduce the pain. And even if they tell you something they believe to be true doesn't make it true.

Being truthful and making a true statement are two different things.

The best form of interrogation is an attitude of commiseration. Be a confidant. "You might be right, I never looked at it that way tell me more."

Or trick them into thinking you are already on their side, a fellow conspirator.

But the threat of torture....."with our earnest desire in this regard without being under any kind of pressure, threat, intimidations or promise from any party."...I think somebody is really, really scared of something.

Maguro said...

The best form of interrogation is an attitude of commiseration. Be a confidant.

It is pretty naive to think that a hardcore terrorist like KSM won't lie if we adopt the "right" interrogation technique. This is a guy that's smart enough to see through the bullshit interrogation methods you learned from watching Law & Order reruns.

In reality, any statement KSM makes - whether made freely or under duress - should be considered a lie unless corroborated independently.

raf said...

Terrified of repatriation.

The Drill SGT said...

All morality aside torture doesn't work. People will say anything to reduce the pain. And even if they tell you something they believe to be true doesn't make it true.

actually harsh interogation up to and including torture does work for some things.

It won't work on these questions for example:

1. Did you commit the act?
2. name 3 accomplices

it will work on these questions:

3. where are the explosives hidden?
4. what time will the attack occur?
5. what is the password for that file?

see a pattern? harsh interogation works when you can independently confirm the statement using facts.

Some methods work for some things and prisoners, other things work elsewhere. That is why interogations are still done.

to say otherwise is both naive and wrong.

jdeeripper said...

Maguro said...This is a guy that's smart enough to see through the bullshit interrogation methods you learned from watching Law & Order reruns.

I didn't learn it from Law and Order, I've never seen the show.

I learned it from the Israelis.

David said...

The comments miss a basic point: these guys are extremely proud of what they did.

As for torture, the question is not whether it works. Obviously it will in many circumstances. The question is whether we should do it. And if so under what circumstances?

The opponents of torture present this as a simple moral question. It's not. It's devilishly complex and contradictory.

dbp said...

My guess is that the offer to confess will be refused. I don't think they want to offer guilty pleas to the charges against them. What they probably want to do is something along the lines of:

"Yes, we planned and authorized the legal (under Sharia Law) and justified attacks of 9/11..."

Hoosier Daddy said...

I just hope Khalid is ok.

Maguro said...

I learned it from the Israelis.

If you believe that the Shin Bet uses only commiseration and other kind/gentle methods of interrogation, you are more naive than I thought.

Do you suppose KSM would volunteer to be interrogated by the Israelis?

Cedarford said...

I hope KSM's confession is made available to the public. I would like to know if there are any surprises in his version of events. If he has info on the development & progress of his plot included in the confession, who he worked with, how targeting decisons were made, any presouting by other combatants before the actual strikes were made. Elements of the Attack we don't know about that have been kept locked away in the criminal prosecution process. I would also look to see if he has any regrets or makes an admission that the religious basis of the combat op was flawed...and in any event, how his confession and those of the other 5 enemy combatants plays out in other countries..

It will be good to have that finished rather than go through 2-3 years of trial prep, lawyer enrichment, trial. Unfortunately, we have gone from a swift and certain American justice system to a Talmudic one of endless arguments and appeals that could delay him and is other illegal combatants getting executed for 20 years, if at all.

traditionalguy said...

These guys are loyal only to their tribal identities. They must keep submitting to tribal customs in order to keep their sanity. All we can do with him is keep learning from every step in the process to discover some weakness we can use against the next guy like him.

knox said...

The opponents of torture present this as a simple moral question. It's not. It's devilishly complex and contradictory.

It is, isn't it? Any feeling, thinking person is utterly repulsed by it. But when human lives are at stake? It's not so straight-forward anymore.

Skyler said...

"But when human lives are at stake? It's not so straight-forward anymore."

Yes, it is very straight forward. It used to be, anyway. The good guys don't use torture, whether it works (and it certainly does) or not. There is no information worth having that is obtained by torture.

The single worst failing of the Bush adminstration has been . . . well, lots of things, but one of them was convincing good Americans that there are situtations where the US is justified in using torture or harsh interrogation techniques. We used to execute people, and rightly so, for using the same techniques.

dick said...

Surely you jest. Do you think the good guys didn't use torture in WW II? If the option is your kids or your buddies getting blown up or not torturing the terrorist, guess how long it would take for the pliers to come out.

It is one thing to sit back in the USA and pontificate on torture or non-torture. It is quite another to be in the middle of a battle with the lives of yourself and your men at stake. It is even more another thing if it is your kids whose lives are at stake. Would you honestly sacrifice your kids not to torture a POS like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? I doubt that one very much.

Maguro said...

The single worst failing of the Bush adminstration has been . . . convincing good Americans that there are situtations where the US is justified in using torture or harsh interrogation techniques.

Funnily enough, the Bush administration has been notoriously inept at convincing Americans about anything. Perhaps the idea that there are situations that warrant harsh interrogation methods stands on its own merit?

jdeeripper said...

Maguro said...I learned it from the Israelis.

If you believe that the Shin Bet uses only commiseration and other kind/gentle methods of interrogation, you are more naive than I thought.


I didn't say that was the only technique.

I also said - Or trick them into thinking you are already on their side, a fellow conspirator.

You put your guys in among the shocked and exhausted prisoners and convince them that your guys are on their side. Make it seem like they are older, experienced prisoners who can show the newcomer the ropes.

Do you suppose KSM would volunteer to be interrogated by the Israelis?

He might talk to his captors if he thinks they admire him or want to join him.

It's easy to talk about ripping some terrorists balls off to show him who's boss.

The issue is the acquisition of usable, accurate information. Torturing people can get you a truck load of useless crap told to you by a person who just wants you to stop hurting him.

Methadras said...

Let them plead guilty, let them confess whatever they want, sentence them to death, then take them out back and shoot them in the back of the head and be done with it. The bullshit piece of kabuki is nothing more than a glad-handing to the San Fransisco kook-fringe nutjob anti-American clap-trappers.

Hoosier Daddy said...

We used to execute people, and rightly so, for using the same techniques.

We also used to execute saboteuers and spies as well. During the Battle of Bulge, German commandos roamed around behind our lines dressed as MPs directing troops into ambushes and causing all kinds of trouble.

They ended up being caught and were summarily executed.

Why Khalid and Co. is still wasting my oxygen is anyone's guess.

Skyler said...

"If the option is your kids or your buddies getting blown up or not torturing the terrorist, guess how long it would take for the pliers to come out. . . . It is one thing to sit back in the USA and pontificate on torture or non-torture. It is quite another to be in the middle of a battle with the lives of yourself and your men at stake."

Dick, I've been in battles and we don't generally find such situations. In battles we don't torture people, we kill them and don't stop to chit chat. After the battle we safeguard anyone still alive. The definition of when that battle stops may be not so clear, but at no point does the spectrum go from "kill the enemy" to "start torturing the enemy." It goes from "kill," to "maybe kill," to "capture." Controlling this spectrum is called discipline.

The premise in your silly situational ethic question is that you can know that someone is going to get blown up and that you know that the person you've captured knows how to prevent it. Neither of these is likely possible and even if both are true do not justify torture.

If, as you suggest, I'm in such a outlandish situation where I know that both of those conditions are true, and I decide to use torture to get information, then as with any act of civil disobedience I should expect to suffer appropriate punishment afterwards. Such a balancing of reward of saving someone to punishment for bad behavior must still be there. Especially in the military, and that's called discipline.

As for the CIA and other spooks who think there is justification for torture, they are not in battle, they are sitting in offices, so even your silly scenario doesn't apply.

None of these muslim terrorists is worth destroying our nation's reputation by using torture.

Skyler said...

"Why Khalid and Co. is still wasting my oxygen is anyone's guess."

I couldn't agree more. We should have summarily executed these people after a field trial years ago. Terrorists and pirates have no rights to anything except a quick death.

Maguro said...

It's easy to talk about ripping some terrorists balls off to show him who's boss.

No one is talking about ripping anyone's balls off except you. We're talking about KSM, who was waterboarded after he wouldn't cooperate using any other method.

“The most important source of intelligence we had after 9/11 came from the interrogation of high-value detainees,” Robert Grenier, former chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, told The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. He called KSM “the most valuable of the high-value detainees, because he had operational knowledge.”

Still think we should have respected his right to remain silent?

Bob said...

How about we slip them a revolver with a single round and let them finish it themselves? Quick and cheap

Skyler said...

"Still think we should have respected his right to remain silent?"

They have no right to remain silent, in the same context that we constitutionally enjoy. We can question them all day long until the cows come home or long afterwards.

But we can't torture them in the process. Until they are executed, they deserve some degree of respect as human beings, that is they must have bread and water and have a place to defecate. Not much more than that, and certainly no torture.

The sooner we execute these muslim terrorists, the better.

PatCA said...

I hope that they confess and then the judge kicks the sentencing can down the road till, oh, January 21st.

garage mahal said...

Real men don't torture. They talk amongst themselves about torture.

hdhouse said...

Not to mention a guilty plea obtain under duress. Ok. i won't mention it.

gottagobye

hdhouse said...

ohhh and Palladian, the pliers remark second from the top...

I suspect that you would confess to the civil war if someone confronted you with pinking sheers.

Bob said...

This is going to become less and less of an issue. Because we've learned in the military that we don't have the moxie to coerce info. So we'll either have dead suspects or we'll turn them over to the host government. Who may be a bit less squimish about obtaining info.

If torture never worked then why would it be used? It works sometimes and other times not. Because some suspects know nothing and others know stuff. The problem is that both groups will eventually talk. Also, what US has done is coerce info from KSM. He still has all his body parts. When US troops get captured the terrorists really do torture them. Human Rights groups has managed to confuse harsh interrogation from torture.

veni vidi vici said...

raf has it right.

These guys said they decided to confess and plead out the day Obama got elected. They know they'll sit in Gitmo and rot with 3 hots and a cot from here to eternity with Bush/McCain/R-of-the-month in office. On the other hand, Obama's a wildcard: he, like most Democrats, has a chip on his shoulder about national security bona fides, and face it, no one knows what he's going to do.

So, shut down Gitmo, but the political backlash to putting those prisoners in our mainland incarceration system would make the Republican response to Hillarycare in 1993 look like a book group meeting in Indiana by comparison. What would Obama do? Probably repatriate or send these guys to another of our allies, even one with a big Muslim population, like Pakistan or India.

Pakistan, facing its own "bona fides" problem with regard to commitment to fighting the beards, would be all too happy to make a loud, sloppy example of these guys and earn some breathing room by doing our dirtywork for us.

These guys are too smart to be doing this for any other reason; it certainly has nothing to do with whether the incoming administration is more or less likely to have US operatives torturing anybody. These guys are not unaware of the torture debate here; they know that the only thing they really have to fear is being sent back to their homelands or to a cooperative nation with lots of people who look like and speak the same language as them.

PatCA said...

veni,
I believe we have treaties that say the subject country has to want the jailbird back. Most countries are more sensible than we are--they decline.

It will be interesting to see what Obama does. Heh.