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January 19, 2009

Guantanamo Defendants Incriminate Themselves

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks, and a co-defendent were up to their usual antics at the Guantanamo Bay military tribunal. Last time they were just looking to grandstand.

Now the tribunal has obliged them. After denying a joint motion by the prosecution and the defense to put off the hearing until after the inauguration (dammit, I just can't get away from that), the military judge got an earful this morning:

Ramzi Binalshibh and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed architect of the terrorist attacks, casually admitted guilt during a series of outbursts as the translators struggled to keep up and the judge repeatedly sought to regain control.

"We did what we did; we're proud of Sept. 11," Binalshibh announced at one point in proceedings that dealt with a number of legal issues, including whether he is mentally competent to stand trial on charges that carry a potential death sentence.

Mohammed, who is representing himself, switched back and forth between Arabic and English, insisting at one point that a uniformed military lawyer assigned to assist him be removed from his defense table. The man, he said, represents the "people who tortured me," he said.

Mohammed shrugged off the potential death sentence he faces for charges that include the murder of nearly 3,000 people in the Sept. 11 attacks.

"We don't care about capital punishment," he said. "We are doing jihad for the cause of God."

Mohammed has been trying to hasten his "martyrdom" since his transfer to Guantanamo Bay. There is a great deal of speculation that the Obama Administration will put an immediate stop to the military commissions. Of course, he was also going to immediately close Guantanamo Bay, but that promise is now all over the map, with some aides saying he'll do it in the first week, others saying in the first hundred days, and Obama himself saying he might not get to it in his first term.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 12:59 PM

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