He agreed not to wage courtroom jihad, at least not for now. Conspiracy to commit jihad mass murder? You may be out in four years — just please don’t sue us. “Majid Khan, U.S.-educated al Qaida foot soldier, admits to war crimes, turns government witness,” by Carol Rosenberg for The Miami Herald, February 29 (thanks to Bill):
A U.S.-educated, one-time al Qaida foot soldier pleaded guilty Wednesday to war crimes for joining the terror organization after the Sept. 11 attacks and moving money used to fund a deadly 2003 bombing of a Marriott hotel in Southeast Asia.
Under a secret deal revealed in court, Majid Khan, 32, traded his cooperation at future war crimes trials and silence on his CIA treatment for the possibility of release between 2016 and 2031.
But the former CIA captive also noted that, under war on terror policy, he could be held endlessly as an ordinary “enemy combatant” for “the rest of my life.”
“I”m making a leap of faith here, sir,” Khan told his military commission judge, Army Col. James Pohl. “That’s all I can do.”
Eleven people were killed and dozens were wounded in the August 2003 terror attack in Jakarta, Indonesia. Khan admitted to moving $50,000 from his native Pakistan to Thailand that helped fund the attack but noted that he was already at a secret CIA overseas lockup “” “Illegally, I was kidnapped” “” at the time of the explosion and did not know about it in advance.
Khan’s charge sheet also said he conspired with the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, to blow up fuel tanks in the United States and to assassinate former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Neither plot was realized.
Khan, a one-time U.S. resident who graduated from a suburban Baltimore high school in 1999, pleaded guilty to charges that included conspiracy, terrorism and murder in violation of the law of war as part of a secret deal that postpones his formal sentence hearing for four years.
In a portion of the hearing that was punctuated by a court security officer hitting a white-noise button, Khan also agreed not to sue over his CIA custody “” or discuss it “” until after his sentence is served. Khan’s lawyers filed a partially sealed habeas corpus petition in federal court in 2007 that alleged he was subjected to “a sophisticated, refined program of torture operating with impunity outside the boundaries of any domestic or international law.”
The lawyer who wrote that brief, Wells Dixon of New York’s Center for Constitutional Rights, stood up at the war court and agreed to withdraw that lawsuit until the conclusion of Khan’s war crimes prison sentence. Judge Pohl did, however, grant Khan permission to include his treatment as a mitigating factor at his sentencing.
This was the first public sighting of Khan since security forces in his Pakistan turned him over to the CIA in 2003. He was brought here in 2006, and captured in an intelligence photo released by WikiLeaks with the trademark full beard of a Muslim fundamentalist. Wednesday, he was sporting a neat goatee, black suit and pink tie as he waived the right to a translator in flawless English.
“Sure thing, your honor,” he said, declining a court-appointed linguist. “Appreciate it, thanks.”
He also waved off a suggestion by the case prosecutor Courtney Sullivan of the Department of Justice that the judge give him a mid-morning prayer break….
How excellent that the Department of Justice is so solicitous of his Islamic sensibilities.
Under the plea deal, a military jury will hear the case and sentence Khan in 2016. The jury can order him to serve up to 40 years, after which a military judge would reduce it to at-most 25 years. A senior Pentagon official would then have the authority to suspend any or all of it. Once the sentence is over, it would be up to the Executive Branch to decide whether to keep him as a post 9/11 war-on-terror prisoner like the vast majority of the 171 captives here.
Khan’s defense lawyers asked that additional details of the deal be sealed from public view because of “concern about the welfare of Mr. Khan’s family and perhaps friends in the United States,” said Pohl, the trial judge. The Pentagon’s prosecutor argued that there was “an overwhelming public interest” that the world should see the deal….
The welfare of his family and friends? Who is threatening them? Contrary to media myth, it is anti-jihadists who get threats, not jihadists.