Transcript: Gen. Mark Martins’s remarks on Majid Khan’s guilty plea
Transcript of Brig. Gen. Mark Martins’s remarks at the military commission press conference on Feb. 29, 2012:
“Good afternoon. Today, following his initial appearance and arraignment, the military commission accepted the voluntary guilty plea of Majid Shoukat Khan to serious violations of the law of armed conflict.
“Mr. Khan’s conviction, based upon irrefutable and lawfully obtained evidence, means that he will likely spend between 19 and 25 years in confinement measured from this day forward as punishment for his crimes.
“Because the supporting evidence also establishes unassailably that he joined with and materially supported Al Qaeda, Mr. Khan’s conviction affirms that his years of detention to date have been grounded in strong legal authority.
“Even for those who have been long familiar with Mr. Khan’s detention and unlawful belligerent status in connection with Al Qaeda and for all of you who observed the proceedings today, it is instructive, nevertheless, to examine the offenses of which Mr. Khan has now been convicted and to review briefly the supporting evidence now on the record.
“Majid Shoukat Khan is a Pakistani national who lived in the United States from 1996 to early 2002 before returning to Pakistan.
“The commission has now established to the highest standard of proof in our legal system that Mr. Khan joined with members of Al Qaeda in Pakistan to plan and prepare attacks against diverse targets in the United States, in Indonesia, and elsewhere after Sept. 11, 2001.
“Specifically, Mr. Khan admits that on Sept. 11, 2001 he was working as a database administrator high in an office building in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, when members of Al Qaeda hijacked four commercial airliners, three of which were deliberately crashed into the two World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.
“Having seen smoke rising from the Pentagon through the window of his office, he soon became radicalized and interested in traveling to Pakistan.
“By falsely claiming that he intended to visit Dubai and Saudi Arabia, Mr. Khan obtained a travel document to travel from his residence in Baltimore, Maryland, to Karachi, Pakistan in January of 2002.
“Mr. Khan states that upon arrival in Pakistan, he conspired with Khalid Sheik Mohammed regarding plots to blow up underground gasoline storage tanks and to poison water reservoirs in the United States.
“Mr. Khan further states that at Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s direction, he recorded a martyr video, donned an explosive vest, and sat in a mosque waiting for Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to arrive so that Khan could assassinate him – an attempt that did not succeed because Musharraf never arrived.
“In March of 2002, Mr. Khan states he traveled from Karachi back to Baltimore, where he performed tasks for Al Qaeda and Khalid Sheik Mohammed, including purchasing a laptop computer for Al Qaeda and contacting a military recruiter to obtain materials regarding the United States military which he intended to give to Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
“Then upon returning to Pakistan in August of 2002, he states that he worked directly for Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Ali Abdul al-Aziz Ali, and other Al Qaeda associates – all of whom were evading capture by United States and Pakistani authorities.
“Mr. Khan states that at the direction of Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Ali Abdul al-Aziz Ali, he traveled with his wife in December of 2002 from Pakistan to Bangkok, Thailand. There he evaded notice by posing as a tourist.
“In Bangkok, Mr. Khan delivered $50,000 in Al Qaeda funds to a southeast Asia-based Al Qaeda affiliate, which in turn delivered the money to the ally terrorist group, Jemaah Islamiyah, which used the funding to detonate a bomb in August of 2003 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing 11 people, wounding at least 80 others, and severely damaging the hotel.
“Our hearts go out to the surviving victims and to the family members of those who did not survive the Marriott Hotel bombing.
“Be confident that the United States is committed to accountability under law for those who have plotted to attack peace-loving people. For Mr. Khan was today convicted of conspiracy, murder, and attempted murder in violation of the law of war, providing material support for terrorism, and spying. All of these are offenses accepted by the judge to have been triable by military commission as having been committed in the context of and associated with hostilities.
“Let me make clear that other than Mr. Khan, who has today been found guilty, those I have mentioned as members of Al Qaeda and as alleged co-conspirators are presumed innocent unless and until they themselves have been proven guilty.
“We are committed to ensuring that those who are accused before military commissions receive all of the fundamental protections of a fair and just trial that are demanded by our values. Among these are the protection against the use of statements obtained through torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; the right to present evidence; cross examine witnesses; and compel attendance of witnesses in their defense; the right to exculpatory evidence that the prosecution may have as to guilt, sentencing, and the credibility of adverse witnesses; and many other protections.
“Mr. Khan has, importantly and commendably, accepted responsibility and expressed remorse for his actions. He has been represented by a highly competent team of defense counsel. He has pledged to be a law-abiding person and to cooperate with authorities as law-abiding persons do.
“I note that the prosecution of this case combines dedicated trial counsel from the Justice and the Defense departments. I recognize today outstanding investigative work by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and, in particular, the agents in the Baltimore field office who have pursued the evidence in this case since 2002. I also recognize the Defense Department’s Criminal Investigative Task Force, many other components of the federal government, and the daily professionalism of the coast guardsmen, sailors, soldiers, marines, and airmen of Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
“We must reject the false choice presented by those who say that only law enforcement or only the military may be used to take down vicious organizations that attack out of the shadows and hide among civilians.
“Instead, we must use all of the lawful instruments of our national power and authority to do so.”
- Office of Military Commissions’ website
- Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System: Guantanamo Bay Detainee Majid Shoukat Khan Legal Team Press Conference
- WhatTheFolly.com: “High value” Guantanamo detainee pleads guilty to terrorism charges
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Remarks by defense counsels on Majid Khan’s guilty plea
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Press conference Q&A on Majid Khan’s conviction
- WhatTheFolly.com : Transcript: Press conference Q&A with victim of the 2003 Jakarta hotel bombing