Transcript: Press conference Q&A on Majid Khan’s conviction

Transcript of the Feb. 29, 2012 military commission press conference Q&A on Majid Shoukat Khan’s conviction: 


Question: 

“…depending on what happened over the next four years…(inaudible)?”

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor: 

“Yeah, I think probably a better way to see that is there is always independence on the part of the convening with regard to sentence. But there is no agreement if the judge or the panel try to do something other than what’s in there. So there is always an opportunity for a convening authority to consider something. But the best way of viewing this  – and this isn’t uncommon to systems of sentencing in many other frameworks – is to see the 19 to 25 year period as what he’s likely going to receive in the end.”

Read more: “High value” Guantanamo detainee pleads guilty to terrorism charges

Question: 

“Nevertheless, do you think 19 years, depending on what happens, is sufficient deterrence for others to do such similar things and sufficient for other detainees to do what Mr. Khan has done?”


Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor: 

“Well, I mean these issues of deterrence and the other objectives of sentencing are something that the sentencing authority, the panel, the judge and convening authority will take up.

“I believe this is a very credible sentence based on his conduct. No one has alleged that he was a mastermind or a leader. I mean he has done very serious things, very serious violations of the law of armed conflict. He was, as you saw in the discussion with the judge, convicted on a rationale of indirect liability – very common in our system. Liability under conspiracy where you can be guilty of a substantive offense that you didn’t directly do but that was a natural and foreseeable consequence of an agreement that came into play and that you never withdrew from.

“So I think when you put the different factors associated with this, including the expression of responsibility for his actions, which is a two-step reduction under the federal sentencing guidelines. I mean, when you put this into context, I think you see a very credible result that fits, that is justice, and that is an appropriate holding of accountability of something.

“He’s also of course been held, as you know, under laws of armed conflict detention. And when all is said and done, he will have spent between 28 and 34 years either removed from the battlefield and sentenced for a crime.

“And I guess – I think any way you look at this, this is a very credible result and appropriate result and one that federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents would see the same sorts of things predicted out of another system.”

Question: 

[inaudible]

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor: 

“Yeah, what’s precisely your comment on motivation?”

Question: 

“Does a plea bargain of this nature provide sufficient motivation for other detainees to… (inaudible)?”

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor: 

“Well, you know I’ll talk about this a little later but I think what causes someone to plea guilty is a function of predictability of the system and what is going to come out of the system if you go to trial. And he was facing an overwhelming body of evidence that had been painstakingly built and developed. And he knowingly, intelligently, with great advice from a three-person defense team that’s well-qualified, decided it was in his best interest. So other people are going to have to make an individual determination of what they want to do within the system. But this is an indicator of optimizing an intelligent individual decided was in his best interest.”

Question: 

“Seeing 19 to 25 as the best way to (inaudible)… It struck some of us odd given the history of CCR arguing against secrecy of these proceedings that when you appeared here you were arguing for sealing documents that when you read them looked like much of it was already in the public domain.”

Wells Dixon, defense counsel for Majid Shoukat Khan, Center for Constitutional Rights:

“Well, I’ll answer your second question first and say that the Center for Constitutional Rights has been very outspoken and unrelenting in its criticism of Guantanamo Bay since almost at the time the first planeload of prisoners arrived here. We’ve been highly critical and have challenged U.S. government policies that include torture and indefinite detention, and that will continue.

“But we have a unique role when it comes to Guantanamo. We represent individual clients. We represent Majid Khan. And we have a fundamental obligation to act in his best interest and to try to help him achieve the best outcome for him regardless of how that may be viewed politically. We think that that’s what we’ve done in this case. It was Majid Khan’s decision to plead guilty, to cooperate, to accept responsibility for his actions and that’s what he’s going to do.

“To answer your first question, I think you all have copies of the pre-trial agreement. You can read it for yourselves. The language does mention 19 years, and as Gen. Martins said, the convening authority is the only authority that has – that will set the final approved sentence. That sentence can be no more than 19 years if he cooperates as he has agreed to do. So that is our response to that question.”

Question: 

“Majid Khan announced that he had been trying to get in touch with the Embassy of Pakistan for 9 years and that he wanted a Pakistani lawyer to represent him in the future. Why did he make that statement? Has there been any attempt to contact Pakistani authorities?”

Wells Dixon, defense counsel for Majid Shoukat Khan, Center for Constitutional Rights:

“I can tell you that the government of Pakistan has tried repeatedly to obtain access to Mr. Khan at Guantanamo Bay. We have been – as his counsels – we have been supportive of that request. And Mr. Khan, as you heard today, would like to meet with officials from Pakistan government. So we’re hopeful that that will occur.”

Question: 

“I have a question for Gen. Martins. [inaudible] The convening authority has agreed that the sentence doesn’t exceed 19 years, and he has the final word on the sentence. This is a two-part question. Is the ceiling of that sentence 19 years? (Inaudible) Whether it is 25 or whether it is 19, he would have gotten more had he been convicted in a trial in the U.S., in a civilian trial. Or theoretically, he could have gotten more years. And is this a fair trade-off? What is the government getting in terms of his cooperation? What can he contribute – what do you think he has that he can be of value to the prosecution?”

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor: 

“Well in your first, I’d just refer you to reading the agreement carefully. There’s going to be a process in four years or up to four years. You’ll notice that the sentencing hearing can take place earlier with appropriate notice. But at the sentencing hearing, you’ll have a panel that will provide important input into this whole process. They’ll be hearing a full proceeding – adversarial proceeding with extenuation and mitigation and aggravation put on the record. Witnesses will be called. They’ll be instructed that they have between 25 and 40 years to decide what’s appropriate within that range and that’s an important data point and input into the process.

“It’s not final. In many sentencing arrangements, you have different people who can weigh in on what a person actually does and in confinement. They have a role, and they’ll do their role. And they’ll do, I’m confident, appropriately and justly and paying attention to the evidence and the instructions from the court.

“And then you have this range of 19 to 25, which is in the independent discretion of the convening authority. And if you read the agreement in that paragraph, the prosecution has an important role to play there relating to what’s happened in that period of four years that will bear upon it.

“So it’s always the case that a convening authority can approve a sentence. He can look at everything. He can look at allegations of misconduct, the sentence. But he’s agreed in this agreement, in the best way to read it, the thing he’s bound to do is to approve a sentence between 19 and 25 years, and that’s what this agreement is about.

“I mean you can always speculate on what other things that can take place but between 19 and 25 years is the best way to view the output at the end of this process.

“I believe that…and if you have questions about this, we can sit down and go through other standards that are out there related to sentencing, such as the federal sentencing guidelines, which after a case called Booker, judges aren’t required to accept either. I mean, those are just a guide. But if you look at this conduct and you look at what was proven based on now admissible irrefutable evidence, that this is an appropriate outcome in this case.

“And the government is certainly expected and entitled to take into account the fact that they didn’t have to go through a proceeding and prove the case, the fact that he’s going to have now 4 years where he does, as I mentioned, what law-abiding citizens do – is they provide cooperation with the government. He’s going to do that. And that should affect what happens when the panel starts deciding what they should do in that framework between 25 and 40 years and what the convening authority decides to do when he finally gets the whole record of trial from the military commission and does actions on sentencing.”

Question: 

“I’m just wondering why the Department of Justice lawyer is not here to comment. And it also struck me today that to the general public it’s a military commission yet statements on behalf of the prosecution today were all made by the Department of Justice…why was that?”

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor: 

“Well, I have 8 tremendous Department of Justice attorneys who work for me in the Office of the Prosecution. And this one is one who’s been working on this case for a while. She’s not here because I’m the designated spokesman. I happen to be in the head of the prosecution, and I’m the one speaking. But she’s part of a team of three attorneys – two JAGs [Judge Advocate Generals] and herself. She did represent the prosecution function in front of the commission today. And it is a very close team between the Defense and the Justice departments in these prosecutions.

“The case was determined for prosecution by military commission on February 12th of this year. It had previously been investigated and worked on, as we know, by a Department of Justice bureau – the Federal Bureau of Investigation – since 2002 and the Baltimore field office has had that case since 2002. So in the (inaudible) it was the Attorney General who prosecuted the case by a military commission. There’s nothing inherent in the act – the Military Commissions Act – or the history of commissions that they are to be represented – the government functions – to be represented by any particular person. And the American people and our national security deserve the best possible representation we can get. So I happen to plan on availing myself of expertise all around the government, and that particular prosecutor and these investigators are the best as are the Defense Department’s people that I’ve got in the office.”

Question: 

“Thank, Gen. Martins. Two questions. One is Majid Khan’s experiences are classified. How in 19 years or before is he going to be released if his experiences are classified? I mean, how can you ensure that he’s not going to talk about his experiences once he’s released – if he’s released? And the second question is can you tell us about where Majid Khan is right now? You seem to have that problem talking about where Omar Khadr or (inaudible) are so I was wondering if you tell us?”

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor: 

“Yeah, I won’t answer questions about the circumstances of the detention and where he is.

“On your first question, in 19 years, those who control national security information will determine what remains classified. Time does have an impact on sensitivity and those things being protected.

“I mean, in general, as I’ve said before in this forum, the public has a strong interest in understanding these proceedings. Disclosing information is a very important imperative of this. It’s not the only interest. There are also interests of national security. There are – certain times – privacy interests of individuals where it’s in the public interest not to have those private interests disclosed. You can think of medical records and other information that government has that it’s supposed to hold in trust. We can’t simply open up all our files, and we have an obligation to protect that information.

“The pledges I’ll make to you that are the pledges of our government that withholding would be based in law – it’ll be based in law; they’ll be a reason for it. And that reason will not be that a law was violated or it will be embarrassing. I can also tell you that when something is not disclosed, it will be done in a surgical way and not in an over-broad way. Very important principle – not to be over-broad. There will be someone minding the decision. It won’t be just one official deciding not to disclose something. Someone’s going to mind the the minders. Very important principle. And finally, the public deserves a reason if they’re not going to be getting some information, but we’ve never said that our secrets are an open book. Troop movements, sensitive sources and methods, information we have or may have about a terrorist organization that may commit an attack in the future and then those privacy interests where we have the information that our citizens don’t expect us to be turning over. Those are going to be things that we continue to protect and feel like we have to protect.”

Question:

“Actually, it’s a question for both the general and for the defense. When it came to the decision to reach a plea deal, the defense indicated in its opening statements that it was, if not, the initial strategy, it was a very quickly decided-upon strategy. Was the prosecution ready to accept initial talks on a plea deal from the beginning?

“And for the defense, why decide to pursue a plea agreement as opposed to going into court and forcing the government to present its evidence?”

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor: 

“Yeah, an offer to plea guilty has to come from an accused and then it has to be an agreement. You know, there are principles of contracts here. It has to be a meeting of the minds about what’s appropriate. And in the government situation, it’s dependent upon what is the state of the admissible evidence of crimes and that’s really where it begins. And I can’t speak to what prior chief prosecutors and prior prosecutors have done. I only know what I’ve been doing since September [2011] when I got here. So I won’t speculate about how they would have regarded an offer.”

Question:

“Just a very quick follow up, sir. Was it apparent to you when you came onboard last year that the state of the evidence was such that it made sense to go ahead and start discussing a plea agreement?”

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor: 

“Well, again, you know there are a lot of factors that go into something like this. I think a part of it is predictability of what the outcomes would be and then what the relationship is between an accused and his counsel and what those counselors are saying. This is a case that over time as we developed it and looked hard at the evidence – and I did review all the cases when I came onboard for their prosecutorial merits and the state of the evidence. This is a case that was provable beyond a reasonable doubt based on admissible evidence, and there was an agreement reached, again, with the help of very competent, thorough defense counsels and a lot of prosecutorial and investigative work.”

Question:

“And for the defense?”

Wells Dixon, defense counsel for Majid Shoukat Khan, Center for Constitutional Rights:

“I’ll just say in response to that, you know, it was Majid Khan who pushed the government. And he did  so quite a long time ago. It’s taken us a long time for us to get to today. The reasons for that are still somewhat unclear to me.

“Prior to Gen. Martins’ arrival as the chief prosecutor, it certainly seemed from our perspective that there was a tremendous bureaucratic paralysis and perhaps even intransigence.

“You know, we didn’t know where to go. We couldn’t find anyone who would talk to us in the United States government.

“And I think that that flowed from the fact that we have a President who has shown little leadership or courage when it comes to Guantanamo Bay. You know, he has essentially surrendered issues concerning Guantanamo Bay to his political opponents.

“And so again, we had nowhere to go. We had no one who would listen to us until Gen. Martins arrived as chief prosecutor. And so we thank Gen. Martins for hearing what we had to say and for helping us get to this process – to this point today.

“As I said, it was not an easy process for us or for our client. But we’re thankful that we’re here.”

Question:

“Can you address that same issue of releasing Majid Khan?”

Wells Dixon, defense counsel for Majid Shoukat Khan, Center for Constitutional Rights:

“I’ll just say this. I think that the principle of transparency can’t flow in only one direction. If transparency is to have any role in the military commission process, there has to be disclosure of what happened to people like Majid Khan.

“You can’t understand Majid Khan – you can’t understand how difficult it was for him to get to the point that he arrived at today – without understanding what happened to him.

“I’ll be very clear again. Based on the filings that we’ve made that are now unclassified, he was tortured. He was tortured very badly. And what happened to him was unlawful. And the United States government needs to – it must – acknowledge what happened to him, and it must accept responsibility for what happened to him the same way that he’s accepted responsibility for his own actions and the actions of his co-conspirators.”

Question:

“We’ve just had an officer of the courts say blankly during the course of this press conference that somebody was tortured in American custody. If that doesn’t trigger a criminal investigation, what does?

“And then for the other side, I have a question. Or both of you. Is this agreement that we witnessed today (inaudible)…?”

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor: 

“On your comment, and I’m glad that you gave me an opportunity because I was going to seek to follow up. Again, you know, there will be every opportunity to describe what he alleges what happened to him and to have that taken into account in this case.

“And in talking about this case – very important to state that one of the main reforms of the 2009 [Military Commission] Act was that no statement obtained as a result of coercion, essentially – there was a small carve-out for battlefield capture situations that doesn’t apply here – is admissible for proof of guilt or relating to sentence. Very important.

“Accountability is important for everyone. There is a federal prosecutor who’s been appointed to deal with allegations of mistreatment. There’s a federal prosecutor appointed to deal with allegations of mistreatment. That’s his job. He’s a federal prosecutor.

“There have been with acknowledgments – not with regard to this accused – but with regard to statements. And I refer you to the 2009 releases of the Central Intelligence Agency investigative report from the Inspector General. So I just don’t want you to overstate that. I mean, accountability is important and there’s significant investigation ongoing.

“Let me talk a little bit to this related issue of what happens… In 19 to 25 years, the question is is he going to be still held under the law of armed conflict? This comes up from time to time.

“Couple of points about that:

“That theoretical question isn’t just an issue with military commissions. Okay? When you have two different sources of authority to hold someone, you’ve got that issue. So if a federal court sentence runs and somebody remains a combatant – remains a belligerent against a country – and there’s an authority under the law of war – as there is from 2001 when Congress passed the authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda and associated forces – there’s still the question: can he be held as a combatant?

“But I ask you to look at the current record, which is, although small, is important. Hamdan – Salim Ahmed Hamdan – had a sentence that ran 66 months. He wasn’t held further. [David] Hicks was not held further. So, you know, there’s a speculation about continues holding under it that I think is just that – speculation. And what you had today is an authoritative set of findings about what this individual did to the highest standard of proof.

“What tends to happen, you know, in my experience in life and in the law, is that people defer to something that goes to such a high standard, and that there may be an administrative process down the road by somebody – immigration officials or whatever – the fact that he’s been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of those charged offenses and has served a sentence lawfully adjudged is very important. And I think it winds up having sway. So I think it – trials have meaning, and they’re very important and there have consequences in holding people accountable. I’m in favor of trials.”

Lt. Col Jon Jackson, defense counsel for Majid Shoukat Khan: 

“The questions was is any deal at Guantanamo politics-proof? And the answer is no. And the reason for that is sitting at Camp 5 right now, I represent Omar Khadr as well as Majid Khan. And I know the government’s working hard to get him back, but it’s political the reason that he’s not gone.

“What Majid Khan faces is – we talked about a leap of faith. He talked about a leap of faith. This is his best shot to go home. Does this mean he’s going home just as Gen. Martin said? No. There’s no guarantee he goes home. The judge asked him that.

“The Military Commissions Act does not allow us to put any type of pre-trial agreement together that would ensure someone goes home. Closest we can get is what really we did. And in Omar Khadr’s case, it had an exchange of diplomatic notes.

“But in order to get a deal done at Guantanamo, you have to rely on the good faith of the parties. And Gen. Martins is a different chief prosecutor. And when he came into power – guess that’s best way to put it – or detailed in September, we talked to Majid and said this is a different chief prosecutor, things are going to be different. And things started moving. And so we have to have confidence in not only Gen. Martins but the government’s going to do the right thing in 19 years.

“But the simple answer to your question is no. There’s simply no deal that is political-proof.”

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor: 

“Jon, if I could just point out that Omar Khadr’s sentence hasn’t run…I mean, he’s still serving an 8-year sentence.”

Question:

“General, you said that when you came in you reviewed all of the files for what was prosecutable and what was not. How many detainees do you believe at this point are prosecutable and how quickly you think we’ll see other cases move forward?”

Brig. Gen. Mark Martin, chief prosecutor: 

“I’m afraid I won’t answer – I can’t answer that about internal deliberations of what I’m planning to do and what the prosecution’s going to do.”

Question:

“The Justice Department had an inter-agency process. They did release the fact that they believe 36 were prosecutable.”

Brig. Gen. Mark Martin, chief prosecutor: 

“Right. And I’d refer you to that. I would refer you to that. That is something in the public record, and it’s certainly something that you can review. The 2010 report of the Executive Order 13492 task force is probably a good touchstone.

“But I’ll leave what I said at that, which is I did what a prosecutor does when he comes in. I reviewed my case load and looked at it, and I do have some ideas about that and thoughts about that but each case is different and is distinct and relies on the evidence that is specific…

“I will just refer you back to that 2010 body of very important and respectable work. I was actually involved in that work when I was in my job prior to going to Afghanistan. So that’s probably the best thing for you to look at – is the 2010 report of the Executive Order 13492, which sounds like you’ve already read.”

Question:

“Do you think today’s event will make it more or less likely that you will be able to – not you personally – (inaudible) say ‘Okay, Guantanamo Bay is more likely to be closed at some point in the future’?”

Brig. Gen. Mark Martin, chief prosecutor: 

“Yeah, I can’t get into…these speculations. I do obviously disagree with this idea that it’s all political. I mean, the portrayal of something that is unsettled, unfair, politically-driven is there and it’s an adversarial process and people can certainly make that.

“I see a system where a lot of different individuals entrusted with public responsibility and duties under the law are doing their best to fulfill those responsibilities.

“For me, it’s that of a public prosecutor, and the tradition of the public prosecutor in the United States is to not just simply try to rack up convictions or dispose of cases but to try to uphold the law.

“Defense counsels have a time-honored, a very important function in our system to put the government to the test, to bring accountability and transparency to the government.

“The judge has his own responsibility. And these are judges that I’m sure you’ve seen are independent. Although they’re not Article III tenured, I defy you to say what they do isn’t independent.

“And you have a convening authority with separate responsibilities. The panel members – a jury of officers – all sworn to uphold the Constitution.

“All these people can’t be in cahoots, and they all can’t be doing politics. This system is fair. This system is fair and it’s not politically-driven. But I certainly respect and will fight to uphold the opportunity for defense counsel to say otherwise.”

Question: 

“So what you’re saying if I’m understanding you (inaudible)…Guantanamo Bay apart from being wrapped in legalities it’s also wrapped in politics. This is a very political camp here in the sense that the President of the United States filed a long time ago to close it and has failed to do so. (Inaudible)…But it strikes me that, you know, is there anything legally can be done that will hasten the closure of Guantanamo Bay?”

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor: 

“Well, I’m certainly going to try to prosecute, find evidence, work with some tremendously talented and hardworking people to build cases beyond a reasonable doubt. And if we don’t have the proof to make that known too, then that’s what I’m obligated to do.

“But again, I just resist this notion that it’s political. I mean, I have absolutely no political pressure put on me in any of the decisions I make and I think that’s the case of others in this system.”

Wells Dixon, defense counsel for Majid Shoukat Khan, Center for Constitutional Rights:

“I want to respond to the question about efforts to close Guantanamo Bay and to say that military commission aside, the easiest way or the most substantial step that can be taken to close the facility is to release the 89 men who are currently today approved for transfer. These are individuals whose cases were reviewed by the Guantanamo Review Task Force and as to whom each of the relevant military, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies have said can be released consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. So if these 89 men are released, the prison population would immediately be cut in half.

“And it raises the question of why haven’t they been released from Guantanamo Bay? Congress has certainly tried to use its spending powers to restrict transfers but there is a mechanism under the NDAA that would allow these men to be transferred and that is for the Secretary of Defense to certify transfers to places like Canada, Western Europe and elsewhere. So in order to close Guantanamo Bay, the word has to come from the White House to the Secretary of Defense that transfers must be certified. And that is, I summit to you, a political issue.”

Question:

“Two questions for the defense. Can you be more specific about exactly when Majid Khan first told you he wanted to make a deal? And second, why he thought it was a good idea join up with Khalid Sheik Mohammed…(inaudible)?”

Wells Dixon, defense counsel for Majid Shoukat Khan, Center for Constitutional Rights:

“To answer your first question, I don’t remember. It was a few years ago. I just don’t remember.”

“And with respect to, you know, the allegations against him, you all have the stipulations of facts so you can see what he has admitted to. In terms of how and why that happened, I think that that’s an issue we will address most likely in his sentencing four years from now. With respect to that, I’ll simply say, you know, it’s easy to look at the various serious offenses that he pled guilty to and to assume based on those facts that he pled guilty to that he is, you know, a bad person for a lack of a better term. It’s easy to say that but, you know, you don’t just wake up one day and decide you’re going to conspire with Khalid Sheik Mohammed. There are a series of things that happened. You make a series of decisions in life that gets you to that point. It certainly doesn’t diminish what he did. It doesn’t diminish his culpability. It doesn’t draw into question of voluntariness of his guilty plea or anything like that. But it does help explain him as an individual. You know, he at Guantanamo is referred to as a number. He’s referred to as (audio redacted), but he is actually a person and a human being and that doesn’t change based on his guilty plea. Those are issues that I think we will address more fully at sentencing.”

Question: (Inaudible) 

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor: 

“That’s not accurate. In the stipulation of facts – let’s go into that a bit – he was a derivative asylee. He received asylum status. He was a lawful resident for a period. And then he left under false pretenses and lost his residency lawfulness when he let his travel documents expire. But he is not a citizen.”

Question:

“As the defense said that he had been seeking – that Pakistani authorities have been seeking access to him and he even said at court today. And so do you plan on coordinating this access? (Inaudible) Was the embassy or the Pakistani authorities (inaudible)…?”

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor: 

“I am aware that he’s requested contact with Pakistani authorities, and I have recommended approval of that. That’s not my decision to make. But I think it’s a strong rationale for him to talk to them. Others who have been in a trial process, as he is, have been allowed to talk to their national authorities. But I don’t make that decision and that has been referred to the appropriate authorities in our government.

“Okay, I am going to go ahead and close briefly. I think there is one more speaker coming in.

“In conclusion, I’d like to note that astute observers familiar with international terrorism prosecutions in the federal courts have predicted that military commissions would need to decrease the level of uncertainty in order to develop into a more effective part of our national security and justice institutions. I submit that what you have seen today is just that.

“Today, you saw an open court, an intelligent defendant accused of serious violations of the law of war. He’s been well advised by a zealous and competent team of three defense counsels having regular access to that defense team. He faced overwhelming and admissible evidence of guilt resulting from thorough criminal investigation and prosecution work. And he decided to plead guilty to his crimes, to accept responsibility for his actions, to face up to a long sentence of confinement, and to fully acknowledge the lawfulness of his detention to date as a belligerent despite previous denials.

“Experienced criminal justice practitioners will tell you that this requires predictability in outcomes both as to what the system will determine with regard to guilt or innocence and on what charges and as to what the system will adjudge as a sentence on those charges. Such predictability was achieved here, and the agreed upon outcome upholds the interests of the people of United States, the security interests of our nation and other nations, and the interests of justice.

“The reforms incorporated into the 2009 Military Commissions Act resulting from action by all three branches of our government and reviewed by our federal courts have reduced the legal uncertainty of the system and made it more predictable in its outcomes. While appreciating the criticisms leveled by concerned Americans and international partners, we believe that these reformed military commissions are fair and that they serve an important role in the armed conflict against Al Qaeda and associated forces.

“There is increasing evidence that the American people support this view and we aim to be worthy of their trust. Your military exists to fight our nation’s wars – not to police its streets. We do not lobby for missions, and we did not lobby for this one. But we will carry out this assignment as is customary with other assignments with integrity, dedication, and skill and availing ourselves of expertise from across the federal government. When called upon to try those within our jurisdiction who have violated the laws of armed conflict, we will do so faithfully, transparently, respectful of the various roles within an adversarial system, and in accordance with the rule of law. Thank you.”

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3 Comments on “Transcript: Press conference Q&A on Majid Khan’s conviction

  1. Pingback: "High value" Guantanamo detainee pleads guilty to terrorism charges | What The Folly?!

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