Friday, January 8, 2010

Christmas Day Bomber Pleads Not Guilty

The lawyered-up underwear bomber pleads not guilty in his initial court appearance in Detroit federal court:
Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the man charged with trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane on December 25, pleaded not guilty Friday to six federal charges.
Wearing a white T-shirt, too-long khaki pants that were rolled up several times at the ankles and blue sneakers, the 23-year-old Nigerian national walked slowly into the federal courtroom, ankles shackled and in apparent pain after having suffered second- and third-degree burns in the flight.
Asked by the judge whether he was taking any medication, he replied he was taking painkillers but that he understood the six charges he faced.
AbdulMutallab faces the following charges according to the federal indictment from the office of Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan:
  • attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction
  • attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States
  • willful attempt to destroy and wreck an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States
  • willfully placing a destructive device in, upon and in proximity to an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States which was likely to endanger the safety of such aircraft, and
  • two counts of possession of a firearm/destructive in furtherance of a crime of violence
In a move that will make us all safer, the U.S. State Department announced on January 5 that it had revoked AbdulMutallab's visa.

Detainees Like The Accommodations At Club Gitmo

Congressman Peter King once said that the only scandal at the Guantanamo Bay prison is that the detainees are treated too well. In an article about the "new pessimism" that the Gauntanamo Bay prison will ever be closed, Newsweek suggests that the detainees agree:
But the final irony is that many of the detainees may not even want to be transferred to Thomson and could conceivably even raise their own legal roadblocks to allow them to stay at Gitmo.
Marc Falkoff [a lawyer who represents some of the Yemeni detainees at Gitmo] notes that many of his clients, while they clearly want to go home, are at least being held under Geneva Convention conditions in Guantánamo. At Thomson, he notes, the plans call for them to be thrown into the equivalent of a "supermax" security prison under near-lockdown conditions.
"As far as our clients are concerned, it's probably preferable for them to remain at Guantánamo," he says.
Separately, reports more recidivism from released Gitmo detainees:
As many as one in five former Guantanamo Bay detainees are suspected of or confirmed to have engaged in terrorist activity after their release, U.S. officials said, citing the latest government statistics.
The 20 percent rate is an increase over the 14 percent of former inmates that an April Pentagon report said were thought to have joined terrorist efforts, said the officials, who requested anonymity. The officials didn’t provide the numbers on which the 20 percent is based.