US Military Reneges on al-Qosi’s Plea Agreement

When Ibrahim al-Qosi agreed to a plea deal with the government, the original deal was that he’d spend a secret two year sentence (rather than the 14 year sentence announced to the public) in communal quarters. At the last minute, the judge in the case learned there’s no way to do that at Gitmo, though she did recommend that he serve his time in communal quarters.

Well, guess what? After 60 days since then of living communally, the military has moved him to isolation, having not found a way to accommodate the Convening Authority’s recommendations.

The convicted Osama bin Laden’s former cook who pleaded guilty to material support to terrorism was moved from a communal living camp in Guantanamo to live in isolation, in disregard for recommendations of the Military Commission’s Convening Authority and to his plea deal, sources told Al Arabiya.


“As has been the practice with previous detainees convicted by a Military Commission and serving punitive sentences, al-Qosi is no longer housed with detainees held solely as a function of the law of war,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Maj. Tanya Bradsher.


Al-Qosi was left in camp 4 as a result of a 60-day sentence deferment period that expired on Sunday and that was requested by the Convening Authority and in anticipation of a possible review of Pentagon rules

Moving al-Qosi does not directly breach the plea agreement but undermines recommendations of the Convening Authority requiring communal living for Al-Qosi.

Al-Arabiya’s Muna Shikaki notes that this will make it a lot harder for the Administration to craft any more plea deals. Why plead if it means conditions will get worse and if you can’t really trust the terms of the deal?

But I’m just as curious what this means for al-Qosi’s Double Secret sentence: the two years versus the fourteen years. Al-Qosi has no leverage over the government at this point. If they’re not going to make an effort to keep him in communal quarters, what kind of guarantee does he have they’ll let him go in two years?

  1. BoxTurtle says:

    Al-Arabiya’s Muna Shikaki notes that this will make it a lot harder for the Administration to craft any more plea deals.

    They weren’t having a lot of luck before. They seem to be only offering the deals to people they can’t convict even in a kangaroo court. And in return for their guilty plea (and likely an agreement not to talk about things in the future), they serve a sentence of less than fovever. They wouldn’t have had any takers, if the prisoners weren’t perfectly aware the the government would deny them any rights the government didn’t want them to have.

    what kind of guarantee does he have they’ll let him go in two years?

    None whatsoever. Just ask Joanthan Pollard, who also thought he had a deal.

    Boxturtle (I still want the gitmo prisoners in front of real judges)

  2. Mary says:

    They might look to the history of George Dasch and what we pulled off with military commissions before. He was promised a pardon within 6 months. Didn’t quite turn out that way. As a matter of fact, the main reason the rest of the Nazi saboteurs were killed was to cover up the fact that Dasch and Burger turned them all in – Hoover and Truman wanted the FBI to look all knowing and invincible to the Nazis and a real trial would have a) not had a death penalty on the table, since they basically did nothing and could even have been determined to have abandoned the enterprise (Dasch in particular, and b) would have resulted in outing the info that the “saboteurs” weren’t “caught” by FBI efforts, but instead turned themselves in.

    No one honored the deal cut with Dasch and the men he turned in were all killed to cover up the fact that they were turned in. It’s not a historic background that inspires confidence. But hey – with a hopey changey guy in the White House who runs his own death squads, I’m sure things are different now.

  3. temptingfate says:

    On nearly every front our emerging federal banana republic continues it’s process of making justice and the rule of law a curious relic of a bygone era. Pick a topic: assassinations, military justice, war as the last and least valued recourse, legal rules of debt assignment and property ownership, right to assembly. Anything that was held sacrosanct is now up for grabs and control by people who respect nothing but their own personal gain and the protection of their cronies.

    We’re just swirling down the bowl one decadent decision at a time.

  4. Jeff Kaye says:

    “…detainees held solely as a function of the law of war”?

    Well, then, they should all be POWs, with the privileged status that comes from that. But GWB said they would not have such protections, and essentially Obama says the same. The only change is that Obama said the Gitmo prisoners would be covered by Common Article 3 of Geneva. But he also signed an updated version of the Military Commissions Act, which eviscerated the War Crimes Act, and made the President of the United States the arbiter when it came to “grave breaches” of Geneva. Kind of a fixed game, don’tcha think?

    If this were really a war, then Omar Khadr had every right to kill in battle (even as a child soldier), just as every other soldier does, on both sides. (The evidence actually points to the fact that he killed nobody.) Instead, he’s being tried as a war criminal, for doing what any other soldier does. The Pentagon routinely lies. It seems to be second nature to them. But the crowd goes along.

    Thanks for keeping on top of this, EW.

      • Jeff Kaye says:

        Not today. I’m at work in SF. I will be there Friday.

        Also, working day and night (every spare minute of my time) with Jason Leopold to really finish up and hopefully publish on Wednesday a huge story on DoD experimentation at Guantanamo, including how they set up the “legal” apparatus for it. It’s the product of an over 6 month investigation, vetted with experts, and rarin’ to go. As I learned, it’s the things we don’t hear about that we really need to worry about.

        I will be at a panel with Jason on Friday at 1:30, and part of an ACLU related set of readings early that evening. I wish I didn’t have to miss so much of the events. I see Andy Worthington is “live blogging” the affair. Are you going to be there?

        • strangelyenough says:

          “As I learned, it’s the things we don’t hear about that we really need to worry about suppress.”

          Because, you know, it could endanger someone…

        • harpie says:

          I’m looking forward to that article, Jeff and good luck with the finishing up. No, I won’t be there, but will be following along with Andy’s liveblogging.

          As I learned, it’s the things we don’t hear about that we really need to worry about.

          True, but as I realized again after reading Marcy’s recent post about the Uthman court documents, just hearing about the things we don’t usually hear about doesn’t really help lessen the worry, either. Uggh.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Both Bush and Obama have the same problem: If they’re criminals, they have certain rights. Like a lawyer. Or the right to remain silent. If they’re POW’s, they also have certain rights. Like regular Red Cross visits. Letters. The implicit assumption that fighting back is not a crime.

      Both are unacceptable, so they create this third catagory “enemy combatants” that is neither and has no rights except what we’re willing to give.

      If they ever get pinned down to define the differences between the above, they’ll be in trouble. It seems obvious that ObamaLLP is using whatever defination suits them at a given time and even mixing them up when neither matches. Like KSM.

      Boxturtle (Give ’em a lawyer and a trial in a real court. Or call ’em POWs. Pick one)

  5. danw5 says:

    Have we ever told the truth about anything. That is one of the issues in the US: we have to dissect this insanity while the government puts Secret stamps on everything so we never know the truth. Who did assassinate Kennedy?

  6. fatster says:

    Court rejects appeal of 2 ejected from Bush event
    Supreme Court won’t hear appeal of 2 activists ejected from Bush event in 2005 [because their car had a “No Blood for Oil bumper sticker]

    “Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor voted to hear the appeal. “I cannot see how reasonable public officials, or any staff or volunteers under their direction, could have viewed the bumper sticker as a permissible reason for depriving Weise and Young of access to the event,” Ginsburg said in a short written opinion.”


  7. fatster says:

    From Aravosis:

    BREAKING: Federal judge orders Obama admin. to stop DADT discharges immediately. Will Obama comply, or side with the bigots?


  8. odin007 says:

    I have no sympathy for this man. Trust the U.S. military? Heck, they can’t even tell the truth about friendly fire incidents involving their own people. (Pat Tillman anyone?) Surely this guy’s lawyer should have known better……….

  9. bobschacht says:

    The news today has been about the Ghailani trial–
    and even on MSNBC, disappointingly, rather than being about the trial of Ghailani, the trial is being reported as the trial of our court system. That is, WE KNOW HE’S GUILTY! Our our Courts “man” enough to find him guilty?
    In other words, Ghailani is not on trial; the Court itself is on trial, and the vigilantes are howling for “justice.” When are we going to get some responsible trial coverage from the mainstream media?

    Bob in AZ

    • bobschacht says:

      Fortunately, Keith Olbermann had a better take on the trials tonight, citing a string of them that have taken place in NYC without incident, and citing the statistics of hundreds of trials of terrorists that have taken place, without incident, and their conviction rate, belittling the vigilante howlers.

      Bob in AZ

  10. mzchief says:

    I take it you were reading this:

    Anderson and McChesney do not consider why a standing army replaced militias in 1865, but the reason is not difficult to discern. One has only to read the official pronouncements of the soldiers and political figures who launched a campaign of extermination against the Plains Indians.


    Minnesota authorities wanted to execute all 303 who were convicted, but the Lincoln administration feared that the European powers would not view such an act favorably and did not want to give them an excuse to assist the Confederacy in any way. Therefore, “only” 38 of the Indians were hanged, making this travesty of justice still the largest mass execution in U.S. history.


    Sherman, Sheridan, and the other top military commanders were not shy about announcing that their objective was extermination, a term that Sherman used literally on a number of occasions, as he had in reference to Southerners only a few years earlier. He and Sheridan are forever associated with the slogan “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

    – from “Exposing the GOP’s Shameful Historical Role in the Native American Genocide,” by Thomas J. DiLorenzo, a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute, and Professor of Economics at Loyola College in Maryland, Oct. 11, 2010

    A bit more about the war crimes committed against US citizens during the Civil War before the US “took it on the road”:

    [..] 400 Missouri bushwhackers led by Quantrill sacked Lawrence in August 1863. That massacre prompted Ewing, under pressure from Kansas politicians, to issue Order 11, depriving the pro-Southern guerrillas shelter from Missourians along the border.

    Residents of Jackson, Cass and Bates counties and part of Vernon had just a couple of weeks to vacate their homes — unless they lived within a mile of a military outpost and could prove loyalty to the Union.

    The directive proved most devastating to rural reaches where bushwhackers were known to find comfort. “With the exception of the hysteria-motivated herding of Japanese-Americans into concentration camps during World War II,” wrote historian Albert Castel, “it stands as the harshest treatment ever imposed on U.S. citizens under the plea of military necessity in our nation’s history.”

    Most of the people ordered out of western Missouri were “women, children and the elderly — thrown out in the prairie before winter without any resources,” leaving their livestock and crops behind, Raab said.

    – from “Scientist finds buried history of Border War,” May 13, 2010

    Yeah, the history of this country is truly horrific but if we don’t try to understand it, we will have little success changing our trajectory.