The UndieBomber Hearing

The UndieBomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had his first day in court since he decided to represent himself today. The outcome of the day was to schedule another pre-trial hearing on January 12.

The only drama of the day pertained to whether Abdulmutallab would grant his standby counsel, Anthony Chambers, access to discovery. Abdulmutallab stated he thought it was unnecessary. But then Judge Nancy Edmunds overrode that judgment and ordered the government to hand over discovery. Abdulmutallab did waive his right to speedy trial, thus granting Chambers the 90 days he requested to review the discovery. (Prosecutor Jonathan Tukel suggested that Abdulmutallab should just hand over the discovery — which would have had the effect of depriving Chambers of discovery — but Chambers objected with Edmunds’ support.)

Abdulmutallab seems to have no objection to Chambers himself, and it seems likely Chambers will be doing more than just stand-by counsel, while still giving Abdulmutallab the ability to object.

Abdulmutallab, by the way, was brought into the court room in khaki pants and a short-sleeve khaki shirt over an untucked t-shirt and blue sneakers — which all looked like a boy scout uniform, particularly given that Abdulmutallab is so short (probably shorter than my 5’6″). He had only a thin set of red handcuffs, and those were removed for the hearing itself.

Another day, another uneventful civilian hearing for an accused terrorist, yet more proof that the civilian courts can handle terrorist cases.

Update: The big news of the day in the Detroit court house, I should say, was not that a scary terrorist had a hearing leading up to his civilian trial. Rather it was that 85 people (many of whom appeared to be, as would be normal in Detroit, Arabs) got sworn in as American citizens.

Rule of civilian law and a bunch of immigrants becoming citizens. It’s a good day in America!

  1. Fractal says:

    This is really so amazing, Marcy. Front row seats! Instant report! We are getting spoiled by FDL’s fabulous live-blogging, we almost take it for granted.

    Thank you. Feel slightly reassured that Art. III is holding up under the strain.

  2. pdaly says:

    Liz Cheney is going to have to set up a port-a-potty right next to her fainting couch. This is getting serious.

    Thanks for the update. Rule of law is making a comeback.

  3. BoxTurtle says:

    yet more proof that the civilian courts can handle terrorist cases.

    As long as the goverment hasn’t tainted the evidence, there’s no problem. The problem comes in when the government HAS tainted the evidence, but they want to convict the person anyway.

    You need a special court to allow hearsay evidence obtained under torture from an accuser the defendent cannot confront. A very special court.

    Boxturtle (Why use military commissions, just send ’em to Texas!)

  4. Palli says:

    a very handicapped comeback with so many holds on federal judge nominees and Cheney/Bush appointees still in place as USAs

  5. fatster says:

    Interesting analogy for what’s been done to the country (with a whiff of Biblical reference–30 pieces of silver/30 pieces of shot):

    Cheney shooting victim [Whittington] still carries 30 pieces of shot inside him


    Ex-top soldier: Iraq war ‘fiasco’ due to Rumsfeld’s ‘lies’
    Rumsfeld had ‘worst style of leadership I witnessed in 38 years of service’

    “The US had no reason to invade Iraq in 2003, and only did so because of “a series of lies” told to the American people by the Bush administration, says Gen. Hugh Shelton, who served for four years as the US’s top military officer.”


      • harpie says:

        Of the more than 5,000 U.S., Canadian, British and other foreign soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, the only combat death resulting in charges against an “enemy combatant” is the Khadr case.

        • skdadl says:

          A plea deal is wrong. I won’t believe Khadr himself is going for one until we hear from Edney or Whitling.

          This is being hyped to save faces (and other body parts) in Washington, and it is disgusting. I won’t say more because I’ll get too carried away.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      I’m assuming you’re talking about ads here. I have to assume, because at one time or another it appears that all the adservers that display here at FDL have impeded my web experience at one time or another.

      Assuming you’re running windows, the magic is in the “hosts” file. Windows checks there FIRST to try to resolve a url to an IP address. My hosts file:

      # Copyright (c) 1993-2006 Microsoft Corp.


      # This is a sample HOSTS file used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows.


      # This file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. Each

      # entry should be kept on an individual line. The IP address should

      # be placed in the first column followed by the corresponding host name.

      # The IP address and the host name should be separated by at least one

      # space.


      # Additionally, comments (such as these) may be inserted on individual

      # lines or following the machine name denoted by a ‘#’ symbol.


      # For example:


      # # source server

      # # x client host localhost *

      ::1 localhost

      That is by convention the address of whatever computer you are on. So windows loks on YOUR computer for a webserver. If it doesn’t find one (and if you didn’t put one there knowingly, it won’t), you get a 404 error in the space where the ad would be. If it does find one, the odds are it is NOT running one of those ad site so you still get a 404.

      If you go to sites that expect a valid response from their adservers before they proceed, you can install the abyss webserver on your computer (It’s free) and have it respond as needed. It’s simple to set up.

      Boxturtle (I’d be more supportive of our advertisers if they didn’t make a habit of annoying me)

      • skdadl says:

        Thank you, BoxTurtle. I shall show that to teh boss, who will understand it without needing aspirin. It was the Hallowe’en ad. We have several black cats in this house, so we’re not rill Hallowe’en-friendly. I just turned down the speakers for the time being, but it would be a problem if I wanted to keep this tab open and yet listen to Ry Cooder doing Maria Elena at the same time, if you know what I mean.

  6. Margaret says:

    Obama appealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ruling.

    The administration’s decision to appeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ruling comes just one day after it filed an appeal against a separate judges ruling that part of the Defense Of Marriage Act is “unconstitutional” because it withholds health and retirement benefits for the spouses of federal employees in same-sex marriages.

    • Twain says:

      Doesn’t the DOJ have better things to do than appeal perfectly reasonable rulings? It’s not as if real laws are not being broken every day. How about Wall Street, the banks, people lying to Congress…I could go on and on.

      • Margaret says:

        Doesn’t the DOJ have better things to do than appeal perfectly reasonable rulings?

        Apparently not. After all, on renditions, torture, murder, and domestic spying, we’re all “looking forward”. It’s only on gay rights, economic policy and health care that we’re looking back….to the 19th century.

  7. fatster says:

    DC prayer breakfast organizers took money from ‘terrorist organization’ [Islamic American Relief Agency]: report

    click through to the WaPo article:


  8. powwow says:

    From CBC, re Omar Khadr:

    Last Updated: Thursday, October 14, 2010 | 6:35 PM ET

    CBC News has confirmed there are talks between the U.S. government and Canadian Omar Khadr’s defence team aimed at reaching a plea deal ahead of the resumption of his war-crimes trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    Nate Whitling, Khadr’s Canadian lawyer in Edmonton, told CBC News a potential deal is in the works but he couldn’t comment on the details.

    “There is no deal right now,” he said.

    Arab TV news station Al-Arabiya reported earlier Thursday that a plea agreement had been reached, but the Prime Minister’s Office said the rumour of a deal was “not correct.”


    Meanwhile, the Pentagon confirmed the judge in Khadr’s trial, army Col. Patrick Parrish, issued a continuation until Oct. 25, rather than resuming proceedings on Monday as scheduled.

    • skdadl says:

      The question to ask is “Who is the defenc[s]e team?” Omar has U.S. military lawyers, but he trusts only his Canadian lawyers, who have no standing before the GTMO commission. So who is talking to whom?

      As far as I know, no one has talked to Omar yet. He fired his last U.S. civilian lawyers for attempting a plea bargain, and the current JAGs were forced upon him. Edney is on his way down, and it’s possible that he and Whitling have decided to try to talk the kid into salvaging his life this way. But the Pentagon and the White House can’t just do this fix on their own.

      Harper will be intransigent as well. How unrealistic are the spinmeisters in the WH anyway?

      • powwow says:

        It looks like the place to watch for those who want to keep on top of Commission developments regarding Omar Khadr, as they happen over the next month or so, is Carol Rosenberg’s new collective Twitter page for colleagues covering Guantanamo:

        Those reporters who were scheduled to depart for Guantanamo on Saturday from Andrews Air Force Base, to attend Monday’s scheduled Commission restart, were all over this story most of the day/evening, as their various tweets and story links there indicate. [For some reason, the last Rosenberg tweet I see on her own, individual page, is the link to that collective page, with none of her tweets about today’s developments visible except on the collective page.]

        Evidently these are last-minute developments – nothing was postponed, even informally, until mid-afternoon Thursday, and that only after a “virtual” chambers meeting took place between the military judge and the lawyers, in Washington today sometime after noon. That meeting evidently followed a meeting of the minds Wednesday night between someone(s) said to be defending Khadr, and the Commission Convening Authority, retired Vice Admiral Bruce MacDonald. Michelle Shephard also reports in the Toronto Star that Lt. Col. Jon Jackson is on the base at Guantanamo (so presumably has had conversations with Khadr) and Whitling was recently at the base, leaving last week after a series of meetings with Khadr, per Carol’s Miami Herald report. Dennis Edney is now preparing to head to Guantanamo this weekend to talk to Khadr as well.

        Importantly, though – as you note, skdadl – all the reporting today seems to indicate that the Canadian government is not on board with any proposed deal, nor perhaps yet even an active participant in these apparently on-again, off-again negotiations.

        • skdadl says:

          Thanks, powwow. I follow both Rosenberg and Shephard on Twitter (and RT them all the time) but I hadn’t found that collective page.

          Och, Twitter. My morning anger. ;-)

          • powwow says:

            I closely follow Carol Rosenberg’s tweets, and I think I’ll probably mostly continue to watch her individual page, which she keeps tightly focused on Guantanamo-related issues (today I can see on that page her tweets from yesterday, which I couldn’t see when I wrote my comment @ 27; same thing with Munashik’s tweets yesterday). [It’s possible that those, like me, who haven’t joined Twitter get second-tier service, at least occasionally – I’ve noticed, of late, oddities about tweets from various people when viewing their Twitter pages (such as delayed or mistimed tweets), and tweets seem to be available to members of Twitter earlier than to non-members.]

            Carol’s collective Guantanamo Twitter page, on second look today, is probably not a “new” page, contrary to my impression yesterday. Or, at least, not brand new. It has a fair amount of non-Guantanamo tweeting mixed in, but, as harpie perceives, it looks to be a very valuable and effective format when most of the reporters are on site, tweeting different aspects of developments down at Guantanamo (as it obviously was yesterday, while they were all pursuing the plea deal story).

        • harpie says:

          Thank you, powwow. It’s great that they’re working together like this.

          PS: did you watch Dafna Linzer about the Uthman documents on Democracy Now! ? [link @12]

          • powwow says:

            Yes, harpie, thanks – prompted by a tweet about it from Glenn Greenwald, I saw and read the DemocracyNow! transcript of Dafna’s interview yesterday. I’m very glad that Dafna’s disturbing ProPublica revelations about the Uthman case are getting more exposure, thanks to Amy Goodman and soon, hopefully, other media outlets.

            I’ve started speculating about one possible explanation – that I could sympathize with – for Judge Kennedy’s otherwise-inexplicable rewriting of his own decision. As I recall, the rewritten decision – which made the government’s case look better than it was, as compared to Kennedy’s original decision, as Dafna details – that was publicly released in mid-April nevertheless made waves at the time because Kennedy flatly stated that “torture” had been used on some government witnesses in the case. So I suppose it may have been important to Kennedy at the time (thinking we still had a functioning Congress to oversee the Executive Branch…) to get that fact out there, and he may have realized or deduced that a (second) DOJ redaction review of his original February opinion would have improperly concealed (or at least further delayed release of) that assessment.

            But that’s just putting things in perhaps the best light for Judge Kennedy (who, it seems to me, has probably earned it, if any Guantanamo habeas judge has, given Kennedy’s relative speed at deciding these cases and, of late, his requests for progress reports from the government on ordered detainee releases), and may have had nothing to do with his decision – given that we’re all obviously at a loss to know what actually did prompt or force Judge Kennedy’s self-censorship, absent further reporting or a public investigation.

            • harpie says:

              Yes, Judge Kennedy has probably earned that “best light”, at least until and if [BIG if] we ever learn more about it. The ones who are reaping my ire are the people at DoJ. Even to say nothing about the main issues, how much money are we spending on trying to make ourselves [laughably] look good, here [while actually doing the exact opposite]? It’s embarrassing.