Five Guantanamo suspects have filed a six page document stating that they are "terrorists to the bone" and declared that the charges against them are "badges of honor, which we carry with pride." Judge Col. Stephen R. Henley has accepted the filing and released it to the public, an act which the ACLU claims is in defiance of President Obama's executive order mandating the halt of all military commissions for review.
"Why Judge Henley accepted pleadings and issued an order in halted proceedings is confounding. The judge’s actions extending the military commissions call into question the true intentions of the Pentagon leadership at a time when the Obama administration is searching for a solution to the disastrous detention policies of the Bush administration," ACLU head Anthony Romero said in a statement.
The Department of Defense denies this is the case. They say that Henley didn't accept a plea, but rather accepted a filing that indicated the detainees intent to plead guilty. DoD spokesperson Jeffrey Gordon says that Judge Henley is in complete compliance with the 120-day continuance that was granted the prosecution in that case.
“The detainees released the filing, and the judge released the filing, but that’s consistent with the executive order. No new charges being filed, and no court sessions are being held,” Gordon says. “As far as the filings, it’s just another attempt by the detainees to garner publicity.”
Human Rights expert Ken Gude from the Center for American Progress agrees. “All that’s been done is that the defendants filed a motion saying, ‘we want to plead guilty’ and the judge has said thank you, and now it’s in the public record,” Gude says. “There’s a difference between accepting a filing from the defendants that says they want to plead guilty, and accepting a guilty plea.”
-- A. Serwer