Fury from 9/11 families as five Gitmo prisoners accused of planning attack negotiate PLEA DEALS


Family members of victims of the attacks on September 11, 2001 are furious after it has been revealed military prosecutors are set to make plea deals with five Guantanamo Bay prisoners charged for their role in the worst tragedy in US history.

Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles was the pilot on American Airlines Flight 77 which crashed into the Pentagon that day, is angry about the possibility. 

She says she’s not alone: ‘The families are outraged. They don’t want closure, they want justice.’ 

Burlingame said there is no justice for her brother and the families without a death penalty sentence: ‘I will not have closure as long as there is any possibility for some future president to commute their sentences or trade them away for something political that they want from some other country. 

‘That’s a very real possibility because it’s now been done over and over and over again.’ 

It was first revealed in March that guilty pleas in exchange for a life sentence could finally bring to a close the over two decade-long case, the longest ever at the war court.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Ramzi Binalshibh, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, Walid bin Attash and Ammar al-Baluchi were all expected to face the death penalty if convicted. 

Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles was the pilot on American Airlines Flight 77 which crashed into the Pentagon that day, is angry about the possibility  military prosecutors are set to make plea deals with five Guantanamo Bay prisoners charged for their role in the worst tragedy in US history

Mohammed pictured in 2017

Mohammed in 2003

Alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has in recent years been pictured looking slimmer with a long beard than he did at the time of the attack 

Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin 'Attash, born in Yemen, is accused of training two of the hijackers to fight

Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi, now 53, from Saudi Arabia, is accused of giving financial backing to the hijackers

Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin ‘Attash (left) is accused of training the hijackers to fight, while Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi, now 53, from Saudi Arabia, is accused of giving financial backing to the group

Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, from Yemen, shared an apartment in Germany with the hijackers and applied to become a pilot, but his visa application was rejected

Ammar al-Baluchi, accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks

Ramzi Bin al-Shibh (left) and Ammar al-Baluchi (right) are both accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks

However, it now appears that military prosecutors will seek life sentences for the five detained at the US military base in Cuba in exchange for guilty pleas, according to CBS News. 

The case against the five men has been bogged down in pre-trial proceedings due to the CIA’s use of torture to extract evidence from the defendants and to Covid-19 delays. Nearly a decade after the men’s arraignment, the military judge has yet to set a trial start date. 

The anti-war group 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, has said that the plea deals are in part a good faith agreement due to the torture many critics say the five suffered at the hands of the CIA.

Alka Pradhan, a human rights attorney on the legal team of al-Baluchi, argued: ‘The United States government failed all of us after Sept. 11 in their decisions to use illegal techniques and illegal programs … In doing so, it rather corrupted all the legal processes.’ 

Burlingame, whose brother was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery and claims she'll never forgive the attackers, believes that 'we've reached a point in our country where we just don't seem to have ¿ the courage of our convictions'

Burlingame, whose brother was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery and claims she’ll never forgive the attackers, believes that ‘we’ve reached a point in our country where we just don’t seem to have … the courage of our convictions’

This comes on the 21st anniversary of the attacks, which killed 2,977 people and 19 al-Qaeda terrorists, the deadliest known terror attack in human history.

This comes on the 21st anniversary of the attacks, which killed 2,977 people and 19 al-Qaeda terrorists, the deadliest known terror attack in human history.

Al-Baluchi has told his lawyers he had his head bashed against a wall repeatedly and suffered lasting brain damage from the interrogation techniques. 

A spokesperson for the United States military confirmed the parties are currently engaged in negotiations. 

Burlingame, whose brother was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery and claims she’ll never forgive the attackers, believes that ‘we’ve reached a point in our country where we just don’t seem to have … the courage of our convictions.’

Guilty pleas that result in life sentences could complicate President Biden’s promise to shut down Guantanamo Bay. The facility has become more and more secretive over its 20 years of operation, even as it costs taxpayers millions of dollars per year.

Thirty-eight prisoners still remain at Guantanamo, and both the accused 9/11 plotters and many members of Congress are opposed to closing the prison. Ten have been charged but not yet tried. 

Guantanamo has reportedly cost U.S. taxpayers over $6 billion since its inception. 

The White House has refused to take a position on the cases, according to the Times, but said that Biden remains dedicated to reducing the detainee population at the prison, including by settling cases through pretrial agreements if necessary.    

Congress has already forbid bringing the 9/11 plotters  on U.S. soil, and the plotters themselves have demanded to stay at Guantanamo, where they can pray and eat in groups. They do not want to be sent to the supermax prison in Florence, Colo., where federal inmates are held in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day.

American taxpayers spend roughly between $9.5 and $13 million per prisoner, per year. The prison currently has 38 inmates. That’s compared to $78,000 spent per inmate in Florence, Colo., home to some of the highest-risk prisoners in the U.S.

Guilty pleas that result in life sentences could complicate President Biden's promise to shut down Guantanamo Bay. The facility has become more and more secretive over its 20 years of operation, even as it costs taxpayers millions of dollars per year

Guilty pleas that result in life sentences could complicate President Biden’s promise to shut down Guantanamo Bay. The facility has become more and more secretive over its 20 years of operation, even as it costs taxpayers millions of dollars per year

American taxpayers spend roughly between $9.5 and $13 million per prisoner, per year. The prison currently has 38 inmates. That's compared to $78,000 spent per inmate in Florence, Colo., home to some of the highest-risk prisoners in the US

American taxpayers spend roughly between $9.5 and $13 million per prisoner, per year. The prison currently has 38 inmates. That’s compared to $78,000 spent per inmate in Florence, Colo., home to some of the highest-risk prisoners in the US

This comes on the 21st anniversary of the attacks, which killed 2,977 people and 19 al-Qaeda terrorists, the deadliest known terror attack in human history.  

President Joe Biden paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II during a speech commemorating the attacks – and told Americans that they ‘owe it’ to victims and survivors to stand up for democracy.

The president also attempted to earn redemption points during the most unifying annual event in the U.S. after insulting all Trump supporters earlier this month by insinuating in a speech they are a threat to American democracy.

During remarks at the Pentagon on Sunday, just three days after Queen Elizabeth’s death, Biden quoted the monarch by saying: ‘Grief is a price we pay for love.’

The president ended his weekend at his home in Delaware earlier than usual to come back to a rainy Washington, D.C. and lay a wreath at the Pentagon 9/11 memorial and deliver commemorative remarks on the 21st anniversary of the attacks.

Biden arrived to downpour in the nation’s capital, holding a large black umbrella as he disembarked Air Force 1 and donning a raincoat before entering the presidential vehicle The Beast and motorcading to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.

‘It’s not enough to gather and remember each September 11th those we lost more than two decades ago,’ Biden said in his remarks. ‘Because on this day, it is not about the past, it’s about the future.’

‘We have an obligation, a duty, a responsibility to defend, preserve and protect our democracy,’ he continued. ‘The very democracy that defends the right to freedom that those terrorists on 9/11 sought to bury in the burning fire and smoke and ash. And that takes a commitment on the part of all of us.’

The comments come just 10 days after Biden delivered a speech from Philadelphia where he called former President Donald Trump and his supporters a threat to democracy. Since then, the president has tried to walk back those comments, claiming he does not feel that supporters of Trump are threats to the fabric of the nation.

Biden lays a wreath at the Pentagon to commemorate 9/11 terrorist attacks

Biden lays a wreath at the Pentagon to commemorate 9/11 terrorist attacks

During his remarks in the pouring rain on Sunday, Biden said that Americans 'owe it' to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to protect democracy

During his remarks in the pouring rain on Sunday, Biden said that Americans ‘owe it’ to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to protect democracy 

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley (left) and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (right) spoke at the Pentagon on Sunday before Biden’s remarks

The president arrived to a downpour as he departed his weekend at his home in Wilmington, Delaware earlier than usual to participate in a wreath laying and deliver remarks at the Pentagon on the 21st anniversary of the attacks

The president arrived to a downpour as he departed his weekend at his home in Wilmington, Delaware earlier than usual to participate in a wreath laying and deliver remarks at the Pentagon on the 21st anniversary of the attacks

His remarks on Sunday were a redemption speech, insisting on American unity to reinforce the values of democracy.

‘American democracy depends on the habits of the heart of we the people,’ Biden said to an audience holding up black umbrellas to shield from the persisting rain. ‘It’s not enough to stand up for democracy once a year, or every now and then – something we have to do every single day.’ 

‘This is a day not only to remember, but a day of renewal and resolve for each and every American. And our devotion to this country – to the principles and the bodies – to our democracy – that is who we owe those remembered today,’ he continued. 

‘That is what we owe one another. And that is what we owe future generations of Americans to come.’

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