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I imagine we're gonna hear a lot of nonsense from conservatives, and especially the Bush Administration, about this:

Australian pleads guilty at Guantanamo

By Jane Sutton
Reuters
Monday, March 26, 2007; 10:13 PM

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - Australian David Hicks, the first prisoner to face a new U.S. war crimes tribunal, unexpectedly pleaded guilty on Monday to a charge of helping al Qaeda fight American troops during the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.

The above is the first paragraph on the top story on WaPo's front page, right now.

Then there's the New York Times:

Plea of Guilty From Detainee in Guantánamo

By WILLIAM GLABERSON
Published: March 27, 2007
GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba, March 26 — In the first conviction of a Guantánamo detainee before a military commission, an Australian who was trained by Al Qaeda pleaded guilty here Monday to providing material support to a terrorist organization.

I don't have a lot to say about this.  

The guy was in Guantanamo Bay for more than 5 years.

This is all that matters (from the WaPo story): the guilty plea gets him less than a life sentence, and more importantly:

His guilty plea is likely to mean a more lenient sentence and the judge ordered the prosecutors and defense lawyers to draw up a plea agreement by 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) on Tuesday.

Under a long-standing diplomatic agreement, Hicks will serve his sentence in Australia.

That's the only thing that matters, at all, in this "guilty plea".  He's going home.  For the record, here's what he's pleading guilty to:

He will admit to only some of the allegations in the broadly written charge, which accused him of attending al Qaeda training camps, conducting surveillance on the American embassy in Kabul, taking up arms to guard a Taliban tank, and fighting against U.S. forces and their allies in Afghanistan. He was captured there in December 2001 and sent to Guantanamo a month later.

Both stories note that, during today's proceedings, Mr. Hicks originally declined to enter a plea.  Then, after two of his three lawyers were kicked off the case by the judge, he plead guilty.  From the NYT story:

The plea by Mr. Hicks came after an extraordinary day in a pristine red, white and blue courtroom here. Earlier the military judge had surprised the courtroom with unexpected rulings that two of Mr. Hicks’s three lawyers would not be permitted to participate in the proceedings, leaving only Maj. Michael D. Mori of the Marine Corps at the defense table.

The judge, after kicking the lawyers out, and then taking Mr. Hicks guilty plea, wanted to sooth his own conscience, or something:

During the plea, Judge Kohlmann led Mr. Hicks through a brief session in which he asked whether the earlier dispute about whether his lawyers were authorized to participate in the proceedings had influenced his decision to plead guilty.

"No, sir," Mr. Hicks, dressed in a tan prison uniform, answered calmly several times.

As if Mr. Hicks could have said anything else if he wanted to leave Guantanamo, or America.

Originally posted to LithiumCola on Mon Mar 26, 2007 at 08:52 PM PDT.

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