Who are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other accused terrorists?

No Lies Editor Note to reader: Read carefully. If you throw out the defendants’ confessions obviously obtained via torture, there is not much left of the government’s case.

Warren Richey 11-14-2009 csmonitor.com

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others are to stand trial in New York. Here’s the evidence federal prosecutors will use against them.

The 9/11 terror trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators in a New York City federal courtroom won’t be the first time they have appeared in a judicial setting.

All five men were called before combat status review tribunals two years ago at the Guantánamo detention camp.

Transcripts of the tribunals offer a rough preview of the kind of case that may emerge against each of the five terror suspects.

What follows is a summary of the allegations and known evidence for each of the five prospective defendants:

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

The self-described mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, offered a complete confession in a combat status review tribunal conducted at Guantánamo Bay in 2007. It is unclear whether this confession will be admitted as evidence in his trial. It may offer a preview of Mr. Mohammed’s trial strategy – to admit involvement in a wide range of terror attacks and die a martyr after being convicted and sentenced to death.

“I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z,” he told the military tribunal in March 2007.

He admitted to swearing an oath of allegiance to Osama Bin Laden to conduct jihad and to serving Bin Laden as operational director for the “organizing, planning, follow-up, and execution of the 9/11 operation.”

Mohammed was subject to some of the harshest interrogation tactics used by US officials. He was reportedly waterboarded 183 times. In his 2007 statement, he complained bitterly about being tortured by the CIA, but it didn’t seem to temper his apparent desire to confess.

He claimed responsibility for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the decapitation of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, Richard Reid’s failed shoe bomber operation, the nightclub bombing in Bali, Indonesia, planning for a second-wave of attacks on the US allegedly targeting the Liberty Tower in Los Angeles, the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Plaza Bank in Seattle, and the Empire State Building in New York, an assassination plot against former President Carter and former President Clinton, a plot to bomb bridges in New York, a plot to attack Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf, plots to bomb US embassies in Indonesia, Australia, and Japan, the launch of a Russian-made SA-7 missile at a commercial jet departing Mombasa, a plan to hit nuclear power plants in the US, a plan to destroy 12 US commercial jets in flight at the same time, and a plot to train and fund an assassination attempt against former Pakistan President Pervez Musharaf.

Mohammed was raised in Kuwait. He is a 1986 graduate of North Carolina A&T State University with a degree in mechanical engineering.

Walid Bin Attash

He is a Yemeni who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Attash lost his right leg on the battlefield in Afghanistan and was sometimes referred to by the code name “Father of the Leg.” He allegedly served Al-Qaeda as an intermediary between Osama Bin Laden and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the accused leader of the plot to attack the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen.

Bin Laden is believed to have tapped Mr. Attash to serve as one of the hijackers in the 9/11 attacks, but he was detained in Yemen in April 2001 while attempting to obtain a US visa. Earlier in 1999, he helped select operatives for special training in Afghanistan. They included a recruit who later became a suicide bomber in the Cole attack, and two of the 9/11 hijackers.

Attash reportedly traveled to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok in December 1999 and January 2000 to meet with two of the 9/11 hijackers. He also is said to have flown two US-owned airliners to observe security procedures.

During his March 2007 combat status review tribunal at Guantánamo, Attash was asked his role in the USS Cole attack.

“Many roles,” Attash replied, according to the transcript. “I participated in the buying or purchasing of the explosives. I put together the plan for the operation a year and a half prior to the operation. Buying the boat and recruiting the members that did the operation.”

The suicide attack in Yemen’s port of Aden killed 17 US sailors and wounded 39.


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