Tag Archives: KSM

National Post: Budget cuts could delay terrorism trial for Osama bin Laden son-in-law, chief al-Qaeda propagandist

NEW YORK — A judge said he found it “stunning” to hear Monday that federal budget woes could delay the start of a terrorism trial for Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan’s comment came as he set deadlines for lawyers to submit pre-trial arguments regarding Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who pleaded not guilty last month to charges that he conspired to kill Americans in his role as al-Qaeda’s top propagandist after Sept. 11, 2001.

The charismatic al-Qaeda spokesman was shown in early October 2001, sitting with bin Laden and current al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in what became a heavily watched propaganda video. Prosecutors say he had called on every Muslim to join the fight against the United States, declaring that “jihad is a duty.”

Ghaith, who was brought to the U.S. last month, was handcuffed as he was led into a courtroom on Monday. The handcuffs were taken off before he listened through headphones to an Arabic translator.

Kaplan said he was considering starting the trial as early as September, drawing protests from defence lawyers who said the 5.1 per cent across-the-board federal budget cuts known as sequestration required all public defenders to be furloughed for more than five weeks by autumn.

The judge left open the possibility that the trial may not begin until next year.

Al-Jazeera / The Associated Press
Al-Jazeera / The Associated PressThis image made available by Al-Jazeera shows Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law and spokesman

Defence lawyers said they expected to ask the judge to toss out a 22-page statement Abu Ghaith provided after his Feb. 28 arrest in Jordan.

They also said they were likely to seek a change of venue. The federal courthouse in lower Manhattan is located just blocks from the World Trade Center complex.

Efforts to change the location where a trial is held or to challenge post-arrest statements have been unsuccessful in previous terrorism trials in Manhattan.

The single notable exception occurred when the Obama administration announced it was going to conduct a civil trial in New York for Khalid Sheik Mohammad, who has claimed responsibility for the 9-11 attacks, and four others, only to return the cases to military tribunal proceedings amidst an uproar over security concerns.

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9/11 Villains Appear Before Tribunal


GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — Five Guantanamo prisoners charged in the Sept. 11 attacks returned before a military tribunal Monday, forgoing the protest that turned their last appearance into an unruly 13-hour spectacle.

But the apparent cooperation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has said he masterminded the worst terror attack on U.S. soil, and four codefendants did little to speed up proceedings that have stuck in a legal and political morass for years.

Prosecutors and lawyers spent hours arguing the most preliminary of issues, including whether the defendants have to be in court at all, with one attorney saying the hearings may dredge up bad memories of their harsh treatment in CIA detention.

“Our clients may believe that … I don’t want to be subjected to this procedure that transports me here, brings up memories, brings up emotions of things that happened to me,” said Jim Harrington, who represents Ramzi Binalshibh, accused of helping to provide support to the hijackers who crashed planes into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.

The five men sat quietly at the defense tables under the watchful eyes of military guards and several 9/11 family members at the U.S. base in Cuba. Mohammed, his beard dyed a rust color with henna, serenely read legal papers. Two others responded politely to the judge when asked.

All seemed to cooperate with their attorneys in a specially designed high-tech courtroom that allows the government to muffle sounds so spectators behind a glass wall cannot hear classified information.

The orderly scene was in stark contrast to their arraignment in May on charges that include terrorism and murder. At that session, one prisoner was briefly restrained for acting out, Binalshibh launched into an incoherent rant, the men generally ignored the judge and refused to use the court translation system, and two stood up to pray at one point.

Harrington told the court that the defendants may want to boycott future court sessions because they don’t recognize the U.S. government’s authority, or because their transportation from their high-security cells may remind them of the harsh treatment they endured when confined in the CIA’s overseas network of secret prisons before they came to Guantanamo in September 2006.

Prosecutors want the men to be required to attend court sessions. The military judge, Army Col. James Pohl, is weighing several options, including allowing them to skip months of pretrial sessions but requiring their presence at the trial. He had not ruled on the issue before the court adjourned Monday for lunch and a prayer break.

Pohl is presiding over a weeklong hearing to consider about two dozen preliminary legal issues. An eventual trial is likely at least a year away.

The focus of the week’s hearings include broad security rules for the prisoners, including measures to prevent the accused from publicly revealing what happened to them in the CIA prisons.

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THE HUNT FOR KSM – Terry McDermott and Josh Meyer

Picked up The Hunt for KSM on my kindle yesterday and couldn’t put it down.  Halfway through it already and am looking forward to what’s still to come…Highly Recommended.  – AA

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USA v. KSM: The Indictment Against the 9/11 Mastermind

With thanks to cryptome.org

Click here to read the United States’ indictment against the disgusting Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the 9/11 conspirators.

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FINALLY: KSM and co-conspirators to be tried by Tribunals

Click the links below for broad coverage of the decision that should have come a long time ago.

Wall Street Journal



US News and World Report




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No decision on trial for accused 9/11 terrorists

By Jim Barnett, CNN

Washington (CNN) — Attorney General Eric Holder gripped a black folder in his right hand as he walked briskly into the Justice Department’s briefing room on the morning of Friday the 13th in November 2009.

Cameras clicked with his every step. A roomful of reporters were there to hear how the U.S. government planned to prosecute the 9/11 defendants in federal court.

Holder stepped to the podium and pulled out his prepared remarks.

“Good morning,” he began, then pursed his lips slightly and clenched his jaw. “Just over eight years ago on a morning our nation will never forget, 19 hijackers working with a network of al Qaeda conspirators around the world launched the deadliest terrorist attacks our country has ever seen.”

Holder told a live cable TV audience, “The nation has had no higher priority” than bringing those who planned and plotted the 9/11 attacks to justice.”

For months, prosecutors at the Department of Justice had been working diligently with the Pentagon to review the case of each detainee being held at the military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

What’s happened to that “priority?” The country, the world and the defendants are still waiting.

Back in 2009, Holder called the Justice Department’s decision to prosecute a “step forward.”

“Today, I am announcing that the Department of Justice will pursue prosecution in federal court of the five individuals accused of conspiring to commit the 9/11 attacks,” Holder said.  MORE

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Report: Senior al Qaeda leader personally beheaded Daniel Pearl

Just when it appeared that KSM couldn’t possibly be any more disgusting.  Now it appears there is evidence that the sub-human monster killed Daniel Pearl with his own hand.
(CNN) – An analysis of veins corroborates a confession by a senior al Qaeda leader that he personally beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, according to a new report released Thursday.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is suspected of planning the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States.
Mohammed has not denied his role in the killing of Pearl, who was abducted in January 2002.
A video of the journalist’s slaying was distributed online nearly a month after he was abducted, but the face of the killer who slit his throat was not visible.
U.S. officials have not charged Mohammed in the 2002 death.
“I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan,” Mohammed said, according to a Pentagon transcript released nearly four years ago. “For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head.”
The new report erases any doubts that Mohammed personally carried out the beheading.
FBI agents and CIA officials used a technique called vein-matching to compare the hand of the killer with a photo of Mohammed’s hand, according to the report.
Mohammed told the FBI that a senior al Qaeda operative advised him to take control of Pearl from his original kidnappers, the report said.
Pearl was seized on his way to what he believed was an interview with a radical cleric. At least 27 men played a role in the kidnapping and death — 14 of whom are believed to be free, the report said.
At least three different militant groups were involved in the crime, including kidnappers led by British-Pakistani Omar Sheikh and a team of killers led by Mohammed, according to the report.
It also highlights the hurdles authorities faced in the investigation, including contradictory evidence.
Pakistani authorities freed a guard, who was a key informant, and failed to follow potential leads, according to the report.
The three-year Pearl Project was prepared by faculty and students at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. It was released Thursday by the Center for Public Integrity.


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Not new, but worth a read: How the CIA turned KSM into an asset

By Peter Finn, Joby Warrick and Julie Tate
Washington Post Staff Writers

In 2005 and 2006, the bearded, pudgy man who calls himself the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks discussed a wide variety of subjects, including Greek philosophy and al-Qaeda dogma. In one instance, he scolded a listener for poor note-taking and his inability to recall details of an earlier lecture.

Speaking in English, Mohammed “seemed to relish the opportunity, sometimes for hours on end, to discuss the inner workings of al-Qaeda and the group’s plans, ideology and operatives,” said one of two sources who described the sessions, speaking on the condition of anonymity because much information about detainee confinement remains classified. “He’d even use a chalkboard at times.”


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Surprise? Obama hasn’t ruled out NY trial for 9/11 planner

Is the President talking to the Attorney General? And is either of them speaking with Mayor Bloomberg? It’s not clear what’s going on, how decisions are made, and when there will be a resolution to this issue.

By Steven R. Hurst, Associated Press Writer  |  February 8, 2010

WASHINGTON –President Barack Obama said Sunday he has not ruled out a New York federal court trial for Sept. 11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but he was taking into account the objections of the city’s mayor and police commissioner.

The Obama administration has come under withering attack, mainly from Republicans, for a decision by his Justice Department to try the terrorist mastermind in a U.S. court near Ground Zero, site of the attack that destroyed New York’s World Trade Center.

Obama said using the traditional judicial method was a “virtue of our system” in which Americans should take pride.

He also defended his decision, noting again that the administration of former President George W. Bush had handled terror suspects arrested in the United States in the same way.

“They prosecuted 190 folks in these Article III courts, got convictions and those folks are in maximum security prisons right now. And there have been no escapes,” Obama said. “And it is a virtue of our system we should be proud of.”

Later Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., responded: “Based on the security, logistical and cost concerns raised by the mayor and the police commissioner, it is not feasible to have the trials in New York. The administration should realize that and move on.”

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NY TIMES: Site for 9/11 Trial Isn’t the Only Obstacle


For much of President Obama’s first year in office, his national security team worked to devise a secure plan to send dozens of Yemeni detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — the largest single group at the prison camp — home to Yemen, perhaps to a rehabilitation program.

Then came the Christmas Day airliner bombing attempt, which was planned in Yemen, and the president put all transfers there on hold.

Since November, the administration had been preparing to move the highest-profile Guantánamo prisoners — Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four accomplices accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — to Manhattan for a federal criminal trial.

But overwhelming opposition from New York politicians concerned about costs, disruptions and security now has the Justice Department scrambling to come up with a Plan B, even as Congress threatens to block money to pay for a criminal 9/11 trial altogether. That could force the administration to revive the very option that the president and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. had rejected: military commissions at Guantánamo for the 9/11 plotters.

For a president who campaigned on a promise to close Guantánamo, and who just missed a self-imposed one-year deadline to get the job done, the meltdown of a potential Manhattan 9/11 trial is the latest measure of the stubborn complexity of his national security inheritance.

“It’s obviously proven a lot more difficult than a lot of us expected to close Guantánamo,” said Sarah E. Mendelson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, who has studied the issue intensively. She called the turnaround of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other New York officials “disappointing” and the costly security plan they proposed for Manhattan excessive, given the major Al Qaeda trials held there in the past with far less disruptive procedures.

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