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Mon, Feb 11, 2008

DoD Charges Six Alleged 9/11 Conspirators

Plans To Seek Death Penalty

The Defense Department announced Monday charges have been sworn against six detainees at Guantanamo Bay, alleged to be responsible for the planning and execution of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States. The government will seek the death penalty for all six men.

The accused are: self-confessed "mastermind" Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarek Bin 'Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi, and Mohamed al Kahtani. Each of the defendants is charged with conspiracy and the separate, substantive offenses of: murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, destruction of property in violation of the law of war, terrorism and providing material support for terrorism.

The first four defendants are also charged with the substantive offense of hijacking or hazarding a vessel. All of the charges are alleged to have been in support of the 9/11 attacks.

The charges allege Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the September 11 attacks, by proposing the operational concept to Osama bin Laden as early as 1996, obtaining approval and funding from bin Laden for the attacks, overseeing the entire operation, and training the hijackers in all aspects of the operation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The military states Mohammed previously confessed to his role in the conspiracy, saying he planned every aspect of the 9/11 attacks. That confession could prove problematic, however, as the CIA has admitted to using "waterboarding," or simulated drowning, during his interrogation, reports The Associated Press.

"I was responsible for the 9/11 Operation, from A to Z," Mohammed (right) said during an administrative hearing at Guantanamo, according to the transcript released by the Pentagon in March 2007. "I was the operational director for Sheikh Usama (Osama) Bin Laden for the organizing, planning, follow-up, and execution of the 9/11 operation."

A summary of other charges includes:

  • Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarek Bin 'Attash is alleged to have administered an al Qaeda training camp in Logar, Afghanistan where two of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were trained. He is also alleged to have traveled to Malaysia in 1999 to observe airport security by US air carriers to assist in formulating the hijacking plan.
  • Ramzi Binalshibh is alleged to have lived with the Hamburg, Germany, al Qaeda cell where three of the September 11 hijackers resided. It is alleged that Binalshibh was originally selected by Osama bin Laden to be one of the September 11 hijackers and that he made a "martyr video" in preparation for the operation. He was unable to obtain a US visa and, therefore, could not enter the United States as the other hijackers did. In light of this, it is alleged that Binalshibh assisted in finding flight schools for the hijackers in the United States, and continued to assist the conspiracy by engaging in numerous financial transactions in support of the September 11 operation.
  • Ali Abdul Aziz Ali's role is alleged to have included sending approximately $120,000 to the hijackers for their expenses and flight training, and facilitating travel to the United States for nine of the hijackers.
  • Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi is alleged to have assisted and prepared the hijackers with money, western clothing, traveler's checks and credit cards. He is also alleged to have facilitated the transfer of thousands of dollars between the accounts of alleged September 11 hijackers and himself on September 11, 2001.
  • Mohamed al Kahtani is alleged to have attempted to enter the United States on August 4, 2001, through Orlando International Airport where he was denied entry. It is also alleged that al Kahtani carried $2,800 in cash and had an itinerary listing a phone number associated with Hawsawi.

Now that sworn charges have been received, the convening authority will review the charges and supporting evidence to determine whether probable cause exists to refer the case for trial by military commission. The chief prosecutor has requested charges to be tried jointly and be referred as capital for each defendant.

If the convening authority, Susan Crawford, decides to refer the cases as capital, the defendants will face the possibility of being sentenced to death.

FMI: www.dod.mil, www.pentagon.mil

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