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