Accused 9/11 plotter lectures military tribunal

Associated Press
In this photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin and reviewed by the U.S. Department of Defense, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sits at a defense table wearing a camouflage vest in front of military judge U.S. Army Col. James Pohl, right, during the third day of the Military Commissions pretrial hearing against the five Guantanamo prisoners accused of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has told authorities he was the mastermind of the Sept. 11 hijacking plot, wore the woodland-style camouflage vest for the first time Wednesday, a clothing choice previously denied because of fears it might disrupt the court. (AP Photo/Janet Hamlin, Pool)

View gallery

In this photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin and reviewed by the U.S. Department of Defense, …

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — The self-styled terrorist mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks lectured a military court on government hypocrisy Wednesday and wore a previously banned camouflage vest to his pretrial hearing before being rebuked by the judge for his comments.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was in court as part of a weeklong hearing focusing largely on the secrecy rules that will govern legal proceedings against him at the U.S. base in Cuba.

Mohammed was allowed to wear a hunting-style camouflage vest with his white tunic and turban over the objections of prosecutors, who feared it might disrupt the proceedings.

It had no apparent effect, but his five-minute speech denouncing the government's arguments about the need to protect national security transfixed the court and drew a reprimand from the judge.

Until that point, the 47-year-old Mohammed sat quietly through a day of courtroom arguments on proposed rules for handling classified evidence in the war-crimes case. When he finally spoke, it was to point out what he saw as the prosecution's hypocrisy for seeking to keep secret some details of what happened to him during years of captivity in the CIA's secret prisons.

Mohammed told the judge, Army Col. James Pohl, that "the government uses national security as it chooses," urging him to keep that in mind as he considers requests from defense lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union to scale back the rules for evidence and testimony.

"Many can kill people under the name of national security, and to torture people under the name of national security," the Arabic-speaking Mohammed said through a translator. "And detain their underage children under the name of national security."

In an apparent reference to Osama bin Laden, Mohammed noted that "the president can take someone and throw them into the sea in the name of national security."

He also made an oblique reference to Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-Yemeni militant killed in a September 2007 U.S. drone strike, and told the judge not to be affected by the "crocodile tears" of prosecutors when they refer to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 2001 attacks.

"When the government feels sad for the killing of 3,000 on Sept. 11, we also should feel sorry that the U.S. government ... has killed thousands of people," Mohammed said, before correcting himself to say millions of people.

"Your blood is not made of gold and ours is made of water. We are all human beings," he said.

Pohl had allowed Mohammed to make the statement, but then said he wouldn't allow it to happen again.

"This is a onetime occurrence," the judge said. "No matter how heartfelt, I am not going to entertain personal comments of any accused about the ways things are going."

Mohammed, who has told authorities he was behind the hijacking plot, is charged along with four co-defendants with crimes that include terrorism and murder. He has a history of making inflammatory statements in the handful of times when he has had an opportunity to speak.

In a closed 2007 appearance before a panel of military officers, he compared bin Laden to George Washington, boasted about planning the Sept. 11 attacks "from A to Z," and said he personally beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl with his "blessed right hand," according to a transcript.

At his first public court hearing in 2008, he chanted verses of the Quran and said he would welcome becoming a martyr for his Sept. 11 role. The following year he released a written statement calling the attacks a "noble victory."

Mohammed, whose bushy beard is dyed a rust color with henna, sees himself a prisoner of war and has sought the same right to wear a uniform as Japanese and German troops prosecuted for war crimes after World War II. In the defendant's case, his uniform is similar to what he wore as a mujahideen fighter in Bosnia and Afghanistan, said one of his lawyers, Army Capt. Jason Wright.

But when Mohammed and a co-defendant tried to wear camouflage at their May 5 arraignment, their request was denied. At the time, the commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison suggested that the camouflage might make it harder for the military prison guards to tell the difference between inmates and U.S. troops if they had to gain control of the prisoners.

Prosecutors also argued it might make a mockery of the military tribunals.

"The detainee's attire should not transform this commission into a vehicle for propaganda," prosecutors wrote in a legal motion.

Pohl rejected those arguments Tuesday. He dismissed the possibility that military guards in the courtroom would have any problem distinguishing the bearded defendants. But just to be sure, he specifically prohibited them from wearing any items from U.S. military uniforms.

A small group of relatives of Sept. 11 victims were chosen by lottery to view the proceedings at the base. As Mohammed was entering the courtroom, Al Acquaviva stood at the soundproof glass that separates spectators from the courtroom and held up a photo of his son Paul, who was killed in the World Trade Center.

"I hope he looks," Acquaviva, who lives in Wayne, N.J., muttered to himself.

The government has already acknowledged some details about the secret CIA prisons where the defendants were held for several years, including the fact that Mohammed was water-boarded 183 times. But prosecutors have said restrictions are necessary to prevent the release of information that would reveal intelligence sources and methods.

A lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, Hina Shamsi, urged the judge to reject the proposed restrictions, arguing that they were overly broad and intended not to protect national security so much as to prevent the public from learning more details about the harsh treatment of the defendants in the CIA's prisons overseas.

But government prosecutor Joanna Baltes said the ACLU and other critics of the proposed rules are exaggerating the restrictions. She said the restrictions are similar to those in major terrorism cases in civilian courts. After hearing the arguments, the judge said he would rule later on the issue.

Mohammed and his four co-defendants face charges that include terrorism, conspiracy and 2,976 counts of murder, one count for each known victim of the attacks at the time the charges were filed. They could get the death penalty if convicted.

The trial is likely at least a year away.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Clinton far ahead in Electoral College race: Reuters/Ipsos poll

      Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton maintained her commanding lead in the race to win the Electoral College and claim the U.S. presidency, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project results released on Saturday. Clinton leads Donald Trump in most of the states that Trump would need should he have a chance to win the minimum 270 votes needed to win. The mostly likely outcome would be 326 votes for Clinton to 212 for Trump.

    • Pakistani tea seller turns model after fame on social media

      ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani tea seller with striking eyes who saw his life change overnight after a picture of him at work went viral, said Friday he was totally unaware of social media until recently, when boys and girls suddenly started thronging his tea stall to take selfies with him.

      Associated Press
    • China slams 'provocative' US sail-by in South China Sea

      China has slammed the US for sailing a warship near disputed territory in the South China Sea, saying the move was a "serious illegal act" and "deliberately provocative". In a statement on its website late Friday night, the country's defence ministry said two Chinese naval vessels warned off a US ship after it entered "Chinese territorial waters" near the Paracel Islands, known as Xisha in Chinese. China controls all of the islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

    • Philippines says to keep U.S. ties but will not be subservient

      By Karen Lema MANILA (Reuters) - The United States remains the "closest friend" of the Philippines but Manila wants to break away from a "mindset of dependency and subservience" and forge closer ties with other nations, the Philippine foreign minister said on Saturday. The comments by Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay came two days after President Rodrigo Duterte announced his "separation" from Washington, though he went on to strike a more conciliatory tone on Friday. Yasay said in a Facebook posting that Duterte had "unmistakably" stated that severing ties with Washington was not in the nation's interest.

    • Keys 1st American in WTA Finals since Williams sisters

      SINGAPORE (AP) — Madison Keys is the first American other than Serena and Venus Williams to earn a berth at the year-end WTA Finals in more than a decade.

      Associated Press
    • Two children killed in Georgia home invasion: police

      Two children were killed early on Saturday in a home invasion in a small Georgia city, police said. An 15-year-old boy and his 11-year-old sister were found shot dead in a house in Jonesboro, a city of fewer than 5,000 residents about 20 miles south of Atlanta, according to Sergeant Ashanti Marbury of the Clayton County Police Department. In addition to the two dead children, officers also found several other children as young as 6 in the house, Marbury said.

    • Every movie and TV show being removed from Netflix in November

      This has been an exciting week, full of new movie trailers, new game trailers and even a new console announcement from Nintendo, but we have some somber news to discuss as well: Netflix is getting rid of a bunch of content again. DON'T MISS:  These are the 2 best iPhone email apps in the world, and I can’t decide which to use Some of the highlights (or maybe lowlights, since they're expiring) include some great television series like Chuck , Courage the Cowardly Dog and Powerpuff Girls . We're also losing E.T. , Deliverance , The Boxtrolls and Gigli , though if you've actually seen Gigli , you might not be too upset about that last one. Keep in mind, the list is subject to change as Netflix renegotiates its deals, but here is the current list of removals scheduled for November: Leaving November 1st The Addams Family (1991) Almost Famous (2000) Angel Heart (1987) Barnyard (2006) Bratz: The Movie (2007) The 'Burbs (1989) Can't Hardly Wait (1998) Chuck: Seasons 1-5 The Core (2003) Deliverance (1972) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Echelon Conspiracy (2009) Eight Crazy Nights (2002) Empire State (2012) Equilibrium (2002) Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) The Family Man (2000) Fatal Attraction (1987) Fresh (1994) Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2005) The Holiday (2006) Into the Wild (2007) Kangaroo Jack (2003) Legally Blonde (2001) Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003) Major League (1989) Mansfield Park (1999) Meet Joe Black (1998) Mel Brooks: Make a Noise (2013) Open Season (2006) Open Season 2 (2008) Open Season 3 (2010) Patton Oswalt: My Weakness Is Strong (2009) Powerpuff Girls: Seasons 1-6 Rounders (1998) Scream 2 (1997) Sex: My British Job (2013) Shameless: Series 1-10 (UK) Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) Something's Gotta Give (2003) The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004) Spy Game (2001) The Sum of All Fears (2002) Total Drama World Tour (2014) Underground: The Julian Assange Story (2012) Urban Cowboy (1980) Varsity Blues (1999) What Women Want (2000) Leaving November 2nd The English Teacher (2013) Leaving November 4th Gigli (2003) Leaving November 5th The Homesman (2014) Leaving November 11th Quartet (2012) Leaving November 14th Seal Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines (2014) Leaving November 15th Naked Among Wolves (2015) Leaving November 16th The American (2010) Let's Go to Prison (2006) Leaving November 22nd Tracers (2014) Leaving November 23rd The Boxtrolls (2014) Scenic Route (2013) Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors (2015) Leaving November 24th The Boondocks: Seasons 1-4 Chowder: Seasons 1-3 Courage the Cowardly Dog: Seasons 1-4 Uncle Grandpa: Season 1 Leaving November 25th Robin Hood (1973) Leaving November 30th Stuck in Love (2012) xXx (2002) It’s not all bad news, though — don’t forget to check out all of the new movies and TV shows being added to Netflix in November .

      BGR News
    • Couple Recreate Their Wedding Portraits in Local Target: 'We're Not Like Normal Newlyweds'

      Clad in their wedding gown and tuxedo, the Rexroads started in the Target parking lot, where a small crowd immediately gathered to watch.

      Inside Edition
    • Daughter of man in The Piano Guys missing in Oregon

      PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The 21-year-old daughter of one of men in the Utah-based music group The Piano Guys has been reported missing and may have gotten injured or lost on a hike in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, authorities say.

      Associated Press
    • Ten of the Most Outrageous Pickup Trucks Ever Produced (11 photos)

      A pickup truck's job is simple, but that's never stopped anyone from turning these basic workhorses into wild machines. Some are impractical, others are too fast for their own good, but all are outrageous. From Road & Track

      Road & Track
    • Ivanka Trump backs her father but doesn't want to fall with him

      Ivanka, soon to turn 35, is still clearly her father's protegee. Having grown up in the spotlight from an early age, at a time when her father's extramarital affairs filled the tabloid press, Ivanka knows how to tend to her own image -- and that of the clothing line that bears her name.

    • U.S. warship challenges China's claims in South China Sea

      By Idrees Ali and Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Friday, drawing a warning from Chinese warships to leave the area. The U.S. action was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, U.S. officials said. The Chinese Defense Ministry called the move "illegal" and "provocative," saying that two Chinese warships had warned the U.S. destroyer to leave.

    • AP Interview: Kaine already reaching out to GOP

      Tim Kaine is sounding a hopeful note that a Democratic White House could work with Republicans to bridge deep divides laid bare by this bitter presidential campaign. The vice presidential candidate told ...

      Associated Press
    • Two Children Shot and Killed in Georgia Home Invasion

      A 15-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl were shot to death in a suspected home invasion in Georgia

    • Somali pirates free 26 hostages held for nearly five years

      Somali pirates have freed 26 Asian hostages held for nearly five years after the hijacking of their fishing vessel, the last commercial ship seized at the height of the country's piracy scourge, negotiators said Saturday. The crew of the Naham 3, the second longest held hostage by Somali pirates, were taken captive when their Omani-flagged vessel was seized in March 2012 south of the Seychelles. "We are very pleased to announce the release of the Naham 3 crew early this morning," said John Steed, coordinator of the Hostage Support Partners (HSP) who helped negotiate their release.

    • Japanese and British fighter planes meet for first time since World War Two

      By Teppei Kasai and Tim Kelly MISAWA, Japan (Reuters) - British fighter planes will take on Japanese aircraft for the first time since World War Two in aerial combat drills following the arrival in Japan on Saturday of four Royal Air Force Typhoon Eurofighters. The joint practice at Japan's northern Misawa Air Base starts on Sunday and will be the first time Japan’s air force train at home with a foreign force other than that of the United States. "We will learn from each other, and ultimately we will make friendships that will tie us together more closely in the future," RAF Lieutenant Colonel Roger Elliot, said in introductory remarks to 100 Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) personnel.

    • LEADING OFF: Cubs face Kershaw, try to end Series drought

      A look at what's happening all around the majors today:

      Associated Press
    • Atieva, Now Lucid Motors, Previews a Camaro-Looking Tesla Model S Fighter

      Seriously. Tell us that front end doesn’t look like a fifth-gen Camaro.

      The Drive
    • Private rooms at Pope's summer residence open to public

      Private rooms at the pope's summer residence in Castel Gandolfo will open to the public from Saturday at the request of Pope Francis, who has never holidayed there in more than three years as pontiff. Francis's decision will allow visitors access to the bedroom where more than 15 popes have slept over the centuries, furnished with a gilded bed and two bedside tables in wood and marble. "Here, the grand events of history mix with personal histories," said Osvaldo Gianoli, director of the pontifical villas.

      AFP Relax News
    • Will the Fight for Obamacare Be Less Bitter Without Obama?

      President Obama gave his longest and most passionate defense of the Affordable Care Act in months on Thursday. The hour-long speech came as a last rallying cry before November’s health insurance open-enrollment period—the last such period of the Obama presidency—and a bit of a valedictory for the law that appears to be his biggest contribution to American policy.

      The Atlantic