Suspected 9/11 mastermind calls U.S. worse killer

Khalid Sheik Mohammed addressed a pretrial hearing at Guantanamo


Natasha Lennard
October 18, 2012 10:38PM (UTC)

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged 9/11 mastermind, told a Guantanamo courtroom yesterday that America is a bigger killer than he ever has been.

As Reuters reported, during a pretrial hearing focused on security classification rules for evidence that will be used in his trial, the terror suspect used his address to lambast the United States:

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"When the government feels sad for the death or the killing of 3,000 people who were killed on September 11, we also should feel sorry that the American government that was represented by (the chief prosecutor) and others have killed thousands of people, millions... Many can kill people under the name of national security, and to torture people under the name of national security, and to detain children under the name of national security, underage children," said Mohammed in Arabic through an English interpreter. "Your blood is not made out of gold and ours is made out of water. We are all human beings," he said.

Reuters noted that Mohammed attended court in a military-style camouflage vest, perhaps suggesting "he might try to invoke protections reserved for soldiers." Mohammed, along with four other Guantanamo detainees accused of recruiting, funding and training the 9/11 hijackers, were permitted to choose their own attire for this week's pretrial hearings. However, the government will hope to charge Mohammed not as a soldier, but an "unlawful belligerent."

The ongoing pretrial deals specifically with what evidence will be made public or protected in the war crimes tribunal that the five suspects will face. As the AP reported earlier this week, prosecutors have argued for measures to be in place "to prevent the accused from publicly revealing what happened to them in the CIA's secret network of overseas prisons." Meanwhile, defense attorneys and the ACLU are fighting any protective orders and censorship measures. They argue "the restrictions will prevent the public from learning what happened to Mohammed and his co-defendants during several years of CIA confinement and interrogation."

"It's a truly extraordinary and chilling proposal that the government is asking the court to accept," ACLU attorney Hina Shamsi said of the protective order.


Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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9/11 Al-qaida Guantanamo Khalid Sheik Mohammed Pretrial September 11 Terrorism

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