September 11 suspect 'confesses'

The alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attack in the US has admitted his role in that and 29 other "terror plots", according to a 26-page transcript released by the Pentagon.

September 11 suspect 'confesses'

The alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attack inthe UShas admitted his role in that and 29 other "terror plots",according to a 26-page transcript released by the Pentagon.



"I was responsible for the 9/11 operation fromA-to-Z," Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said in a statement read during amilitary hearing at Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

The transcripts released on Wednesday by the Pentagon alsorefers to a claim by Mohammed that he was tortured by the CIA, after his arrestin March 2003.

However he said he was not under duress when heconfessed to his role in the attacks at Saturday's hearing.

Confession

The hearing was being held todetermine whether Mohammed, a Pakistani national, can be defined as an"enemy combatant" and can be detained indefinitely, but alsoopens the door to criminal proceedings, where he will be put on trial.

Using his own words, the transcript connects Mohammed tomany "terror plots" attempted or carried out in the last 15 years -and to others that have not occurred.

Mohammed said he was involved inplanning the 2002 bombing of a Kenya beach resort frequentedby Israelis and the failed missile attack on an Israeli passenger jet after ittook off from Mombasa, Kenya.

He also said he was responsible for the bombing of anightclub in Bali, Indonesiain 2002, in which 202 people were killed.

Other plots he said he was responsible for included plannedattacks against the SearsTowerin Chicago, theEmpire State Building, New York Stock Exchange, the Panama Canal, Big Ben and Heathrow Airport in London- none of which occurred.

He also said he was involved in planning assassinationattempts against former USpresidents' Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

Mohammed is believed to have been the responsible forplanning 28 individual attacks.

Torture

"Is any statement that you made, was it because of thistreatment, to use your word, you claim torture," the colonel asked duringthe hearing. "Do you make any statements because of that?"

Portions of Mohammed's response were deleted from thetranscript, and his immediate answer was unclear.

He later said his confession read at the hearing to the longlist of attacks was given without any pressure, threats or duress.

The colonel said that Mohammed's torture allegations wouldbe "reported for any investigation that may be appropriate" and also wouldbe taken into account in consideration of his enemy combatant status.

Regret

In a remark apparently spoken through a translator, Mohammedappeared to express regret for some of the casualties of September 11.

"When I said I'm not happy that 3,000 been killed in America,I feel sorry even. I don't like to kill children and the kids," thetranscript said.

The Pentagon also released transcripts of the hearings ofAbu Faraj al-Libi and Ramzi Binalshibh.

Both refused to attend the hearings, although al-Libi submitted a statement.

Al-Libi, through his personal representative, claimed thatthe hearing process is unfair and that he will not attend unless it iscorrected.

"The detainee is in a lose-lose situation," hisstatement said.

Binalshibh, a Yemeni, is suspected of helping Mohammed withthe September 11 attack plans and is also linked to a foiled plot to crash anaircraft into London'sHeathrow Airport.

Al-Libi is a Libyan who reportedly masterminded two bombings11 days apart in December 2003 that targeted Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan'spresident, for his support of the US-led war on "terror".

Secret hearings

The hearings, are being conducted in secret by the US military asit tries to determine whether 14 alleged terrorist leaders should be declared"enemy combatants" who can be held indefinitely and prosecuted bymilitary tribunals.

If, as expected, they are declared enemy combatants, themilitary would then draft and file charges against them.

The detainees would then be tried under the new military commissions law signedby George Bush, the USpresident, in October.

The 14 were moved in September from a secret CIA prisonnetwork to the prison at the USnaval base at Guantanamo Bay,where about 385 men are being held on suspicion of links to al-Qaeda or theTaliban.

Mark Denbeaux, a SetonHallUniversitylaw professor, who represents two Tunisians held at Guantanamo,said that based on the transcripts, Mohammed might be the only detainee whowould qualify as an enemy combatant.

"The government has finally brought someone into Guantanamo who apparentlyadmits to being someone who could be called an enemy combatant," Denbeaux,a critic of most of the detentions, said.

"None of the others rise to this level. The government has now gotone," he said.

Independent hearing

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, questionedthe legality of the closed-door session and confession and whether theconfession was the result of torture.

"We won't know that unless there is an independenthearing," he said.

"We need to know if this purported confession would beenough to convict him at a fair trial or would it have to be suppressed as thefruit of torture?"

The military held 558 combatant status review tribunalsbetween July 2004 and March 2005 and the panels concluded that all but 38detainees were enemy combatants who should be held.

Those 38 were eventually released from Guantanamo.



Source:Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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