Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Guantanamo Detainees Admit Pride In 9-11 Attacks
The five detainees at Guantánamo Bay charged with planning the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have filed a document with the military commission at the United States naval base there expressing pride at their accomplishment and accepting full responsibility for the killing of nearly 3,000 people.
The document, which may be released publicly on Tuesday, uses the Arabic term for a consultative assembly in describing the five men as the “9/11 Shura Council,” and it says their actions were an offering to God, according to excerpts of the document that were read to a reporter by a government official who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.
The document is titled “The Islamic Response to the Government’s Nine Accusations,” the military judge at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp said in a separate filing, obtained by The New York Times, that describes the detainees’ document.
The document was filed on behalf of the five men, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who has described himself as the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
President Obama halted the military proceedings at Guantánamo in the first days after his inauguration, and the five men’s case is on hiatus until the government decides how it will proceed.
Several of the men have earlier said in military commission proceedings at Guantánamo that they planned the 2001 attacks and that they sought martyrdom. The strategic goal of the five men in making the new filing, which reached the military court on March 5, was not clear.
In their filing, the men describe the planning of the Sept. 11 attacks and the killing of Americans as a model of Islamic action, and say the American government’s accusations cause them no shame, according to the excerpts read by the government official.
“To us,” the official continued reading, “they are not accusations. To us they are a badge of honor, which we carry with honor.”
It appears that the men wrote the document at meetings they are permitted to conduct periodically at the detention camp without lawyers.
In his brief court order describing the filing, the military judge who has been handling the case, Col. Stephen R. Henley of the Army, said the men sought no specific legal action. Judge Henley ordered that the filing be released immediately, but officials said objections from lawyers for two of the men had held up release Monday.
All five of the men have said they want to represent themselves, but in the case of these two men, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, the military judge had not yet determined their competency when the proceedings were halted.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 7:38 PM