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MSNBC...9/11 Defendants : "We are Terrorists to the Bone"


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9/11 defendants: We're 'terrorists to the bone'

Five charged with war crimes refer to 9/11 as 'the great attack on America'

Associated Press

Tues., March. 10, 2009

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Five men charged in the Sept. 11 attacks mock U.S. authorities and proclaim themselves "terrorists to the bone" in a war crimes court filing released Tuesday.

The five Guantanamo prisoners use the six-page document to try to justify the killing of nearly 3,000 people, portraying the attack as a response to U.S. actions in Israel, Iraq and elsewhere that is supported by their Muslim faith.

"We fight you over defending Muslims, their land, their holy sites, and their religion as a whole," they write in the document, which was submitted to the Guantanamo war crimes court and released by the Pentagon, in English, over the objections of attorneys for two of the men.

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Charges 'are badges of honor'

The five had previously said they wanted to plead guilty to the charges against them, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind, had expressed pride in the attacks. But this is their most detailed response yet.

All five were charged with murder and other crimes at the Guantanamo war crimes court, which was suspended by President Barack Obama in January while his administration considers new strategies for prosecuting terrorists.

The charges, which carry a potential death sentence, "are badges of honor, which we carry with pride," they write.

The charge of conspiracy is "laughable," they write, because the planning was intended to be secret.

"Your intelligence apparatus, with all its abilities ... failed to discover our military attack plans before the blessed 11 September operation ... Why then should you blame us, holding us accountable and putting us on trial?"

They criticize the U.S. for fighting "from behind roadblocks, trenches and warplanes" rather than face-to-face and describe Islam as "a religion of fear" for Jews, Christians and pagans.

"We are terrorists to the bone. So, many thanks to God," they write.

Trials moved from Gitmo

Obama has ordered the closure of Guantanamo, so if and when the trials resume, they will be held somewhere else and most likely under a different legal system than the widely criticized military commissions created by Congress and President George W. Bush.

Three of the men are acting as their own lawyers but two of the men, Ramzi Binalshibh and Mustafa al-Hawsawi, still have Pentagon-appointed military attorneys pending a court ruling on whether they are mentally competent to represent themselves.

Their lawyers, Army Maj. Jon Jackson and Navy Cmdr. Suzanne Lachelier, said they had not met with their clients to discuss the document and cannot say what may have motivated the men to sign it — or even vouch for its authenticity.

"Based on our review of the unsigned, English and typed document there is no evidence that either Mr. Binalshibh or Mr. al-Hawsawi knew about, read, or signed this document," they said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press.

Pentagon spokesman Jeffrey Gordon called the filing "merely another attempt by these detainees to garner publicity."

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