Khalid Shaikh Mohammed

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed

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Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ' onMouseout='HidePop("10646")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Transliteration">transliterated
Transliteration
Transliteration is a subset of the science of hermeneutics. It is a form of translation, and is the practice of converting a text from one script into another...

 as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and additionally known by at least fifty alias
Pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

es) is a Kuwait-born militant in U.S. custody in Guantánamo Bay for alleged acts of terrorism
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

, including mass murder
Mass murder
Mass murder is the act of murdering a large number of people , typically at the same time or over a relatively short period of time. According to the FBI, mass murder is defined as four or more murders occurring during a particular event with no cooling-off period between the murders...

 of civilian
Civilian
A civilian under international humanitarian law is a person who is not a member of his or her country's armed forces or other militia. Civilians are distinct from combatants. They are afforded a degree of legal protection from the effects of war and military occupation...

s.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was a member of Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

's terrorist group
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 organization, although he lived in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, heading al-Qaeda's propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 operations from sometime around 1999. The 9/11 Commission Report
9/11 Commission Report
The 9/11 Commission Report, formally named Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, is the official report of the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks...

 alleges that he was "the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks." He is also alleged to have confessed to a role in many of the most significant terrorist plots over the last twenty years, including the World Trade Center 1993 bombings, the Operation Bojinka plot, an aborted 2002 attack on the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles, the Bali nightclub bombings, the failed bombing of American Airlines Flight 63
American Airlines Flight 63
The 2001 shoe bomb plot was a failed bombing attempt that occurred on American Airlines Flight 63 flying from Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris, France, to Miami International Airport in Miami, Florida, on December 22, 2001.-Incident:...

, the Millennium Plot
2000 millennium attack plots
The Year 2000 attack plots were terrorist attacks planned to occur on or near January 1, 2000: the bombing of four sites in Jordan, the bombing of Los Angeles International Airport , and the bombing of the USS The Sullivans. The first two plots were foiled by law enforcement agencies; the third was...

, and the murder of Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl was an American journalist who was kidnapped and killed by Al-Qaeda.At the time of his kidnapping, Pearl served as the South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, and was based in Mumbai, India. He went to Pakistan as part of an investigation into the alleged links between...

.

He was captured on March 1, 2003 in Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi , locally known as Pindi, is a city in the Pothohar region of Pakistan near Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad, in the province of Punjab. Rawalpindi is the fourth largest city in Pakistan after Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad...

, Punjab, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 by Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

, and transferred to U.S. custody. In March 2007, he confessed to masterminding the September 11 attacks, the Richard Reid
Richard Reid (shoe bomber)
Richard Colvin Reid , also known as the Shoe Bomber, is a self-admitted member of al-Qaeda who pled guilty in 2002 in U.S. federal court to eight criminal counts of terrorism stemming from his attempt to destroy a commercial aircraft in-flight by detonating explosives hidden in his shoes...

 shoe bombing attempt to blow up an airliner over the Atlantic Ocean, the Bali nightclub bombing in Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and various foiled attacks. He was charged in February 2008 with war crimes and murder by a U.S. military commission
Military Commissions Act of 2006
The United States Military Commissions Act of 2006, also known as HR-6166, was an Act of Congress signed by President George W. Bush on October 17, 2006. Drafted in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision on Hamdan v...

 and faces the death penalty if convicted.

Early life


According to different sources, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was born in Kuwait City
Kuwait City
-Suburbs:Although the districts below are not usually recognized as suburbs, the following is a list of a few areas surrounding Kuwait city:Al-Salam ""السلام"" -Economy:...

, Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 on March 1, 1964 or April 14, 1965, to parents from Balochistan. He spent some of his formative years in Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, just like his nephew, Ramzi Yousef
Ramzi Yousef
Ramzi Yousef was one of the main perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a co-conspirator in the Bojinka plot. In 1995, he was arrested at a guest house in Islamabad, by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and United States Diplomatic Security Service, then extradited to the...

 (three years his junior). He joined the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

 at age sixteen. He returned to Pakistan soon after, and after spending some time there, went to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 for further study.

He attended Chowan College
Chowan University
- Other Notable Former Students :* Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, confessed architect of the September 11 attacks.- External links :* *...

 and completed a degree in mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

 at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a land-grant university located in Greensboro, North Carolina, United States. It is the largest publicly funded historically black college in the state of North Carolina.NC A&T is a constituent institution of the University of North...

 in 1986. The following year he went to Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, where he and his brothers (Zahed
Zahid Al-Sheikh
Zahid Al-Sheikh is the brother to alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad. He volunteered to travel to Afghanistan to help fight to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan....

, Abed, and Aref) fought against the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. (Some sources claim that Khalid was fighting in Afghanistan before he moved to the United States.) There, he was introduced to Abdul Rasul Sayyaf
Abdul Rasul Sayyaf
Ustad Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf is an Afghan Islamist politician. He took part in the war against the PDPA government in the 1980s, leading the Mujahedin faction Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan....

, of the Islamic Union Party
Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan
The Islamic Dawah Organization of Afghanistan is a political party in Afghanistan led by Abdul Rasul Sayyaf. Founded in the early 1980s as the Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan , it was originally an attempt to bring unity amongst Islamist opposition forces in Afghanistan...

. The 9/11 Commission Report
9/11 Commission Report
The 9/11 Commission Report, formally named Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, is the official report of the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks...

 notes on page 149 that "Sayyaf part of the Afghan Northern Alliance".

The 9/11 Commission Report also notes that, "By his own account, KSM's animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel."

However, according to a U.S. intelligence summary reported on August 29, 2009 by The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

, his time in the U.S did lead him to become a terrorist. "KSM's limited and negative experience in the United States — which included a brief jail stay because of unpaid bills — almost certainly helped propel him on his path to becoming a terrorist," according to this intelligence summary. "He stated that his contact with Americans, while minimal, confirmed his view that the United States was a debauched and racist country."

According to the 9/11 Commission, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed after the Afghan jihad went to work for an electronics
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

 company, working on communications equipment. In 1988, he helped to head a non-governmental organization
Non-governmental organization
A non-governmental organization is a legally constituted organization created by natural or legal persons that operates independently from any government. The term originated from the United Nations , and is normally used to refer to organizations that do not form part of the government and are...

 paid for by Abu Sayyaf, which sponsored and aided Afghan fighters against the Soviets. He continued this work until 1992, when he fought with Muslim fighters in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

 and supported this effort financially.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed moved to Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 to work in a government office as a project engineer for the Qatari Ministry of Electricity and Water. He stayed at this job until 1996.

Philippines 1994–1995


While he was in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 in late 1994 and early 1995, he said that he was a Saudi
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 or a Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

i plywood
Plywood
Plywood is a type of manufactured timber made from thin sheets of wood veneer. It is one of the most widely used wood products. It is flexible, inexpensive, workable, re-usable, and can usually be locally manufactured...

 exporter and used the aliases Abdul Majid and Salem Ali.

Bosnia, 1995



News agency Adnkronos
Adnkronos
-History:It was established in 1963 by a merger of two agencies, Kronos and Agenzia Di Notizie .The agency is owned by Giuseppe Marra Communications....

reports Khalid Sheik Mohammed traveled to Bosnia in September 1995, and worked there, under an assumed name, for Egyptian Relief, as a humanitarian aid worker. Quoting a Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

 paper called Daily Fokus, they reported local intelligence officials confirmed he obtained Bosnian citizenship in November 1995. Those officials told Daily Fokus that Egyptian Relief was a front for the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

.

Qatar, avoiding arrest


In early 1996 he fled to Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 to avoid capture by U.S. authorities. In his flight from Qatar he was sheltered by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalid Al-Thani
Abdullah Bin Khalid Al-Thani
Since 2001, by appointment of the Emir, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalid bin Hamad bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Muhammed Al Thani is the Minister of the Interior of Qatar...

, who was the Qatari Minister of Religious Affairs in 1996.

Operation Bojinka



After seeing the respect that his nephew Ramzi Yousef
Ramzi Yousef
Ramzi Yousef was one of the main perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a co-conspirator in the Bojinka plot. In 1995, he was arrested at a guest house in Islamabad, by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and United States Diplomatic Security Service, then extradited to the...

 had gained from the World Trade Center 1993 bombings, Mohammed decided to engage more directly in anti-U.S. activities as well. He traveled to the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 in 1994 to work with Yousef on Operation Bojinka, a Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

-based plot to destroy twelve commercial airliners flying routes between the United States, East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

, and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

. The 9/11 Commission Report says that "this marked the first time KSM took part in the actual planning of a terrorist operation."

"Using airline timetable
Airline timetable
Airline timetables are booklets that many airlines worldwide use to inform passengers of several different things, such as schedules, fleet, security, in-flight entertainment, food menu, restriction and phone contact information....

s, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Yousef
Ramzi Yousef
Ramzi Yousef was one of the main perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a co-conspirator in the Bojinka plot. In 1995, he was arrested at a guest house in Islamabad, by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and United States Diplomatic Security Service, then extradited to the...

 devised a scheme whereby five men could, in a single day, board 12 flights — two each for three of the men, three each for the other two — assemble and deposit their bombs and exit the planes, leaving timers to ignite the bombs up to several days afterward. By the time the bombs exploded, the men would be far away and far from reasonable suspicion. The math was simple: 12 flights with at least 400 people per flight. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 deaths. It would be a day of glory for them, calamity for the Americans they supposed would fill the aircraft."


Bojinka plans also included renting or buying a Cessna, packing it with explosives and crash landing it into CIA headquarters, with a backup plan to hijack the twelfth airliner in the air and use that instead. This information was reported in detail to the U.S. at the time. This point was not mentioned in KSM's confession to involvement in thirty-one terrorist plots, including 9/11.

In December 1994, Yousef had engaged in a test of a bomb on Philippine Airlines Flight 434
Philippine Airlines Flight 434
Philippine Airlines Flight 434 was the route designator of a flight from Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Pasay City, the Philippines, to New Tokyo International Airport , Narita near Tokyo, Japan, with one stop at Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Cebu, the Philippines.On December 11, 1994...

 using only about ten percent of the explosives that were to be used in each of the bombs to be planted on United States airliners. The test resulted in the death of a Japanese national on board a flight from the Philippines to Japan. Mohammed conspired with Yousef on the plot until it was uncovered on January 6, 1995. Yousef was captured February 7 of that same year.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was secretly indicted on terrorism charges in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is a federal district court. Appeals from the Southern District of New York are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (in case...

 in January 1996 for his alleged involvement in Operation Bojinka, and was subsequently placed on the October 10, 2001, initial list of the FBI's twenty-two Most Wanted Terrorists
FBI Most Wanted Terrorists
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Most Wanted Terrorists is a list of fugitives who have been indicted by sitting Federal grand juries in the United States district courts, for alleged crimes of terrorism. The initial list was formed in late 2001 in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks...

.

Redevelopment of the relationship with Osama bin Laden


By the time the Operation Bojinka plot was discovered, Mohammed was already safely in Qatar, back at his job as a project engineer at the country's Ministry of Electricity and Water. He traveled in 1995 to Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

, Malaysia, and Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 to visit elements of the worldwide jihadist community, although no evidence connects him to specific terrorist actions in any of those locations. On his trip to Sudan he attempted to meet with Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

, who was at the time living there with the aid of Sudanese political leader Hassan al Turabi. After a request to arrest Mohammed came to the Qatari government from the United States in January 1996, Mohammed fled to Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, where he renewed his relationship with Abdul Rasul Sayyaf and formed a working relationship with the newly migrated bin Laden later that year. "According to KSM, this was the first time he had seen bin Laden since 1989. Although they had fought together [in Afghanistan] in 1987, bin Laden and KSM did not yet enjoy an especially close working relationship."

Just as Mohammed was re-establishing himself in Afghanistan, bin Laden and his colleagues were also transplanting their operations to the same country. Abu Hafs al-Masri/Mohammed Atef
Mohammed Atef
Mohammed Atef was the alleged military chief of al-Qaida, although his role in the organization was not well known by intelligence agencies for years...

, bin Laden's chief of operations, arranged a meeting between bin Laden and Mohammed in Tora Bora
Tora Bora
Tora Bora , known locally as Spīn Ghar , is a cave complex situated in the White Mountains of eastern Afghanistan, in the Pachir Wa Agam District of Nangarhar province, approximately west of the Khyber Pass and north of the border of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan...

 sometime in mid-1996, in which Mohammed outlined a plan that would eventually become the quadruple hijackings of 2001. Bin Laden urged Mohammed to become a full-fledged member of Al Qaeda, but he continued to refuse such a commitment until around early 1999, after the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Nairobi
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

 and Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam , formerly Mzizima, is the largest city in Tanzania. It is also the country's richest city and a regionally important economic centre. Dar es Salaam is actually an administrative province within Tanzania, and consists of three local government areas or administrative districts: ...

 convinced him that bin Laden was truly committed to attacking the United States. Mohammed wished to retain some degree of autonomy as a mujahid. His continuing relationship with Sayyaf had to be kept hidden from Al Qaeda, as full disclosure would have been problematic.

The 9/11 Commission Report notes on page 149 that Mohammed moved his family from Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 to Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 in 1997. That same year, he attempted without success to join mujahideen leader Ibn al Khattab in Chechnya
Chechnya
The Chechen Republic , commonly referred to as Chechnya , also spelled Chechnia or Chechenia, sometimes referred to as Ichkeria , is a federal subject of Russia . It is located in the southeastern part of Europe in the Northern Caucasus mountains. The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny...

, another area of special interest to Mohammed. He was apparently unable to travel to Chechnya, and so he instead returned to Afghanistan, where he gradually gained stature in Al Qaeda and ultimately accepted bin Laden's invitation to move to Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 and join the organization as a full-fledged member (although he claims that he still refused to swear a formal oath of loyalty to bin Laden). Eventually, he became leader of Al Qaeda's media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

 committee. He also worked on various unfulfilled plans for attacks in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and Southeast Asia.He was close to former Jemaah Islamiyah
Jemaah Islamiyah
Jemaah Islamiah , is a Southeast Asian militant Islamic organization dedicated to the establishment of a Daulah Islamiyah in Southeast Asia incorporating Indonesia, Malaysia, the southern Philippines, Singapore and Brunei...

 leader Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has also been widely described as living a lavish lifestyle, even while he was on the run from the law. He traveled all over the world using false passports, and was very close to being captured by U.S. authorities on numerous occasions.

In June 2001, he phoned a cell phone held by Belgian Saber Mohammed
Saber Mohammed
Saber Mohammed, an Iraqi nationalist who opposed Saddam Hussein, pleaded guilty to agreeing to help facilitate Islamic extremism in Brussels in 2004....

 three times — as it was believed he was acting as a messenger for Mosa Zi Zemmori
Mosa Zi Zemmori
Hafiz Mosa Zi Zemmori is a Belgian citizen who was held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps, in Cuba.-Life:...

 and Driss Elatellah.

September 11, 2001 attacks


The first hijack plan that Mohammed presented to the leadership of al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 called for several airplanes on both east and west coasts to be hijacked and flown into targets. His plan evolved from an earlier foiled plot known as Operation Bojinka, which called for 10 or more airliners to be bombed in mid-air or hijacked for use as missiles. Bin Laden rejected some potential targets suggested by Mohammed, such as the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles.

In late 1998 or early 1999, bin Laden gave approval for Mohammed to go forward with organizing the plot. A series of meetings occurred in spring of 1999, involving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Osama bin Laden, and his military chief Mohammed Atef
Mohammed Atef
Mohammed Atef was the alleged military chief of al-Qaida, although his role in the organization was not well known by intelligence agencies for years...

. Bin Laden provided leadership for the plot, along with financial support. Bin Laden was also involved in selecting people to participate in the plot, including choosing Mohamed Atta
Mohamed Atta
Mohamed Mohamed el-Amir Awad el-Sayed Atta was one of the masterminds and the ringleader of the September 11 attacks who served as the hijacker-pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, crashing the plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center as part of the coordinated attacks.Born in 1968...

 as the lead hijacker. Mohammed provided operational support, such as selecting targets and helping arrange travel for the hijackers.

After Atta was chosen as the leader of the mission, "he met with Bin Laden to discuss the targets: the World Trade Center, which represented the U.S. economy; the Pentagon, a symbol of the U.S. military; and the U.S. Capitol, the perceived source of U.S. policy in support of Israel. The White House was also on the list, as Bin Laden considered it a political symbol and wanted to attack it as well."

"Bin Laden had been pressuring KSM (Khalid Sheikh Mohammed) for months to advance the attack date. According to KSM, bin Laden had even asked that the attacks occur as early as mid-2000, after Israeli opposition party leader Ariel Sharon caused an outcry in the Middle East by visiting a sensitive and contested holy site in Jerusalem that is sacred to both Muslims and Jews. Although bin Laden recognized that Atta and the other pilots had only just arrived in the United States to begin their flight training, the al-Qaida leader wanted to punish the United States for supporting Israel. He allegedly told KSM it would be sufficient simply to down the planes and not hit specific targets. KSM stood his ground, arguing that the operation would not be successful unless the pilots were fully trained and the hijacking teams were larger."

In a 2002 interview with Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera is an independent broadcaster owned by the state of Qatar through the Qatar Media Corporation and headquartered in Doha, Qatar...

 journalist Yosri Fouda
Yosri Fouda
Yosri Fouda , born in Egypt, is a journalist who initially worked for the BBC's short-lived Arabic-subsidiary covering the ongoing struggle in Bosnia with veteran reporter Martin Bell. He currently works for the independent Cairo-based ON TV, which is largely owned by Egyptian businessman Naguib...

, Mohammed admitted his involvement, along with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, in the "Holy Tuesday operation". KSM, however, disputes this claim via his Personal Representative: "I never stated to the Al Jazeera reporter that I was the head of the al Qaida military committee."

Daniel Pearl murder



According to a CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 interview with intelligence expert Rohan Gunaratna
Rohan Gunaratna
Rohan Gunaratna is an international terrorism expert. He is the head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research ] at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore...

, "Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl was an American journalist who was kidnapped and killed by Al-Qaeda.At the time of his kidnapping, Pearl served as the South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, and was based in Mumbai, India. He went to Pakistan as part of an investigation into the alleged links between...

 was going in search of the al Qaeda network that was operational in Karachi, and it was at the instruction of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that Daniel Pearl was killed." On October 12, 2006, Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine reported that "KSM confessed under CIA interrogation that he personally committed the murder." On March 15, 2007, the Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

 released a statement that Mohammed had confessed to the murder. The statement quoted Mohammed as saying, "I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan. For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head."

According to an investigative report published in January 2011 by Georgetown University
Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

, the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 used vein matching
Vein matching
Vein matching, also called vascular technology, is a technique of biometric identification through the analysis of the patterns of blood vessels visible from the surface of the skin...

 to determine that the perpetrator in the video of the killing of Pearl was most likely Mohammed, notably through a "bulging vein" running across his hand. Federal officials were concerned that the confession obtained through waterboarding would not hold up in court and used this forensic technique to bolster their case.

Interview to al-Jazeera


In April 2002 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, together with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, gave an interview to al-Jazeera correspondent Yosri Fouda
Yosri Fouda
Yosri Fouda , born in Egypt, is a journalist who initially worked for the BBC's short-lived Arabic-subsidiary covering the ongoing struggle in Bosnia with veteran reporter Martin Bell. He currently works for the independent Cairo-based ON TV, which is largely owned by Egyptian businessman Naguib...

. They described the preparations for 9/11 attacks and said that they first thought of "striking at a couple of nuclear facilities" in the USA but then "it was eventually decided to leave out nuclear targets for now."

Capture and interrogation



On September 11, 2002, members of Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

 (ISI) claimed to have killed or captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed during a raid in Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

 that resulted in bin al-Shibh's capture. Some people have reported that Mohammed escaped, but that his family was captured.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured in Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi , locally known as Pindi, is a city in the Pothohar region of Pakistan near Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad, in the province of Punjab. Rawalpindi is the fourth largest city in Pakistan after Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 (about 20 km southwest of Islamabad), on March 1, 2003, by the Pakistani ISI
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

, possibly in a joint action with the CIA's Special Activities Division
Special Activities Division
The Special Activities Division is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency's National Clandestine Service responsible for covert operations known as "special activities"...

 paramilitary operatives and agents of the American Diplomatic Security Service
Diplomatic Security Service
The U.S. Diplomatic Security Service is the federal law enforcement arm of the United States Department of State. The majority of its Special Agents are members of the Foreign Service and federal law enforcement agents at the same time, making them unique...

, and has been in U.S. custody since that time. In September 2006, the U.S. government announced it had moved Mohammed from a secret prison to the facility at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The Red Cross, Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

 and Mohammed have claimed that the harsh treatment and waterboarding
Waterboarding
Waterboarding is a form of torture in which water is poured over the face of an immobilized captive, thus causing the individual to experience the sensation of drowning...

 he received from U.S. authorities amounts to torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

.

Following the report of the capture, some Pakistani officials say he was immediately transferred to U.S. custody without extradition proceedings, while others said he remained in Pakistani custody. The raid took place at the home of Ahmed Abdul Qudoos, who was also reportedly arrested as an al-Qaeda agent. Qudoos' family told media that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was not in the house, that Qudoos was disabled and had never been associated with al-Qaeda, and that the police conducting the raids did not ask for Mohammed. Other newspaper accounts said that former Taliban officials in Pakistan said that Mohammed was not captured and was still at large.

He told American interrogators he would not answer any questions until he was provided with a lawyer, which was refused to him. He claims to have been kept naked for more than a month during his isolation and interrogations, during which he was "questioned by an unusual number of female handlers".

According to the "unclassified summary of evidence" presented during the Combatant Status Review Tribunal Hearing in 2007 a computer hard drive seized during the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed contained the following:
  • information about the four airplanes hijacked on 11 September 2001 including code names, airline company, flight number, target, pilot name and background information, and names of the hijackers
  • photographs of 19 individuals identified as the 11 September 2001 hijackers
  • a document that listed the pilot license fees for Mohammad Atta and biographies for some of the 11 September 2001 hijackers.
  • images of passports and an image of Mohammad Atta.
  • transcripts of chat sessions belonging to at least one of the 11 September 2001 hijackers.
  • three letters from Osama bin Laden
  • spreadsheets that describe money assistance to families of known al Qaeda members
  • a letter to the United Arab Emirates threatening attack if their government continued to help the United States
  • a document that summarized operational procedures and training requirements of an al Qaeda cell
  • a list of killed and wounded al Qaeda militants.


However, at the hearing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed claimed that the computer belonged not to him, but to Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, arrested together with him.
He reportedly made allegations about various people, including the claim that Aafia Siddiqui
Aafia Siddiqui
Aafia Siddiqui is an American-educated Pakistani cognitive neuroscientist who was convicted of assault with intent to murder her U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan. The charges carried a maximum sentence of life in prison; in September 2010, she was sentenced by a United States district court to 86...

 was a key al-Qaeda operative. She disappeared shortly thereafter in 2003 while in Pakistan. It has been admitted she was abducted by Pakistani Police working in collusion with the ISI
ISI
ISI or Isi may refer to:* İsi, a village and municipality in the Masally Rayon of Azerbaijan-Organizations:* Bureau of Indian Standards, previously the Indian Standards Institute, the national Standards Body of India...

 and the CIA. She mysteriously reappeared in 2008 and was arrested by Afghan Police. In February 2010 she was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and attempting to kill U.S. soldiers and FBI agents who were seeking to interrogate her while she was in custody. Four British Parliamentarians
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 called the trial a grave miscarriage of justice which violated the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. constitution
Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights which sets forth rights related to criminal prosecutions...

, and U.S. obligations as a member of the United Nations, and demanded Siddiqui's release. They wrote to US President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 saying there was a lack of scientific and forensic evidence tying Siddiqui to the weapon she allegedly fired. Many of Siddiqui's supporters, including international human rights organizations, have claimed that Siddiqui was not an extremist and that she and her young children were illegally detained, interrogated and tortured by Pakistani intelligence or U.S. authorities or both during her five-year disappearance. The U.S. and Pakistan governments have denied all such claims.

A CIA document reveals that Jane Harman
Jane Harman
Jane Margaret Lakes Harman is the former U.S. Representative for , serving from 1993 to 1999, and from 2001 to 2011. She is a member of the Democratic Party....

 [D-CA] and Porter Goss [R-FL] of the House Intelligence Committee were briefed on July 13, 2004 by the CIA Deputy Director for Operations James Pavitt
James Pavitt
James L. Pavitt was Deputy Director for Operations for the CIA from 1999 until June 4, 2004. His sudden resignation – as well as that of his chief, DCI George Tenet the previous day – led to speculation that it was over the controversy surrounding Iraq weapons of mass destruction or 9-11...

, General Council Scott Muller, and CIA Inspector General John L. Helgerson
John L. Helgerson
John L. Helgerson is a long-time official of the United States' most senior intelligence agency, the CIA.Helgerson was the CIA Inspector General from 2002-2009. Helgerson is a graduate of Saint Olaf College...

 on the status of the interrogation process. By this date, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had been subjected to 183 applications of waterboarding. The document states
"(...) the CIA was seeking renewed policy approval from the NSC Principals to continue using the enhanced interrogation techniques."


On October 12, 2004, Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

 reported that 11 suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, had "disappeared
Ghost detainee
Ghost detainee is an official term used by the U.S. Government to designate a person held in a detention center, whose identity has been hidden by keeping them unregistered and therefore anonymous. It was also used in the same manner by the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center at the Abu...

" to a semi-secret prison in Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, and might have been tortured there under the direction of the CIA. Jordanian and American officials denied those allegations.

CIA Director Michael Hayden told a Senate committee on February 5, 2008, that the agency had used waterboarding
Waterboarding
Waterboarding is a form of torture in which water is poured over the face of an immobilized captive, thus causing the individual to experience the sensation of drowning...

 on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. A 2005 U.S. Justice Department memo released in April 2009 stated that Mohammed had undergone waterboarding 183 times in March 2003.

In October 2006 Mohammed described his mistreatment and torture in detention, including the waterboarding, to a representative of International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

. Mohammed said that he had provided a lot of false information that he had supposed the interrogators wanted to hear in order to stop the mistreatment.

In the 2006 interview with the Red Cross, Mohammed claimed to have been waterboarded in five different sessions during the first month of interrogation in his third place of detention. While the Justice Department memos were confusing in that they did not explain exactly what the numbers represented, a U.S. official with knowledge of the interrogation programs explained the 183 figure represented the number of times water was applied to the detainees face during the waterboarding sessions.

In March 2007, after four years in captivity, including six months of detention and alleged torture at Guantanamo Bay, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — as it was claimed by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal
Combatant Status Review Tribunal
The Combatant Status Review Tribunals were a set of tribunals for confirming whether detainees held by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp had been correctly designated as "enemy combatants". The CSRTs were established July 7, 2004 by order of U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense...

 Hearing in Guantanamo Bay — confessed to masterminding the September 11 attacks, the Richard Reid
Richard Reid (shoe bomber)
Richard Colvin Reid , also known as the Shoe Bomber, is a self-admitted member of al-Qaeda who pled guilty in 2002 in U.S. federal court to eight criminal counts of terrorism stemming from his attempt to destroy a commercial aircraft in-flight by detonating explosives hidden in his shoes...

 shoe bombing attempt to blow up an airliner over the Atlantic Ocean, the Bali nightclub bombing
2002 Bali bombing
The 2002 Bali bombings occurred on 12 October 2002 in the tourist district of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali. The attack was claimed as the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia according to the current police general, killing 202 people,...

 in Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and various foiled attacks. "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z," Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said in a statement read Saturday during a Combatant Status Review Tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. His confession was read by a member of the U.S. military who is serving as his personal representative. He further described his actions and motivations in a composition publicly released in 2009 known as The Islamic Response to the Government’s Nine Accusations.

In June 2008, a New York Times article citing unnamed CIA officers claimed that Mohammed was held in a secret facility in Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 near Szymany Airport
Szczytno-Szymany International Airport
Szczytno-Szymany International Airport is a currently inoperative Polish regional airport located in the village Szymany, some 10 km from the center of the city of Szczytno in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship in the North of Poland. It is the only airport in the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship...

, about 100 miles north of Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

, where he was interrogated under waterboarding before he began to cooperate.

In April 2011, the British newspaper, The Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

said it received leaked documents
Guantanamo Bay files leak
The Guantánamo Bay files leak began on 25 April 2011, when WikiLeaks, along with several independent news organizations, began publishing 779 formerly secret documents relating to detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp...

 regarding the Guantanamo Bay interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The documents cited Khalid saying that, if Osama Bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 is captured or killed by the Coalition of the Willing
Coalition of the willing
The term coalition of the willing is a post-1990 political phrase used to collectively describe participants in military or military-humanitarian interventions for which the United Nations Security Council cannot agree to mount a full UN peacekeeping operation...

, an Al-Qaeda sleeper cell will detonate a "weapon of mass destruction" in a "secret location" in Europe, and promised it would be "a nuclear hellstorm".

Report that interrogators abused his children


Ali Khan
Ali Khan
Ali Khan is a citizen of Pakistan, and a permanent resident of the United States.One of his sons, Majid Khan, was held in extrajudicial detention, in secret interrogation centers, run by the CIA, for four years....

, the father of Majid Khan, another one of the 14 "high-value detainees," released an affidavit on Monday April 16, 2006, that reported that interrogators subjected Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's children, aged six and eight years old, to abusive interrogation.

Khan's affidavit quoted another of his sons, Mohammed Khan:

Transfer to Guantánamo and hearing before his Combatant Status Review Tribunal


On September 6, 2006, then-American President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 confirmed, for the first time, that the CIA had held "high-value detainees" for interrogation in secret prisons around the world. He also announced that fourteen senior captives, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, were being transferred from CIA custody, to military custody, at Guantanamo Bay detention camp and that these fourteen captives could now expect to face charges before Guantanamo military commissions.

In a September 29, 2006, speech, Bush stated "Once captured, Abu Zubaydah
Abu Zubaydah
Abu Zubaydah is a Saudi Arabian citizen, sentenced to death in Jordan and currently held in U.S. custody in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.Not neutral: Arrested in Pakistan in March 2002, he has been in US custody for more than eight years, four-and-a-half of them spent incommunicado in solitary confinement...

, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were taken into custody of the Central Intelligence Agency. The questioning of these and other suspected terrorists provided information that helped us protect the American people. They helped us break up a cell of Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

n terrorist operatives that had been groomed for attacks inside the United States. They helped us disrupt an al Qaeda operation to develop anthrax
Anthrax
Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects both humans and other animals...

 for terrorist attacks. They helped us stop a planned strike on a U.S. Marine camp in Djibouti
Djibouti
Djibouti , officially the Republic of Djibouti , is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east...

, and to prevent a planned attack on the U.S. Consulate in Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

, and to foil a plot to hijack passenger planes and to fly them into Heathrow Airport and London's Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf is a major business district located in London, United Kingdom. It is one of London's two main financial centres, alongside the traditional City of London, and contains many of the UK's tallest buildings, including the second-tallest , One Canada Square...

."

In March 2007, Mohammed testified before a closed-door hearing in Guantánamo Bay. According to transcripts of the hearing released by the Pentagon, he said, "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z." The transcripts also show him confessing to:
  • Organizing the 1993 World Trade Center bombing,
  • The Bali nightclub bombings,
  • Richard Reid's attempted shoe bombing,
  • Planning the attacks on Heathrow Airport and Big Ben clock tower
    Clock Tower, Palace of Westminster
    Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, and is generally extended to refer to the clock or the clock tower as well. It is the largest four-faced chiming clock and the third-tallest free-standing clock tower in the world...

     in London,
  • Daniel Pearl's murder in 2002,
  • Planned assassination
    Assassination
    To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

     attempts on Pope John Paul II
    Pope John Paul II
    Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

    , Pervez Musharraf
    Pervez Musharraf
    Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

     and Bill Clinton
    Bill Clinton
    William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

    .

On March 15, 2007, BBC News
BBC News
BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

 reported that "Transcripts of his testimony were translated from Arabic and edited by the U.S. Department of Defense to remove sensitive intelligence material before release. It appeared, from a judge's question, that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had made allegations of torture in US custody". In the Defense Department transcript, Mohammed said his statement was not made under duress but Mohammed and human rights advocates have alleged that he was tortured. CIA officials have previously told ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

 that "Mohammed lasted the longest under waterboarding
Waterboarding
Waterboarding is a form of torture in which water is poured over the face of an immobilized captive, thus causing the individual to experience the sensation of drowning...

, two and a half minutes, before beginning to talk." Legal experts say this could taint all his statements. Forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner
Michael Welner
Michael Mark Welner, M.D., is an American Forensic Psychiatrist. He is founder and Chairman of The Forensic Panel, a forensic science practice, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and an Adjunct Professor of Law Duquesne University School of Law...

, M.D., an expert in false confessions, observed from the testimony transcript that his concerns about his family may have been far more influential in soliciting Mohammed’s cooperation than any earlier reported mistreatment.

One CIA official cautioned that "many of Mohammed's claims during interrogation were 'white noise
White noise (slang)
The term white noise, the 'sh' noise produced by a signal containing all audible frequencies of vibration, is sometimes used as slang to describe a meaningless commotion or chatter that masks or obliterates underlying information....

' designed to send the U.S. on wild goose chase
Wild goose chase
A wild-goose chase or wild goose chase may refer to:* A wild-goose chase, a futile search or fruitless errand, a task inordinately complex relative to its outcome...

s or to get him through the day's interrogation session". For example according to Mike Rogers, a former FBI agent and the top Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 on the terrorism panel of the House Intelligence Committee, he has admitted responsibility for the Bali nightclub bombing, but his involvement "could have been as small as arranging a safe house for travel. It could have been arranging finance." Mohammed also made the admission that he was "responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center Operation," which killed six and injured more than 1,000 when a bomb was detonated in an underground garage, Mohammed did not plan the attack, but he may have supported it. Michael Welner
Michael Welner
Michael Mark Welner, M.D., is an American Forensic Psychiatrist. He is founder and Chairman of The Forensic Panel, a forensic science practice, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and an Adjunct Professor of Law Duquesne University School of Law...

 noted that by offering legitimate information to interrogators, Mohammed had secured the leverage to provide disinformation as well.

In an article discussing the reliability of Khalid's confession and the motive for giving misinformation under torture, Ali Soufan, a former FBI special agent with considerable experience interrogating al-Qaeda operatives, pointed out that:
"When they are in pain, people will say anything to get the pain to stop. Most of the time, they will lie, make up anything to make you stop hurting them. That means the information you're getting is useless."
His words are echoed by the US Army Training Manual's section on interrogation, which suggests that:
"the use of force is a poor technique, as it ...can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear."
As an example of this the article discloses that although the George W. Bush administration made claims that the water-boarding (simulated drowning) of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed produced vital information that allowed them to break up a plot to attack the Liberty Tower in Los Angeles in 2002, this has been proven to be untrue. In 2002 Shaikh Mohammed was busy evading capture in Pakistan.

Likewise the claim by the Obama administration that torture of Kahlid Mohammed led to the lead in finding Osama Bin Laden has also been shown to be false. "The trail to bin Laden did not begin with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times. ...not only did the use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not provide us with key leads on bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed; it actually produced false and misleading information."

List of confessions


All of these plots can also be referred to as 'Second Oplan Bojinka'.
  • The February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center
    1993 World Trade Center bombing
    The 1993 World Trade Center bombing occurred on February 26, 1993, when a truck bomb was detonated below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The 1,336 lb urea nitrate–hydrogen gas enhanced device was intended to knock the North Tower into the South Tower , bringing...

     in New York City
  • The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center
    World Trade Center
    The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

    , the Pentagon
    Pentagon
    In geometry, a pentagon is any five-sided polygon. A pentagon may be simple or self-intersecting. The sum of the internal angles in a simple pentagon is 540°. A pentagram is an example of a self-intersecting pentagon.- Regular pentagons :In a regular pentagon, all sides are equal in length and...

    , and the United States Capitol
    United States Capitol
    The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

     (both in Washington, D.C.
    Washington, D.C.
    Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

    ) using four hijacked commercial airliners.
  • A failed "shoe bomber" operation
  • The October 2002 attack in Kuwait
    Kuwait
    The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

  • The Paddy's Pub nightclub
    Nightclub
    A nightclub is an entertainment venue which usually operates late into the night...

     bombing in Bali
    Bali
    Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

    , Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

  • A plan for a "second wave" of attacks on major U.S. landmarks after the 9/11 attacks, including the Library Tower in Los Angeles, the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago, the Plaza Bank Building in Seattle and the Empire State Building
    Empire State Building
    The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark skyscraper and American cultural icon in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet , and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 ft high. Its name is derived...

     in New York City
  • Plots to attack oil tankers and U.S. naval ships in the Straits of Hormuz, the Straits of Gibraltar and in Singapore
    Singapore
    Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

  • A plan to blow up the Panama Canal
    Panama Canal
    The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

  • Plans to assassinate Jimmy Carter
    Jimmy Carter
    James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

  • A plot to blow up suspension bridges in New York City
  • A plan to destroy the Sears Tower
    Sears Tower
    Sears' optimistic growth projections were not met. Competition from its traditional rivals continued, with new competition by retailing giants such as Kmart, Kohl's, and Wal-Mart. The fortunes of Sears & Roebuck declined in the 1970s as the company lost market share; its management grew more...

     in Chicago with burning fuel trucks
  • Plans to "destroy" London Heathrow Airport
    London Heathrow Airport
    London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow , in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe...

    , Canary Wharf
    Canary Wharf
    Canary Wharf is a major business district located in London, United Kingdom. It is one of London's two main financial centres, alongside the traditional City of London, and contains many of the UK's tallest buildings, including the second-tallest , One Canada Square...

     and Big Ben in London
  • A planned attack on "many" nightclubs in Thailand
    Thailand
    Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

  • A plot targeting the New York Stock Exchange
    New York Stock Exchange
    The New York Stock Exchange is a stock exchange located at 11 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at 13.39 trillion as of Dec 2010...

     and other U.S. financial targets
  • A plan to destroy buildings in Eilat, Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

  • Plans to destroy U.S. embassies in Indonesia, Australia and Japan in 2002.
  • Plots to destroy Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

    i embassies in India, Azerbaijan
    Azerbaijan
    Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

    , the Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

     and Australia
  • Surveying and financing an attack on an Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

    i El-Al flight from Bangkok
    Bangkok
    Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

  • Sending several "mujahideen" into Israel to survey "strategic targets" with the intention of attacking them
  • The November 2002 suicide bombing of a hotel in Mombasa
    Mombasa
    Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya. Lying next to the Indian Ocean, it has a major port and an international airport. The city also serves as the centre of the coastal tourism industry....

    , Kenya
    Kenya
    Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

  • The failed attempt to shoot down an Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

    i passenger jet leaving Mombasa airport in Kenya
    Kenya
    Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

  • Plans to attack U.S. targets in South Korea
  • Providing financial support for a plan to attack U.S., British and Jewish targets in Turkey
    Turkey
    Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

  • Surveillance of U.S. nuclear power plants in order to attack them
  • A plot to attack NATO's headquarters in Europe
  • Planning and surveillance in a 1995 plan (the "Bojinka Operation") to bomb 12 American passenger jets
  • The planned assassination attempt against then-U.S. President Bill Clinton
    Bill Clinton
    William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

     during a mid-1990s trip to the Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

  • "Shared responsibility" for a plot to kill
    Oplan Bojinka
    The Bojinka plot was a planned large-scale Islamist terrorist attack by Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to blow up 12 airliners and their approximately 4,000 passengers as they flew from Asia to the United States. The term can also refer to a combination of plots by Yousef and Mohammed to...

     Pope
    Pope
    The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

     John Paul II
  • Plans to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf
    Pervez Musharraf
    Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

  • An attempt to attack a U.S. oil company in Sumatra
    Sumatra
    Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

    , Indonesia, "owned by the Jewish former [U.S.] Secretary of State
    Secretary of State
    Secretary of State or State Secretary is a commonly used title for a senior or mid-level post in governments around the world. The role varies between countries, and in some cases there are multiple Secretaries of State in the Government....

     Henry Kissinger
    Henry Kissinger
    Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

    "
  • The beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl
    Daniel Pearl
    Daniel Pearl was an American journalist who was kidnapped and killed by Al-Qaeda.At the time of his kidnapping, Pearl served as the South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, and was based in Mumbai, India. He went to Pakistan as part of an investigation into the alleged links between...



Source: BBC

After Mohammed arrived at Guantánamo, a team of FBI and military interrogators tried to elicit from him the same confessions that the CIA had obtained about the 9/11 plot, but by using only legal means of interrogation. By 2008, the Bush Administration believed that this so-called Clean Team had compiled sufficient evidence to charge Mohammed and the others with capital murder.

Confession used in Sheikh Omar's defense


On March 19, 2007, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh is a British-born militant of Pakistani descent with links to various Islamist militant organisations, including Jaish-e-Mohammed, al-Qaeda, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and the Taliban.He was arrested and served time in prison for...

's lawyers cited Mohammed's confession in defense of their client.

Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, also known as Sheikh Omar, was sentenced to death
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 in a Pakistani court for the murder of Daniel Pearl. Omar's lawyers recently announced that they planned to use Mohammed's confession in an appeal. They had always acknowledged that Omar played a role in Pearl's murder, but argue that Mohammed was the actual murderer.

Prosecution in France


In France in 2009 it was decided to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in absentia
In absentia
In absentia is Latin for "in the absence". In legal use, it usually means a trial at which the defendant is not physically present. The phrase is not ordinarily a mere observation, but suggests recognition of violation to a defendant's right to be present in court proceedings in a criminal trial.In...

 on terrorism charges with respect to the Ghriba synagogue bombing
Ghriba synagogue bombing
The Ghriba synagogue bombing was a deadly bombing carried out by Niser bin Muhammad Nasar Nawar in Tunisia on the El Ghriba synagogue.On April 11, 2002, a natural gas truck fitted with explosives drove past security barriers at the ancient Ghriba Synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba...

 on the Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

ian island of Djerba
Djerba
Djerba , also transliterated as Jerba or Jarbah, is, at 514 km², the largest island of North Africa, located in the Gulf of Gabes, off the coast of Tunisia.-Description:...

 in 2002 which killed 14 German tourists, five Tunisians and two French nationals, together with captured German national Christian Ganczarski
Christian Ganczarski
Christian Ganczarski, born 1966 in Gliwice, Silesia, Poland, is a German citizen of Polish ancestry who converted to Islam. He is one of the individuals who has been described as the head of "al Qaeda in Europe"...

 and Tunisian Walid Nawar. However, French judges chose to separate Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's case from that of Ganczarski and Nawar and try him at a later date.

Trial for 9/11



On February 11, 2008, the United States Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 charged Mohammed as well as Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali and Walid Bin Attash for the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

 under the military commission
Guantanamo military commission
The Guantanamo military commissions are military tribunals created by the Military Commissions Act of 2006 for prosecuting detainees held in the United States Guantanamo Bay detainment camps.- History :...

 system, as established under the Military Commissions Act of 2006
Military Commissions Act of 2006
The United States Military Commissions Act of 2006, also known as HR-6166, was an Act of Congress signed by President George W. Bush on October 17, 2006. Drafted in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision on Hamdan v...

. They have reportedly been charged with the murder of almost 3000 people, terrorism and providing material support for terrorism
Providing material support for terrorism
Providing material support for terrorism is a provision of the USA PATRIOT Act which prohibits material support to groups designated as terrorists. The four types of support described are “training,” “expert advice or assistance,” “service,” and “personnel.” In June 2010 the United States Supreme...

 and plane hijacking; as well as attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury and destruction of property in violation of the law of war. The charges against them list 169 overt acts allegedly committed by the defendants in furtherance of the September 11 events."

The charges include 2,973 individual counts of murder—one for each person killed in the 9/11 attacks.

The U.S. government is seeking the death penalty, which would require the unanimous agreement of the commission judges.

Human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 groups, including Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

, Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

 and the Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Constitutional Rights
Al Odah v. United States:Al Odah is the latest in a series of habeas corpus petitions on behalf of people imprisoned at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. The case challenges the Military Commissions system’s suitability as a habeas corpus substitute and the legality, in general, of detention at...

, and U.S. military defense lawyers have criticised the military commissions for lacking necessary rights for a fair trial. Critics generally argue for a trial either in a federal district court
United States district court
The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in the district court, which is a court of law, equity, and admiralty. There is a United States bankruptcy court associated with each United States...

 as a common criminal suspect, or by court-martial
Court-martial
A court-martial is a military court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of members of the armed forces subject to military law, and, if the defendant is found guilty, to decide upon punishment.Most militaries maintain a court-martial system to try cases in which a breach of...

 as a prisoner under the Geneva Conventions
Geneva Conventions
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war...

 which prohibit civilian trials for prisoners of war. Mohammed could face the death penalty under any of these systems.

The Pentagon insisted that Mohammed and the other defendant would receive a fair trial, with rights "virtually identical" to U.S. military service personnel. However, there are some differences between U.S. courts-martial and military commissions.

The U.S. Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 has built a $12 million "Expeditionary Legal Complex" in Guantánamo
Guantánamo
Guantánamo is a municipality and city in southeast Cuba and capital of Guantánamo Province.Guantánamo is served by the Caimanera port and the site of a famous U.S. Naval base. The area produces sugarcane and cotton wool...

 with a snoop-proof courtroom capable of trying six alleged co-conspirators before one judge
Judge
A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open...

 and jury
Jury
A jury is a sworn body of people convened to render an impartial verdict officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment. Modern juries tend to be found in courts to ascertain the guilt, or lack thereof, in a crime. In Anglophone jurisdictions, the verdict may be guilty,...

. Media and other observers are sequestered in a soundproofed room behind thick glass, at the rear. The judge at the front and a court security officer have mute buttons to silence the feed to the observers' booth—if they suspect someone in court could spill classified information.

The trial, presided over by judge Ralph Kohlmann, began on June 5, 2008, with the arraignment
Arraignment
Arraignment is a formal reading of a criminal complaint in the presence of the defendant to inform the defendant of the charges against him or her. In response to arraignment, the accused is expected to enter a plea...

. About thirty-five journalists watched on closed-circuit TV in a press room inside a converted hangar, while two dozen others watched through a window from a room adjacent to the courtroom.

Mohammed insisted he would not be represented by any attorneys. The other detainees quickly followed suit and said they too wanted to represent themselves. One of the civilian attorneys Mohammed spurned, David Nevin, later told the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 that he would attempt to meet with Mohammed to "hear him out and see if we can give him information that is helpful."

Mohammed was careful not to interrupt Kohlmann. He lost his composure only after the Marine colonel ordered several defense attorneys to keep quiet "It's an inquisition. It's not a trial," Mohammed said in broken English, his voice rising. "After torturing they transfer us to inquisition-land in Guantanamo."

He explained he believes only in religious Sharia law and railed against U.S. President George W. Bush for waging a "crusade war." When judge warned Mohammed that he faces execution if convicted of organizing the attacks on America, Mohammed said he welcomes the death penalty. "Yes, this is what I wish, to be a martyr for a long time," Mohammed declared. "I will, God willing, have this, by you."

A sound feed to journalists from the courtroom was turned off twice.

The sound was also turned off when another defendant discussed early days of his imprisonment. Judge Ralph Kohlmann said that in both cases sound was turned off because classified information was discussed.

On September 23, 2008, in the voir dire
Voir dire
Voir dire is a phrase in law which comes from the Anglo-Norman language. In origin it refers to an oath to tell the truth , i.e., to say what is true, what is objectively accurate or subjectively honest, or both....

 process, Mohammed questioned the judge on his potential bias at trial. "Glaring and poking an occasional finger in the air," Mohammed told Kohlmann, "The government considers all of us fanatical extremists," and asked, "How can you, as an officer of the U.S. Marine Corps, stand over me in judgment?" Insisting that he was attempting to work out if Kohlmann was a religious extremist, he continued: "[President] Bush said this is a crusader war and Osama bin Laden said this is a holy war against the crusades. If you were part of Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell
Jerry Lamon Falwell, Sr. was an evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and a conservative commentator from the United States. He was the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia...

 or Pat Robertson
Pat Robertson
Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson is a media mogul, television evangelist, ex-Baptist minister and businessman who is politically aligned with the Christian Right in the United States....

’s group, then you would not be impartial."

For his part, Kohlmann attempted to maintain his dignity, explaining that he was currently unaffiliated with a church "because I’ve moved so often." He added that he had previously worshipped at "various Lutheran churches and Episcopal churches
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

."

Mohammed then proceeded to ask Kohlmann about his views on torture. As part of the background materials supplied to him–or made available to the civilian lawyers who are voluntarily assisting him in his defense–he referred to an ethics seminar that Kohlmann had conducted at his daughter’s high school in 2005, in which the students had been asked to consider their responses to a “Ticking Time Bomb” scenario. Based on a fictional proposition that a bomb is about to go off, and an unwilling captive knows its location but is unwilling to disclose the information, the scenario is widely used by proponents of “enhanced interrogation techniques” to justify the use of torture.

Kohlmann explained that he encouraged the debate as part of "a complex question that might be dealt with differently if someone were specifically trying to save the nation or just looking at it from an ethical sense or just looking at it from a legal sense," and dismissed a combative question from Mohammed–"It seems that you are supportive of the use of torture for national security?"–by stating, "I have no idea where that would come from."

On October 12, 2008, Kohlmann ruled that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and his four co-charged, should be provided with laptops, so they can work on their defenses.

On December 8, 2008, Mohammed and four co-defendants sent a note to the military judge expressing their desire to confess and plead guilty.

In November 2009, according to an Administration official, Mohammed was being transferred from Guantanamo Bay to New York to face a Federal Trial. Four other detainees will be facing trial in front of civilian federal court
United States district court
The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in the district court, which is a court of law, equity, and admiralty. There is a United States bankruptcy court associated with each United States...

, as well.

On January 22, 2010, the Pentagon officially dropped military charges against Mohammed and the four other alleged conspirators, clearing the path for likely transfer from Guantanamo to the United States to face charges in a civilian federal court.

Kohlmann unexpectedly replaced


Kohlmann was scheduled to retire in 2009. In November 2008, he was unexpectedly replaced by Stephen Henley.

Possible guilty plea


On December 8, 2008, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-defendants told the judge that they wished to confess and plead guilty to all charges. The plea will be delayed until mental competency hearings
Competency evaluation (law)
In the United States criminal justice system, a competency evaluation is an assessment of the ability of a defendant to understand and rationally participate in a court process....

 for Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi and Ramzi bin al-Shibh can be held; Mohammed said, "We want everyone to plead together." Spencer Ackerman
Spencer Ackerman
Spencer Ackerman is an American national security reporter and blogger. He began his career at The New Republic and currently writes for Wired magazine's national security blog, ....

, writing in the Washington Independent, reported that Presiding Officer Stephen Henley had to consider whether he was authorized to accept guilty pleas.

Transfer of the case to a civilian court


On 13 November 2009 US Attorney General Eric Holder
Eric Holder
Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. is the 82nd and current Attorney General of the United States and the first African American to hold the position, serving under President Barack Obama....

 announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Walid bin Attash, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi will all be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for trial. He also expressed confidence that an impartial jury would be found "to ensure a fair trial in New York."

On 21 January 2010 all charges have been withdrawn in the military commissions against the five suspects in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks being held at Guantanamo Bay. The charges were dropped "without prejudice" - a procedural move that allows federal officials to transfer the men to trial in a civilian court and also leaves the door open, if necessary, to bring charges again in military commissions.

In February 2010 Fox News reported that the legal counsel of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and the legal counsel of several other captives, was halted without warning.
The attorneys had made the trip to Guantanamo in the usual manner—a trip that requires advising authorities of the purpose of their trip. However, upon their arrival in Guantanamo, they were informed they were no longer allowed to see their clients. They were told that letters to their clients, telling them that they had travelled to Cuba, to see them, could not be delivered, as they were no longer authorized to write to their clients. Camp authorities told them that since the charges against their clients had been dropped, while the Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 figured out where to charge them, they no longer needed legal counsel. Camp authorities told them that, henceforward, all access to the captives had to be approved by Jeh Johnson
Jeh Johnson
Jeh Charles Johnson is an American civil and criminal trial lawyer, currently serving as General Counsel of the Department of Defense. Johnson is a graduate of Morehouse College and Columbia Law School, and is grandson of noted sociologist and Fisk University president Dr. Charles S...

, the Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

's General Counsel.
Fox reported that during earlier periods when the charges had been dropped the captives had still been allowed to see their attorneys. Fox made an unsubstantiated claim that questions they asked camp authorities led to the captives' access to their attorneys being restored.

On 1 February 2010 White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 spokesman Robert Gibbs
Robert Gibbs
Robert Lane Gibbs was the 28th White House Press Secretary. Gibbs was the communications director for then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama and Obama's 2008 presidential campaign...

 told CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 that "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is going to meet justice and he's going to meet his maker. He will be brought to justice and he's likely to be executed for the heinous crimes he committed".
The White House spokesperson's statement has been criticized as violating the principle of the presumption of innocence
Presumption of innocence
The presumption of innocence, sometimes referred to by the Latin expression Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat, is the principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty. Application of this principle is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, recognised in many...

 and has been characterized as egregious by an attorney of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Transfer of the case back to a military commission


On 7 January 2011 US President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 signed National Defense Authorization Act which explicitly prohibits the use of US Defense Department funds to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States or other countries. It also bars Pentagon funds from being used to build facilities in the United States to house detainees, as the president originally suggested. The move essentially barred the administration from trying detainees in civilian courts. The president objected to the provision in the bill before signing it, calling it "a dangerous and unprecedented challenge to critical executive branch authority" but also said his team would work with the US Congress to "seek repeal of these restrictions."

On 4 April 2011 Attorney General Eric Holder
Eric Holder
Eric Himpton Holder, Jr. is the 82nd and current Attorney General of the United States and the first African American to hold the position, serving under President Barack Obama....

 announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other 9/11 terror suspects will face a military trial at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. In announcing his decision, Holder was highly critical of Congress for imposing restrictions on the Justice Department's ability to bring the men to New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 for civilian trials. "After thoroughly studying the case, it became clear to me that the best venue for prosecution was in federal court. I stand by that decision today," Holder said. "As the president has said, those unwise and unwarranted restrictions (imposed by Congress) undermine our counterterrorism efforts and could harm our national security. Decisions about who, where and how to prosecute have always been - and must remain - the responsibility of the executive branch." Holder insisted, "We were prepared to bring a powerful case against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-conspirators - one of the most well-researched and documented cases I have ever seen in my decades of experience as a prosecutor." He added, "Had this case proceeded in Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 or in an alternative venue in the United States, as I seriously explored in the past year, I am confident that our justice system would have performed with the same distinction that has been its hallmark for over 200 years." Holder had promised to seek the death penalty for each of the five men and on 4 April he warned that it is an "open question" if such a penalty can be imposed by a military commission if the defendants plead guilty.

Release of new images


On September 9, 2009, images of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ammar al Baluchi were widely republished.
Camp authorities have strict controls over the capture and release of images of the Guantanamo captives. Journalists and VIP
VIP
VIP and V.I.P. is a three-letter acronym that may refer to:-In general:* Vacuum insulated panel* Values, Influence, and Peers, an anti-crime campaign in Ontario elementary schools* Variable Information Printing, a form of on-demand printing...

s visiting Guantanamo are not allowed to take any pictures that show the captives' faces.
"High value" captives, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, are only seen by journalists when they are in the court room, where cameras are not allowed. However, on September 9, 2009 independent counter-terrorism researchers found new images of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his nephew Ammar al Baluchi on "jihadist websites". According to Carol Rosenberg
Carol Rosenberg
Carol Rosenberg is a senior journalist, currently with the McClatchy News Service.Rosenberg works at the Miami Herald, which has provided extensive coverage of the operation of the Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba.-Biography:...

, writing in the Miami Herald: "The pictures were taken in July, said International Committee of the Red Cross
International Committee of the Red Cross
The International Committee of the Red Cross is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. States parties to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, have given the ICRC a mandate to protect the victims of international and...

 spokesman Bernard Barrett, under an agreement with prison camp staff that lets Red Cross delegates photograph detainees and send photos to family members."

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