Category Archives: Court cases, other

9/11 Families Urge Judge to Release Aviation Security Evidence on Terrorist Attacks

9/11 Families Urge Judge to Release Aviation Security Evidence on Terrorist Attacks

Call for a Completion of the Historical Record on 9/11 at Pivotal Hearings in Aviation Cases

Supported by The New York Times Company, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

NEW YORK, March 25, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Calling for truth, rather than secrecy, to be the legacy of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, attorneys for a group of 9/11 family members are presenting oral arguments today urging U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein to release more than one hundred deposition transcripts and over a million pages of evidence relating to the aviation security failures resulting in the worst terrorist attack in American history.

In hearings being held in the September 11th litigation against the aviation industry, the families are arguing that public disclosure of these materials, which the defendants are trying to keep confidential, will strengthen our security and provide the public with vital information without compromising the defendants’ proprietary interests. They are joined in their motion by The New York Times Company and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP).

"This is about completing the historical record of 9/11," said Mike Low of Batesville, Ark., father of Sara Low, 28, an American Airlines flight attendant who was on Flight 11 which struck the World Trade Center. "To learn all the lessons of this horrific day, to protect ourselves from future terrorist attacks, and to know the truth — a foundation of our democracy — this body of evidence should be available to all of the American people."

"I have the right to know why my mother was killed on September 11, 2001 and the American people have the right to know how our nation became so vulnerable," said Paul Keating of Ashland, Mass., son of Barbara Ann Keating, 72, a passenger on American Airlines Flight 11. "This information will ensure transparency and accountability, and it will empower our country to prevent future attacks on our citizens."

"This motion has nothing to do with classified information and everything to do with the defendants’ abuse of the confidentiality process," said Don Migliori of the law firm Motley Rice LLC, lead counsel for the plaintiffs. "None of the evidence contested today has been designated as sensitive for aviation security purposes. Rather, the defendants are trying to protect themselves from public embarrassment and legal liability by claiming that release of virtually every document in question would violate trade secrets."

As an example that the defendants’ claims are groundless, Migliori notes that the families have demanded answers to questions about the qualifications of the preboard screeners on duty on 9/11, including whether they met the minimum requirements of fluency in English, high school diplomas and clean criminal records. The families also have demanded information about the training of the preboard screeners and whether or not the items used to carry out the hijackings, as reported on each of the four flights, were permitted on board those planes. The answers to these questions, these families argue, need to be open to the public.

"The defendants’ arguments are insulting to those families who took the risk and pursued litigation over the no-fault Victim’s Compensation Fund," said Migliori. "Sweeping this evidence under the rug would deny accountability to the 9/11 family members, handicap our nation’s ability to protect itself, undermine our democratic principles, and prevent historians today and in the future from writing the complete record of this tragic, pivotal event."

Today’s hearing on the plaintiffs’ motion to set aside the defendants’ claims of confidentiality is part of In re: September 11 Litigation, pending before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The families allege that the aviation security in place on September 11, 2001 was grossly inadequate.

The families first sought to have the confidentiality order removed in 2007. On March 19, 2008, the request was withdrawn as both sides tried to negotiate a resolution. That effort failed and the families renewed their motion on January 14, 2009. The New York Times Company and the RCFP moved for leave to intervene on January 21, 2009. Judge Hellerstein’s ruling on the motion being argued today is expected soon.

"My daughter was a hero," said Low. "I learned only through this litigation and only in the last three months that, in her last terrifying moments, Sara stayed calm, tended to passengers and co-workers, and made sure that authorities on the ground knew what was happening on board. If Judge Hellerstein supports our motion, her legacy will be part of the history books. I can’t think of anything more fitting for this amazing young woman."

"My mother volunteered countless hours to make her community a better place to live," Keating said. "In that same tradition, our legal action and this motion are designed to make America a better place, because everyone will have the same access to the truth. The more we know, the stronger we are."

"By shining the light of public disclosure on the evidence developed in this historic case, Judge Hellerstein can ensure that the enduring legacy of In Re September 11 Litigation is to advance our nation’s best traditions of openness, unity, and truth," Migliori said.

The firm where Migliori is a member, Motley Rice LLC, is one of the nation’s largest plaintiff’s litigation firms. Headquartered in Mt. Pleasant, SC, the firm also has offices in Providence, RI, New York, NY and Hartford, CT. For more information on this case, contact attorney Don Migliori (MA, MN, RI) at 1-800-768-4026 or visit

Judge defends pretrial secrecy of 9/11 documents

Judge defends pretrial secrecy of 9/11 documents

By LARRY NEUMEISTER – 26. March 2009, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge said Wednesday he favors keeping Sept. 11-related documents and interviews secret until the trials for several families of victims suing the airline industry, an opinion that upset several victims’ family members.

Donald Migliori, a lawyer for families of three people who died on hijacked planes in the 2001 attacks, asked U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein to make nearly a million pages of evidence and 200 depositions public, saying there was no reason for secrecy.

Hellerstein did not rule, but he said he favored not publically disclosing evidence that had been gathered and shared with lawyers for the victims under a confidentiality agreement until a trial occurs. No trial has yet been scheduled.

He said the confidentiality agreement speeded a pretrial process that enabled more than 90 families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to settle their cases. Only three families have not settled.

Michael Rowe Feagley, a lawyer for the aviation defendants, said it would not be fair to make all of the pretrial evidence public now, especially since defendants had turned over so much with the understanding that it would remain confidential before trial. He said it would take "extraordinary circumstances and an extreme need for it" to force its public release.

Mike Low, the father of a flight attendant who died on one of the hijacked planes, said afterwards that he was disappointed but not surprised by Hellerstein’s position.

Low sued in spring 2003 on behalf of his daughter, Sara Low, 28, a Boston-based flight attendant who died when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the World Trade Center.

"A few days after 9/11, a veil of secrecy came down. It’s still there," he said.

He said his main reason for not settling the case was because he wanted to make sure the public learned everything it could from the investigation of flaws in security that allowed 19 hijackers to board four planes. Two were flown into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and a fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.

"I would go away if all the discovery and depositions that will tell us about the terrible failures and ineptitudes that led up to that day" were made public, he said.

He said he wanted to hold accountable "these people who allowed these 19 thugs on these airlines to murder my Sara and all the others."

Migliori said he will continue to try to force the public disclosure of the depositions and documents, though he would not say what step he would take next.

"I don’t know what the defendants are trying so hard to hide," he said.

Migliori said the public will be interested in the findings because the lawyers interviewed people no one else had spoken to and concentrated solely on how the 19 hijackers got on the planes.

He noted that Low had learned as a result of information gathered in response to his lawsuit that his daughter had acted heroically on her plane, passing along to another crew member with a phone the seat numbers of the hijackers, how they busted into the cabin and how one had claimed to be wired with a bomb.

"That’s not hero. That’s beyond hero," he said.

German court bases 9/11 judgment on conspiracy theory

German court bases 9/11 judgment on conspiracy theory

By Elias Davidsson
15 January 2007

Germany’s highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, announced on January 12, 2007 that it will not hear the appeal of the sentence of “convicted September 11 conspirator” Mounir al-Motassadeq.

Mounir el Motassadeq, a Moroccan, has admitted to have known Mohammed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah – three of the 19 Arabs named by the FBI as the “hijackers” of 9/11 – when they lived and studied in Hamburg.  He also admitted to have trained in Afghanistan but denied to have known of his friends’ “murderous plans”.  He was convicted on January 8th to 15 years jail as accessory to the murder of 246 people on the four hijacked planes. The Court, however, claimed it possessed evidence showing that he knew his friends planned to hijack and crash planes. Another Hamburg student, Abdel-Ghani Mzoudi, was acquitted on nearly identical evidence in 2004 and went home to Morocco.

The Court did not bother to examine whether Mounir’s friends actually participated in the alleged hijackings of 9/11, or even boarded the aircraft which crashed on 9/11. It simply assumed that this was true, apparently basing their belief on reports published in the German press.  The Court presented no legal document proving this fact.  It is on the base of such non-evidence that the Court decided to send el Motassadeq to jail for 15 years as “accessory to murder”.

Motassadeq started his address to the Court on Friday, January 5th with the following words: “Everything said here are only baseless allegations and conclusions…You are not interested in the truth.” He cried out: “I swear by God that I did not know what they wanted to do” and insisted again on his innocence. “There never was a terrorist organisation in Hamburg,” he said.

Part of the blame for his conviction must be laid at the feet of el Motassadeq’s lawyers. They failed to demand that the Court prove that Mounir’s friends participated in the mass murder of 9/11. 

On November 20, 2006, I wrote to Dr. Gerhard Strate, one of Motassadeq’s two lawyers, reminding him of his duty to “use the best arguments available to defend his client”. I emphasized in my letter that there exists no evidence whatsoever to prove that Mounir’s friends (or any other Muslims) participated in the mass murder of 9/11, or even boarded the aircraft which crashed on that day. I added: “By failing to adduce the above facts in defense of your client, you do not only endanger his freedom and personal integrity but undermine the struggle of the families of 9/11 victims for the truth on the events of 9/11.   By this letter, I consider having put you on notice regarding the above facts.”

Dr. Strate did not answer my letter.  He did not demand that the Court produce evidence that Mounir’s friends participated in the mass murder of 9/11.  Mounir’s lawyers have announced that they might appeal the judgment to the European Court of Justice.

Ladislav Anisic, one of two legal-aid lawyers in court for Motassadeq, said he would continue appeals for his client, who won earlier his first retrial because evidence from US interrogations of terrorists was withheld from the court. “This is only an intermediate stage on the way up to the next court,” he said outside the courtroom.


Spanish court jails 18 in al-Qaida trial

Spanish court jails 18 in al-Qaida trial


The Spanish High Court has jailed the Syrian head of a Spanish-based al-Qaida cell for helping to organise the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US along with an Aljazeera correspondent and 16 others.

The verdicts handed down on 24 men accused of links to Osama bin Laden’s network brought the curtain down on Europe’s biggest al-Qaida trial to date.

The court sentenced Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, alias Abu Dahdah, to 27 years in jail for conspiring in the organisation of the September 11 attacks. 

It also found Aljazeera television reporter Tayssir Alluni guilty of collaboration with al-Qaida, sentencing the Syrian-born but naturalised Spaniard to seven years in jail. 

Yarkas, regarded as the head of a Spanish-based al-Qaida cell under investigation since 1995, had faced a record jail term of 74,377 years for “active complicity” in the US attacks – 25 years for each of the 2,973 victims – although under Spanish law he would have served a maximum 30.

Aljazeera reporter jailed

Alluni, who interviewed Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan weeks after the September 11 attacks in the United States said he was only doing his job as a journalist, but the prosecution alleged he was in league with al-Qaida and its leader and accused of acting as a financial courier to the group while in Afghanistan.

In a verdict stretching to 445 pages, the court imposed sentences of between six and 11 years on another 16 suspects and allowed the remaining six to go free. 

Those found not guilty included Ghasoub al-Abrash Ghalyoun, who along with Dahdah and Moroccan Driss Chebli stood accused of helping to prepare the attacks on New York and Washington. 

Chebli was given a six-year sentence for conspiring to help al-Qaida. 

All the accused denied the charges. 

The prosecution accused Abu Dahdah and Chebli of organising a July 2001 meeting in northeastern Spain attended by Mohamed Atta, accused ringleader of the September 11 hijackers.

Ghalyoun was quizzed about why he had videotaped the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York, among many other sites in the US in 1997. 

He said he was simply taking pictures as a tourist. Spanish espionage chief Rafael Gomez Menor admitted during the 10-week trial that no proof had emerged of Ghalyoun’s footage being handed over to al-Qaida operatives. 


Prosecutor Pedro Rubira said the July 2001 meeting in Tarragona “probably determined the date of the attacks on the United States” and called for an “exemplary sentence”.

Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, alias Abu Dahdah

Rubira said the accused belonged to a Spanish al-Qaida cell which helped to recruit extremists to fight in Bosnia, Indonesia and Afghanistan starting in 1995. 

Abu Dahdah, in testimony in July, called the trial a farce. Of bin Laden, he said, “I know absolutely nothing of this man. I condemn what happened [on September 11].” 

He also said that accusations that he headed a “soldiers of Allah” group of Islamist extremists were “a myth – totally false”, and insisted Islam “clearly says that killing children, women, elderly people is wrong, as is bringing down buildings.” 

The verdicts in the mammoth trial came after investigators pored over 130 hours and 39 minutes of real time evidence collated on 18 DVDs. 

The trial opened on April 22 and heard testimony from 107 witnesses, including Jamel Zougam, a Moroccan alleged acquaintance of Abu Dahdah who is a prime suspect in the March 2004 Madrid train bombings.

With investigations continuing, that trial is not scheduled to go ahead until next year.

Al Qaeda leader sentenced to 27 years

Al Qaeda leader sentenced to 27 years

By Elisabeth O’Leary Mon Sep 26, 2005, 2:48 PM ET

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s High Court jailed an al Qaeda leader for 27 years on Monday for conspiring with the September 11 plotters but cleared him and two others of killing 2,973 people in the attacks on New York and Washington.

The court also sentenced Al Jazeera journalist Tayseer Alouni to seven years in prison for collaborating with a terrorist group, a decision that drew strong criticism from the Arab broadcaster and international media groups.

In all, 18 of the 24 defendants in Europe’s biggest trial of suspected Islamist militants were convicted — mostly of belonging to or cooperating with al Qaeda. Sentences ranged from six years to 27 years in jail.

Despite the convictions, the High Court threw out the most serious charges in what was the latest in a series of high-profile terrorism trials around Europe in which prosecutors have had only limited success.

The High Court sentenced Syrian-born Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, leader of an al Qaeda cell in Spain, to 12 years in jail for leading a terrorist group and 15 years for "conspiracy to commit terrorist murder" in connection with the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

The court ruled that prosecutors had not proved that Yarkas, also known as Abu Dahdah, took part in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center but there was evidence he had helped think up the plot, working with a radical cell in Hamburg.

It said Yarkas, 41, was aware of the "sinister plans" for the attacks and was kept informed of preparations for them.

Yarkas and two other defendants, Moroccan-born Driss Chebli and Syrian-born Ghasoub al Abrash Ghalyoun, could have faced jail sentences of more than 74,000 years each if convicted of playing a role in the September 11 attacks.

A three-judge panel heard from more than 100 witnesses during a two-and-a-half month trial.

Six defendants were acquitted on all counts, including Ghalyoun who was accused of giving a video of New York landmarks to al Qaeda to help them carry out the September 11 attacks. The video, played at the trial, contained standard holiday filming.

The Arab satellite broadcaster Al Jazeera denounced the sentencing of Alouni, who interviewed al Qaeda leader

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"This is a black day for the Spanish judiciary which has deviated from all the norms of international justice," Al Jazeera news editor Ahmed al-Sheikh told the station.

A European media watchdog said the decision to jail him would set alarm bells ringing among investigative journalists.

"Journalists have always investigated terrorist groups and their activities. It’s part of our job," Jean-Francois Julliard, news editor of the Paris-based watchdog Reporters without Borders.


All the defendants had pleaded not guilty and representatives of several said they would appeal.

Chebli was jailed for six years for co-operating with an armed group, but acquitted of murder. Two other defendants, Ousama Darra and Jasem Mahboule, were jailed for 11 years each for being leaders of al Qaeda.

The wife of Abdalrahman Alarnot, jailed for eight-and-a-half years for belonging to a terrorist organization, said her husband had nothing to do with terrorism.

"How do you explain such an injustice to the children?" the wife, who declined to give her name, told reporters.

Yarkas and Chebli were accused of helping prepare a meeting in Spain in July 2001 at which prosecutors said the September 11 attacks may have been planned. Hijacker Mohamed Atta and Ramzi bin al-Shaibah, suspected coordinator of the U.S. attacks, were alleged to have attended.

The evidence against Yarkas included a wire-tapped phone conversation he had on August 27, 2001 with Farid Hilali, another September 11 suspect held in Britain.

The trial pre-dates the al Qaeda-linked Madrid train bombings in March 2004 that killed 191 people. Another judge has charged more than 100 people of a role in those attacks.

(Additional reporting by Adrian Croft, Gideon Long, Inmaculada Sanz)

U.S. governement reasoning for preventing trials

U.S. Government reasoning for not bringing Al Qaeda sympathizers to trial.  Reasoning approved by U.S. judges.

No. 05-6396

Petitioner – Appellee,


C. T. HANFT, U.S.N. Commander, Consolidated
Naval Brig.,
Respondent – Appellant.

Argued: July 19, 2005 Decided: September 9, 2005
Before LUTTIG, MICHAEL, and TRAXLER, Circuit Judges.

Equally important, in many instances criminal prosecution would impede the Executive in its efforts to gather intelligence from the detainee and to restrict the detainee’s communication with confederates so as to ensure that the detainee does not pose a continuing threat to
national security even as he is confined ?- impediments that would render military detention not only an appropriate, but also the necessary, course of action to be taken in the interest of national security. The district court acknowledged the need to defer to the President’s determination that Padill detention is necessary and appropriate in the interest of national security.
These facts unquestionably establish that Padilla poses the requisite threat of return to battle in the ongoing armed conflict between the United States and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and that his detention is authorized as a “fundamental incident of waging war,” id., in order “to prevent a combatant’s return to the battlefield,” id. Congress “clearly and unmistakably,” id., authorized such detention when, in the AUMF, it “permitt[ed] the use of “necessary and appropriate force,”? id., to prevent other attacks like those of September 11, 2001.

U.S. Campaign Produces Few Convictions on Terrorism Charges

U.S. Campaign Produces Few Convictions on Terrorism Charges

Statistics Often Count Lesser Crimes

By Dan Eggen and Julie Tate
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, June 12, 2005; Page A01

First of two parts

On Thursday, President Bush stepped to a lectern at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy in Columbus to urge renewal of the USA Patriot Act and to boast of the government’s success in prosecuting terrorists.

Flanked by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, Bush said that “federal terrorism investigations have resulted in charges against more than 400 suspects, and more than half of those charged have been convicted.”

Those statistics have been used repeatedly by Bush and other administration officials, including Gonzales and his predecessor, John D. Ashcroft, to characterize the government’s efforts against terrorism. But the numbers are misleading at best.

An analysis of the Justice Department’s own list of terrorism prosecutions by The Washington Post shows that 39 people — not 200, as officials have implied — were convicted of crimes related to terrorism or national security.
Most of the others were convicted of relatively minor crimes such as making false statements and violating immigration law — and had nothing to do with terrorism, the analysis shows. For the entire list, the median sentence was just 11 months.

Taken as a whole, the data indicate that the government’s effort to identify terrorists in the United States has been less successful than authorities have often suggested. The statistics provide little support for the contention that authorities have discovered and prosecuted hundreds of terrorists here. Except for a small number of well-known cases — such as truck driver Iyman Faris, who sought to take down the Brooklyn Bridge — few of those arrested appear to have been involved in active plots inside the United States.

Among all the people charged as a result of terrorism probes in the three years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, The Post found no demonstrated connection to terrorism or terrorist groups for 180 of them.

Just one in nine individuals on the list had an alleged connection to the al Qaeda terrorist network and only 14 people convicted of terrorism-related crimes — including Faris and convicted Sept. 11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui — have clear links to the group. Many more cases involve Colombian drug cartels, supporters of the Palestinian cause, Rwandan war criminals or others with no apparent ties to al Qaeda or its leader, Osama bin Laden.

But a large number of people appear to have been swept into U.S. counterterrorism investigations by chance — through anonymous tips, suspicious circumstances or bad luck — and have remained classified as terrorism defendants years after being cleared of connections to extremist groups.

For example, the prosecution of 20 men, most of them Iraqis, in a Pennsylvania truck-licensing scam accounts for about 10 percent of individuals convicted — even though the entire group was publicly absolved of ties to terrorism in 2001.
“For so many of these cases, there seems to be much less substance to them than we first assume or have first been told,” said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert who heads the Washington office of Rand Corp., a think tank that conducts national security research. “There’s an inherent deterrent effect in cracking down on any illicit activity. But the challenge is not exaggerating what they were up to — not portraying them as super-terrorists when they’re really the low end of the food chain.”

Justice Department officials say they have not sought to exaggerate the importance or suspected associations of those prosecuted in connection with terrorism probes, and they argue that the list provides only a partial view of their efforts.
Officials said all the individuals were first put on the list because of a suspected connection or allegation related to terrorism. Last week, they also said that the department had tightened the requirements for including a case on the terrorism list.

Barry M. Sabin, chief of the department’s counterterrorism section, said prosecutors frequently turn to lesser charges when they are not confident they can prove crimes such as committing or supporting terrorism. Many defendants also have been prosecuted for relatively minor crimes in exchange for information that is not public but has proved valuable in other terrorism probes, he said.

“A person could not have been put on this list if there was not a concern about national security, at least initially,” he said. “Are all these people an ongoing threat presently? Arguably not. . . . We are not trying to overstate or understate what we’re doing. You don’t want to put language or a label on people that is inconsistent with what they have done.”

The Numbers

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Justice Department database has served as the key source of statistics on the status of terrorism investigations in the United States and has been cited frequently in official speeches and testimony to Congress. The list obtained by The Post includes 361 cases defined as terrorism investigations by the department’s criminal division from Sept. 11, 2001, through late September 2004. Thirty-one entries could not be evaluated because they were sealed and blacked out. (The list does not include about 40 cases filed since then that account for Bush’s total of about 400.) The Post sought to update and correct data whenever possible, including noting convictions or sentences handed down within the past nine months.

The list of domestic prosecutions does not include terrorism suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba or at secret locations around the world. Nor does it include many of the approximately 50 people the Justice Department has acknowledged detaining as “material witnesses,” or three men held in a military prison in South Carolina, one of whom has been released.

The Post identified 180 cases in which no connection to al Qaeda or another terrorist group could be found in court records, official statements, the 9/11 commission report or news accounts. Even some of the terrorism-related cases featured early allegations of terrorist connections that were later dropped.

Of the 142 individuals on the list linked to terrorist groups, 39 were convicted of crimes related to terrorism or national security. More than a dozen defendants were acquitted or had their charges dismissed, including three Moroccan men in Detroit whose convictions were tossed out in September after the Justice Department admitted prosecutorial misconduct.

Not surprisingly, these minor crimes produced modest punishments. The median sentence for all cases adjudicated, whether or not they were terrorism-related, was 11 months. About three dozen other defendants were given probation or were deported. The most common convictions were on charges of fraud, making false statements, passport violations and conspiracy.

Two life sentences have been handed down so far: to Richard Reid, the British drifter who was foiled by passengers in his attempt to blow up an aircraft over the Atlantic Ocean; and Masoud Khan, a Maryland man convicted of traveling to Pakistan and seeking to fight with the Taliban against U.S. forces. Two others convicted of terrorism-related crimes face life sentences: Ahmed Abdel Sattar, an Egyptian-born postal worker convicted of conspiring to kill and kidnap in a foreign country; and Ali Timimi, a Northern Virginia spiritual leader convicted of encouraging others to attend terrorist camps. (Timimi was indicted in late September and was not on the list obtained by The Post.)

Only 14 of those convicted of crimes related to terrorism or national security have clear links to bin Laden’s network, most notably Moussaoui and Reid. Others include Faris, an admitted member of al Qaeda who sought to sabotage the Brooklyn Bridge, and six Yemeni men from Lackawanna, N.Y., convicted of providing material support to terrorists by attending an al Qaeda training camp before Sept. 11.

In addition, Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh, who is most closely associated with Afghanistan’s deposed government, trained at an al Qaeda camp.

The patterns discovered by The Post are similar to findings in studies of Justice Department terrorism cases by New York University and Syracuse University, each of which examined more limited sets of data.

More than a third of the cases on the list arose from a post-Sept. 11 FBI dragnet, which resulted in the arrests of hundreds of Muslim immigrants for minor violations unrelated to the hijackings or terrorism.

“What we’re seeing over time is the equivalent of mission creep: Cases that would not be terrorism cases before Sept. 11 are swept onto the terrorism docket,” said Juliette Kayyem, a former Clinton administration Justice official who heads the national security program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. “The problem is that it’s not good to cook the numbers. . . . We have no accurate assessment of whether the war on terrorism is actually working.”

Tracking Al Qaeda

Before the Sept. 11 attacks, many veteran U.S. counterterrorism officials assumed that al Qaeda sleeper cells were hiding in the country, awaiting orders to launch attacks. The strikes — carried out by 19 hijackers who arrived in the United States and trained here undetected — prompted an aggressive campaign by the Justice Department, the FBI and other agencies to identify al Qaeda operatives on U.S. soil.

The results from the Justice Department database, however, raise the possibility that the presence of al Qaeda operatives and sympathizers within the United States is either limited or largely undetected, many terrorism experts say. “These kind of statistics show that we really don’t know if they exist here in any significant way,” said Martha Crenshaw of Wesleyan University in Connecticut, who has studied terrorism since the late 1960s. “It’s possible that they could have sleepers planted here for a long time and we could always be very surprised. But I’d say that’s less likely compared with them trying to repeat a 9/11-style infiltration from the outside.”

Other experts and government officials say the relatively small number of domestic terrorism prosecutions is partly the result of the administration’s strategy to handle some of its most dangerous suspects — such as Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed — outside U.S. courts.

As a result, only a limited number of potentially significant cases have been pursued publicly in U.S. courts.

Viet D. Dinh, a Georgetown law professor who headed the Office of Legal Policy at Justice before and after the attacks, said the primary strategy is to use “prosecutorial discretion” to detain suspicious individuals by charging them with minor crimes.

“You’re talking about a violation of law that may or may not rise to the level of what might usually be called a federal case,” Dinh said, referring to credit-card fraud and other offenses. “But the calculation does not happen in isolation; you are not just talking about the crime itself, but the suspicion of terrorism. . . . That skews the calculation in favor of prosecution.”

Bush administration officials have frequently compared the strategy to the anti-Mafia campaign by former attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, who vowed to prosecute mobsters for crimes as minor as spitting on a sidewalk. But many defense lawyers and civil liberties advocates argue that the Mafia analogy is misplaced.

David Z. Nevin represented Idaho graduate student Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, a Saudi national who was acquitted of federal terrorism charges in a closely watched trial last summer but agreed to be deported rather than fight immigration charges. Nevin said there are key differences between current counterterrorism cases and the prosecutions of gangsters such as Al Capone, who was famously convicted of tax evasion to get him off the street. “Everybody knew that Al Capone was committing murders and was doing all sorts of things. They just couldn’t convict him,” Nevin said.

“That’s fine if you take it as a given that you have the devil here,” he continued. “The problem is that you end up with people like Sami Al-Hussayen. . . . Whenever you live in that realm, you’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to hurt innocent people.”

Using One Case to Build Another

In the end, most cases on the Justice Department list turned out to have no connection to terrorism at all.
They include Hassan Nasrallah, a Dearborn, Mich., man convicted of credit-card fraud who has the same name as the leader of Hezbollah, or Party of God. Abdul Farid of High Point, N.C., was arrested on a false tip that he was sending money to the Taliban and was deported after admitting he lied on a loan application. Moeen Islam Butt, a Pakistani jewelry-kiosk employee in Pennsylvania, spent eight months in jail before being deported on marriage-fraud and immigration charges.

And there is the case of Francois Guagni, a French national who made the mistake of illegally crossing the Canadian border on Sept. 14, 2001, with box cutters in his possession. It turned out that Guagni used the knives in his job as a drywall installer. He was deported in March 2003 after pleading guilty to unlawfully entering the country.
“His case had nothing to do with terrorism, as far as I’ve ever been told,” said Guagni’s attorney, Christopher D. Smith.
Some of the cases, however, remain murky. The question of involvement in terrorism lingers even after formal allegations of such ties have been dropped.

Consider the case of Enaam Arnaout, director of the Illinois-based Benevolence International Foundation, who was indicted amid great fanfare in October 2002 for allegedly helping to funnel money and equipment to al Qaeda operatives on three continents. The charity was shut down.

Less than a year later, prosecutors dropped six of the seven charges against Arnaout, and he pleaded guilty to a single count of racketeering for funding fighters in Bosnia and Chechnya. During a sentencing hearing in August 2003, U.S. District Judge Suzanne B. Conlon told prosecutors they had “failed to connect the dots” and said there was no evidence that Arnaout “identified with or supported” terrorism.

The administration views the case differently. Bush, in a speech Friday at the National Counterterrorism Center in Northern Virginia, said investigators had “helped close down a phony charity in Illinois that was channeling money to al Qaeda.”

Sabin, the Justice Department’s counterterrorism chief, said he could not discuss the specifics of most cases. But he said one case in particular illustrates the government’s strategy: the conviction of Abdurahman Alamoudi, who admitted to taking $1 million from Libya and using it to pay conspirators in a scheme to kill Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah.

Alamoudi, who once worked with senior U.S. officials as head of the American Muslim Council, has agreed to cooperate with federal investigators as part of a plea agreement. Sabin said the case is “a significant success story” that shows how prosecutors can use one case to help build others.

“We have been successful in obtaining information and fueling our intelligence gathering efforts with many of these cases,” Sabin said.

Research database editor Derek Willis contributed to this report.

Spain tries 9/11 terror suspects

Spain tries 9/11 terror suspects

Three men have appeared in court in Spain charged with helping to plan the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US.

BBC News World Edition 22 April 2005 

 They include the alleged head of an al-Qaeda cell in Spain, who is accused of arranging a meeting allegedly attended by one of the 19 attackers.

Another man is charged with filming the World Trade Center and giving the tapes to militants before the US attacks.

They are among 24 defendants in Europe’s largest trial of suspected al-Qaeda members. All deny the charges.

High security

As the 24 arrived at the court in Madrid, armed police stood guard outside the building and a police helicopter circled overhead.

The suspects – mostly men born in Syria or Morocco – sat in a bullet-proof chamber as the charges were read out.

During the opening hearing prosecutors questioned Jose Luis Galan, also known as Ghassub al-Abrash Ghaylun.

Jose Luis Galan

Mr Galan is accused of filming the World Trade Center and other US targets.

The tapes were then allegedly passed on to “operative members of al-Qaeda and would become the preliminary information on the attacks against the Twin Towers”, the indictment said.

“I absolutely condemn all terrorist acts, all violent acts,” the Spaniard told the court, Reuters news agency reported.

The main defendant at the trial is Syrian-born Immad Yarkas, 42, known as Abu Dahdah.

Mr Yarkas was arrested by Spanish authorities in November 2001 on suspicion of heading an al-Qaeda cell that allegedly provided funding and logistics for the people who planned the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Along with Moroccan-born Driss Chebli, he is said to have set up a meeting in June 2001 which was allegedly attended by at least one of the attack ringleaders, Mohamed Atta, who piloted one of the planes that hit the Twin Towers.

Key base

Prosecutors want the three men to receive more than 60,000 years in jail – 25 for each of the more than 2,000 people killed on 11 September 2001.

The rest of the defendants are charged with belonging to a terrorist group.

Jose Luis Galan – Allegedly filmed New York landmarks in 1997 for al-Qaeda. He is accused of 2,500 murders and belonging to a terrorist group
Immad Yarkas – Al-Qaeda’s alleged leader in Spain, he is accused of 2,500 murders, belonging to a terrorist group and possessing counterfeit money
Driss Chebli – Allegedly helped al-Qaeda members involved in the 9/11 attacks. He is accused of 2,500 murders and belonging to a terrorist group
21 other defendants – Face charges including membership or association with a terrorist group, weapons possession, falsifying documents and fraud
All have said they are not guilty of the charges

They include a journalist from the Arabic TV station al-Jazeera, Tayssir Alouny, who interviewed Bin Laden after the attacks.

Mr Alouny, who was granted temporary bail for health reasons on Monday, is accused of using a posting in Afghanistan to distribute money to the militant Islamic network.

All the defendants are part of a group of 41 suspects indicted by the anti-terrorist judge Baltasar Garzon.

Judge Garzon says Spain was a key base for hiding, helping, recruiting and financing al-Qaeda members in the lead-up to the attacks on New York and Washington.

The group also includes Osama Bin Laden and other senior figures in al-Qaeda, but under Spanish law suspects cannot be tried in absentia.

The trial will resume on Monday.

Spanish prosecutors seek 222,000 yrs prison for 9/11 suspects

February 14, 2005

Spanish prosecutors seeks 222,000 years in prison and nearly $1.17 billion in fines for 9/11 suspects.

"Spanish prosecutors are seeking a total of 222,000 years in prison and nearly $1.17 billion in fines for three suspects accused of aiding the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

The punishments are among a total of 230,000 years of prison terms sought for 24 suspects held in jail on charges of belonging to an al Qaeda unit in Spain, according to court documents filed Monday.

The prison terms correspond to all the charges, including 2,973 murders for those who died in the Sept. 11 attacks, but Spanish law would limit jail sentences to a maximum of 40 years.

The suspected leader of the cell is Syrian-born Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, born in 1963 and also known as Abu Dahdah, who investigators believe financed and organized Islamic militants in Spain.

He and two other suspects ? 32-year-old Moroccan Driss Chebli and 41-year-old Syrian Ghasoub al Abrash Ghalyoun ? are charged with aiding the Sept. 11 hijackers in their preparations for the attacks on New York and Washington.

Prosecutors seek sentences of some 74,000 years for each of the three and fines of 893 million euros.

Another high-profile suspect from the 24 due to go on trial is Tayseer Alouni, 49, a correspondent from Arabic television channel Al Jazeera who interviewed Osama bin Laden shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.

Prosecutors are seeking an eight-year term for Alouni on charges of collaborating with a terrorist organization. Alouni has repeatedly maintained his innocence." – ABC/Reuters (02/14/05)

Suspect in Madrid trial denies 9/11 role

Suspect in Madrid trial denies 9/11 role

Al Jazeera


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The suspects condemned the September 11 attacks


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The accused financial mastermind of an alleged al-Qaida cell, suspected of helping to plot the September 11 attacks in the US, has said he never gave "a single peseta" for jihad.

Continuing his testimony on Wednesday at the Madrid trial of 24 suspects – Europe’s biggest court case against radical groups with alleged ties to Osama bin Laden’s terror network -Mohamed Ghaleb Kalaje Zouaydi also denied belonging to an Islamic group or recruiting young people to send as fighters to countries such as Afghanistan.

"I am not and have never been a member of a group of any ideology or political nature, not even a sports group," said Zouaydi.

"I chose Islam as a way to worship God, nothing else," he said.

Zouaydi has testified that he donated large sums of money to Muslims but said it was charity.

Responding to a question from his lawyer as to whether he ever sent money as part of jihad or holy war, he replied: "never, not even a peseta," referring to Spain’s former currency.

Aljazeera reporter

Taysir Aluni is the only defendant
out on bail

On Monday, the court will hear from Aljazeera journalist Taysir Aluni, the only defendant currently out on bail.
Zouaydi, a Syrian-born Spaniard who ran real estate and construction firms, is accused of using his business dealings as a front for financing a Spanish al-Qaida cell and funneling money to Muslim extremists in other countries, including Germany, another alleged staging ground for the suicide airliner attacks of 2001.

Zouaydi also told the court he knew the alleged leader of the cell, Imad Yarkas, from daily contact and a business deal involving the purchase of a Madrid apartment but said he didn’t agree with some of Yarkas’s radical views.
"Imad is a polite person, a friend to his friends and a good person," Zouaydi said.

Staging ground

Three of the 24 suspects, including Yarkas, are accused of using Spain as a staging ground to help plan the September 11 attacks. Zouaydi is among the other 21, who face charges of terrorism, weapons possession or other offences, but not September 11 planning.

In testimony later on Wednesday, alleged cell member Bassam Dalati Satut, also known as Abu Abdo, called Zouaydi trustworthy, saying Zouaydi did not use company money for terrorism.

"I have no recollection that Zouaydi used funds for any other aim that wasn’t for construction works," said Dalati, a former business associate of Zouaydi.

Suspects were said to be using
Spain as a staging ground

Zouaydi and Dalati condemned the terrorist attacks last year in Spain and in the United States in 2001, as well as any act of violence. Prosecutors said alleged cell leader Yarkas got in contact with Dalati, who ran a photocopy shop, in 1995 to make copies of magazines promoting terrorist groups worldwide.

Dalati acknowledged knowing Yarkas from business. He said Yarkas made photocopies in his shop but said he didn’t know what they were about.

"He was just another client. He came, he did the copies and left," Dalati said. "I don’t even know what they were about."

Money transfers

In a search of Dalati’s house, police found two diaries allegedly containing the bank account number of Mustapha Setmarian Nasar who, authorities said, ran bin Laden training camps in Afghanistan.
Dalati told the court he had not seen Setmarian since 1993, and that their relationship was purely commercial. Another suspect, Ahmed Koshagi Kelani, confirmed in court that he made three money transfers to Germany – from 1996 to 1998 – to Mamoun Darkanzali, an alleged al-Qaida member said to be close to the Hamburg cell that plotted and carried out the September 11 attack. But he said they were simply for the purchase of cars.

The trial adjourns until Monday.

Secret evidence used in Australian ?terrorist? trial
Secret evidence used in Australian “terrorist” trial
By Mike Head
20 December 2004

In a development without precedent in Australia, secret evidence is being heard in closed sessions, with access denied to the public, the media and even the accused man and his lawyer, in a hearing of terrorist-related offences currently underway in Sydney. A magistrate has granted wide-ranging secrecy and suppression orders, in the first test of the Howard government’s latest “national security? legislation.

After months in a maximum security prison awaiting trial, Faheem Khalid Lodhi, a 34-year-old architect, was brought before the Central Local Court last week on nine charges, most alleging a conspiracy to commit terrorist acts in Sydney. The committal hearing will determine whether the Pakistani-born Australian citizen is sent for trial. On the opening day, the prosecution dropped a further charge of attempting to recruit a young student to a terrorist organisation.

Lodhi was bundled into the court building in shackles, in full view of the media. The display was intended to convey the impression that he is a violent and highly dangerous individual. Like several other Muslim men charged with terrorist offences in Australia over the past year, Lodhi has been denied bail and held in virtual solitary confinement in a “super max? prison, cut off from family and friends. Under state and federal “counter-terrorism? laws, the traditional presumption in favour of bail has been scrapped. It will only be granted in “exceptional circumstances”.

On receiving a confidential affidavit from the Commonwealth, Magistrate Michael Price imposed a number of secrecy orders despite vigorous objections by lawyers for Lodhi and by media organisations. The orders mean that the affidavit itself will remain suppressed, and the media is barred from disclosing even the general nature of the material relied upon in it.

Speaking for the Howard government in reply, Commonwealth counsel Tom Howe dismissed the constitutional right to have facts heard in court as “nonsense on stilts”. As a general rule, he insisted, national security should prevail when it conflicted with the right to an open trial.

This sweeping assertion, and the magistrate’s acceptance of it, illustrates the far-reaching and draconian character of the National Security Information (Criminal Proceedings) Act, which was pushed through federal parliament this month with the backing of the opposition Labor Party.

If Lodhi or any other alleged “terrorist” is committed for trial, juries can be asked to convict them without seeing key evidence. With the judge’s permission, the prosecution can withhold testimony or other material from the accused and present it to the jury in summarised and censored form, preventing defence lawyers from questioning its credibility.

These provisions violate some of the most fundamental legal rights of an accused person, won in centuries of struggle against absolutist regimes. These include the right to hear all the prosecution’s evidence, cross-examine its witnesses to test their veracity and credibility, and expose its case to public scrutiny. The legislation flouts international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which enshrines an accused’s right to access, and respond, to all material being used against them.

The bizarre story of Mohdar Abdullah


"I was in custody for nearly three years and no one came up to me and said, ‘Hey, we think you were involved,’ " he said. "This has got me very upset. It is very unfair, and it’s ruining my life." 

Abdullah’s San Diego attorney, Randall B. Hamud, said his client remains a virtual captive in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, where he is under constant surveillance by the government.

Abdullah was arrested as a material witness in late September 2001. He spent 32 months in U.S. jails and prisons as the FBI and the Justice Department investigated his ties to Almihdhar, Alhazmi and a network of immigrant friends, all of whom congregated around the Rabat mosque in a suburb of San Diego.

Commission investigators complained that they were never able to interview Abdullah before he was deported. 

Hijackers’ Friend Objects to 9/11 Report


Yemeni Man Asserts He Didn’t Know of Plot

By Dan Eggen

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 10, 2004; Page A01

Mohdar Abdullah knows what the Sept. 11 commission says about him. That he was "perfectly suited to assist the hijackers in pursuing their mission." That he "expressed hatred for the U.S. government."

Perhaps most damning, the panel’s best-selling report alleges that Abdullah may have bragged to inmates that he knew about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in advance and that he told the FBI, "The U.S. brought this on themselves."

Abdullah, now 25 and back in his homeland of Yemen after his deportation from the United States in May, called the report "propaganda" and said he is the victim of U.S. investigators looking for someone to blame. He said he had no inkling in the summer of 2001 that two friends, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, were about to take part in the deadliest terrorist assault on U.S. soil.

"If I could have done anything to prevent this heinous attack from happening, I would have done it," Abdullah said in a telephone interview with The Washington Post arranged by his attorney last week. "I was going to school, I was working, I was building my own future over there. I considered it my own land, and that’s how I behaved towards it. . . . I was quite happy living in America until this happened."

The comments stand in stark contrast to the 567-page commission report, which portrays Abdullah as perhaps the most suspicious acquaintance to befriend two of the hijackers during their time in Southern California. While the commission largely absolves other hijacker associates of wrongdoing, it casts Abdullah as a central figure in the hijackers’ San Diego stay and strongly suggests that he may have been an al Qaeda operative placed there to help the plot.

"Abdullah . . . is fluent in both Arabic and English, and was perfectly suited to assist the hijackers in pursuing their mission," according to the report. It adds later that "Abdullah has emerged as a key associate of" Alhazmi and Almihdhar in San Diego.

Abdullah’s story highlights one of the enduring debates of the Sept. 11 attacks: how the terrorists managed to train for the assaults, conduct surveillance and accomplish their mission — all, apparently, without assistance in the plot from anyone in the United States. The FBI, after an exhaustive check of possible accomplices, including Abdullah, supports that scenario. Others, including the commission and a House-Senate inquiry panel, have challenged the FBI’s conclusion.

Abdullah said he offered his hijacker friends no assistance with the plot and does not know anyone who did.

Abdullah, whose English is sprinkled with American colloquialisms after six years of living in the United States, said he "was very surprised" the commission "even brought me up."

"I was in custody for nearly three years and no one came up to me and said, ‘Hey, we think you were involved,’ " he said. "This has got me very upset. It is very unfair, and it’s ruining my life."

Abdullah’s San Diego attorney, Randall B. Hamud, said his client remains a virtual captive in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, where he is under constant surveillance by the government.

Abdullah was arrested as a material witness in late September 2001. He spent 32 months in U.S. jails and prisons as the FBI and the Justice Department investigated his ties to Almihdhar, Alhazmi and a network of immigrant friends, all of whom congregated around the Rabat mosque in a suburb of San Diego.

Commission investigators complained that they were never able to interview Abdullah before he was deported. Abdullah refused to cooperate, and the Justice Department declined to grant him immunity from prosecution to compel his cooperation. The panel also is critical of the government’s decision to allow Abdullah’s deportation, arguing that unanswered questions about his case require further examination.

Abdullah’s first alleged contact with Alhazmi and Almihdhar came in February 2000. According to the commission, he may have driven them from Los Angeles to San Diego. Abdullah denies it. The two would-be hijackers sought out another person they had met recently in Los Angeles, Omar Bayoumi, at the Islamic Center of San Diego.

The hijackers later found their way to the Rabat mosque, a humble building nestled amid palm trees and ranch homes in La Mesa, 10 miles from the well-established and, by reputation, more moderate Islamic Center of San Diego. On a recent Friday, as families crowded the Islamic Center, the Rabat mosque appeared almost abandoned, its gates locked and mailbox overflowing. (A radical Yemeni imam at the Rabat mosque in 2000, Anwar Aulaqi, would later lead the Dar al Hijra mosque in Falls Church, which Alhazmi attended.)

Until the commission report, Bayoumi had been the primary focus of speculation about potential Sept. 11 accomplices in San Diego and was identified as an alleged al Qaeda associate and Saudi spy by a congressional inquiry in 2003. The Sept. 11 commission, by contrast, found "no credible evidence that he believed in violent extremism" and concluded that Bayoumi was an "unlikely candidate" to be involved in an al Qaeda plot.

Abdullah, the report strongly suggests, is a more likely accomplice.

According to the commission report, which cites FBI interviews and other investigative material, Abdullah admitted that he knew Alhazmi and Almihdhar were extremists and that Almihdhar had been involved with the Islamic Army of Aden, a group linked to al Qaeda. The report also says Abdullah "clearly was sympathetic to those extremist views."

When he was detained as a material witness after the 2001 attacks, the commission says, FBI agents found a notebook in his possession that had been written by someone else but described "planes falling from the sky, mass killing and hijacking." The report also says Abdullah showed hatred toward the U.S. government and made the statement about the attacks being brought upon the United States.

In the interview, Abdullah strenuously disputed those characterizations. He said that he had no idea Alhazmi and Almihdhar "had associations with any group or had evil plans towards the United States," and that he is "committed to my religion but not to the point of extremism at all."

The commission is particularly alarmed by reports earlier this year from two inmates housed with Abdullah in the California prison system, who alleged that Abdullah told them in the fall of 2003 "that he had known" Alhazmi and Almihdhar "were planning a terrorist attack." The two inmates’ stories are not consistent, however.

In one version, Abdullah bragged that he had been told that the two hijackers were part of an attack before they arrived in the United States. In the other, Abdullah allegedly said that he was told of the plot after Alhazmi and Almihdhar arrived in San Diego and that the hijackers "invited him to join them on the plane." The second inmate also said that Abdullah claimed to have found out about the attacks three weeks in advance.

The panel noted evidence that Alhazmi, who had left San Diego, may have called Abdullah about that time; that Abdullah stopped making calls from his cell phone after Aug. 25, 2001; and that friends reported "he started acting strangely." The report also recounts an unconfirmed witness account that Abdullah and others "behaved suspiciously" on Sept. 10, 2001, at a Texaco station where they worked, giving each other "high-fives" after one said, "It is finally going to happen."

One senior commission official called the findings "troubling" and said Abdullah’s case "deserves a much deeper investigation."

The Justice Department and the FBI take a different view, arguing that Abdullah’s case has been exhaustively investigated and that the claims of the two jailhouse informants, in particular, do not check out.

"The investigation to date has determined that there is no evidence to corroborate information that Mohdar Abdullah had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks," the FBI said in a statement. "The FBI continues an active investigation of Mohdar Abdullah and any connection to the 9/11 attacks."

One senior FBI official said there are numerous inconsistencies in the inmates’ claims and that investigators are not even certain both prisoners had close contact with Abdullah. The FBI’s Sept. 11 investigative team did not oppose allowing Abdullah to return to Yemen, the official said.

"There’s nobody who feels we’ve lost someone here," the official said.

Abdullah made no claims about prior knowledge of the attacks, he and his attorney said. They contend that the two inmates are attempting to use Abdullah’s notoriety as a "Sept. 11 detainee" to their advantage.

"It’s scurrilous for the committee to include in its report the spurious fantasies of jailhouse snitches trying to cut themselves a better deal with prosecutors," Abdullah lawyer Hamud said. If federal officials had any evidence linking Abdullah to the Sept. 11 plot, Hamud said, "you can be assured they would have prosecuted him."

Abdullah said he gave Alhazmi and Almihdhar tips on how to obtain driver’s licenses and other advice because it is "an obligation" for Muslims to help one another and because neither spoke English or knew the country well. As far as his behavior in August 2001, Abdullah said he does not remember acting strangely, "but I was under a lot of stress because of monetary issues and stuff like that." He denied taking part in any celebration at the gas station.

Abdullah had just transferred from Grossmont College in El Cajon, where he studied business administration, to San Diego State University, where he had planned to study information systems when he was arrested. Now he is living with his parents and attempting to find a job.

Abdullah said he was brought back to Sanaa under armed guard and held in a Yemeni jail for about a month after his deportation.

"I still can’t understand how this all happened to me," Abdullah said. "I had a life that was well established, and somehow they ruined it."

Staff writer Rene Sanchez in San Diego contributed to this report.

Imad Yarkas (Spain) denies charges on 9/11

Man in 9/11 trial denies knowledge of Al Qaeda


April 27, 2005




A man accused of helping plot the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States said Tuesday in Madrid, Spain, that he had never even heard of Al Qaeda until he was arrested four years ago on suspicion of leading one of its cells.


Imad Yarkas condemned the suicide airliner attacks, saying such acts are banned under Islam.


"Some madmen act in unjust and incorrect ways. And I reject this," the Syrian-born Spaniard said, testifying for a second day in his trial on charges he arranged a planning meeting in Spain in July 2001 for one of the suicide pilots and a coordinator of the attacks.


Yarkas is on trial with 23 others in Europe’s biggest court case against radical groups with alleged ties to Osama bin Laden’s terror network.


If convicted, he faces a symbolic sentence of almost 75,000 years in prison — 25 years for each of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks.


Guantanamo criticism: Europe’s human rights body condemned the United States on Tuesday for using what it termed torture on terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


The body also called on European countries not to cooperate in interrogating Guantanamo detainees.


A Pentagon spokesman said the United States was running "a safe, humane and professional detention operation at Guantanamo that is providing valuable information in the war on terror."


In a resolution, the Council of Europe also urged the United States to cease the practice of secret detentions and to investigate all instances of unlawful treatment of detainees at the naval base in eastern Cuba.


The U.S. government has denied using torture at the base, but investigations into alleged abuse there are ongoing.


Also Tuesday, the Pentagon said it transferred two Guantanamo detainees to the custody of the government of Belgium. No details on their identities were released.


About 520 prisoners remain at Guantanamo. Some 234 have left; 167 have been released outright and 67 have been transferred to the control of other governments.


Detainees are released when they are determined to no longer pose a threat and have no further intelligence value, the Pentagon says.


"The situation of prisoners at Guantanamo is very far from acceptable international standards," said Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Russian Duma’s international affairs committee and a member of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly.


"Those who fought under the Taliban flag against the United States should be granted POW status," Kosachev said.


Millennium plot: Five years after being arrested with a trunkful of bomb-making materials at the U.S. border, Ahmed Ressam has proved a remarkable resource in the nation’s efforts to understand and eradicate terrorists.


He told investigators from many countries about the locations of terror cells and camps, who ran them and how they operated.


But as Ressam, 37, awaits sentencing today, prosecutors say he could have done more.


Ressam, an Algerian convicted of plotting a millennium-eve bombing at the Los Angeles airport, stopped cooperating with prosecutors in 2003 when he realized the Justice Department would not recommend a sentence shorter than 27 years, they say.


Prosecutors say that without his continued help, they may have to drop terrorism charges against two men: Abu Doha, who was accused of orchestrating the bomb plot, and Samir Ait Mohamed, also charged in the scheme. They are awaiting extradition to the United States, Doha in Britain and Mohamed in Canada.


The government is seeking 35 years behind bars for Ressam. His public defenders are asking for 12 1/2 years.

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Ali Mohamed Case, 2000

24 October 2000
 Source: Court Reporters Office of the Southern District of New York

 See related court docket:

This transcript is from an appearance by Ali Mohamed before Judge Sand on October 20, 2000. Mr. Mohamed is one of 17 defendants in the bombing of US Embassies in Kenya and Sudan. And now the only one to plead guilty.



                  v.                           S(7) 98 Cr. 1023 (LBS)
                                               New York, N.Y.
   9                                           October 20, 2000


                   HON. LEONARD B. SAND,
                                               District Judge


  16                            APPEARANCES

            United States Attorney for the
  18        Southern District of New York
  19        KENNETH M. KARAS,
            MICHAEL GARCIA,
  20        ANDREW C. McCARTHY,
            PAUL BUTLER,
  21        Assistant United States Attorneys

       For Defendant Ali Mohamed:

                (Pages 2 through 9 filed under seal)

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1            (In open court)

   2            DEPUTY CLERK:  United States of America v. Ali

   3   Mohamed.

   4            Is the government ready?

   5            MR. FITZGERALD:  Yes, your Honor.  Good morning.

   6            THE COURT:  Good morning.

   7            DEPUTY CLERK:  Defendant ready?

   8            MR. ROTH:  Yes, your Honor.  James Roth for the

   9   defendant.  We’re ready.

  10            THE COURT:  Mr. Roth, you have an application?

  11            MR. ROTH:  Yes, your Honor.  Your Honor, at this

  12   time, the defendant Ali Mohamed enters a plea of guilty to

  13   Counts One, Three, Five and Six of S(7) 98 CR 1023.

  14            THE COURT:  Isn’t it One through Three?

  15            MR. ROTH:  I’m sorry.  One, Two, Three, that’s

  16   correct.

  17            THE COURT:  And he is offering to enter a plea to

  18   Counts One, Two, Three, Five and Six of the indictment?

  19            MR. ROTH:  That is correct, your Honor.

  20            THE COURT:  And my understanding is that that offer

  21   is made pursuant to Rule 11(e)(C).

  22            MR. ROTH:  (1)(C), your Honor.

  23            THE COURT:  Yes.  Very well.

  24            Mr. Kenneally, will you arraign Mr. Mohamed.

  25            DEPUTY CLERK:  Mr. Ali Mohamed, please rise for a

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1   moment.

   2            Is your attorney present, standing beside you?

   3            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes.

   4            DEPUTY CLERK:  Ali Mohamed, have you received a copy

   5   of the indictment S(7) 98 Crim. 1023?

   6            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes.

   7            DEPUTY CLERK:  Do you wish to have Counts One, Two,

   8   Three, Five and Six read out loud to you?

   9            THE DEFENDANT:  No, sir.

  10            DEPUTY CLERK:  Do you understand the charges on each

  11   of Counts One, Two, Three, Five and Six?

  12            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, sir.

  13            DEPUTY CLERK:  How do you offer to plead as to those

  14   counts, guilty or not guilty?

  15            THE DEFENDANT:  Guilty.

  16            THE COURT:  Very well.  Mr. Mohamed, how old are you,

  17   sir?

  18            THE DEFENDANT:  48, your Honor.

  19            THE COURT:  40?

  20            THE DEFENDANT:  8.

  21            THE COURT:  48.

  22            And how much schooling have you had?  How much

  23   schooling, education?

  24            THE DEFENDANT:  I have two bachelor degrees and one

  25   master’s degree.

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1            THE COURT:  And where did you obtain those degrees?

   2            THE DEFENDANT:  In Egypt.  University of Alexandria

   3   in Egypt.

   4            THE COURT:  And you read, write, speak and understand

   5   English without any difficulty?

   6            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, sir.

   7            THE COURT:  Have you received a copy of this

   8   indictment and gone over it with your attorney?

   9            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, sir.

  10            THE COURT:  And has he explained to you the charges

  11   contained in this indictment?

  12            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  13            THE COURT:  And have you told him everything that you

  14   know about these matters?

  15            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  16            THE COURT:  Are there any facts that you deliberately

  17   withheld from your attorneys?

  18            THE DEFENDANT:  No, your Honor.

  19            THE COURT:  I have been furnished a copy of a letter

  20   dated October 19 from the United States Attorney’s Office to

  21   your attorney.  Have you signed such a letter?

  22            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  23            THE COURT:  Before signing such a letter did you go

  24   over it carefully with your attorneys?

  25            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1            THE COURT:  Do you understand the terms and

   2   provisions contained in that letter?

   3            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, sir.

   4            THE COURT:  Are there any understandings or

   5   agreements or promises or inducements for you to enter into a

   6   plea other than those set forth in this letter?

   7            THE DEFENDANT:  No, sir.

   8            THE COURT:  Very well.  We will mark the letter.

   9            Has it now been fully signed by all the parties?

  10            MR. ROTH:  Yes, your Honor.

  11            THE COURT:  All the signatories?

  12            MR. ROTH:  Yes, your Honor.

  13            THE COURT:  All right.  We will deem that marked as

  14   Court Exhibit A of today’s date and it will be sealed.

  15            Do you understand, Mr. Mohamed, that you have a right

  16   to continue to plead not guilty, and that if you do so, you

  17   have a right to a trial by a jury of 12 people, at which you

  18   would have the right to the assistance of counsel, and if you

  19   could not afford an attorney, one would be supplied at no cost

  20   to you, as indeed has happened?  Do you understand that?

  21            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  22            THE COURT:  Do you understand that at such a trial

  23   the burden would be on the government to establish your guilt

  24   beyond a reasonable doubt, to the unanimous satisfaction of

  25   all 12 jurors?  Do you understand that?

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

   2            THE COURT:  Do you understand that upon such a trial

   3   you would have the right to subpoena witnesses and to confront

   4   and to cross-examine all witnesses that were called by the

   5   government against you?  Do you understand that?

   6            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

   7            THE COURT:  Do you understand that at such a trial

   8   you could remain silent, and no inference could be drawn

   9   against you by reason of your silence; or if you wanted to,

  10   you could take the stand and testify in your own defense, do

  11   you understand that?

  12            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  13            THE COURT:  Do you understand that if you wanted to,

  14   and the Court and the government agreed, you could have a

  15   trial before a judge, without a jury, in which event you would

  16   have the same rights and the same burdens would be on the

  17   government?

  18            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  19            THE COURT:  Do you understand that if your offer to

  20   plead guilty is accepted, that you would give up those rights

  21   with respect to these charges against you, and any right to

  22   appeal with respect to any prior proceedings in this case, and

  23   the Court would have the same power to impose sentence as it

  24   would have if a jury brought in a verdict of guilty against

  25   you?  Do you understand that?

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

   2            THE COURT:  Do you understand that in connection with

   3   your offer to plead guilty, I may ask you questions about the

   4   offense to which you are pleading guilty, and that if you

   5   answered these questions under oath, on the record, and in the

   6   presence of your attorneys, if your answers are false, they

   7   may be used against you later in a prosecution for perjury or

   8   false statements?  Do you understand that?

   9            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  10            THE COURT:  This plea is offered pursuant to the

  11   provisions of Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal

  12   procedure (e)(1)(C), which provides, in pertinent part:

  13            "The attorney for the government and the attorney for

  14   the defendant may agree that upon the defendant’s entering a

  15   plea of guilty:  (C) agree that a specific sentence or

  16   sentencing range is the appropriate disposition of the

  17   case. . . Such a plea agreement is binding on the Court once

  18   it is accepted by the court."

  19            And subparagraph 2 thereof says:

  20            "The court may accept or reject the agreement, or may

  21   defer its decision as to the acceptance or rejection until

  22   there has been an opportunity to consider the presentence

  23   report."

  24            Do you understand that your plea agreement is made

  25   pursuant to that provision, and it further provides if the

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1   parties agree, pursuant to that provision, that it is an

   2   appropriate disposition of this case that Ali Mohamed shall

   3   not receive a sentence of less than the sum set forth in the

   4   plea agreement?

   5            MR. ROTH:  May we approach for a second, your Honor?

   6            THE COURT:  Excuse me?

   7            MR. EPSTEIN:  May we approach for a second?

   8            THE COURT:  Yes.

   9            (Continued on next page)

  10            (Page 17 filed under seal)
















                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1            (In open court)

   2            THE COURT:  Mr. Mohamed, the agreement is that the

   3   sentence shall be not less than a term of years set forth in

   4   the plea agreement.  Do you understand that?

   5            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

   6            THE COURT:  And that if the Court should reject that

   7   agreement, or impose a sentence of less than the terms set

   8   forth in the agreement, then this entire plea agreement is

   9   void, do you understand that?

  10            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  11            MR. FITZGERALD:  Excuse me, your Honor.  Just one

  12   correction, your Honor.  I think the plea agreement will be

  13   voidable by the government, but not void.

  14            THE COURT:  Voidable.

  15            MR. FITZGERALD:  Yes.  Thank you, Judge.

  16            THE COURT:  Your offer is to plead guilty to five

  17   counts charging you with conspiracy to kill nationals of the

  18   United States, conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim at places

  19   outside of the United States, conspiracy to murder, conspiracy

  20   to destroy buildings and property of the United States, and

  21   conspiracy to destroy national-defense utilities of the United

  22   States.

  23            Do you understand that pursuant to the relevant

  24   statutes, conviction on those five counts would subject you to

  25   a total maximum sentence of incarceration of life imprisonment

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1   plus any term of years.  Do you understand that you would be

   2   subject to that potential sentence?

   3            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

   4            THE COURT:  Do you understand that in addition to

   5   that, you would be subject to a term of supervised release of

   6   five years on Counts One, Two, Three and Five and three years’

   7   supervised release on Count Six?  Do you understand that?

   8            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

   9            THE COURT:  Do you understand that if you are

  10   sentenced to a term of supervised release, if you violate the

  11   terms and conditions of supervised release, you will be

  12   subject to a further term of incarceration without credit for

  13   time previously spent on supervised release?

  14            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  15            THE COURT:  Do you understand that you also will be

  16   subject to a fine of the greatest of $250,000, twice the gross

  17   pecuniary gain derived from the offense, or twice the gross

  18   pecuniary loss as a result of the offense?

  19            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  20            THE COURT:  Do you understand you are also subject to

  21   a mandatory $500 special assessment?  You understand that?

  22            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  23            THE COURT:  And that the Court may at the time of

  24   sentencing impose an obligation of restitution in an amount to

  25   be determined by the Court, do you understand that?

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

   2            THE COURT:  Are there any other punishments,

   3   penalties, sanctions to which the defendant will be subject as

   4   to which he should be apprised at this time?

   5            MR. FITZGERALD:  No, Judge.

   6            THE COURT:  Do you understand that you will not be

   7   able to withdraw your plea if it should come about that the

   8   sentence actually imposed by the Court is higher than you

   9   anticipated or higher than was estimated or predicted to you?

  10   Do you understand that?

  11            (Pause)

  12            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  13            THE COURT:  Have you been induced to offer to plead

  14   guilty by reason of any fear, pressure, duress, force,

  15   anything of that nature?

  16            THE DEFENDANT:  No, your honor.

  17            THE COURT:  Are you under the influence of any

  18   substances such as alcohol, drugs or the like that might

  19   affect your ability to understand what you are doing?

  20            THE DEFENDANT:  No, your Honor.

  21            THE COURT:  Then do I understand that you are

  22   offering to plead guilty because you believe that you are

  23   guilty?

  24            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  25            THE COURT:  All right.  Mr. Kenneally, will you place

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1   Mr. Mohamed under oath, please.

   2            Is there some other form of oath that the defendant

   3   would prefer?

   4            MR. ROTH:  We just asked him whether he wanted to

   5   affirm, your Honor.

   6            THE COURT:  And his answer was?

   7            THE DEFENDANT:  Whatever.  It does not matter.

   8            (Defendant sworn)

   9            THE COURT:  What we’re going to do now is I am going

  10   to ask the government to state on the record what the elements

  11   of the six counts are, what it is that the government must

  12   prove beyond a reasonable doubt to the unanimous satisfaction

  13   of 12 jurors to establish your guilt on those six counts, and

  14   then I am going to ask you to tell me in your own words what

  15   it is that you did that leads you to believe that you are

  16   guilty of those counts.

  17            So I would ask that the government now state the

  18   elements of the six causes of action.

  19            MR. FITZGERALD:  Yes, Judge.  It’s Counts One, Two,

  20   Three, Five and Six.

  21            THE COURT:  Yes.

  22            MR. FITZGERALD:  So that is actually five counts that

  23   name defendant Mohamed in the indictment.

  24            Count One charges a violation of Title 18, United

  25   States Code, Section 2332(b), which is conspiracy to kill

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1   nationals of the United States.  The elements of the crime

   2   that the government would be required to prove is that the

   3   defendant engaged in conspiratorial conduct outside the United

   4   States as part of a conspiracy to kill nationals of the United

   5   States, and that, specifically charged in Count One, the four

   6   goals of the conspiracy included murdering United States

   7   nationals anywhere in the world, killing United States

   8   nationals employed by the American military in Somalia and

   9   Saudi Arabia, and, three, killing United States nationals

  10   employed in embassies, and, four, concealment of the

  11   conspiracy.

  12            As to Count Two, which charges a violation of Title

  13   18, United States Code, Section 956(a)(1), and 956(a)(2), a

  14   conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim in places outside the

  15   United States, the government would be required to prove that

  16   the defendant Mohamed, within the jurisdiction of the United

  17   States, conspired with others who could be located anywhere to

  18   commit an act that would be murder or maiming if carried out

  19   within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of

  20   the United States, and that any conspirator committed an act

  21   within the United States in furtherance of that conspiracy,

  22   and as specifically charged, that the indictment alleges four

  23   objects:  killing United States nationals employed by the

  24   American military in Somalia and Saudi Arabia; two, killing

  25   United States nationals at embassies overseas; three, killing

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1   United States civilians anywhere in the world; and, four,

   2   concealment.

   3            Count Three charges a violation of Title 18, United

   4   States Code, Section 1117, conspiracy to murder, and that

   5   requires that the defendant and one or more other persons

   6   conspired to violate Sections 1114 or 1116 and that an overt

   7   act be carried out.  Specifically, in this indictment it is

   8   charged that the conspiracy sought to violate both 1114 and

   9   1116.

  10            The requirements for Section 1114 is that the goal be

  11   to kill an officer or employee of the United States

  12   Government, including members of the armed services, on

  13   account of their duties, and Section 1116 requires that the

  14   goal be to kill internationally protected persons.  And

  15   internationally protected persons are defined by statute to

  16   include, among others, employed U.S. employees entitled to

  17   special protection by law, which would include ambassadors

  18   located in embassies overseas.

  19            As specifically charged in the indictment, Count

  20   Three alleges that the conspirators sought to kill United

  21   States Government employees on account of their official

  22   duties, including employees of the United States military in

  23   Somalia and Saudi Arabia and employees located at embassies

  24   and, secondly, sought to kill internationally protected

  25   persons and, third, sought to conceal the conspiracy.

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1            Count Five charges a conspiracy to destroy buildings

   2   or property owned or leased by the United States Government,

   3   in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 844(n),

   4   and the conspiracy was to violate Title 18, United States

   5   Code, Section 844(f)(1) and (f)(3).  That would require the

   6   government to prove that the conspiracy sought to damage or

   7   destroy buildings or property owned or leased by the United

   8   States Government, and that a means of that destruction was

   9   through the use of fire and explosives.  And for subsection

  10   (f)(3), another goal that would need to be proven was that the

  11   aim was to cause death.

  12            As specifically charged in the indictment, Count Five

  13   would require the government to show that the goals of the

  14   conspiracy were to bomb United States embassies and kill

  15   United States Government employees; secondly, to attack the

  16   people and to harm the people within United States embassies

  17   and other American facilities; third, to attack the United

  18   States military facilities; and, fourth, to seek to cause

  19   death by such conduct.

  20            And finally, Count Six charges a violation of Title

  21   18, United States Code, Section 2155, which is a conspiracy to

  22   destroy national-defense utilities of the United States.  That

  23   would require the government to prove that the defendant was

  24   part of a conspiracy to interfere with the national-defense

  25   utilities of the United States by injuring or destroying such

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1   utilities, and such national-defense utilities are defined to

   2   include buildings or structures of the armed forces, and that

   3   is to include buildings and structures in the American

   4   military overseas.

   5            In sum, all five counts will be proven by facts

   6   indicating that there was a conspiracy to kill United States

   7   nationals overseas, which included both United States

   8   employees, United States military employees, civilians and

   9   internationally protected persons; that Ali Mohamed joined

  10   that conspiracy; that an overt act was carried out; that

  11   conspiratorial conduct was carried out within the U.S.; that

  12   conspiratorial conduct was carried out outside the United

  13   States; that bombing was a method of the planned killing; and

  14   that the targets included both military facilities and

  15   personnel as well as buildings, including embassies which

  16   housed internationally protected persons.

  17            THE COURT:  Thank you, Mr. Fitzgerald.

  18            Now, Mr. Mohamed, would you tell us in your own words

  19   what it is that you did and when and where you did it that

  20   leads you to believe that you are guilty of each of those

  21   charges.

  22            THE DEFENDANT:  Your Honor, in the early 1980s I

  23   became involved with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization.

  24   In the early 1990s, I was introduced to al Qaeda — al Qaeda

  25   is the organization headed by Usama bin Laden — through my

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1   involvement with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

   2            In 1992, I conducted military and basic explosives

   3   training for al Qaeda in Afghanistan.  Among the people I

   4   trained were Harun Fadhl and Abu Jihad.  I also conducted

   5   intelligence training for al Qaeda.  I taught my trainees how

   6   to create cell structures that could be used for operations.

   7            In 1991, I helped transport Usama bin Laden from

   8   Afghanistan to the Sudan.

   9            When I engaged in these activities, and the others

  10   that I am about to describe, I understood that I was working

  11   with al Qaeda, Bin Laden, Abu Hafs, Abu Ubaidah, and that al

  12   Qaeda had a shura council, which included Abu Hajer al Iraqui.

  13            In the early 1990s, I assisted al Qaeda in creating a

  14   presence in Nairobi, Kenya, and worked with several others on

  15   this project.  Abu Ubaidah was in charge of al Qaeda in

  16   Nairobi until he drowned.  Khalid al Fawwaz set up al Qaeda’s

  17   office in Nairobi.  A car business was set up to create

  18   income.  Wadih el Hage created a charity organization that

  19   would help provide al Qaeda members with identity documents.

  20   I personally helped el Hage by making labels in his home in

  21   Nairobi.  I personally met Abu Ubaidah and Abu Hafs at Wadih’s

  22   house in Nairobi.

  23            We used various code names to conceal our identities.

  24   I used the name "Jeff"; el Hage used the name "Norman"; Ihab

  25   used the name "Nawawi."

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1            In late 1993, I was asked by bin Laden to conduct

   2   surveillance of American, British, French, and Israeli targets

   3   in Nairobi.  Among the targets I did surveillance for was the

   4   American Embassy in Nairobi, the United States AID Building in

   5   Nairobi, the United States Agricultural Office in Nairobi, the

   6   French Cultural Center, and French Embassy in Nairobi.  These

   7   targets were selected to retaliate against the United States

   8   for its involvement in Somalia.  I took pictures, drew

   9   diagrams, and wrote a report.  Khalid al Fawwaz paid for my

  10   expenses and the photo enlarging equipment.  He was in Nairobi

  11   at this time.

  12            I later went to Khartoum, where my surveillance files

  13   and photographs were reviewed by Usama bin Laden, Abu Hafs,

  14   Abu Ubaidah, and others.  Bin Laden looked at the picture of

  15   the American Embassy and pointed to where a truck could go as

  16   a suicide bomber.

  17            In 1994, Bin Laden sent me to Djibouti to do

  18   surveillance on several facilities, including French military

  19   bases and the American Embassy.

  20            In 1994, after an attempt to assassinate Bin Laden, I

  21   went to the Sudan in 1994 to train Bin Laden’s bodyguards,

  22   security detail.  I trained those conducting the security of

  23   the interior of his compound, and coordinated with the

  24   Sudanese intelligence agents who were responsible for the

  25   exterior security.

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1            In 1994, while I was in Sudan, I did surveillance

   2   training for al Qaeda.  Ihab Ali, also known as Nawawi, was

   3   one of the people I trained.  Nawai was supposed to train

   4   others.

   5            In early 1990s, Zawihiri made two visits to the

   6   United States, and he came to United States to help raise

   7   funds for the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.  I helped him to do

   8   this.

   9            I was aware of certain contacts between al Qaeda and

  10   al Jihad organization, on one side, and Iran and Hezbollah on

  11   the other side.  I arranged security for a meeting in the

  12   Sudan between Mughaniyah, Hezbollah’s chief, and Bin Laden.

  13            Hezbollah provided explosives training for al Qaeda

  14   and al Jihad.  Iran supplied Egyptian Jihad with weapons.

  15   Iran also used Hezbolla to supply explosives that were

  16   disguised to look like rocks.

  17            In late 1994, I was in Nairobi.  Abu Hafs met another

  18   man and me in the back of Wadih el Hage’s house.  Abu Hafs

  19   told me, along with someone else, to do surveillance for the

  20   American, British, French and Israeli targets in Senegal in

  21   West Africa.

  22            At about this time, late 1994, I received a call from

  23   an FBI agent who wanted to speak to me about the upcoming

  24   trial of United States v. Abdel Rahman.  I flew back to the

  25   United States, spoke to the FBI, but didn’t disclose

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1   everything that I knew.

   2            I reported on my meeting with the FBI to Abu Hafs and

   3   was told not to return to Nairobi.

   4            In 1995, I obtained a copy of the co-conspirator list

   5   for the Abdel Rahman trial.  I sent the list to el Hage in

   6   Kenya, expecting that it would be forwarded to bin Laden in

   7   Khartoum.

   8            In 1996, I learned from el Hage that Abu Ubaidah had

   9   drowned.

  10            In 1998, I received a letter from Ihab Ali in early

  11   January, 1998.  The letter said that el Hage had been

  12   interviewed by the FBI in Kenya, and gave me a contact number

  13   for el Hage.  I called the number and then called someone who

  14   would pass the message to Fawwaz for bin Laden.

  15            After the bombing in 1998, I made plans to go to

  16   Egypt and later to Afghanistan to meet bin Laden.  Before I

  17   could leave, I was subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury

  18   in the Southern District of New York.  I testified, told some

  19   lies, and was then arrested.

  20            MR. ROTH:  That concludes the statement, your Honor.

  21            THE COURT:  The overall objective of all of these

  22   activities you described was, what?

  23            THE DEFENDANT:  Just to — I was involved in the

  24   Islamic Jihad organization, and the Islamic Jihad organization

  25   has a very close link to al Qaeda, the organization, for bin

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1   Laden.  And the objective of all this, just to attack any

   2   Western target in the Middle East, to force the government of

   3   the Western countries just to pull out from the Middle East,

   4   not interfere in the —

   5            THE COURT:  And to achieve that objective, did the

   6   conspiracy include killing nationals of the United States?

   7            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, sir.  Based on the marine

   8   explosion in Beirut in 1984 and the American pull-out from

   9   Beirut, they will be the same method, to force the United

  10   States to pull out from Saudi Arabia.

  11            THE COURT:  And it included conspiracy to murder

  12   persons who were involved in government agencies and embassies

  13   overseas?

  14            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  15            THE COURT:  And to destroy buildings and properties

  16   of the United States?

  17            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  18            THE COURT:  And to attack national-defense utilities?

  19            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  20            THE COURT:  Anything further by way of allocution the

  21   government would request?

  22            MR. FITZGERALD:  No, Judge.

  23            THE COURT:  Mr. Roth, Mr. Epstein, do you know of any

  24   valid legal defense that would prevail if the defendant went

  25   to trial?

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1            MR. EPSTEIN:  No, your Honor.

   2            THE COURT:  And I take it that the pending motions

   3   brought on your behalf are withdrawn.

   4            MR. ROTH:  That’s correct, your Honor.

   5            THE COURT:  Mr. Mohamed, are you satisfied with the

   6   representation you have received from your two attorneys?

   7            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

   8            THE COURT:  Mr. Mohamed, have you signed and has your

   9   counsel signed an acknowledgment of rights form?

  10            THE DEFENDANT:  Yes, your Honor.

  11            THE COURT:  The Court finds that there is a knowing,

  12   voluntary plea of guilty which encompasses all of the elements

  13   of the charges to which the defendant has offered to plead

  14   guilty, and the plea is accepted.

  15            The Court will defer until it sees a presentence

  16   report whether it does or does not accept the recommendation

  17   pursuant to Rule 11(e).

  18            I take it that there is no application for bail or

  19   for revision of the terms of bail.

  20            The plea may be entered.  We will set a sentencing

  21   date of nine months from today as a control date.

  22            MR. FITZGERALD:  Your Honor, my understanding is it

  23   is now required to advise the defendant pleading guilty that

  24   he is waiving his right to an appeal.

  25            THE COURT:  Yes.  Is that contained in the agreement?

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1            MR. EPSTEIN:  It’s not in the agreement.

   2            MR. FITZGERALD:  I don’t believe it is in the

   3   agreement.  I was advised there is recent case law that says

   4   it should be allocuted to at the time of the plea.

   5            THE COURT:  Do you understand that as a consequence

   6   of your offering to plead guilty, and the Court accepting that

   7   plea, you waive the right to appeal with respect to any

   8   proceedings heretofore had in this matter?

   9            MR. EPSTEIN:  Your Honor, it’s our understanding that

  10   he would be waiving any right to appeal relative to the plea

  11   itself, but in terms of subsequent proceedings, there is

  12   nothing in any agreement between the parties that would

  13   preclude an appeal.

  14            MR. FITZGERALD:  That’s correct, Judge.  If there

  15   were something done illegally with regard to his sentence in

  16   the future, he is not waiving that, but he is waiving any past

  17   proceedings.

  18            THE COURT:  I believe I did tell him that:  if your

  19   offer to plead guilty is accepted, you would give up all the

  20   rights that you previously had and any right to appeal with

  21   respect to any past proceedings in this case, and the court

  22   would have the same power to impose sentence as it would have

  23   if a jury returned a verdict of guilty.

  24            Anything further?

  25            MR. FITZGERALD:  No, your Honor.

                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.

   1            MR. ROTH:  No, your Honor.

   2            MR. EPSTEIN:  No, your Honor.

   3                               – – –























                      SOUTHERN DISTRICT REPORTERS, P.C.