clear
Monday July 6th, 2015 12:57AM

Ex-al-Qaida spokesman recalls 9/11 with bin Laden

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) -- In surprise testimony in a Manhattan courtroom Wednesday, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law recounted the night of the Sept. 11 attacks, when the al-Qaida leader sent a messenger to drive him into a mountainous area for a meeting inside a cave in Afghanistan.<br /> <br /> "Did you learn what happened? We are the ones who did it," the son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, recalled bin Laden telling him.<br /> <br /> When bin Laden asked what he thought would happen next, Abu Ghaith testified that he responded by predicting America "will not settle until it kills you and topples the state of the Taliban."<br /> <br /> Bin Laden responded: "You're being too pessimistic," Abu Ghaith recalled.<br /> <br /> Bin Laden then told the onetime imam, "I want to deliver a message to the world. ... I want you to deliver the message," he said.<br /> <br /> The testimony came at Abu Ghaith's trial on charges he conspired to kill Americans and aid al-Qaida as a spokesman for the terrorist group. His decision to take the witness stand was announced by his lawyer, Stanley Cohen, who surprised a nearly empty courtroom that quickly filled with spectators as word spread.<br /> <br /> Testifying through an Arabic interpreter, the 48-year-old Kuwaiti-born defendant said he went to Afghanistan for the first time in June 2001 because he had a "serious desire to get to know the new Islamic government in Afghanistan."<br /> <br /> He said he met bin Laden when the al-Qaida leader, who was living in Kandahar, Afghanistan, summoned him after hearing that he was a preacher from Kuwait.<br /> <br /> Abu Ghaith said bin Laden explained that the al-Qaida training camps involved so much weapons training and a rough, hard life that he wanted him to change that, to reach the hearts of recruits and show them another side of life.<br /> <br /> Abu Ghaith said he knew bin Laden was suspected in terrorist attacks but still "wanted to get to know that person."<br /> <br /> "I wanted to see what he had, what is it he wanted," he said.<br /> <br /> The defendant testified that videos he made warning that there would be more attacks on Americans and trying to inspire others to join al-Qaida's cause were based on "quotes and points by Sheik Osama," including at threat in one video that "the storm of airplanes will not abate." He also denied allegations by the government that he had prior knowledge of the failed shoe-bomb airline attack by Richard Reid in December 2001.<br /> <br /> He said he stayed for two to three weeks after Sept. 11 in a cave in a mountainous part of Afghanistan with bin Laden and others because the "situation was tense and the roads were dangerous."<br /> <br /> He testified that his videotaped sermons were religious in nature, and meant to encourage Muslims to fight oppression.<br /> <br /> If "oppression befalls ... any category of people, that category of people must revolt," he said.<br /> <br /> Abu Ghaith said his intention was not to recruit.<br /> <br /> "My intention was to deliver a message, a message I believed in," he said. "I was hoping the United States would say, `Let's sit down and talk and solve these problems,' but America was going on and doing what I expected them to do."<br /> <br /> Abu Ghaith is married to bin Laden's eldest daughter, Fatima. According to Cohen, they were married in 2008 or 2009.<br /> <br /> The defendant looked relaxed on the witness stand, wearing a blue shirt, open at the collar, beneath a charcoal-colored jacket. His hands were sometimes folded before him, though sometimes he waved or pointed them for emphasis.<br /> <br /> The announcement that he would testify energized jurors, who became more animated as they looked around the courtroom as it filled. Some of them leaned forward and toward the witness as Abu Ghaith spoke.<br /> <br /> Some of his answers went beyond the questions posed to him and led to a warning from U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who said he should answer directly and "save the speeches for some other time."<br /> <br /> Kaplan did not immediately rule on Cohen's request that the defense be permitted to call Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-professed architect of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a witness via a video link from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he is imprisoned.<br /> <br /> Cohen said it wasn't the right time to pursue that request, which was denied by Kaplan on Tuesday but was renewed after Mohammed confirmed he would be willing to testify.<br /> <br /> "I've got a few other things on the fire right now," Cohen said.<br />
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Last 4 on Md. death row to have sentences commuted
In one of his final acts as governor, Democrat Martin O'Malley announced Wednesday that he will commute the sentences of Maryland's four remaining death-row inmates to life in prison.
2:07PM ( 6 months ago )
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 6 months ago )
Politics
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 6 months ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 6 months ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 6 months ago )
Local/State News
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 6 months ago )
KKK group to keep fighting to join road cleanup program in NE Ga.
A Georgia Ku Klux Klan group says it will move forward with its application for a highway cleanup program in northeast Georgia after a judge ruled the state's denial violated the organization's right to free speech.
12:24PM ( 6 months ago )
Applications for US jobless aid rise
More Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, but the number of applications continues to be at historically low levels.
9:23AM ( 6 months ago )
U.S. News
Cruz, Huckabee go head-to-head for evangelical votes in Ga.
Two Republican presidential candidates went head-to-head for evangelical votes Sunday, telling a megachurch congregation in Georgia that God favors the United States but also issuing a warning.
By The Associated Press
10:48PM ( 2 hours ago )
Greece enters uncharted territory after referendum 'no' vote
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece lurched into uncharted territory and an uncertain future in Europe's common currency Sunday after voters overwhelmingly rejected demands by international creditors for mor...
10:46PM ( 2 hours ago )
Back at work: Congress facing busy agenda, funding deadline
WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of Congress return from July Fourth fireworks and parades Tuesday facing a daunting summer workload and an impending deadline to fund the government or risk a shutdown in the...
3:02PM ( 9 hours ago )
Suwanee to hold open house to discuss downtown master plan
Suwanee officials will host an open house Thursday, July 9, to give citizens an update on the city's Downtown Master Plan.
8:31AM ( 16 hours ago )
Early voting continues in Flowery Branch, Forsyth Co.
Early voting for July 14 runoff elections continues through Friday in Flowery Branch and Forsyth County.
6:28AM ( 18 hours ago )