The alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks railed against U.S. national security policies when he was allowed to address the courtroom at Guantánamo Bay on Wednesday, Reuters reports. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, wearing a military-style camouflage vest, accused the U.S. government of killing many more people in the name of national security than he is accused of killing.
Mohammed is accused of orchestrating the hijacked plane attacks that killed 2,976 people on September 11, 2001.
He was captured on March 1, 2003, in Pakistan and held in secret CIA prisons—where he was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003—until being transferred to Gitmo in September 2006.
Here’s what he said (in Arabic through an English interpreter), according to Reuters:
“When the government feels sad for the death or the killing of 3,000 people who were killed on September 11, we also should feel sorry that the American government that was represented by (the chief prosecutor) and others have killed thousands of people, millions …
The president can take someone and throw him into the sea under the name of national security and so he can also legislate the assassinations under the name of national security for the American citizens …
Your blood is not made out of gold and ours is made out of water. We are all human beings.”
Mohammed’s statements, while widely viewed as simply anti-American and advocating terrorism, also give a unique perspective into why the U.S. has been increasingly seen as a ruthless bully on the world stage over the last 11 years.
Prior to the attacks on 9/11 and the World Trade centre bombing in 1998, al-Qaeda’s main gripe was that the U.S. should withdraw it’s troops from Saudi Arabia, a place all Muslims consider the Holy Land.
So perhaps these statements were not just the reflections of a radical organisation, but also grievances of common people in Muslim countries as well.
Mohammed and four other alleged conspirators could face the death penalty if convicted of charges that include conspiring with al Qaeda, attacking civilians and civilian targets, murder in violation of the laws of war, destruction of property, hijacking and terrorism.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.