A Pentagon "Convening Authority" for Military Commissions has twice approved capital murder charges against five detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, naming them as alleged conspirators in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. They were first arraigned June 5, 2008 but a senior Pentagon official withdrew the charges "without prejudice" in January 2010 to give the then-new Obama administration time to review the case. Attorney General Eric Holder decided to put them on trial in New York City, not far from where the site of the World Trade Center. But he was met with such fierce political resistance he returned the case to the Pentagon, whose war crimes prosecutor issued new charge sheets on May 31, 2011. The Convening Authority at that time, retired Navy Vice Adm. Bruce MacDonald, approved the charges April 4, 2012.
The five were arraigned on May 5, 2012 at the Camp Justice war court compound at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba. The hearing, held on a rare Saturday schedule, stretched across 13 hours with breaks for the men to pray in the courtroom. The next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 17-20, following a closed session of the court on Dec. 16. Here is the judge's docketing order:
Khalid Sheik Mohammed, called KSM, is accused of engineering the Sept. 11 attacks by proposing the plot to Osama bin Laden in 1996, overseeing the operation, and training the hijackers in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The International Committee of the Red Cross says Pakistani authorities arrested him March 1, 2003 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The CIA subjected him to an interrogation technique called waterboarding before his 2006 transfer to Guantánamo Bay. In March 2007, according to a military transcript, he boasted: ''I was responsible for the 9/11 operation -- from A to Z."
Walid bin Attash allegedly ran an al Qaeda training camp in Logar, Afghanistan, where two of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were trained. Osama bin Laden allegedly selected him as a Sept. 11 hijacker but he was prevented from participating when he was arrested and briefly detained in Yemen in early 2001. The Pentagon also says he traveled to Malaysia in 1999 to study U.S. airline security. The ICRC says Pakistani authorities arrested him on April 29, 2003 in Karachi, Pakistan.
Ramzi bin al Shibh, a Yemeni, allegedly helped the German cell of hijackers find flight schools and enter the United States, and helped finance the operation. He allegedly was selected to be one of the hijackers and made a ''martyr video," but was four times denied a visa at U.S. embassies, in both Berlin and his native San'a, Yemen. The ICRC says Pakistani authorities arrested him Sept. 11, 2002 in Karachi, Pakistan. A military, court-appointed medical panel has found he suffered from mental illness in the past and may still.
Ammar al Baluchi, also known as Ali Abd al Aziz Ali, is alleged to have sent approximately $120,000 to the hijackers for their expenses and flight training, and helped nine of the hijackers travel to the United States. He is believed to have served as a key lieutenant to Khalid Sheik Mohammed in Pakistan. He was born in Pakistan's Baluchistan province, raised in Kuwait, and is KSM's nephew. The ICRC says Pakistani authorities arrested him on April 29, 2003 in Karachi, Pakistan. His U.S.-educated wife, Aafia Sidiqqui, was captured in Afghanistan but unlike her husband was taken to New York City for trial and conviction on attempted murder charges and is now serving an 86-year sentence.