The Department of Defense’s Combatant Status Review Tribunal today released the transcript of the hearing of detainee Waleed Mohammed bin Attash, mastermind of the October 12, 2000 bomb attack on the American Destroyer USS Cole, which took the lives of seventeen US sailors and wounded 39.
RECORDER: …the following facts support the determination that the detainee is an enemy combatant:
a. On 7 August 1998, near simultaneous truck bombs were detonated at the United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The explosion at the United States embassy in Nairobi resulted in the death of 213 people, including 12 Americans. More than 4,500 people were wounded,
b. Mohammad Rashed Daoud Al-Owhali Al-Owhali stated that in approximately June or July 1998, the detainee told him that his mission was a martyrdom mission, where he would be driving a vehicle filled with explosives into a target which would result in his death. The detainee told Al-Owhali the target was a United States embassy in East Africa, but he was not told the exact country,
c. In 1998, Mohamed Rashed Daoud Al-Owhali was indicted in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, for his involvement in the 7 August 1998 bombing of the United States embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. Charges included conspiracy to kill United States nationals, conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and maim at places outside the United States, conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against nationals of the United States, conspiracy to destroy buildings and property of the United States, and conspiracy to attack defense utilities,
d During the latter part of 1999, the detainee facilitated and participated in close-combat training which was held in the Lowgar training camp in Afghanistan. The graduates of the class then met with Usama bin Laden who lectured about the operational details of the East Africa bombings,
e. On 12 October 2000, the USS Cole was attacked during refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden by operatives of the al Qaida network. Al Qaida claimed responsibility for the attack. Seventeen United States sailors were killed and 39 other sailors were wounded,
f. Stamps utilized on a forged Yemeni merchant’s registration card, which was utilized by the detainee, were forged by a suspect of the USS Cole bombing,
g. A participant in the USS Cole bombing identified the detainee as someone he knew from an al Qaida training camp. The participant in the USS Cole bombing that identified the detainee stated an individual approached him with a letter from the detainee requesting assistance in facilitation of the USS Cole bombing. The participant in the USS Cole bombing claimed the only reason he agreed to visit the individual was due to the letter from the detainee,
h. The detainee went to an al Qaida training camp in Afghanistan in December 2000.
i. An al Qaida cell associated with a senior al Qaida operative used the code name, father of the leg, which was a reference to the detainee and the fact that he was missing a leg.
j. A notebook that was seized during the capture of a senior al Qaida operative contained a phone number that was also found in the stored memory of a phone belonging to the detainee,
k. The detainee’s University of Islamic Studies identification card was found at an alleged al Qaida residence in Karachi, Pakistan.
l. The detainee was implicated in a notebook containing account ledgers for payments made to various al Qaida operatives which was found during a raid of anal Qaida safe house,
m. A source that met the detainee in Afghanistan stated he also saw the detainee at al Farouq training camp. The source stated the detainee worked for an important person in al Qaida and the detainee was a body guard for Usama bin Laden.
Sir, this concludes the summary of unclassified evidence…
PRESIDENT: Tribunal members, do you have any questions for the detainee?
TRIBUNAL: I do.
TRIBUNAL: What exactly was his role as the – both the USS Cole and the -ah- embassy thing?
DETAINEE: Many roles, I participated in the buying or purchasing of the explosives. I put together the plan for the operation a year and a half prior to the operation. Buying the boat and recruiting the members that did the operation. Buying the explosives.
PRESIDENT: Where were you, physically, at the time of the Cole attacks?
DETAINEE: He was with Sheik Usama bin Laden in Kandahar.
PRESIDENT: And at the time of the embassy attacks?
DETAINEE: I was in Karachi meeting the operator, the guy that basically did the operation a few hours before the operation took place. These are statements that are not in the evidence that you have. These are additions to the questions that you have asked.
PRESIDENT: What can you tell us about the -ah- item contained in paragraph, in item 3a? (US Embassy Bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, 7 August 1998 -JDZ)…
DETAINEE: I was the link between Usama bin Laden and his deputy Sheikh Abu Hafs Al Masri and the cell chief in Nairobi. I was the link that was available in Pakistan. I used to supply the cell with what ever documents they need from fake stamps to visas, whatever. Sending them from Afghanistan to Pakistan and individuals, cell members.
Why, I wonder, has it taken close to four years to undertake this simple process? And, now that it is perfectly clear that various persons in US custody are illegal combatants guilty of grave and horrible crimes, are we going to proceed promptly and without further ado to the delivery of justice, i.e., to the executions of these villains? Or are we going to dither, and shilly shally, and debate, and litigate some more?