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Ex-Al-Qaida spokesman recalls 9/11 with Bin Laden

Bin Laden's Son-in-Law Unexpectedly Testifies

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.

"Did you learn what happened? We are the ones who did it," the son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, recalled bin Laden telling him.

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."

Bin Laden responded: "You're being too pessimistic," Abu Ghaith recalled.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

Abu Ghaith said he knew bin Laden was suspected in terrorist attacks but still "wanted to get to know that person."

"I wanted to see what he had, what is it he wanted," he said.

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.

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."

He testified that his videotaped sermons were religious in nature, and meant to encourage Muslims to fight oppression.

If "oppression befalls ... any category of people, that category of people must revolt," he said.

Abu Ghaith said his intention was not to recruit.

"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."

Abu Ghaith is married to bin Laden's eldest daughter, Fatima. According to Cohen, they were married in 2008 or 2009.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

"I've got a few other things on the fire right now," Cohen said.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
Mike March 19 2014 at 10:29 PM

I have a question. If its such an honor to die in the name of Jihad, then why aren't the leaders the first ones to volunteer for a suicide mission?

Flag Reply +18 rate up
2 replies
wvagirl84 Mike March 19 2014 at 10:35 PM

Darn good question, Mike.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
eas1949 wvagirl84 March 19 2014 at 11:05 PM

No, dumb question. If the leaders go on a suicide mission, who's gonna' lead the troops?

Flag 0 rate up
bigpapapuff425 Mike March 19 2014 at 10:42 PM

Because they're just like our politicians over here, they want war but want the young men to volunteer for it. Too cowardly to do it themselves!

Flag Reply +6 rate up
rsharma151 March 19 2014 at 5:32 PM

Islam is an Arab Cult that has been shoved down the throat of every "believer" and needless to say that a billion and "growing" number of followers are now totally brain dead. Nothing useful has ever come out of them that has contributed to the uplift of humanity. It is all about "in the service to please Allah" even if that means mayhem upon men, women and children.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
chaparita0728 rsharma151 March 19 2014 at 5:43 PM

Sounds like Christianity.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
dal March 19 2014 at 8:11 PM

Bin laden was also surprised how effective the 9/11 attackes were, He never guessed the world trades center twin towers would fall much less both of them. and his future son in law didn't have to be a prophet to see what lay in the future for old Bin.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
DANIEL RONDISH dal March 19 2014 at 8:43 PM

i like that,"OLD BIN",LOL....

Flag Reply +1 rate up
drslivingston March 19 2014 at 5:31 PM

they need to stop referring to individual muslims as Mohamed. Since 70% of them are all have the name Mohamed. Be like referring to an individual person from India as Mr. Patel. Well that narrows it down to about 200,000 people in the state of Tennessee alone.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
savannahswithgod drslivingston March 19 2014 at 5:51 PM

Call everybody Jesus or Allah, I am sure a Loving God could care less. That Loving God from the angle of suffering and dying seems a sadistic bastard, I am trying to figure that out? It must be life has to have that challenge in it or it would not be worth living. I like to think that today if I should get Cancer, shot by someone or hit by a falling tree that it was just a flip of the coin by Lord Stratos. But I do not know for sure. Was told of reincarnation though as something would happen but 'maybe not in this lifetime'.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
bbburnette March 19 2014 at 5:29 PM

Why is he still alive? Why are any of them still alive?

Flag Reply +8 rate up
TODD March 19 2014 at 7:57 PM

rumor has it they riddled Osama's dead body with a hundred or more bullets , just for effect,then he became fish food... Osama was just a deranged mo fo how was addicted to Coca Cola ,Opium and Porn,he got what he deserved !

Flag Reply +3 rate up
4 replies
tsonne1726 March 19 2014 at 5:27 PM

We need to opress him to the top of the new WTC and push him off!!

Flag Reply +13 rate up
Rich McCormack March 19 2014 at 5:27 PM

Kind of ironic that this radical Muslim has a Jewish lawyer.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
1 reply
phoebus61 Rich McCormack March 19 2014 at 5:31 PM

Exactly what I was thinking.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
harveybabby March 19 2014 at 5:27 PM

kill him

Flag Reply +6 rate up
Hello Butch March 19 2014 at 7:31 PM

what is your neighbor's name and address

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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