Mastermind Behind 9/11 Attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Might Avoid Execution

Written by Mary Chastain | Source: LegalInsurrection | July 29, 2019 09:37 PM

Mastermind Behind 9/11 Attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Might Avoid Execution

Looks like he no longer has interest in becoming a martyr.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged man behind 9/11, said he might help the victims’ lawsuit if the federal government does not seek the death penalty.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Mohammed’s offer was disclosed in a Friday filing in the victims’ federal lawsuit in New York, which accuses the Saudi government of helping coordinate the 2001 suicide attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives when terrorists crashed hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and, after passengers resisted, a Pennsylvania field. Riyadh has denied complicity in the attacks.

Separately, President Trump signed legislation on Monday that funds medical claims from victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks for the rest of their lives.

In the lawsuit against Saudi Arabia, plaintiffs’ lawyers had contacted three of the five Guantanamo detainees accused in the Sept.

11 conspiracy to request depositions. In the Friday filing, a status letter to U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn, the lawyers wrote that earlier Friday Mr. Mohammed’s counsel told them their client wouldn’t consent to a deposition “at the present time.”

But the lawyer said that “the primary driver” of this decision is the “capital nature of the prosecution” and that “[i]n the absence of a potential death sentence much broader cooperation would be possible.”

Mohammed sang a different tune nine years ago during a hearing in Guantanamo Bay.

When the judge called Mohammed’s case “a death-penalty case,” Mohammed declared it as a “martyr case.”

Mohammed wanted the United States to make him a martyr.

A person close to the happenings in Guantanamo Bay said that the people involved in 9/11 have changed a lot in the past ten years. These men no longer have any interest in becoming martyrs:

In 2017, the Defense Department official overseeing the proceedings, Harvey Rishikof, began exploring a potential plea bargain with the Sept. 11 defendants that would exchange guilty pleas for life sentences.

Mr.

Rishikof is said to have been concerned that the prosecution had been undermined by the torture inflicted upon Mr. Mohammed and other defendants at secret Central Intelligence Agency facilities overseas—an issue that has mired the case in years of pretrial hearings and raised the possibility that a military or federal court could sanction government misconduct by barring the death penalty.

After word spread of plea discussions, Mr. Rishikof was fired by then Defense Secretary Jim Mattis for what Mr. Mattis said were unrelated reasons.

However, lawyers who represent Mohammed and others allegedly involved in 9/11 claim the court cannot use the statements from the suspects:

The attorneys, according to the New York Times, argue the FBI and CIA intermingled their work while extracting statements from the suspects at secret prisons and later at Guantanamo Bay.

The newspaper reports none of the statements CIA agents got out of Mohammed from 2002 to 2006, following alleged torture such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation, could be used in court. During that time, the lawyers say, the FBI was feeding questions to the CIA.

One lawyer, Cheryl Bormann, claimed that while the FBI conducted the interviews, “the CIA continued to influence or control the detention of the suspects.” She said, “There was no separation. It’s all one big team.”

Prosecutors insist the FBI agents worked independently.

[Featured image via YouTube]

The 9/11 Victims Fund is finally fixed

This article was sourced from NYPost

Less than seven weeks after the dramatic June 11 testimony of since-departed NYPD Detective Luis Alvarez, President Trump on Monday signed the law ensuring that the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund will have all the cash it needs through 2092.

That is, ailing and aging first responders like Alvarez will never again have to head to Washington to push Congress to live up to the promises it made when it first set up the fund to cover medical expenses related to work in Ground Zero’s toxic environment in the days after the terrorist attack.

The standard appropriation process wasn’t working: The Fund wasn’t due for reauthorization for another two years but started running short last fall — cutting payouts down to just 20 percent per claim.

Alvarez’s gripping words, delivered just before what turned out to be his final round of chemo, plainly put the bill on the fast track — with a nudge from celebrity Jon Stewart, who blasted all the committee members who skipped that hearing.

The longest single delay after that was the wait for the Congressional Budget Office to put an official price-tag on the bill. Even the normally glacial Senate got it passed less than two weeks after the House sent it over.

Though some played politics on this issue from start to finish, New York Reps.

Carolyn Maloney and Pete King have worked together all along, cooperating across party lines to do right no matter who controlled the White House or Congress.

Alvarez put it simply: “We did the right thing when we went down there. Now it’s the government’s turn to do the right thing by us.” For once.

Jon Stewart says 9/11 first responders fund is the ‘least’ lawmakers can do ‘for the best of us’ after bill’s passage

This article was sourced from CNN

Washington (CNN) Comedian Jon Stewart said the passage of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund extension on Tuesday is “the least you can do for the best of us.

In an interview shortly after Congress approved the fund’s extension, Stewart and John Feal, one of the 9/11 first responders who advocated for the bill’s passage, expressed relief, saying it will provide financial help to thousands of victims.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill by a vote of 97-2 to fund the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund for decades, permanently compensating individuals who were injured during the 2001 terrorist attacks or the cleanup and rescue efforts. The bill had passed the House earlier this month, and President Donald Trump is expected to sign it.

“I cried.

Yeah, I cried, I’m a crier,” Feal told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota in an exclusive interview on on Capitol Hill. “But to know that tens of thousands of people are going to get help now and that financial relief.”

Stewart, who who has been a vocal advocate of the getting the bill passed before rewards diminished and the fund expired in 2020, heralded the first responders he advocated for.

“Those who had sacrificed everything to save our sorry asses on 9/11. And if we can’t help them, honestly what chance do the rest of us have?” he said.

“Having experienced 9/11 in lower Manhattan, having lived down there.

Having seen what the first responder community, what the survivor community, what the volunteer community — what they gave to the city during that incredibly chaotic and frightening time was irreplaceable,” Stewart said.

Feal said the bill would be signed by Trump at the White House on Friday, which sources with knowledge of the planning also told CNN Tuesday.

In the face of dwindling resources and a surge in claims, the fund’s administrator announced in February that it would need to significantly reduce its awards.

The original fund from 2001 to 2004 distributed over $7 billion to compensate the families of over 2,880 people who died on 9/11 and 2,680 individuals who were injured, according to the Justice Department. In 2011, Congress reactivated the fund and in 2015 reauthorized it for another five years, appropriating $7.4 billion to aid thousands more people. The fund was set to stop taking new claims in December 2020.

The new bill would extend the expiration date through 2090 and cost what is deemed necessary.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates it will cost about $10 billion over the next decade.

Feal said in the interview that he was thankful to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for meeting with him and other first responders in late June to discuss the Senate’s vote on the bill.

“Mitch McConnell is a human being and I thank him for that. And while we’re never going to agree on our politics, Mitch McConnell was honest and straightforward after that meeting that we had with my team. I thank the Senate majority leader,” he said.

On Tuesday, Stewart, who has in the past been sharply critical of McConnell, nearly played a joke on the Kentucky Republican when he walked by the comedian in a hallway in the Capitol.

As McConnell walked by Stewart in silence, Stewart stared at him with a grin, saying later that he was considering doing the “down low, too slow” high-five to the senator, but chose not to do it.

The bill’s passage comes nearly a week after Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, delayed its passage, arguing that Congress needed to offset its cost by cutting government spending elsewhere. Paul and Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, were the only senators to vote against it on Tuesday.

CNN’s Alex Rogers and Phil Mattingly contributed to this report.

This article was sourced from National Review

President Trump on Monday signed a bill extending the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund through fiscal year 2090, making effectively permanent the fund’s federal aid to first responders still suffering from illnesses related to the terror attacks.

The $10 billion measure passed the House 402–12 earlier this month, and later passed the Senate 98–2.

“Today, we come together as one nation to support our September 11 heroes, to care for their families, and to renew our eternal vow: Never, ever forget,” Trump said at a Rose Garden signing ceremony alongside first responders and family members of those who passed away from illnesses they contracted responding to the attacks.

“The whole world witnessed the might and resilience of our nation in the extraordinary men and women of the New York Fire Department and the New York Police Department,” Trump said. “Selfless patriots of unmatched character and devotion. I grew up with them, so I can tell you it’s absolutely true.”

Thousands of first responders have suffered in the nearly 18 years since the attacks from cancers, respiratory ailments, and other illnesses sustained in the immediate aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks. Trump said that he recalled spending time with first responders near Ground Zero after the Twin Towers fell.

“I was down there also — but I’m not considering myself a first responder.

But I was down there. I spent a lot of time down there with you,” he said.

De Blasio offers to hold a parade honoring 9/11 first responders

This article was sourced from NYpost

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office said Friday that he would host a parade – or another type of event – to honor the 9/11 first responders as President Donald Trump prepares to sign a permanent reauthorization of the Sept.

11 Victim Compensation Act into law.

“We’re going to work with families, first responders and advocates to determine exactly how they want to be honored and then make that a reality,” de Blasio spokesperson Freddi Goldstein told The Post.

“If they want a parade, they’ll get a parade.”

Earlier Friday, Rep.

Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to de Blasio requesting a parade for the 9/11 heroes, many of whom are due in D.C. Monday to watch President Trump sign the Victim Compensation Act bill into law.

“This is a great idea to honor our 9/11 first responders,” said Avery Cohen, another spokesperson for de Blasio. “We’ll be reaching out to families, first responders and advocates to put on a world class event to honor these heroes.”

Maloney had specifically pitched a parade down the Canyon of Heroes to honor the firefighters, police officers and other first responders who ran to the Twin Towers that day and in the week’s after – acts that made many first responders sick after inhaling toxic fumes.

“Rather than wait for eulogies to honor their service – and the sacrifice of all the 9/11 survivors – let us take this moment to celebrate their legacy of valor while they can be present to participate in it,” Maloney said in her letter to the mayor.

Earlier this week, de Blasio had wanted to join in the celebration following the Victim Compensation Fund bill’s passage in the Senate, but was rebuffed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) office, who only wanted the legislation’s Congressional sponsors and first responder advocates to attend.

On WABC Thursday, de Blasio said he didn’t “know how that request gets turned down.”

“I can’t imagine why anyone would do such a thing on a moment that should be a unifying moment,” he continued.

“I find it unbelievable.”

Glen Caplin, a senior adviser to Gillibrand, scoffed to Politico, “It’s surprising that the mayor still doesn’t understand that this event was about the heroes who have fought for 15 years to get this done – not a last minute photo opportunity.”

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