Thursday, March 15, 2007

Top al-Qaeda suspect 'admits terror plots'

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of three top al-Qaeda operatives held at Guantanamo Bay, has admitted being party to a series of terror attacks on the United States of America. Described as a ‘chilling confession’ by CNN, Mohammed, who was arrested in 2003, admitted to having plotted 29 attacks. According to the transcript [PDF] released by the Pentagon, he is also said have compared himself to George Washington. In the statement, read by a military spokesman, Mohammed says, "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z." He also claimed responsibility for the Richard Reid shoe bomber attempt to blow up an airliner over the Atlantic Ocean, the 2002 Bali bombing in Indonesia, and the 1993 World Trade Center attack. Critics have suggested the confession suggests possible torture. There are certainly apparent ‘delusions of grandeur’ in Mohammed’s claims. With regards the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman is considered to be the mastermind behind the group responsible.

Mohammed claims he had also surveyed the Panama Canal for an attack to destroy it as well as suspension bridges and high-rises in New York and Chicago, Illinois. He is also said to have planned for assassination attempts against Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The terror suspect is also said to be partially responsible for an assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II while he was visiting the Philippines in 1995 [Operation Bojinka].

The transcripts of interviews conducted with two other suspects, Abu Faraj al-Libi [PDF] and Ramzi Bin al-Shibh [PDF], were also released by the Pentagon, but the media has concentrated on the revelations revealed by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s confession.

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