The alleged mastermind of 9/11 has said the US is responsible for the deaths of far more people than the hijackers who killed nearly 3000 in the 2001 attacks. He also accused the US of abusing the term national security to justify its actions.
Khalid Sheik Mohammed was allowed to address the military tribunal at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, during a pretrial hearing focused on the secrecy rules that will govern legal proceedings against him.
"When the [US] government feels sad for the killing of 3,000 on September 11, we also should feel sorry that the US government … has killed thousands of people, millions," Mohammed said in Arabic through his translator, as quoted by AP.
Mohammed accused the US government of extending the definition of ‘national security’ in order to justify those killings. "Many can kill people under the name of national security and to torture people under the name of national security and detain their underage children under the name of national security."
In an apparent reference to Osama bin Laden, killed in a special US operation last year, Mohammed noted that "the president can take someone and throw them into the sea in the name of national security."
"Your blood is not made of gold and ours is made of water. We are all human beings," he added.
The judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, had allowed Mohammed to make the statement, but then said he wouldn't allow it to happen again. "This is a onetime occurrence," the judge said. "No matter how heartfelt, I am not going to entertain personal comments of any accused about the ways things are going."
The statement by the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks comes after Judge Pohl angrily cut off the defendants lawyer as he tried to discuss torture on Monday.
Government documents show that Mohammed was nearly drowned during water-boarding, a controversial interrogation technique performed on him 183 times.Mohammed was first captured in 2003, before being moved to a secretive CIA prison, then to the military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But with pretrial hearings for Mohammed and his four alleged co-conspirators now underway, the government has refused the defense’s pleas to allow discussions of torture to take place in the courtroom.