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Pentagon announces charges in USS Cole bombing

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  • Beowulf
    Pentagon announces charges in USS Cole bombing Jun. 30, 2008 12:02 PM Associated Press Arizona Republic WASHINGTON - The Pentagon said Monday it is charging a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2008
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      Pentagon announces charges in USS Cole bombing

      Jun. 30, 2008 12:02 PM
      Associated Press

      Arizona Republic

      WASHINGTON - The Pentagon said Monday it is charging a Saudi Arabian with
      "organizing and directing" the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole - and will seek
      the death penalty.

      Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, legal adviser to the U.S. military tribunal
      system, said charges are being sworn against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a
      Saudi of Yemeni descent, who has been held at the military prison in
      Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2006.

      The charges still must be approved by a Defense Department official who
      oversees military tribunals set up for terrorism suspects.

      Hartmann said the allegations include conspiracy to violate laws of war,
      murder, treachery, terrorism, destruction of property and intentionally
      causing serious bodily injury.

      Seventeen American sailors were killed and dozens wounded when the Navy
      destroyer was attacked in the Yemeni port of Aden as it refueled.

      Al-Nashiri is also accused of a role in the Oct. 6, 2002, suicide attack on
      the Limburg, a French oil tanker, Hartmann said. The attack killed a
      Bulgarian crew member and spilled 90,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of

      Al-Nashiri told a hearing at Guantanamo Bay last year that he confessed to
      helping plot the Cole bombing only because he was tortured by U.S.

      CIA Director Michael Hayden said early this year that al-Nashiri was among
      terrorist suspects subjected to waterboarding in 2002 and 2003 while being
      interrogated in secret CIA prisons.

      Asked at a Pentagon press conference if evidence obtained from the
      waterboarding is tainted, he said that would be considered at any trial.

      "We will look at the evidence, all of the evidence that is associated with
      the case," Hartmann said. "While there has been an admission that there was
      waterboarding, there may well be other evidence in the case. That's not ...
      necessarily the only part of evidence in the case."

      According to U.S. intelligence, al-Nashiri was tasked by al-Qaida leader
      Osama bin Laden to attack the Cole, and also was al-Qaida's operations chief
      in the Arabian Peninsula until he was caught in 2002.

      At a Pentagon press conference Monday, Hartmann read a charge sheet,
      alleging the following against al-Nashiri:

      -He is a member of al-Qaida and met with bin Laden on several occasions.

      -He rented apartments overlooking the port of Aden in 1999 and houses to
      prepare for the Cole attack.

      -His co-conspirators failed in an attempt to blow up the USS The Sullivans
      in January of 2000. Al-Nashiri and others salvaged the explosives and
      refitted the boat from that plot, then he went to Afghanistan to discuss
      reorganization of the plot with bin Laden.

      -When the Cole entered the port on Oct. 12, 2000, al-Nashiri's
      co-conspirators piloted the boat next to the U.S. ship and detonated
      explosives that blasted a 40-foot hole in the Cole's side.

      At his hearing last year, al-Nashiri acknowledged meeting with bin Laden
      many times and received as much as a half million dollars. The money, he
      said, was used for personal expenses, including for marriage and business

      Al-Nashiri said he told interrogators that he used some of the money to buy
      explosives used to bomb the Cole, but in reality he said he gave the
      explosives to friends to help dig wells. He said he confessed to involvement
      in several other terror plots in order to get the torture to stop -
      including the 2002 bombing of the French oil tanker Limburg, plans to bomb
      American ships in the Gulf, a plan to hijack a plane and crash it into a
      ship and that bin Laden had a nuclear bomb.
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