Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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March 20, 2014

Ex-al-Qaida spokesman recalls 9/11 with bin Laden

(Continued)

The defendant also said that videos he made warning of more attacks on Americans were based on "quotes and points by Sheik Osama." 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 must revolt at some point," he said. "I wanted to proclaim the message that Muslims must bear some responsibility to defend themselves."

Abu Ghaith said he wasn't involved in recruiting aspiring terrorists and denied allegations that he had prior knowledge of the failed shoe-bomb airline attack by Richard Reid in December 2001.

"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."

His lawyers said they were hopeful that another part of Abu Ghaith's testimony, that he had met self-professed Sept. 11 architect Khalid Sheik Mohammed, would cause the federal judge overseeing the trial to reconsider his decision to exclude Mohammed from testifying via videotape from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Ferrera zeroed in on Abu Ghaith's testimony that he accepted an invitation to meet with bin Laden on Sept. 11 because the al-Qaida leader was a sheik who deserved respect, along with his admission that he was aware bin Laden's organization was behind earlier terrorist attacks against Americans abroad.

"Despite knowing that he was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans," the prosecutor asked, "you met with him to be polite?"

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