GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — A jury of U.S. military officers at Guantanamo's second war-crimes trial reached a verdict Friday that could put Usama bin Laden's alleged "media secretary" and videomaker in prison for life.
But the decision will not be announced until Monday, 11/03/08, because Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, a small man at 5-foot-3 and 130 pounds, (his photos above), was already back in his cell when the verdict was reached, said the judge, Air Force Col. Ronald Gregory. The judge told al-Bahlul no announcement would be made in his absence. UPDATE 11/03/08...Gitmo jury: Life sentence for bin Laden videomaker, ALI HAMZA AL-BAHLUL TO ROT IN PRISON.
The nine panelists, all approved by the Pentagon to serve as jurors, deliberated for roughly four hours. The accused offered no defense after calling the proceedings a "legal farce."
The prosecution said al-Bahlul's violent propaganda videos helped inspire the Sept. 11 attacks. The Yemeni prisoner also helped prepare at least two Sept. 11 hijackers for their mission and instructed many other terrorists through videos he created as a propagandist for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Army Maj. Daniel Cowhig said.
"The accused shouted through the medium of video, the Internet, and DVDs: Love death, hate life," Cowhig said in closing statements Friday morning at the isolated Navy base. Ali Hamza Al-Bahlul aka Ali Harnza Ahmad Suliman al BaWul, refused to present a defense in the weeklong trial because the judge ruled he could not represent himself. His Pentagon-appointed lawyer did not speak at all in deference to his client's wishes, declining even to answer questions from the judge while in the courtoom.
The military claims al-Bahlul committed war crimes by serving as chief propagandist for Al Qaeda and as an aide to bin Laden. Videos made by the defendant were allegedly shown to terrorist recruits at training camps in Afghanistan.
Usama Bin Laden appointed Ali Hamza al-Bahlul as his media office director and public relations secretary. Ali Hamza al-Bahlul was responsible for producing all al-Qaida propaganda, including the video commemorating the USS Cole attack, "The Destruction of the American Destroyer". In his capacity as public relations secretary, Ali Hamza al-Bahlul regularly escorted Usama Bin Laden and often provided computer assistance to the Taliban. When with Bin Laden, the Ali Hamza al-Bahlul carried a Kalashnikov rifle, two loaded magazines, a Makarov pistol, and a suicide belt equipped with explosives to protect Bin Laden.
Ali Hamza al-Bahlul evacuated Kandahar with Usama Bin Laden several days before the 9/11 attacks. Ali Hamza al-Bahlul was tasked with establishing a video feed in order for Bin Laden to watch the 9/11 attacks. Despite his efforts, al Bahlul was unable to obtain a satellite connection to watch the 9/11 attacks for bin-Laden, because of mountainous terrain.
Cowhig said he filmed martyrdom videos/wills for lead Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and fellow hijacker Ziad Jarrah in preparation for the attacks against the United States. Ali Hamza al-Bahul also arranged for Muhammed Atta, also known as Abu Abdul Rahman al Masri, and Ziad al Jarrah, also known as Abu al Qa'qa al Lubnani, to pledge "bayat," to Usama bin Laden."(These videos) contain the thoughts, the beliefs, the ideals of the accused," the prosecutor said.
In 1999, with knowledge of Usama bin Laden’s 1996 “Declaration of Jihad Against the Americans” and the 1998 fatwa endorsed by bin Laden calling for the “killing of Americans and their allies, both military and civilian,” al Bahlul voluntarily traveled from Yemen to Afghanistan (viaPakistan) with the intent and purpose of joining and supporting Usama bin Laden in his expressed cause. In this fatwa it was declared that all Muslims able do to so “should kill Americans and their allies, both civilian and military.”
Ali Hamza al-Bahul joined military jurors Wednesday 10/29/08, watching his handiwork --"The Destruction of the American Destroyer, USS Cole", a crude two-hour recruiting video that spliced gory Muslim suffering with exhortations to holy war offered to prove the filmmaker committed war crimes. Bahlul watched intently as his work was displayed on more than a dozen screens around the tribunal chamber. When bin Laden spoke in the video, Bahlul leaned toward the monitor at the defendant's faux mahogany table.He slammed his fist down -- just once -- during a segment showing Muslim women killed in what looked like an air assault. He nodded his head in agreement during a portion alleging that Jews defiled the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
Ali Hamza al-Bahul grinned approvingly at the FBI agent when he explained that one segment showed bin Laden wearing a traditional Yemeni dagger of adornment. The eight-man, one-woman jury of senior U.S. military officers mostly stared straight into the monitors before them, expressionless. Once, when the video showed a cartoon explosion of the warship, a Navy captain on the panel snapped his head toward the accused and stared.
On Monday 11/3/08, Ali Hamza al-Bahul will get life in Prison !