GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – A man facing trial at Guantanamo for allegedly running a training camp for Sept. 11 hijackers said Thursday he would be "proud" to have participated in an attack on the U.S.
"Any attack I undertook against America, or even participated or helped in, I am proud about it, and I am happy," Waleed bin Attash told a military judge.
The judge, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, cut Attash off before he could say anything further that could incriminate him at his upcoming trial on charges that include murder.
Bin Attash is one of five Guantanamo prisoners charged with war crimes for their alleged roles in the Sept. 11 attacks. They could get the death penalty if convicted.
Bin Attash, who is from Yemen, spoke during a pretrial hearing to determine whether he had willingly chosen to represent himself.
Military defense lawyers had said the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, may have intimidated the others into refusing Pentagon-appointed lawyers. Bin Attash said he had not been pressured into representing himself.
At a separate hearing later, Mohammed denied pressuring any of his co-defendants. "I don't think anyone can threaten me or I can threaten them," he told the judge. "We are not gangs in the USA jails. ... Everyone respects his own view."
Mohammed said Thursday that the U.S. military is making it difficult for him to serve as his own lawyer.
Mohammed, who has rejected his Pentagon-appointed attorneys, says the military has not given him paper in his cell and failed to deliver a legal motion he wrote to the judge on this U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.
"We are not in normal situation. We are in hell," the Pakistani, who had a wide gray beard, told the judge in broken English.
A hearing for a third defendant, Ramzi Binalshibh, was postponed because he refused to leave his cell.