A translator during a pretrial hearing at the Guantanamo Bay war crimes tribunal referred to the monthly men’s magazine Esquire when the discussion was in fact focused on Al-Qaeda’s English-language magazine Inspire.
While Inspire focuses on promoting the terrorist group’s jihadi creed and recruiting new English-speaking members to carry out attacks on U.S. soil, Esquire is the magazine perhaps most famous for its splashy annual “Sexiest Woman Alive” issue.
The Friday pretrial hearing was for five prisoners accused of plotting the Sept. 11 attacks. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.
Reuters reports that Navy Captain Thomas Welsh who is the outgoing legal adviser for Guantanamo testified how mail between attorneys and their imprisoned clients was screened in an effort to prevent prohibited information from being passed between the parties. Reuters reports:
He said the rules were tightened after a defense lawyer tried to send a copy of Inspire magazine to one of the defendants.
"I'm told that the translation is wrong," interrupted defense attorney Cheryl Bormann, who was not the source of the intercepted magazine.
She said the interpreter translating Welsh's testimony for the defendants had identified the contraband publication to them as Esquire. That magazine describes its focus as "beautiful women, men's fashion, best music, drink recipes."
This Inspire issue from 2010 included headlines like "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom” and “May our souls be sacrificed for you!” the latter penned by Anwar al-Awlaki, the senior Al Qaeda American-Yemeni cleric killed by a U.S. drone attack in 2011.
The U.S. military also killed Samir Khan in the same drone attack in Yemen. Khan was the editor of Inspire, which is published by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Reuters reports that the Arabic-English interpreter apologized for confusing the two magazines. Defendant Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s attorney who has been accused of masterminding the September 11 attacks said that Inspire might contain relevant information. Reuters writes:
"Do you know that al Qaeda is alleged to be a co-conspirator in this case? Did you reflect on the fact that many of these materials would be related to the defense?" asked defense attorney David Nevin, who also was not the source of the magazine.
Welsh said he was more concerned with Inspire's encouragement of attacks on U.S. personnel.
Mohammed and his four co-defendants are charged with crimes including conspiracy, hijacking and murder and are expected to go to trial in late 2014 at the earliest.
The pretrial hearings are examining defense lawyer allegations that their privileged communications with their clients were either monitored or restricted to such a degree that they weren’t able to prepare their case properly.