© St. Petersburg Times,
Excerpts from summary of evidence against Osama bin Laden in U.S. terrorist attacks, released Thursday by the British government:
The clear conclusions reached by the government are:
Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, the terrorist network which he heads, planned and carried out the atrocities on 11 September 2001; Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida retain the will and resources to carry out further atrocities; the United Kingdom, and United Kingdom nationals are potential targets; and Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida were able to commit these atrocities because of their close alliance with the Taliban regime, which allowed them to operate with impunity in pursuing their terrorist activity.
* * *
After 11 September we learned that, not long before, bin Laden had indicated he was about to launch a major attack on America. The detailed planning for the terrorist attacks of 11 September was carried out by one of Osama bin Laden's close associates. Of the 19 hijackers involved in 11 September 2001, it has already been established that at least three had links with al-Qaida.
The attacks on 11 September 2001 were similar in both their ambition and intended impact to previous attacks undertaken by Osama bin laden and al-Qaida, and also had features in common.
* * *
Suicide attackers coordinated attacks on the same day; (had) the aim to cause maximum American casualties; total disregard for other casualties, including Muslims; meticulous long-term planning; absence of warning.
* * *
In the months before the September 11 attacks, propaganda videos were distributed throughout the Middle East and Muslim world by al-Qaida, in which Osama bin Laden and others were shown encouraging Muslims to attack American and Jewish targets.
Similar videos, extolling violence against the United States and other targets, were distributed before the East African embassy attacks in August 1998.
* * *
Nineteen men have been identified as the hijackers from the passenger lists of the four planes hijacked on 11 September 2001. At least three of them have already been positively identified as associates of al-Qaida. One has been identified as playing key roles in both the East African embassy attacks and the USS Cole attack.
* * *
In the run-up to 11 September, bin Laden was mounting a concerted propaganda campaign amongst like-minded groups of people -- including videos and documentation -- justifying attacks on Jewish and American targets; and claiming that those who died in the course of them were carrying out God's work.
We have learned, subsequent to 11 September, that Bin Laden himself asserted shortly before 11 September that he was preparing a major attack on America.
In August and early September close associates of Bin Laden were warned to return to Afghanistan from other parts of the world by 10 September.
Immediately prior to 11 September some known associates of Bin Laden were naming the date for action as on or around 11 September.
Since 11 September we have learned that one of bin Laden's closest and most senior associates was responsible for the detailed planning of the attacks.
There is evidence of a very specific nature relating to the guilt of bin Laden and his associates that is too sensitive to release.
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
From the Times wire desk
From the AP