“Islamic State on Thursday [8/3/2023] confirmed the death of its leader, Abu Hussein al-Husseini al-Quraishi, and named Abu Hafs al-Hashimi al-Quraishi as his replacement, the group’s spokesperson said in an undated recording published on its Telegram channel.

It appeared to be the militant group’s first official announcement on his fate since Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said in April that Turkish intelligence forces had killed him in Syria.

Islamic State, a shadow of the organization that once ruled a third of Iraq and Syria, gave no details about the new leader.”

– Voice of America, “Islamic State Confirms Death of Its Leaders, Names Replacement,” voanews.com, August 3, 2023


“The suspected architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and his fellow defendants may never face the death penalty under plea agreements now under consideration to bring an end to their more than decade long prosecution, the Pentagon and FBI have advised families of some of the thousands killed.

The notice, made in a letter that was sent to several of the families and obtained by The Associated Press, comes 1 ½ years after military prosecutors and defense lawyers began exploring a negotiated resolution to the case.

The prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others held at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been troubled by repeated delays and legal disputes, especially over the legal ramifications of the interrogation under torture that the men initially underwent while in CIA custody. No trial date has been set. …

The letter, dated Aug. 1, was received by at least some of the family members only this week [starting 8/14/2023]. It asks them to respond by Monday to the FBI’s victim services division with any comments or questions about the possibility of such a plea agreement. The FBI had no comment Wednesday on the letter.”

-The Associated Press, “9/11 Defendants Might Not Face the Death Penalty, US Tells Families,” nbcnews.com, August 16, 2023


“One of the men accused of plotting the 9/11 terror attacks isn’t mentally competent to stand trial or assist lawyers in his defence in a capital proceeding at the Guantánamo Bay military prison, a government medical board found.

Ramzi bin al-Shibh’s case has been running since 2008.

He’s accused of organising the terror plot’s Hamburg, Germany, cell, researching US flight schools, wiring money to some of the 19 primary 9/11 hijackers, and reporting information to Al Qaeda’s leaders in Afghanistan.

In April, a military judge in the case ordered three mental health experts to investigate the man’s condition, as US officials prosecute him alongside 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and three others.

A military medical board filed a report under seal on Friday [8/25/2023], which suggested that Mr bin al-Shibh has post-traumatic stress disorder with ‘psychotic features,’ three individuals who saw the report told The New York Times.

The findings could convince Col Matthew N McCall, the judge overseeing the case, to sever bin al-Shibh from the proceedings and try him separately from the other four alleged plotters.

Mr bin al-Shibh’s lawyers have alleged the man was harassed with noises, vibrations, and other de-stabilising techniques while in US custody. …

Mr bin al-Shibh was captured in Karachi in September 2002 and claims he was tortured in custody in captivity in US-affiliated facilities in Afghanistan, Jordan, Poland, and Romania,… He entered Guantánamo in 2006.”

– Josh Marcus, “Accused 9/11 Plotter Ramzi Bin Al-Shibh Isn’t Fit for Guantanamo Trial Because of Mental Illness, Board Finds,” independent.co.uk, August 26, 2023 


“A Pakistani doctor and former Mayo Clinic research coordinator who sought to join the Islamic State terrorist group to fight in Syria and expressed interest in carrying out attacks on U.S. soil was sentenced Friday [8/25/2023] to 18 years in prison.

Muhammad Masood, 31, pleaded guilty a year ago to attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Prosecutors said he attempted unsuccessfully to travel from the U.S. to Syria via Jordan in 2020, then agreed to fly from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to meet up with someone he thought would help him travel by cargo ship to IS territory.

But FBI agents arrested him at the Minneapolis airport on March 19, 2020, after he checked in for his flight.”

– Steve Karnowski, “Pakistani Doctor Who Sought to Support Islamic State Terror Group Sentenced in Minnesota to 18 Years,” apnews.com, August 25, 2023

Editor’s Note: According to most historians of the Islamic State (also referred to as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh), “the group emerged out of al-Qaeda in Iraq as a response to the U.S. invasion in 2003.” See Hassan Hassan, “The True Origins of ISIS,” theatlantic.com, November 30, 2018, for more information.


“A proposal to allow alleged perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks to plead guilty and avoid the death penalty poses a powerful dilemma for victims’ families, some of whom still want to seek the ultimate retribution after two decades of legal limbo. …

For some families of those killed in New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania say a deal without a trial could mean the entire truth about what happened on September 11, 2001 might never be told.

Others say that every year of delay means that more people pass away without seeing justice for their slain relatives — and increases the risk that the aging defendants themselves could die without ever being found guilty.

‘All 9/11 family members want justice and accountability. Too many of us have died in the last two decades without either,’ said September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, which backs the plea deal.

‘Plea agreements, which could be made right now, would offer finality: an end to the 9/11 military commission, clear admissions of guilt, and life sentences without parole or any possibility of appeal,’ they said.

But Dennis McGinley of the group 9/11 Justice said the deal would leave untold the full story behind the attack that killed his brother Danny in the south tower of the World Trade Center.

‘All this is, is… to prevent a trial from taking place where Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is going to have to spill the beans,’ he said, referring to the self-described 9/11 mastermind also known as ‘KSM.’”

– France 24, “US Plea Proposal for 9/11 Suspects Splits Victims’ Relatives,” france24.com, August 27, 2023


“President Joe Biden has refused to approve some of the conditions that lawyers for the defendants in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks had sought in a possible plea bargain, ruling out a presidential guarantee that the five men would be spared solitary confinement and provided care for the trauma of their torture in CIA custody, a White House National Security Council official said Wednesday [9/6/2023].

Biden’s refusal on the plea-bargain guarantees leaves it to military prosecutors and defense lawyers to try to hash out an agreement on a plea bargain. The terms under discussion would have the five Guantanamo detainees plead guilty and serve life sentences in exchange for being spared the death penalty.

Lawyers for the two sides have been exploring a negotiated resolution to the case for about 1 1/2 years. They had been waiting for about a year of that time to see if Biden would express opposition or support for some of the conditions that defense lawyers had been seeking.

Biden agreed with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s recommendation not to accept the proposed terms as a basis for plea negotiations, according to the National Security Council official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.”

– Aamer Madhani and Ellen Knickmeyer, “Biden Refuses To Grant Some of the Conditions That 9/11 Defendants Were Seeking in Plea Negotiations,” apnews.com, September 6, 2023


“New York City officials have identified two more victims of the September 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, just days before the 22nd memorial anniversary of the attacks.

The man and woman identified are the 1,648th and 1,649th victims identified by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, according to a news release from the mayor’s office. The two were identified through advanced DNA testing of their remains, says the release. …

These are the first identifications since September 2021, according to the release.

The man was identified through DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001 and the woman through DNA testing of remains recovered in 2001, 2006, and 2013, says the release.

The techniques used to make these identifications over two decades later ‘include recently adopted next-generation sequencing technology — more sensitive and rapid than conventional DNA techniques — which has been used by the U.S. military to identify the remains of missing American servicemembers,’ says the news release.

Despite these advancements in DNA technology, roughly 40% of the victims, or about 1,100 people thought to have died in the disaster, remain unidentified. A total of 2,753 people were reported missing in lower Manhattan after the attacks on the World Trade Center. Death certificates were issued for all 2,753, although the work to match the names of victims with remains from the site continues.”

– Kristina Sgueglia and Zoe Sottile, “Two New 9/11 Victims Identified, The First Identifications in Two Years,” cnn.com, September 8, 2023