At Guantanamo Hearing, Alleged Cole Mastermind Is 'All Swagger'

Play associated audio

[The alleged mastermind of the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole was seen today for the first time in nine years during an arraignment in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It's the first test of the Obama administration's revamped rules for military commissions. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston was there.]

When Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri walked into the Guantanamo courtroom this morning, he was all swagger.

He was wearing a white prison uniform and black high top sneakers and even waved to the gallery that came to see him.

While he spoke almost exclusively in Arabic, aside from occasionally saying "yeah" or "wait a minute" to his lawyers, it was clear he was very engaged in the proceedings. He was answering the judge and occasionally smiling.

Before today, there had been some question as to how vigorous al-Nashiri would look.

He had been held in a CIA "black site" and had been subjected to waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques by interrogators before he came to Guantanamo.

Since then he has been in a secret maximum security facility here.

But he entered the courtroom without leg shackles. And while pictures taken of him before his arrest made him look thin and weedy, today he appeared to have bulked up — perhaps from working out.

Al-Nashiri, a 46-year-old Saudi, was formally arraigned. He is accused of masterminding the attack on the Cole that killed 17 service men and women. Scores more were injured. If convicted, he could be put to death.

As we reported earlier, the enhanced interrogation techniques used on him make this a complicated case. It means the military commission will have to grapple with torture in this case as well.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


From Solitary To Stardom On The Court: What It Means To Be 'Tuff'

Before his success in the NBA, Caron Butler overcame a rocky youth in the inner city. Drugs and violence nearly derailed him — but, as he writes in a new memoir, he managed a dramatic turnaround.
WAMU 88.5

Invasive Insect Could Wreak Havoc On U.S. Tomato Crop

A virginia tech plant pathologist says it's time to implement quarantine measures on tomatoes being imported from other countries where the South American Tomato Leafminer has already taken hold.

Chaffetz Leaps Into Race To Succeed Boehner As Speaker

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, announced he will run for speaker of the House, challenging GOP majority leader Kevin McCarthy to become the successor to outgoing Speaker John Boehner.

#MemeOfTheWeek: That Article From The Onion About Mass Shootings

The article reveals what the writers really feel about mass shootings in America, something mainstream media couldn't do.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.