Briton admits to flying plane over UK 'with explosives in my shoe' at trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law

 

A British man has admitted flying on two planes - including one over the UK - with explosives in a shoe, but said he ultimately did not become a suicide bomber because his parents told him he “better not be one”.

Saajid Badat revealed details of the plot as he testified for a second day at the New York City trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and al-Qa'ida's spokesman after the 9/11 attacks.

Badat said he wore a shoe bomb on at least one flight from Karachi, Pakistan, to Holland and another from Holland to Britain in December 2001, but decided not to detonate the device because he wanted to use it for an attack against an American aircraft.

Before the flights, he said he had two shoe bombs, but gave one to some Malaysian men who wanted to blow open a plane's cockpit door and carry out a 9/11-style hijacking.

Prosecutors are using 34-year-old Badat's testimony to show Abu Ghaith played a pivotal role with al-Qa'ida when he warned Americans “the storm of aircrafts will not stop” on videotapes widely distributed after the 11 September attacks.

Abu Ghaith could face life in prison if he is convicted of conspiring to kill Americans and providing material support to al-Qa'ida. He is the highest-ranking al-Qa'ida figure to face trial on US soil since 9/11.

Badat said his eagerness to carry out a suicide mission following more than three years with al-Qa'ida operatives in Afghanistan wilted when he visited his parents in Gloucester in December 2001 and they asked what he'd done in Afghanistan.

“You'd better not be one of those sleepers,” Badat said his father told him.

His mother warned that she “wouldn't want my son to be one of those sleepers,” he recalled.

“It was then I decided to back out of the mission,” Badat said in testimony from London shown on video screens in a Manhattan courtroom.

Badat, wearing a gray suit with a narrow black tie, sat across from Assistant US Attorney Nicholas Lewin and defence lawyer Stanley Cohen as he recalled being asked in late September or October 2001 whether he'd be willing to carry out a suicide attack.

He said bin Laden met with him soon afterward, telling him that the American economy was like a chain.

“If you break one link, you'll bring down the American economy,” Badat said bin Laden told him. He said al-Qa'ida's leader also described sections of the Koran to read if he got scared.

Badat, who was sometimes called “sheik” because he had memorized the Koran by age 12, said he saw bin Laden between 30 and 50 times in al-Qa'ida training camps, including once when he gave awards to one of his sons and to a man who was one of the 9/11 hijackers.

Badat was testifying by videotape as he refuses to come to the United States because he was indicted in 2004 in Boston on charges he conspired with shoe-bomber Richard Reid. He faces charges including conspiring to destroy an aircraft and conspiracy to commit homicide.

He described his changing views about jihad as he was cross examined aggressively by Mr Cohen.

The lawyer questioned him about experiments involving poisons conducted in Badat's presence on rabbits and dogs, asking if he was bothered by animals screaming out in pain as they died.

Badat tried to justify the experiments, saying it was similar to what scientists do on animals. He said his instructor at an al-Qa'ida camp called out references to American presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush and former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as the animals were being killed. Earlier, he had testified that faces of the presidents and Mr Sharon were used as targets during al-Qa'ida weapons training exercises.

“This is Clinton! This is Bush! This is Sharon!” he recalled the poison instructor shouting.

Badat testified that he believed violent acts were an obligation for him, “just like prayer, fasting or doing charity”.

“Blowing up airplanes was part of your responsibility?” Mr Cohen asked. “It was gradual, but yes,” Badat said.

Badat said he once admired the 9/11 hijackers. “When you're in that mentality ... you have envy for them. I'm thinking, 'Yes, I wish that was me,”' he said. “I could have that feeling it's my time now.”

Even after quitting the shoe-bomb plot, he said he separated the detonator from the charge but kept the explosives at his home until his 2003 arrest. He eventually pleaded guilty in Britain and served more than six years in prison, winning early release by cooperating with British and American authorities.

He said he kept the explosives because although he quit the shoe-bomb plot, “I hadn't really switched my views.”

Badat said he thought “maybe there would be a time I would need it again”.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?