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Alleged 9/11 perpetrator studying Vietnam War atrocity film

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — The man accused of masterminding the 9/11 attacks has received a copy of a 30-year-old Hollywood film on the My Lai massacre.

War court prosecutor Robert Swann said Monday he had arranged for alleged al Qaeda kingpin Khalid Sheik Mohammed to get a copy of Judgment: The Court Martial of Lt. William Calley, a 1975 docudrama about an American Army officer held responsible for the murder of Vietnamese civilians by a squad of U.S. soldiers in a village called My Lai.

It was directed by Stanley Kramer, an independent movie producer better known as director of the 1967 drama, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and the 1963 comedy, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

“The camp provided them,” Swann announced at a war crimes court hearing before Army Col. Stephen Henley, which tackled what resources Mohammed and his fellow four accused have gotten to prepare for trial while in the custody of Task Force Platinum at Camp 7 here. Henley on Monday delayed the case for two months.

The accused were also given a law dictionary and English-Arabic dictionary, Swann said, as well as copies of two National Geographic documentaries: Inside The Vatican and Inside Mecca.

Mohammed, 44, skipped his hearing, as did two other former CIA-held captives whom Henley has authorized to serve as their own attorneys, and allowed his Boise, Idaho, attorney David Nevin to represent his interests as standby counsel.

Mohammed and four former CIA-held captives here are charged with nearly 3,000 counts of murder for allegedly conspiring in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and could be executed if convicted. The trial format is under review by the Obama administration, which is trying to close the prison camps early next year and prefers federal trials instead.

A military jury convicted Calley of 22 counts of premediated murder for the March 1968 massacre of hundreds of civilians in the Vietnamese hamlet of My Lai by U.S. soldiers in his squad. The Army at first denied, then downplayed the event, saying most of the dead were Viet Cong.

But in November 1969, journalist Seymour Hersh exposed the events, setting into motion a war crimes investigation and Calley’s subsequent trial and conviction by a military jury.

He served 3.5 years of a life sentence, most of it under house arrest at Fort Benning, Ga.

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