Alleged 9/11 mastermind facing military justice

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At left a March 1, 2003 photo obtained by the Associated Press shows Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind, shortly after his capture during a raid in Pakistan. At right, a photo downloaded from the Arabic language Internet site www.muslm.net and purporting to show a man identified by the Internet site as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sep. 11 attacks, is seen in detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The picture was allegedly taken in July 2009 by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and released only to the detainee's family under a new policy allowing the ICRC to photograph Guantanamo inmates, ICRC spokesman Bernard Barrett said Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009. Five men accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11 attacks, including the self-proclaimed mastermind, are headed back to a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay more than three years after President Barack Obama put the case on hold in a failed effort to move the proceedings to a civilian court and close the prison at the U.S. base in Cuba. (AP Photo/www.muslm.net)
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(CBS News) GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - The first step in the long-delayed trial of the man who has said -- who has boasted -- that he orchestrated the 9/11 attacks on America was set to begin Saturday.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged al Qaeda operatives were to be arraigned at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Four years ago, the Bush Administration brought Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other top 9/11 suspects to trial here in a military courtroom.

But when President Obama took office, he ordered the Guantanamo facility where suspects were being held closed. He said the suspects instead would stand trial in a regular criminal courtroom in New York.

But opposition to that was so intense, they had to scrub those plans. And now, the proceedings were to be held right back where they started and in the format first envisioned -- military trials at Guantanamo Bay.

Without Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed, September 11 would not have happened. The confessed mastermind, known as "KSM," proposed to Osama bin Laden the plot to not only hijack airplanes, but fly them into buildings.

"I hope he turns around and looks at me," says Eddie Backen. "I want to see him face-to-face, because that's the one who killed my sister."

Bracken, whose sister, Lucy Fishman, died in the World Trade Center, came to Guantanamo for Saturday's hearing with nine other victims' family members, including Tara Butzbaugh.

Her brother, John Henwood, was working as a bond trader on the World Trade Center's 106th floor. "Imagine," says Butzbaugh, "how you wud feel if you looked at the burning buildings, and it was your brother."

On Saturday morning, KSM was to appear in before a military judge to face 2,976 charges of murder in the worst terrorist attacks ever on U.S. soil. Also being charged are Waleed bin Attash, an alleged al Qaeda operative; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who allegedly would have been a hijacker but couldn't get a visa; and Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Hawsawi, who allegedly helped finance the attacks.

Four years ago, the Bush administration brought them to trial in the same military courtroom.

It was the first time the public had seen KSM since his capture in 2003 -- and he was unrecognizable. Thin, and with a long, bushy beard, KSM also was defiant: He fired his lawyers, railed against America and told the judge he wanted to plead guilty because, as he said, "I'm looking to be martyred."

Although the five suspects said four years ago they wanted to plead guilty, we're hearing from defense attorneys that they've now changed their minds and may not plead guilty this time.

That would mean these proceedings would continue, giving the five a platform to keep bashing America.

To see Jan Crawford's report, click on the video in the player above.

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    Jan Crawford is CBS News' chief legal correspondent and based in Washington, D.C.