Underwear bomber trial: Will it shed light on American cleric killed in Yemen?
The trial of accused underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is set to begin Tuesday. Will testimony support Obama's contention that slain cleric Anwar al-Awlaki 'directed' the failed plot?
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No, he reportedly told the nurse, that was “martyrdom.”Skip to next paragraph
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Professor Perry is expected to discuss the findings of his study of 30 would-be suicide bombers whose attempts at martyrdom failed.
The government is also expected to call a bomb expert who tried to recreate Abdulmutallab’s device and then videotaped the destructive force of the bomb when properly detonated.
According to court records, the underwear bomb consisted of two types of high explosives. TATP (triacetone triperoxide) was used as an accelerant to create enough heat to ignite the main charge – a quantity of PETN (pentacrythritol tetranitrate).
Instead of wires, switches, batteries, and other metal that might have been detected by airport security, the device was designed to be triggered by a syringe mixing ethylene glycol and potassium permanganate. The combination produces fire that was intended to start a chain reaction, igniting first the TATP and then the PETN.
Officials recovered 76 grams of PETN in the aftermath of the attempted bombing, but the expert believes Abdulmutallab’s bomb contained 200 grams of PETN prior to the attempted detonation.
The government’s bomb expert created two devices, one with 76 grams of PETN, the other with 200 grams. The videos show the detonations at full speed, 15 percent speed, and slow motion.
In a pretrial motion, the defense “vehemently” objected.
“Presenting the jury with a model of the bomb is unfairly prejudicial, and is only meant to inflame the jury and appeal to the jurors’ emotions,” Mr. Chambers wrote in a motion asking Judge Edmunds to exclude the testimony and video.
Chambers said the government had no knowledge of how much PETN was in Abdulmutallab’s bomb, and could not credibly argue his bomb would have the same explosive force.
Judge Edmunds ruled that the expert could show the video of both the 76-gram bomb’s detonation, as well as the 200-gram device.
An Al Qaeda video
The government is also expected to show an Al Qaeda-produced video “America and the Final Trap,” which features a segment praising the attempted Christmas Day bombing.
The video includes a purported message from Osama Bin Laden voiced over the image of an aircraft with Abdulmutallab’s photograph superimposed over it. Bin Laden said Al Qaeda was sending a message to the US “through the airplane of the hero Umar Al-Farouk.”
Bin Laden said the message was: “America will not dream of security until we live it as a reality in Palestine.”
The video also contains an excerpt from what appears to be a martyrdom video created before he left Yemen, in which Abdulmutallab explains his reasons for undertaking the bombing mission. An Al Qaeda flag and an AK-47 assault rifle are visible behind him.