An 88-page charge sheet details alleged planning for the "planes operation," from 1996 discussions between Mohammed and al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden about flying planes into buildings through recruiting hijackers and sending them out on "casing missions" — carrying razors through airport security and taking flights to count the number of passengers seated in first class, business and economy.
Binal Shibh allegedly researched flight schools for the hijackers. Bin Attash is accused of running an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan and researching flight simulators and timetables.
Al-Hawsawi allegedly helped the hijackers with money, Western clothing, traveler's checks and credit cards. Abd al-Aziz Ali, a nephew of Mohammed, is accused of giving money to the hijackers.
The tone for Saturday's proceeding was set at the beginning, when Pohl asked Mohammed whether he could hear an Arabic translation of his remarks through earphones the court had provided. Mohammed, dressed in a white robe and turban, and wearing a long, beard streaked with red, ignored the question. The former No. 3 leader of al-Qaida appeared thinner than in the famous photograph in which he appeared as a disheveled fugitive immediately after his capture in Pakistan in 2003.
David Nevin, Mohammed's civilian attorney, told Pohl that his client is "deeply concerned" about the fairness of the military commission process, the proceedings that led up to the arraignments on Saturday, and limits on what Nevin and Mohammed have been allowed to discuss.
As Nevin spoke, Mohammed removed his earphones. Other defendants soon did the same.
Pohl directed interpreters to bypass the earphones and provide translation in the courtroom. He then advised Mohammed of his right to an attorney, and asked if he understood. Mohammed sat impassively.
It was a sharp contrast from his appearance at a 2007 hearing, when he spoke at length. He said then that he was responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11 "from A to Z," the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and more than two dozen other plots.
He compared himself to George Washington fighting the British. He said he was "not happy" that people died on Sept. 11, but killing is "the language of the war."
The following year, Mohammed told a military commission that he did not want an attorney, but intended to plead guilty to the charges because he sought martyrdom.
But he did not speak Saturday. He took occasional sips from a bottle of water and read from a copy of The Economist.
Pohl said that if the defendants chose not to participate, the proceeding would go forward without them. He appointed the lawyers that have been representing them to continue to do so through the arraignment, and said that if they did not enter pleas, pleas of not guilty would eventually be entered for them.
Most of the session was devoted to a discussion about Pohl. Defense attorneys spent the afternoon questioning the judge on his background and whether any of his associations or opinions would affect his impartiality in the proceeding.
Cheryl Bormann, the civilian attorney for Waleed bin Attash, asked that women on the prosecution team be given guidance on how to dress in court so that the defendants could look at them without fear of "committing a sin under their faith." Bormann wore a black robe and headscarf.
Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the lead prosecutor, responded by saying that all of his lawyers had been legally assigned to the prosecution team and were qualified to represent the government.
Bin Attash began the hearing shackled to his chair for reasons that were not explained. His attorney objected, saying the restraints were uncomfortable, and they were preventing bin Attash from replacing his earphones when they fell from his ears.
Pohl told bin Attash that he would consider ordering the restraints removed if Bin Attash promised to conduct himself appropriately. Bin Attash did not respond.
After several minutes of discussion, bin Attash told his attorney, Air Force Capt. Michael Schwartz, that he would remain seated if the restraints were removed. Pohl accepted and ordered bin Attash unshackled.