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Commentary Last Updated: Mar 19th, 2007 - 00:25:29

Killing two birds with one Mohammed
By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Associate Editor

Mar 19, 2007, 01:20

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Alas, Khalid Sheik Mohammed has confessed to masterminding the 9/11 attacks at a Guantanamo Bay military hearing. He also took the rap for masterminding more than two dozen other terrorist acts around the world and the murder of reporter Daniel Pearl. As the Pentagon release reported, he said �I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z.� So there you have it. It�s a wrap. And who needs to catch Osama Been Forgotten? Rip up the wanted posters and throw away the fake tapes.

Yup, we got the DO-man, Director of Operations. And now you conspiracy nuts can relax. It wasn�t Dick Cheney running the show from his White House bunker, no matter what Webster Tarpley, David Ray Griffin, or Loose Change told you. And it wasn�t General Richard Myers either, promoted to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shortly after 9/11. While Rome burned, Myers was in meetings all that morning like his boss, Donald Rumsfeld, the excommunicated Secretary of Defense.

So relax folks. Mohammed�s contrite. In his rambling statement in broken English, the former chief aide to Osama bin Laden said, �I�m not happy that 3,000 been killed in America. I feel sorry even. I don�t like to kill children and kids.� Yet, he dropped the redundancy to be positively literary on the next line and added, �The language of war is victims.� Wish I�d written that. We seem to speak that language pretty well, considering we�re wrapped up in at least two wars today.

Mohammed also introduced a note of irony to the tribunal when he compared his actions to those of our most noted revolutionary. �If the British had arrested George Washington during the Revolutionary War,� he said, �for sure they would consider him enemy combatant.� I don�t know who wrote that line of his script, but it is questionable. Washington wasn�t a patsy. He was the real fighting deal. And under British law, even then, most probably he would have been tried.

We�re also told by the Pentagon that supporting evidence for Mohammed�s enemy combatant status comes from a computer hard drive containing information about the Sept. 11 hijackers (if you believe in hijackers, especially since they weren�t on the plane manifests); letters from bin Laden (have those been verified by handwriting experts?); and details of other plots. Of course, the computer hard drive was conveniently �seized� when Mohammed was captured.

Though the American officials linked Mr. Mohammed to the attacks of Sept 11, 2001, as The New York Times tells us, his confession �was the first time he spelled out in his own words a panoply of global terror activities, ranging from plans to bomb landmarks in New York City and London to assassination plots against former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II.� That was the first I�d heard about the Jimmy Carter attempt. But hey, in for a penny in for a pound.

Yet Mohammed�s confession is vaguely reminiscent of Mohammed Atta leaving a suitcase full of incriminating evidence (maps, wills, plans of attack in Arabic) in a suitcase in the trunk of a rented car in an airport in Maine on the morning of 9/11, before he and a fellow conspirator boarded a plane to Boston. So it goes.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed did say in his transcript that some of his previous statements to his CIA �interrogators� were the result of torture. No? That�s against the law. Though his tribunal statements were not made up under duress. Right, see. Yet if he ever gets tried for war crimes by a military commission, which this wasn�t, only a status review/tribunal as an enemy combatant, this confession will �most certainly be used against him.� A real trial before a jury of American citizens is verboten, according to our own Invincible Decider, President Bush.

Tribunal �rules� allowed Mohammed a �personal representative� but not a lawyer. He could not call witnesses. And the tribunal said it would consider classified evidence that wasn�t made available to Mr. Mohammed. Do I smell kangaroo or is it just some residual 9/11 bad air in the West Side of Manhattan wind? Sort of like an ill wind that blows no good.

In addition to the Mohammed transcript, the Pentagon also released transcripts of the hearings of Abu Faraj al-Libbi (any relation to Scooter Libby?) and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, so called �top Qaeda operatives.� Mr. Libbi curiously didn�t show for his hearing. In a statement from the transcript he refused to do so until he could be tried �according to accepted judicial principles in the United States.� Good luck.

�He said he had not been granted a lawyer and could not introduce witnesses in his defense.� What else is new? He also mentioned, �If I am classified as an enemy combatant, it is possible that the United States will deem my witnesses are enemy combatants and judicial or administration action may be taken against them? It is my opinion the detainee is in a lose-lose situation.� Sounds like legal-beagle Libby to me, now pardoned into silence, after being convicted for his boss�s crimes. Nothing like neocon law. Mm, mm.

Bottom line, the tribunals in all three cases did not decide on whether the men were properly classified as EC�s. And no one has formed a hedge fund yet as to the outcome. Prisoners can appeal tribunal outcomes to a federal appeals court in Washington. Not contesting his guilt, Mr. Mohammed asked the US government �to be fair with people.� So far, the track record isn�t hot on that one, Mo.

And, in balance, what of El Primo Patsy, Mr. Bin Laden? Where does he wander today, under what Pakistan mountain skies? Or have his kidneys buried him? Or is he reforming his terror/financial network again, which more than vaguely reminded one of BCCI�s? And like the Lone Ranger of yore, will he ever return in spirit or deed to America, so that we hear him bellow from afar to his trusty steed, �Hi ho, Silver, away.� That as some other American city smolders in the ruins of a false flag attack. And some other flunky prepares to confess to it.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York City. Reach him at

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