Monday, March 12, 2007

"I Was Responsible For 9/11, From 'A To Z' . . . .

. . . . and at least 30 other attacks or plots," so says Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a redacted transcript the Pentagon released of his closed and secret tribunal hearing being held in Guantanamo Bay.

Night at Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

After four years of torture in secret CIA prisons, Mohammed confessed to it all, from plots to kill the Pope, Jimmy Carter, beheading WSJ journalist Daniel Pearl, to kidnapping the Lindbergh baby and fathering Anna Nicole Smith's baby. Okay, I made that last part up, about the babies. But he might as well have, for all the good a confession made under torture is.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad before 9/11/01

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed after 9/11/01 (after his capture during a raid in Pakistan in March, 2003)

The Pentagon posted and the Associated Press reports:
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, confessed to that attack and a string of others during a military hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a transcript released Wednesday by the Pentagon.

Mohammed claimed responsibility for planning, financing, and training others for bombings ranging from the 1993 attack at the World Trade Center to the attempt by would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives hidden in his shoes.

In all, Mohammed said he was responsible for planning 29 individual attacks, including many that were never executed. The comments were included in a 26-page transcript released by the Pentagon, which also blacked out some of his remarks.

The Pentagon also released transcripts of the hearings of Abu Faraj al-Libi and Ramzi Binalshibh.

Abu Faraj al-Libi, on May 4, 2005

Binalshibh is suspected of helping Mohammed with the Sept. 11, 2001, attack plan and is also linked to a foiled plot to crash aircraft into London's Heathrow Airport. Al-Libi is a Libyan who reportedly masterminded two bombings 11 days apart in Pakistan in December 2003 that targeted President Pervez Musharraf for his support of the U.S.-led war on terror.

Ramzi Binalshibh

The hearings, which began last Friday, are being conducted in secret by the military as it tries to determine whether 14 alleged terrorist leaders should be declared "enemy combatants" who can be held indefinitely and prosecuted by military tribunals.

Hearings for six of the 14 have already been held. The military is not allowing reporters to attend the sessions and is limiting the information it provides about them, arguing that it wants to prevent sensitive information from being disclosed.

The 14 were moved in September from a secret CIA prison network to the prison at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, where about 385 men are being held on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban.

For the Bush administration to release any information, much less this confession from the March 10th Combatant Status Review Tribunal, indicates (among other things) that Bush-Cheney realize that the legality of these proceedings are on shaky ground - We're about to be subjected to a major spin campaign.

[CSRTs are a one-time administrative process used to determine whether detainees at Guantanamo Bay can be designated as enemy combatants. No decisions have been made about these detainees’ (Mohammed, al-Libi and Binalshibh) status.]

The quality of any confession (and the guilt or innocence of a detainee) can only be determined through an open and independent hearing.

This confession, coming after four years of torture in CIA secret prisons, the kidnapping and interrogation of children by the CIA [by the way, where are his children?], no access to counsel, should be subjected to the fiercest scrutiny. If it's let in as evidence at all.

But for the Bush administration to release redacted evidence and edited transcripts of the proceeding shows the disdain and contempt that Bush-Cheney have for democracy and the American people.

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