Saturday, April 09, 2011

KSM and that which we must never mention

I thought it appropriate for Khaled Sheik Mohammed to be tried "within the shadow" (as they say) of the World Trade Center site. But Congress decreed otherwise, requiring a trial at Gitmo.


As this story from February demonstrates, Obama himself didn't much care for Attorney General Holder's decision to try KSM in a civilian court in New York. BO did everything possible to undermine his AG.
Word of Obama's increased attention to one of the biggest national security issues he inherited comes as disagreement grows over the Justice Department's use of federal courts to try accused terrorists. George W. Bush's administration employed that strategy at least 100 times, but the public mood has shifted since the Mohammed trial announcement and a thwarted Christmas Day airline bombing plot.

According to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, 55 percent of voters say military tribunals should be used to try suspected terrorists, compared with 39 percent who say the civilian court system should be used. In November, there was an even split on this question.
The problem with stories of this sort is that the mainstream journalists who write them always feel constrained to pretend that public opinion makes itself. It doesn't. No-one wants to admit that propaganda plays the deciding factor, but it does.

So the real question, the question that nobody thinks to ask, is this: Why did the propagandists rile up the populace against the possibility of a civilian trial for KSM?

For the same reason, perhaps, that public opinion was swayed against a Nuremberg-style international trial. From a previous post:
Why didn't the United States agree to have Khaled Sheikh Mohammed tried in an international war crimes tribunal? Perhaps because the U.S. does not want to lose control of the proceedings. If control were lost, certain little-discussed aspects of the case might come out -- such as the fact that the CIA has been holding KSM's young children hostage for years. As a released document revealed, the CIA told KSM that his children would be killed.

Given the circumstances, we may expect a quick guilty plea. Certain right-wing pundits are screaming that KSM could engineer a successful defense. Such claims are pure propaganda.
There's a lot of other stuff that a lawyer for KSM might bring up at trial. None of it would exonerate the defendant -- but much of it would embarrass the government. For example, there are the oddities present in his confession, given after numerous waterboardings. He told of a plot to destroy the "Plaza Bank" in Seattle -- a building completed in 2006, three years after KSM's capture.

(As I argued in an older post, the reference may actually have gone to the Space Needle or the Bank of America tower. The actual Plaza Bank is an unimpressive structure.)

That's not the only mystery. KSM said that he was responsible for surveying the attack in Seattle, as well as three other locales. Did he mean personal surveillance? The confession is not clear. As I wrote in 2009:
How could KSM "survey" the four locations listed above without doing a whole lot of travel in the United States? According to a Financial Times article (reproduced here; I don't have a link to the original), KSM was granted a visa to visit the United States six weeks before the September 11 attacks -- a visa which he "did not appear" to have used. I can only presume that he sent others to do the spadework.
Ray McGovern pinpoints what may be the most obvious reasons for keeping the KSM trial as "controlled" as possible: Israel.

Directly after the event, Americans were told that the 9/11 attacks occurred because "they hate us for our freedoms." Nonsense. Today, many Americans have been propagandized into accepting the absurd belief that Al Qaeda wants to impose Sharia law -- or the mythical "caliphate" -- on the U.S. More nonsense.

The truth of the matter: 9/11 was all about Israel, and our unending support for that country. The 9/11 Commission report, in a moment of candor, made this clear:
"By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experience there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel."
Most American newspapers refused to print that sentence, and the WP eventually coughed up a nonsensical yarn about KSM becoming incensed at American racism during his college years. Middle-class rubes may favor that kind of pseudo-psychological bullshit, but no evidence favors the notion.

(Incidentally, KSM studied in North Carolina. I've never come across any interviews with people who knew him at the time. Have you?)

Why do both our mainstream media and our samisdat go to such absurd lengths to minimize the true reason for the 9/11 attacks? In the Harry Potter stories, people bite their tongues before mentioning the name "Voldemort." In real life, Israel has become the Motive We Must Not Name. The degree of media control (self-control, in most instances) has been remarkable.

Most Americans -- including myself, obviously -- would agree that the United States must never allow a terrorist group to dictate foreign policy. That said, we should all be honest enough to admit that no administration, Republican or Democratic, has ever wanted to admit the simple fact that support for Israel puts Americans at risk.

The government does not want citizens thinking "If not for Israel..." every time they undergo draconian security measures at the airport. It is far more preferable to leave Americans thinking: "Well, it's either this or the caliphate..."
What ever happened to Usama's explanation for the 911 attacks?

That Muslims were incensed because our presence in Saudi Arabia defiles their holy sites.

Also that it wasn't that they hated us for our freedoms but because we took theirs by installing tyrants friendly to the U S.

There are a lot of motives besides our support for Israel for the intense dislike.

Since the mood seems to favor trying terrorists by military tribunal does this include home grown Christian abortion clinic bombers and the like too?

I'd love to see those Westboro Baptists wisked off to Git-mo next time they step on a flag ;)
Well, we quietly closed down the elaborate base we had in Saudi Arabia. To that extent, the terrorists won.

It's also true that Al Qaeda has always wanted an end to a lot of dictatorial regimes that the U.S. either supports or tolerates -- especially Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

But I think that it is very fair to state that American support for Israel is the primary motive for the 9/11 attacks.

And really, when you think about it, why DOES Al Qaeda want regime change in Saudi Arabia? Not to make the land more democratic. Nor to make it more theocratic -- the place is already a theocracy.

True, Saudi Arabia's leaders are incredibly debauched and corrupt. Everyone knows this. But their true sin (from Al Qaeda's point of view) is toleration for Israel. That's the policy that Osama Bin Laden would change if he ran that country.
The barometer for this will be if the new Egyptian government rescinds the treaty with Israel.
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