Thursday, 15 March 2007
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: Dead Man Confesses to Being 9/11 Mastermind
According to news reports, alleged al-Qaeda "mastermind" Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has now confessed to having planned the 9/11 attacks. Last Saturday (March 10), he supposedly told a tribunal panel of three military officers and a government-provided representative: "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z. I was the operational director for Sheikh Osama bin Laden for the organising, planning, follow-up and execution of the 9/11 operation." This was not all. In fact, he supposedly confessed (though not under oath) to involvement in a total of 31 attacks or planned attacks, including the 1993 WTC bombing and the 2002 Bali bombing.
However, there is one rather large problem with this story: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was reportedly killed on September 11, 2002, during an hours-long shootout with Pakistani security forces. Intelligence officials had supposedly tracked him down to an apartment in the southern part of Karachi. FBI and Pakistani ISI officials then surrounded the building, and were joined by hundreds of police vehicles and Pakistan Rangers.
The subsequent sequence of events that culminated in Mohammed's death has been reconstructed by the Asia Times Online, based upon reports from the Pakistani media, supplemented by information from intelligence sources.
Plain clothed officials had entered the building, and urged the people inside to evacuate. But a hand grenade was thrown, injuring two of them and forcing them to retreat. Troops then entered the building and a fierce gun battle ensued. Eleven suspected terrorists were captured and two were killed. After examining the two dead bodies, a female FBI official reportedly exclaimed: "You have killed Khalid Sheikh Mohammad." She then ordered that one of his fingers be cut off and taken away, presumably for DNA testing.
Mohammed's wife and child were taken away to an ISI safe house, where they identified one of the dead bodies as being that of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. After being kept in a private NGO mortuary for 20 days, it was buried in a graveyard in Karachi, under the surveillance of the FBI. However, according to the Asia Times Online, "News of the death of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was intentionally suppressed so that officials could play on the power of his name to follow up leads and contacts."
Then, six months later, Mohammed apparently returned to life, and was reported as having been arrested in Rawalpindi. After spending time in secret CIA prisons, he was moved last year to Guantánamo Bay. He is understood to have been tortured while in U.S. custody, including undergoing "waterboarding."
So what is the truth? Has the "9/11 mastermind" really confessed to his crimes? Or does the U.S. simply have some unfortunate guy of unknown identity in its custody, and they have tortured him into confessing that he is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and that he was the mastermind of 9/11?
1) Ed Pilkington, "'I was responsible for 9/11, from A to Z' - a confession from Guantánamo Bay." The Guardian, March 15, 2007.
2) "Shock and scepticism greet alleged 9/11 confessions" The Guardian, March 15, 2007.
3) Syed Saleem Shahzad, "A chilling inheritance of terror." Asia Times Online, October 30, 2002.
4) Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Khalid: A test for US credibility." Asia Times Online, March 6, 2003.