Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sheikh, Rattle and Roll

In the build up to next month's UN-sponsored Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, President Obama is continuing a global tour which rivals anything the Rolling Stones have accomplished. With the president of the Maldives alleging that failure to negotiate an emissions reduction treaty constitutes a 'global suicide pact', the philosophy of making humans look like a planetary disease is becoming ever more firmly entrenched in the minds of global leaders. Climate Change hodbearer and UK Climate Secretary Ed Miliband has told us that a final treaty will probably not be signed at Copenhagen. Nonetheless, enhancements to the global governmental infrastructure are to be expected. Agreements will be made 'in principle' without any form of democratic representation, at a time when not even a bare majority believe that climate change is man-made. As detailed by former adviser to the PM Lord Monckton, a stern critic of climate change propaganda:

"I read that treaty. And what it says is this, that a world government is going to be created. The word 'government' actually appears as the first of three purposes of the new entity. The second purpose is the transfer of wealth from the countries of the West to third world countries, in satisfaction of what is called, coyly, 'climate debt' - because we've been burning CO2 and they haven't. We've been screwing up the climate and they haven't. And the third purpose of this new entity, this government, is enforcement." - Christoper Monckton

The road to hell is paved with (seemingly) good intentions. It is unclear if Obama will attend the Copenhagen conference, as he's stated that he will only turn up if his presence will help clinch the deal. This betrays the true purpose of the Obama administration, to use an easily accepted figurehead to help grease the wheels of processes that go far beyond his authority. Nonetheless, he has been in China greeting the natives and criticising the nation for its censorship of the internet and poor human rights record. Just as the West wallows in hypocrisy over the issue of Chinese industrialisation and pollution, it makes frequent use of the portrayal of China as a totalitarian dictatorship while conveniently ignoring what's going on at home.

While Obama has been visiting Asia and saying he'll lend his pretty face to the advance of world government if required to do so the rebranded War on Terror is continuing on the home front. The alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM), along with four of his co-accused, will finally face a trial. The location? New York, which makes finding an impartial jury virtually impossible. Also significant is that according to the CIA torture memos released earlier in 2009 Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times. This will not only cause a legal problem for the prosecution, as Mohammed's confessions were given while he was being tortured, but is a grotesque human rights abuse on the part of the US government, as bad as anything China has done.

Numerous defences of the CIA rendition and interrogation (torture) program have been offered, including one from former head of the CIA and the NSA Michael Hayden:

If you want an intelligence service to work for you, they always work on the edge. That's just where they work," - Hayden, BBC

Apparently buying into this view, Obama granted immunity to all CIA staff involved, in effect endorsing the very security policy from which his administration claims to be a departure. However, the treatment of KSM (and others) does not constitute merely 'working on the edge'. Even the report of the Inspector General of the CIA states that after 'several applications' such 'enhanced interrogation techniques' are ineffective. One can only assume that the interrogators continued to torture Mohammed for fun, or out of a sense of professional responsibility. Either way, it is sadistic.

If the investigations and trial of the previous major terrorist attack on New York are anything to go by, the KSM and co. trial should provide some fireworks for those examining the 'intelligence failures that led to 9/11'. Shortly after midday on February 26th, 1993, an explosion rocked the basement of the North Tower of the WTC. Initially thought to be an electrical transformer explosion, it killed six people and injured over 1000. It is now widely considered to be the first stateless international terrorist attack on the US, carried out by Islamic fundamentalists. However, various details have emerged which cast quite a different light on what happened.

The NY 'cell' were based in the Al Kifah refugee centre at the Al Farooq mosque in Brooklyn. This building was one of dozens of worldwide branches of the Maktab al-Khidamat, a network of charitable and religious organisations which serve as recruiting and fundraising hubs for the mujahideen. Founded by Abdullah Azzam in the mid 1980s, this network was a vital part of the CIA's misadventures in the Soviet-Afghan war as it provided many wild-eyed young men to fight to the death against the Commies. Assets of the CIA took it over at the end of the Afghan war when Azzam was killed in a car-bombing in Afghanistan, followed by the assassination of the Imam of the Al Farooq mosque, Mustafa Shalabi, in 1991. Bin Laden and Zawahiri came to dominate the mujahideen and a new Imam was installed in the NY mosque.

That man was Omar Abdul Rahman, commonly known as the Blind Sheikh. He was the leader of Al Gama'a al-Islamiyya, the Islamic Group of Egypt. The Islamic Group was one of two main terrorist splinter organisations from the Muslim Brotherhood, the other being Zawahiri's Islamic Jihad. The Blind Sheikh came to the USA several times throughout the late 1980s on visas arranged for him by the CIA, with whom he was working as a recruiter and 'spiritual leader' for the mujahideen in Afghanistan. Despite being on the State Department's terrorist watchlist he entered the USA on a new visa in July 1990 and gained permanent residence status within two years. Despite his conviction for his role in a 'seditious conspiracy' in 1995 his visas were not revoked until five years after that. After Shalabi's death he took over the Al Kifah centre, and became notorious in New York for his rabid fundamentalist preachings. He is considered to be the ideological leader of the group initially convicted of the WTC bombing.

By the time of the 1993 bombing two significant events happened that strongly indicate ongoing protection for the Blind Sheikh from within the US security services, and their culpability in the attack. The first was the murder of racist Rabbi Meir Kahane by El Sayyid Nosair, a protege of the Blind Sheikh. In November 1990 Kahane was giving a speech at the Marriot Hotel in New York when Nosair shot him twice, fatally wounding the Rabbi. Kahane was leader of the militant Jewish Defence League, in effect the Zionist equivalent of the Blind Sheikh's Islamic Group. Two other members of the Al Kifah 'cell' were waiting in a taxi outside the hotel but were moved along shortly before Nosair came running out. Nosair set off down the road but was halted by an armed postal worker who took a bullet in the shoulder before shooting Nosair in the neck. Doctor's saved the Egyptian's life and he was remanded in custody. Though his two cohorts Mahmud Abouhalima and Mohammed Salameh were arrested, they were quickly released and the FBI ignored all evidence of a wider plot and pursued Nosair as a lone gunman. While Nosair was acquitted of murder (no witness had actually seen him pull the trigger, and there were others in the room who were armed) he was convicted on gun charges and sentenced. However, the FBI's investigation didn't sprawl into the role of the Blind Sheikh, who used Al Kifah money to contribute to Nosair's legal defence, or Abouhalima and Salameh, who would go on to be convicted for the 1993 WTC bombing.

Also ignored was Ali Mohamed, an Egyptian army officer who had been thrown out because of he was a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. He then worked for the CIA as an informant, though officially they fired him because his mistakes ruined the operation. However, he then went to the US in 1985 on a similar CIA-sponsored visa as the Blind Sheikh. In 1986 he joined the US Army and was posted to the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where the US Special Forces are trained. Given the rank of Supply Sergeant he was also responsible for running a series of lectures explaining MIddle Eastern history and politics. In 1988 he told his superiors, including Lt.Col. Robert Anderson, that he was planning to use his vacation time to go and fight in Afghanistan. He returned after a month claiming to have killed two Spetsnaz Russian special forces soldiers, and showed off two army uniform belts he claimed to have taken from them. This should have caused great controversy as officially no American-enlisted soldier fought in the Soviet-Afghan war. Mohamed's superior Anderson wrote reports to try to get him investigated by Army intelligence and potentially court-martialed, but they were ignored.

Anderson said all this convinced him that Mohamed was "sponsored" by a U.S. intelligence service. "I assumed the CIA," he said. - San Francisco Chronicle
Ali Mohamed completed his term of service in 1989 but remained part of the US Army reserve for a further five years. In 1990 he became an FBI informant and remained one until his eventual arrest in 1998 after the African Embassy bombings. Though he then confessed to his role as an 'Al Qaeda operative' who was so close to Bin Laden that he trained the 'emir's' personal security men, Ali Mohamed has apparently never been sentenced and full details of his plea bargain are sealed.

Mohamed had various connections with the Blind Sheikh's group in New York, having met with them regularly at the Al Kifah centre during his time at Fort Bragg. He brought with him training materials - manuals, documents and videos - and taught the recruits the essence of guerilla warfare. Nosair was only one of his trainees, others included virtually the entire group responsible for the 1993 WTC bombing. However, Ali never faced any investigation for his involvement with the NY 'cell'. When Nosair, the Blind Sheikh and others were prosecuted for a 'seditious conspiracy' including the 1993 bombing and the assassination of Kahane, Ali was subpoenaed as a witness for the defence by Nosair's lawyer Roger Stavis, but couldn't be found.

As if those military and intelligence service connections weren't enough, the second major event on the road to the WTC bombing was the recruitment by the FBI of an informant called Emad Salem. Like Ali Mohamed he had been in the Egyptian army, though he had no affiliations with the Muslim Brotherhood. He was first recruited in the late 1980s, though the FBI didn't entirely trust him as they suspected he was working as a double agent for Egyptian intelligence so soon stopped using him as an asset. Eventually he came to work under a Texan agent, Nancy Floyd, initially providing information on KGB and Russian Mafia activities in New York. Salem then convinced Floyd that the greater danger came from the Blind Sheikh and his followers, and was transferred over to two members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a multi-agency group in New York.

According to Peter Lance's lengthy accounts of this story Salem never got along too well with John Anticev and Lou Napoli, his two handlers, and was often debriefed by Floyd even though she was not officially responsible for him and worked in a different department. He successfully penetrated the Sheikh's group but he refused to wear a wire and insisted on not having to testify in court. Throughout this second period, from his first contact with Floyd in August 1991 to July 1992, when the FBI formally ended contact with him, Salem was largely unsupervised and the information he provided unconfirmed. He was let go by the FBI in the summer of 1992, apparently due to the new head of the JTTF not approving of Nancy Floyd's involvement in the case. Salem was recruited a third time to inform on the Blind Sheikh after the bombing in February 1993. Floyd, however, was hit with an internal investigation by the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility, and accused of various charges including having an affair with Salem and cooking the books on her expenses.

During his third period working for the FBI, Salem was paid over a million dollars and agreed to wear a microphone to record his conversations with the Blind Sheikh and his merry band of mujahideen. However, he also covertly recorded many of his conversations with his FBI handlers, and openly discussed just how involved he was with the WTC bombing plot. One particular dialogue between Salem and Anticev caused tremendous controversy.

Anticev: But, uh, basically nothing has changed. I'm just telling you for my own sake that nothing, that this isn't a salary, that it's—you know. But you got paid regularly for good information. I mean the expenses were a little bit out of the ordinary and it was really questioned. Don't tell Nancy I told you this.
Salem: Well, I have to tell her of course.
Anticev: Well then, if you have to, you have to.
Salem: Yeah, I mean because the lady was being honest and I was being honest and everything was submitted with a receipt and now it's questionable.
Anticev: It's not questionable, it's like a little out of the ordinary.
Salem: Okay. Alright. I don't think it was. If that's what you think guys, fine, but I don't think that because we was start already building the bomb which is went off in the World Trade Center. It was built by supervising supervision from the Bureau and the D.A. and we was all informed about it and we know that the bomb start to be built. By who? By your confidential informant. What a wonderful, great case!
Anticev: Well.
Salem: And then he put his head in the sand and said "Oh, no, no, that's not true, he is son of a bitch." [Deep breath.] Okay. It's built with a different way in another place and that's it.
Anticev: No, don't make any rash decisions. I'm just trying to be as honest with you as I can.
Salem: Of course, I appreciate that.

You can listen to the except here. Note that not only does Salem state that he started the building of the bomb that went off in the World Trade Center, but his FBI handler does not contradict him. Not only is Salem, and therefore the FBI, implicated in helping produce the bomb, but other tapes indicate he was also the origin of the New York Landmarks plot, of which the Blind Sheikh and several others were eventually convicted. In a 1993 interview with William Kunstler, a defence lawyer for members of the NY 'cell', he told WBAI's Paul DeRienzo:

He [Salem] is the only real conspirator in this case...

...I’ve read a lot of the tapes by now–transcriptions of the tapes, which were just furnished to me today. Before I came here, I read some of them, and they are things like… having him [Salem] say:
"Well, I think we ought to bomb the George Washington Bridge. That’s a very good target. It would make the commuters raise hell with this Government of ours."
And so then Siddig Ali says:
[Salem]: "And I think" so and so…
[Ali]: "Yeah?"
…. and so on. That’s the way it goes, virtually throughout these hundreds of pages of transcriptions. - WBAI interview with William Kunstler

However, the man apparently responsible for finishing the job of building the WTC bomb was freelancing international terrorist and all round ladies man Ramzi Yousef. Educated in electrical engineering in the UK, Yousef apparently finished his training as a bomb maker in Afghanistan in between semesters at college. The nephew of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, he was perhaps the most 'successful' terrorist of the 1990s and now resides in a maximum security prison serving a 240 year sentence.

Ramzi came to New York in September 1992, a couple of months after Salem's second FBI-sponsored involvement with the Blind Sheikh came to an end. He flew in with Ahmed Ajaj, a Palestinian, who was holding a blatantly forged Swedish passport in the name of Khurram Khan. Ramzi's passport identified him as Azan Mohammed. When asked for further identification by the INS official, he produced an ID card in the name of Khurram Khan, the same nom de guerre as in Ajaj's passport. When asked his full true name he said it was 'Ramzi Ahmed Yousef', itself a pseudonym for a man born Abdul Basit Mahmoud Abdul Karim. He stated his intention to claim political asylum and after a brief detention and filling in a form he was turned loose. According to Peter Lance's narrative in 1000 Years for revenge, this is because Ajaj's arrest had taken up the last available bed in the INS detention facility. However, according to Simon Reeve's version in The New Jackals, it was because Yousef had help from the Pakistani ISI.

For the following five months Ramzi Yousef, Mahmud Abouhalima, Mohammed Salameh, Nidal Ayyad and Abdel Yasin obtained the ingredients for and built a Urea Nitrate Fuel Oil bomb, enhanced by large gas cylinders packed around the main charge. However, this US prosecution story is far from conclusive. In 1995 the Department of Justice, of which the FBI is a part, began investigating their crime laboratory amid allegations that forensic investigations had been manipulated to support desired prosecution cases. After an eighteen month investigation the DOJ concluded that the problems were 'extremely serious and significant', and that in the WTC bombing investigation the investigator David Williams:

"gave inaccurate and incomplete testimony and testified to invalid opinions that appeared tailored to the most incriminating result." - NY Times

You can read the DOJ's Office of the Inspector General's report here. At the 1994 WTC bombing trial of four conspirators (Salameh et al.) the most specific allegations came from Special Agent Frederic Whitehurst:

Q: "During your examination of the bomb residue materials and the chemicals associated with the defendants, you became aware that the FBI agents investigating the case had developed a preliminary theory that the bomb that blew up the World Trade Center was a urea nitrate bomb?"
A: "Yes, that is correct."
Q: "Did there come a time when you began to experience pressure from within the FBI to reach certain conclusions that supported that theory of the investigation?"
A: "Yes, that is correct."
Q: "In other words, you began to experience pressure on you to say that the explosion was caused by a urea nitrate bomb?"
A: "Yes, that is correct."
Q: "And you were aware that such a finding would strengthen the prosecution of the defendants who were on trial, who were going on trial in that case, correct?"
A: "Absolutely." - Testimony of Frederic Whitehurst

As such, any conclusion about exactly who built the bomb that was used to attack the World Trade Center in 1993 is questionable. In May 1994 Salameh, Ayyad, Abouhalima and Ajaj were convicted of carrying out the attack. In October 1995 the Blind Sheikh was convicted of masterminding a 'seditious conspiracy' including the 1993 bombing and the Kahane murder. Ramzi Yousef remained at large until February 1995, and was convicted in January 1998. It was at this time that KSM was first announced as a 'major Al Qaeda operative'.

While Yousef was on the run from US authorities investigating the WTC bombing, one of his various activities was to develop 'Project Bojinka'. This included the creation of an improvised explosive device that could be smuggled past airport security. It used a Casio watch as the trigger so the alarm could be set hours or even days in advance, and a nitroglycerine main explosive charge designed to rupture the fuel tanks of an airliner and thus destroy the whole craft. This was 'successfully' tested in December 1994 on Philipines Airline flight 434. The aircraft wasn't destroyed, probably due to the bomb being put under the wrong seat, but a Japanese businessman was killed by the explosion. Another element of Bojinka, the plan to crash a small plane laden with explosives into the CIA headquarters at Langley is identified by some as a smaller version of the eventual 9/11 plot several years later.

Bojinka became known to US authorities after a fire in the block that Ramzi and his partner in crime Hakim Murad were using as a 'bomb factory'. After they fled the apartment block, Ramzi sent Murad back into the building to retrieve his laptop, and in the course of doing so Murad was arrested. During his interrogation he explained both a plan to destroy up to 11 Asian-Pacific airliners simultaneously using the Casio-Nitroclycerine bomb, as well as a plot to steal or hijack a plane and crash it into the CIA headquarters. All of this information was passed to the FBI by the Philippines National Police, including details suggesting an expansion of the latter plot to include targeting the Sears Tower, the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

One of Ramzi's co-conspirators in Bojinka was his uncle, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. KSM was initially indicted in 1996 but the indictment remained sealed until 1998, when Yousef was convicted. Despite the then $2 million bounty on his head an arrest warrant for KSM wasn't issued until over two and a half years later, in November 2000. In the summer of 2001, at the same time as the CIA was continuing to keep the FBI in the dark about Nawaf Al-Hamzi and Khalid Al-Mihdhar, the NSA intercepted communications between KSM and alleged lead 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta but didn't bother to tell the FBI. Given the past history of protecting the Blind Sheikh as long as he remained useful it is a fair bet that similar treatment was being extended to Mohammed.

The 9/11 Commission largely ignored Bojinka and identified the genesis of the 9/11 plot as taking place around the time of the African embassy bombings in August 1998. Indeed, the Commission concluded that the attacks happened due to a failure of imagination, which along with their portrayal of KSM as the mastermind of the plot presumably means we're supposed to think that Mohammed's imagination was greater than that of the entire Western military and intelligence infrastructure. In the Executive Summary the report states:

By late 1998 or early 1999, Bin Ladin and his advisers had agreed on an idea brought to them by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) called the "planes operation". It would eventually culminate in the 9/11 attacks. - 9/11 Commission Report

On the basis of reports of interrogations with KSM, the Commission did briefly acknowledge Yousef but tells an elaborate tale of Mohammed's plan for a 'new kind of hijacking', including the following comment:

Beyond KSM's rationalizations about targeting the U.S. economy, this vision gives a better glimpse of his true ambitions. This is theater, a spectacle of destruction with KSM as the self-cast star-the superterrorist. - 9/11 Commission Report, ch5

This is not just KSM's apparent 'true ambition', but one shared by the Bush and Obama administrations. However, in making the 'superterrorist' the focus of all the blame the 9/11 Commission did not only skip over Bojinka. Prior to Murad's arrest in January 1995 there were a series of events which may have, directly or indirectly, inspired what happened on 9/11.

In February 1993, while Ramzi Yousef was still in New York apparently building the UNFO bomb for the WTC attack, Lufthansa Flight 592 was hijacked. The perpetrator was initially identified as 31 year old Somalian Shuriye Farah Siyad, though this was a mistake. The actual hijacker was 20 year old Ethiopian Nebiu Zewolde Demeke, who was apparently seeking asylum and US intervention in Bosnia. The young man clearly didn't know that via the likes of the Blind Sheikh that the US was already deeply involved in Bosnia. Demeke had smuggled a starting pistol on board by putting the gun in an Indiana Jones-style hat on a table as he walked through the metal detectors. After he ordered the plane to 'the West' it flew to JFK airport in New York, where after a long negotiation Demeke surrendered. At the time both passengers on the plane and officials were concerned that the plane would be crashed into Manhattan. It is highly likely that Ramzi Yousef was aware of this event. Perhaps in response, an expert panel was commissioned by the Pentagon in 1993 which discussed the possibility of airplanes being used to bomb national landmarks. Though a report was issued to Congress, the State Department and FEMA in June 1994, it was never made public, partly in fear of inspiring terrorists.

In April 1994 a disgruntled Federal Express employee hijacked a plane, apparently aiming to crash it into a company building in Memphis. In August 1994 Tom Clancy published Debt of Honor. In that story a Japanese airline pilot, angry at the deaths of his son and brother in a fictional war between Japan and the US, crashed his Boeing 747 into the US Capitol building. Though Clancy's novel had a much wider readership than any Pentagon-commissioned report in history he apparently had no trouble getting this content published. On September 11th 1994 an alcoholic cocaine user and depressed US Army veteran Frank Corder stole a tiny Cessna 150 aircraft from Churchville, Maryland. After flying it around for a couple of hours he ended up crashing it into a tree on the White House lawn at about 2 a.m., killing himself in the process.

Then in December 1994 members of Algeria Armed Islamic Group hijacked an Air France airliner and demanded it be taken to Marseille. There, they demanded it be heavily fuelled and while this was taking place the plane was stormed by French special forces who killed the hijackers. French authorities later said that the hijackers' intention was to either blow up the plane in midair, or to crash it into the Eiffel Tower. However, by this time the GIA were heavily infiltrated and manipulated by the Algerian intelligence services, and their leader Djamel Zitouni was a double agent.

As such, even prior to the Bojinka plot being uncovered in the Philippines there were several examples of the sort of planes-as-weapons attack that occurred on 9/11, mostly involving people connected to military or intelligence institutions. Indeed, Tom Clancy's novel was obliquely referred to during CNN's live coverage of the 9/11 attacks. From novelists to state-sponsored terrorists, if indeed Ramzi Yousef was the true origins of the planes-as-weapons plot of 9/11 then he had more than enough inspiration. The above examples also demonstrate how the 9/11 Commission's version of events, where the plot was purely the brainchild of KSM, is at best an incredibly partial explanation, and at worst a total fabrication.

So what can we learn from the WTC bombing in 1993 in terms of how this trial is likely to proceed? Most obviously, the butchering and bastardisation of science. It is unlikely that the government will seek to build a strong forensic case against KSM and his co-accused, after all, if the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11 then the Department of Justice probably has no hard evidence connecting KSM to 9/11. They will be aware that his apparent confession under torture might not even be admitted as evidence, so it is likely that they'll trot out a few so-called experts to try to provide an intellectual basis for a prejudice (towards conviction) already present in the jury. This will likely consist of the same tired nonsense about how the planes caused the towers to collapse and the discovery of passports belonging to the alleged hijackers. The primary role of such experts is not to maintain standards of investigation and proof, but to give credence to a desired narrative.

This was displayed once again with the convenient pre-Copenhagen publication of a report speculating that global temperatures could rise by six degrees centrigrade by the end of the century. Initially published by the Guardian under the headline 'Global Temperatures will rise by 6C by end of century, say scientists' they modified the online version so it now reads 'could rise by 6C'. Nonetheless, the 'scientists' who are saying this aren't identified until the fifth paragraph, by which time the paper in which this speculation was made has been categorised as 'a major new study' and 'the most comprehensive analysis to date'. Before any explanation of who these scientists are and what they've done the reader is set up not only to accept them as an authority, but by extension accept the narrative that there's a need for 'for urgent action by leaders at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen to agree drastic emissions cuts in order to avoid dangerous climate change.' However, the Guardian does quote one of the scientists as saying:

"The global trends we are on with CO2 emissions from fossil fuels suggest that we're heading towards 6C of global warming. This is very different to the trend we need to be on to limit global climate change to 2C." - Corinne Le Quéré, Guardian

Someone should tell this scientist that centigrade is a unit for measuring temperature, and at best temperature change, but not climate change. Moreover, the Climate Research Unit where the scientist works has become embroiled in a major scandal after a hacker obtained e-mails and other material. The files, which are widely available to download, apparently show that in private the scientists are deeply concerned by the difference between their data and models and the actual temperature in recent months and years, and have colluded to delete and manipulate information, and corrupt the peer-review process on which the 'consensus' is built. So far only the Telegraph have managed anything like adequate coverage of this story, with many outlets' coverage being truly embarassing.

Back to the KSM trial, if the comments of various officials are anything to go by, the trial will also proceed on the assumption of guilt, rather than of innocence. This is despite there being no straightforward account of what happened on 9/11, let alone who was responsible, just as with the 1993 WTC bombing. Though the BBC reported there being a 'row' about whether the 9/11 attacks constitute a crime or an act of war, the underlying assumption was that the accused will be found guilty, and presumably sentenced to death.

Senator John McCain: 'They are war criminals, who committed acts of war against our citizens and those of dozens of other nations.'

John Boehner, House of Representatives Republic Leader: "The possibility that Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his co-conspirators could be found not guilty due to some legal technicality just blocks from Ground Zero should give every American pause [for thought]."

Howard McKeon, Senior Republic on the House Armed Services Committee: "The president's decision to bring 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to the United States for trial in the United States federal courts will once again delay bringing justice to the victims and their families."

Carolyn Maloney, NY Democratic Representative: "I thank President Obama for his leadership and for taking this important step to hold these terrorists accountable for their despicable actions." - BBC

The comments of Debra Burlingame, sister of the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77 which allegedly hit the Pentagon, illustrate how the grief of relatives has been turned into a vicious hatred by those seeking to capitalise on it:

"We have a president who doesn't know we're at war"...
...She told AP news agency she was sickened by "the prospect of these barbarians being turned into victims by their attorneys" if the trial focused on torture allegations. - BBC

I'm sure that she has suffered immensely because of what happened on 9/11, but in turning that pain into a disregard for someone that a propaganda campaign has convinced her was responsible she has become a megaphone for those selling the Commission's story.

The final thing we should expect from this trial is that no matter what evidence is brought forward, no matter what connections are demonstrated between the accused and the accusers, no matter how obvious the participation of US authorities in what happened, and continues to happen, there will be a steadfast refusal to acknowledge it. The purpose of this trial is not justice. The purpose of this trial is not to find out the truth. The purpose of this trial is not to hold responsible the truly guilty. The purpose of this trial is to reinforce the telling of a story, a version of events, which continues to be conducive to the political, economic and social forces dominating America. 


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