The ideological foundation of the 9/11 attacks
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the al-Qaeda terrorist who planned and executed 9/11, murdering 2,819 Americans that day, was charged in February of war crimes and murder. He faces the death penalty. On Dec. 8 in a Guantanamo military court, he pled guilty along with four co-defendants. If the judge accepts the guilty pleas, essentially confessions, according to Robert Spencer, it will be very difficult for the new President to accommodate an ACLU motion to move the case to federal district court.
The ACLU claims that since the defendants were tortured, any confession or guilty plea must be thrown out.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, 9/11 mastermind
Mohammed stated in 2007: “I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z. I was the operational director for Sheikh Usama bin Laden for the organizing, planning, follow-up and execution of the 9/11 operation.” Monday’s letter said that Mohammed and his co-defendants had come to their decision to plead guilty “without being under any kind of pressure, threat, intimidations or promise from any party.” Meanwhile, one less noted but no less important aspect of the case was the ideological foundation of the 9/11 attacks. The defendants made that abundantly clear in their Monday statement: “Our success,” they declared, “is the greatest praise of the Lord.”
Obviously Mohammed and his co-defendants are glad to be martyred which will contribute to al-Qaeda recruiting efforts. Waterboarding is a controversial interrogation technique. In a recent interview VP Cheney indicated waterboarding produced the desired results, the acquisition of information useful in saving American lives. Critics have condemned the Bush administration for using waterboarding, stress position, sensory and sleep deprivation to extract information from terrorist detainees at Guantanamo. The Administration has argued terror detainees do not qualify for consideration under terms of the Geneva Conventions, a legal determination supported by Obama’s nominee for Attorney General. Those opposed to this position insist waterboarding and other techniques amount to torture, violations of Geneva.
Some intelligence sources indicate the entire matter is overblown and misses the point. They say waterboarding has been used three times, that the other techniques are not torture, and in the main, a combination of drugs and deprivation techniques ordinarily produces desired results.
Recently the Supreme Court issued a ruling saying all Guantanamo detainees have a right to be charged and tried in American courts. Military experts have said this will make it more difficult for them to get a hold of crucial intelligence required to continue protecting Americans. Others say the ruling will mean detainees will be release to terrorize again, or they will be sent to prisons in other countries where they face real torture.
This writer has suggested the following hypothetical to challenge those who agree with the thinking at the ACLU:
You are President. You have three detainees in custody and you know they are fully aware of at least one imminent attack on American soil. They have detailed knowledge: the when, the where, the who, the how. Al Qaeda is behind the attack, and these detainees know it will happen soon, it will involve WMD, and it will kill 100,000 Americans, minimum. You are running out of time. All your intelligence and military advisors tell you none of the detainees are responding to traditional interrogation techniques, including drugs. They unanimously recommend water boarding. What do you do?
So far without exception, the vote is “waterboard.”
President Elect Obama has indicated he will look into prosecuting Bush administration officials, centering on the issues surround torture and the prosecution of the war on terror. Sen. Carl Levin is calling for an investigative commission toward those ends as well.
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Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch, a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and the author of eight books on Islam and jihad. Spencer is a weekly columnist for Human Events and the website Front-Page Magazine, and has led seminars on Islam and jihad for the United States Central Command, United States Army Command and General Staff College, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the U.S. intelligence community.