Thursday, March 15, 2007


By Josh White

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, confessed at a Guantanamo Bay military hearing that he planned and funded that al-Qaeda operation and said he was involved in more than two dozen other terrorist acts around the world, according to documents released by the Pentagon yesterday.

In a rambling statement delivered Saturday to a closed-door military tribunal, Mohammed declared himself an enemy of the United States and claimed some responsibility for many of the major terrorist attacks on U.S. and allied targets over more than a decade. He said that he is at war with the United States and that the deaths of innocent people are an unfortunate consequence of that conflict.

"I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z," Mohammed told a panel of military officers through a personal representative, who read off a list of 31 terrorist acts that were either carried out or planned but not executed. According to transcripts released by Defense Department officials last night, Mohammed later spoke in broken English and Arabic, saying, "For sure, I'm American enemies."

Mohammed took responsibility for the attacks on New York and Washington in an interrogation detailed in the Sept. 11 commission's report. But his appearance before the tribunal at Guantanamo Bay marked the first time since his March 2003 arrest that he was allowed to make an extended statement that was not delivered to interrogators.

His capture was followed by years of detention in secret CIA facilities, where he was held without any contact with the outside world.

The Pentagon released the transcript last night along with similar records from two other hearings for alleged terrorists. They were among a group of 14 high-value detainees transferred to Guantanamo Bay from CIA custody last September on orders from President Bush. Each detainee is entitled to such a review to determine whether he is an enemy combatant and whether he should remain in U.S. custody. The hearings may be a prelude to possible charges and, ultimately, military trials.

Mohammed presented evidence, in the form of a written statement, in which he appears to allege abuse. The tribunal president told Mohammed he had received the statement "regarding certain treatment that you claim to have received" before arriving at Guantanamo Bay.

The tribunal president also asked whether any statements he made under interrogation were "as the result of any of the treatment." Mohammed answered: "CIA peoples. Yes. At the beginning when they transferred me . . ." The rest of the sentence is redacted from the transcript.

The other hearings were for Abu Faraj al-Libi, who did not appear at his hearing, and Ramzi Binalshibh, who allegedly played a direct role in the Sept. 11 attacks. He also did not participate in the hearing.

Mohammed described himself as Osama bin Laden's operational director for the Sept. 11 attacks and as al-Qaeda's military operational commander for "all foreign operations around the world."

He claimed to have been "responsible" for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, Richard Reid's attempt to ignite a shoe bomb on an airliner over the Atlantic Ocean in December 2001, and the October 2002 bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia.

Mohammed also said he plotted to assassinate several former presidents, including Jimmy Carter, a scheme not previously revealed.

Mohammed described several other plots that never came about, such as attacks on buildings in California, Chicago and Washington state, and on the New York Stock Exchange.

Despite his statements, it is unclear how much involvement he could have had in the 31 separate attacks he listed. The Sept. 11 commission described Mohammed as a flamboyant operative who developed grandiose plans for attacks even as other al-Qaeda leaders urged him to focus on the Sept. 11 plot.

One of those plans revealed Mohammed as captivated by "a spectacle of destruction with KSM as the self-cast star -- the superterrorist," the commission wrote.

Mohammed contended that he and al-Qaeda are not terrorists, but are in engaged in a long struggle against U.S. oppression in the Middle East. He apologizes for killing children in the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Because war, for sure, there will be victims," he said. "When I said I'm not happy that 3,000 been killed in America. I feel sorry even. I don't like to kill children and the kids."

Mohammed likened al-Qaeda's quest to Colonial America's struggles in the of America's Revolutionary War, drawing parallels between Laden and George Washington.

"So when we made any war against America, we are jackals fighting in the nights," he said, adding later that had Washington been arrested by the British, he, too, would have been considered an enemy combatant.

"As consider George Washington as hero, Muslims many of them are considering Osama bin Laden. He is doing same thing. He is just fighting. He needs his independence."

Mohammed said he wants to make a "great awakening" to force the United States to stop foreign policy "in our land."

He urged the U.S. military to release numerous detainees who were captured in Afghanistan and are now at Guantanamo, saying that many were wrongly swept up. At one point, he contended that a group of men sent to assassinate bin Laden and captured by al-Qaeda were later taken prisoner by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Bruce Hoffman, a professor of security studies at Georgetown University, said Mohammed sees himself as a "reluctant warrior and justified" in his actions, as many other terrorists have characterized themselves.


Tragedy struck leftists all across America last week when a federal appeals court reviewing the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, ruled that the right of the people to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed upon by the District. The court's inexplicable ruling was based on a "radical" interpretation of the recently rediscovered 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
According to the Washington Post, which upon hearing of the decision had a small editorial seizure it called “A Dangerous Ruling,” the court’s plain reading of the Bill of Rights has given "a new and dangerous meaning to the 2nd Amendment." Apparently, when the Post reads the amendment according to the ancient and safe interpretation (which goes all the way back to the 1970s) all it sees is:
The Population of the nanny State, being composed of irresponsible rednecks, rejects, and retards, must not be allowed to have Arms.
"[T]his radical ruling will inevitably mean more people killed and wounded as keeping guns out of the city becomes harder," the Post continued, sagely foreseeing a day in the near future when the district might not be the safe gunfree enclave of sanity that it now is. One wonders if D.C. might someday even become the murder capital of the United States without its protective cloak of gun control disarming its law-abiding citizens.

The district's law-and-order mayor, Adrian Fenty, apparently outraged by the disappointing decision, stated afterwards, "I am personally deeply disappointed and quite frankly outraged by today's decision. Today's decision flies in the face of laws that have helped decrease gun violence in the District of Columbia." It's hard to argue with the mayor when one looks at the cold hard facts: today's murder rate is just 26% higher than it was when the gun ban was put in place in 1978, down from a peak of just 128% higher in 1991 before a nationwide decline in crime driven by demographics took hold. With results like that, I'm not sure D.C. can afford to have its gun violence "decreased" any further.

But its not just D.C. that is at risk from this radical discovery of the so-called "Bill of Rights" (if that’s even its real name), the mayor is also worried that the anarchy of Constitutional limits on government power could spread, commenting: "It has national implications with regard to gun control statutes across the country. It's the first time that a federal court has said that the 2nd Amendment restricts or prohibits gun control."

Of course, it's only the first time a federal source has said that the Constitution restricts gun control if you don't count the 2nd Amendment itself -- which is intended expressly to restrict or prohibit gun control. But then this may be the first time a Federal court has read that far into the Constitution -- it's so easy to get hung up trying to find "separation of church and state" in the 1st Amendment, after all.

A number of sources on the left held up for praise in the decision the one dissenting judge, Karen LeCraft Henderson, whose opinion that the gun ban was constitutionally permissible was based on at least two stellar deductions. The first was that since the District of Columbia is not a state (as in "necessary to the security of a free State…"), then the 2nd Amendment did not apply in that part of America. This is a wonderful precedent, not only for the District, but also for America's other territories such a Puerto Rico.

According to this same logic, Amendments 14, 15, 19, 24 and 26 (among others) do not apply in the District either, which means the District is free to a) deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, b) deny the vote to blacks, c) deny the vote to women, d) institute a poll tax, and e) deny the vote based on age. Clearly, Henderson deserves her new status as a liberal hero.

Henderson's second insight was that despite the right belonging to "the people" in the amendment, it actually belonged only to the militia as an organized military force. To believe this, you have to believe that the United States is the only nation on Earth that felt a need to guarantee its government, in writing, the right to have an army -- which is possible, I suppose, if Jefferson foresaw the attitude of the modern Democrat party towards the military.

The mystery of whether the amendment guarantees the people or the military the right to have weapons perplexed a number of commentators taken aback by the decision. Consider this verbal tailspin featured on MSNBC:

"Now, the issue is 27 words. That's the 2nd Amendment's section on the right to bear arms. I'm going to read the 27 words. They say 'a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' Now, it's a long-standing legal question in America, and largely unresolved, although partisans on both sides will say it is resolved but a majority of scholars would say it isn't. What does that mean? Does that mean that militias have the right to possess guns or individuals?"

Wow. If only those comments could have been limited to 27 words.

The Washington Post was not afflicted with such uncertainty, however, stating that the amendment applied only to militias (suddenly so popular with the media) and that the ruling was part of an "unconscionable campaign, led by the National Rifle Association… to give individuals 2nd Amendment rights." And you thought that campaign was led by the Founding Fathers.

But what is the "militia"? It is not the army -- by contrast, it was seen as an antidote to having to keep a standing army. It was defined at the time of the Constitution’s writing roughly as "all able-bodied male citizens not in the regular military." (Theoretically it may thus be constitutionally permissible to deny guns to women, old men, cripples, and possibly fat people, but I have to admit I'm against this. These are precisely the groups of people that might need a gun most for self-defense, or possibly for procuring more food.) Viewed in this light, the liberal response to the ruling is, essentially, the right does not belong to the people, so much as it belongs to all civilians.

What the left does not get about the 2nd Amendment is that it is not about the National Guard, or sporting firearms or gun collections. It does not guarantee the government an army, nor does it guarantee civilians the right to hunt and shoot skeet. It's about the right of the people to maintain some portion of the ultimate power of government -- violence -- to themselves.

The Founding Fathers systematically democratized the powers of society through the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They democratized the power of law through the right to vote. They democratized the power of wealth through the right to private property (since repealed by environmentalists and courts). They democratized the power of ideas through the right to free speech (since repealed by McCain/Feingold). And they democratized the power of violence (or the capability to commit it) through the right to bear arms (since repealed by "gun control").

The four great powers of man: law, money, thought and violence were thus divided among the people and not reserved exclusively to the connected, the rich, the approved, and the enlisted. That's the basis of our Republic. That's America. And that is, apparently, a total surprise to liberals.

But the deeper reason behind the hysteria over the decision is that for decades the left has been able to make the Constitution into whatever it wanted. The actual words did not matter. When words -- even just 27 words -- mean exactly what they say, then the power to dictate law from a "living" Constitution disappears and liberals are reduced to trying to persuade people that they are right -- a daunting task. When a court can decide that the 2nd Amendment must be respected, the left is on a slippery slope indeed. Who knows what amendment might be rediscovered next? Personally, I vote for the 10th. Regardless, if the trend is allowed to continue, it will be a disaster for the dictatorial left. Thus, I predict the decision will be appealed.