Thursday, December 07, 2006

U.S. bars cross-checks of 9/11 tale

One of these days, supposedly, alleged al Qaeda biggie Khalid Sheik Mohammed will be transported from a secret CIA prison overseas to the Guantanamo naval base, where he will face a special tribunal.

KSM, as the 9/11 commission denoted him, played a big role in the commission's narrative of the events leading up to 9/11. He reportedly gave CIA interrogators quite a bit of information on the 9/11 plot.

The panel admitted that the White House and CIA had prevented its investigators from questioning KSM directly. In fact, the probers had to rely on sanitized transcripts of what KSM purportedly told the CIA. Never mind reviewing videos of the interrogations.

Just take our word for it, said the CIA.

Well, maybe KSM deserved coercive techniques to sweat him for info; perhaps he even deserved the waterboarding treatment, whereby a victim is made to feel that he is on the verge of drowning (that's not torture, says the CIA). BUT, how reliable is his information?

True, at some points, the commission narrative expresses mild reservations as to KSM's credibility, but, the commission nevertheless relies on what he allegedly said to form its smooth storyline. When reviewing what KSM supposedly said, it's hard not to think that he was telling interrogators what they needed to hear so they could concoct a "plausible" narrative.

The point here is that the 9/11 panel rests a great deal of its case about what supposedly happened on unchallengeable statements made under duress in a secret location at secret times. Even the identities of the interrogators are secret.
There are few opportunities to cross-check such "evidence."

So much for the panel's credibility.

Perhaps KSM will get a "fair" tribunal, but we can guess that the rules of evidence will be restrictive to the point that the 9/11 panel's yarn isn't seriously challenged.

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BTW, I have looked at the two released surveillance tapes of the strike of the Pentagon. In one tape the object, apparently AA77, is at a slight, but significant angle coming into the frame from the right at treetop level or less; in the next frame, it hits the Pentagon.

In the other tape, the plane appears in one frame to be virtually horizontal to the ground, also at treetop level or less, before the strike.

Now that indicates some amazing aerobatic skill for someone who had never even flown a jumbo jet before.

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