Khalid Sheik Mohammed pwns stupid, desperate Bush White House with so-called "confession"
OK, so the maladministration rushes KSM's laughable "confession" out so they can drive Abu Gonzales's public, pre-resignation meltdown below the fold for a day or two, and what happens?
Well, the Hill was alive with the sound of winger spooge for a day or two, but now that the self-excitation from the Cheetohs-stained ones has died down, we can assess:
And it turns out--surprise!--that the publicity the administration was so willing to give KSM prejudiced all the other Al Qaeda cases--even in the kangaroo courts Bush had set up under the MCA! Here's how:
In acknowledging last Saturday his role in more than 30 terrorist attacks and plots, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed certainly simplified the case against himself and may have effectively signed his own death warrant when he eventually faces a military trial.
But those same statements, released on Wednesday by the Pentagon, may complicate the prosecution of his former colleagues.
Speaking to a military tribunal that considers just the narrow question of whether Guantánamo detainees were properly designated as enemy combatants, Mr. Mohammed was so expansive in his acceptance of responsibility that other defendants might be able to use his statements in their own defense.
In a transcript of the hearing, Mr. Mohammed also disavowed information he had told Central Intelligence Agency interrogators about his accomplices, again potentially helping the other defendants.
A revised version of the transcript released Thursday added another chilling confession. Mr. Mohammed said he decapitated Daniel Pearl, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, in Pakistan in 2002. The military said it had held back the passage about Mr. Pearl while it notified his family.
That confession could figure in the case of Ahmed Omar Sheikh, who is appealing his death sentence in Pakistan for his role in Mr. Pearl’s abduction and murder. Mr. Mohammed and the other Qaeda leaders will eventually face charges before military commissions that they are guilty of war crimes, many of which carry death sentences.
Unlike the recent proceedings, before Combatant Status Review Tribunals, those trials will largely resemble ones before civilian criminal courts. Officials have said that they intend to charge the men this year and that those trials could start early next year.
The trials of three less significant detainees, none of them among the 14 leaders, are expected to begin soon.
It is not clear whether Mr. Mohammed was really involved in as many terrorism plots as he said or whether he was simply indulging in a penchant for drama and self-aggrandizement. Nonetheless, his confession could have a significant effect on the round of tribunals. Several lawyers said his statement could be used against him in other settings.
Great. The Cheetohs-stained ones would be calling for public hanging of the traitors who did this, if it wasn't one of their own. Me, I'd settle for a ritual of public humiliation like, oh, mass resignations and/or impeachment.
NOTE The Times has a fascinating little bit of exegetical naivite here:
John Sifton, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, said he questioned whether the statement read for Mr. Mohammed by his representative authentically reflected his views.
“The grammar of it alone, when juxtaposed with his version of English, suggests it was prepared for him,” Mr. Sifton said. “It looked to me like it was printed out of whitehouse.gov.”
But Mr. Mohammed in places amended and then expressly adopted the statement, telling tribunal officials that he was not under any pressure or duress as he did so. He later freely discussed aspects of his terrorism activities in an extended monologue to the tribunal.
For "But," read "And."
It looks like a Rovian bankshot, to me:
1. Rove wants a front page story, so goes to the only place on earth where the Bush administration has absolute power and can get whatever it wants however it wants it: Gitmo.
2. KSM wants:
(a) To be a martyr or escape the hell of Gitmo the only way possible, by dying
(b) To aggrandize himself by claiming credit for everything he can think of, up to and including sabotaging the pretzel that Dear Leader choked on
(c) To prejudice the cases against his fellow prisoners
3. Rove gives KSM the confession.
4. KSM amends it and signs it.
5. Rove has it leaked to the press.
So, it's just another example of gaslighting, the political manipulation of terra intelligence, and planted disinformation in our famously free press. The only twist on the play is that, this time, KSM is planting disinformation too.
UPDATE Time is even more naive than the Times. In the lead, no less:
It's hard to tell what the Pentagon's objective really is in releasing the transcript of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's confession.
Well, er, I'm not so sure about that...