|The Confession Backfired
By Paul Craig Roberts
03/17/07 "ICH" --- The first confession released by the Bush
regime’s Military Tribunals--that of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed--has
discredited the entire process. Writing in Jurist, Northwestern
University law professor Anthony D’Amato likens Mohammed’s
confession to those that emerged in Stalin’s show trials of
Bolshevik leaders in the 1930s.
That was my own immediate thought. I remember speaking years ago
with Soviet dissident Valdimir Bukovsky about the behavior of
Soviet dissidents under torture. He replied that people pressed
for names under torture would try to remember the names of war
dead and people who had passed away. Those who retained enough
of their wits under torture would confess to an unbelievable
array of crimes in an effort to alert the public to the falsity
of the entire process.
That is what Mohammed did. We know he was tortured, because his
response to the obligatory question about his treatment during
his years of detention is redacted. We also know that he was
tortured, because otherwise there is no point for the US Justice
(sic) Dept. memos giving the green light to torture or for the
Military Commissions Act, which permits torture and death
sentence based on confession extracted by torture.
Mohammed’s confession of crimes and plots is so vast that
Katherine Shrader of the Associated Press reports that the
Americans who extracted Mohammed’s confession do not believe it
either. It is exaggerated, say Mohammed’s tormentors, and must
be taken with a grain of salt.
In other words, the US torture crew, reveling in their success,
played into Mohammed’s hands. Pride goes before a fall, as the
Mohammed’s confession admits to 31 planned and actual attacks
all over the world, including blowing up the Panama Canal and
assassinating presidents Carter and Clinton and the Pope. Having
taken responsibility for the whole ball of wax along with
everything else that he could imagine, he was the entire show.
No other terrorists needed.
Reading responses of BBC listeners to Mohammed’s confession
reveals that the rest of the world is either laughing at the US
government for being so stupid as to think that anyone anywhere
would believe the confession or damning the Bush regime for
being like the Gestapo and KGB.
Humorists are having a field day with the confession: “’I’m a
very dangerous mastermind,’ said Mohammed, who confessed to the
kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, the Brink’s robbery, St.
Valentine’s Day Massacre, and the Lincoln and McKinley
assassinations. Mohammed also accepted responsibility for
spreading hay fever and cold sores around the world and for
rained out picnics.”
If there was anything remaining of the Bush regime not already
discredited, Mohammed’s confession removed any reputation left.
The most important part of the Mohammed story is yet to make the
headlines. Despite having held and tortured hundreds of
detainees for years in Gitmo, and we don’t know how many more in
secret prisons around the world, the US government has come up
with only 14 “high value detainees.”
In other words, the government has nothing on 99 percent of the
detainees who allegedly are so dangerous and wicked that they
must be kept in detention without charges, access to attorneys
and contact with families.
And little wonder. The vast majority of detainees, alleged
“enemy combatants,” are not terrorists captured by the CIA and
brave US troops. They are hapless persons who happened to be
outside their tribal or home territories and were kidnapped by
criminal gangs or war lords who profited greatly at the expense
of the naive Americans who offered bounties for “terrorists.”
The US government does not care that innocent people have been
ensnared, because the US government desperately needs both to
prove that there are vast numbers of terrorists and to
demonstrate its proficiency in protecting Americans by capturing
terrorists. Moreover, the US government needs “dangerous
suspects” that it can use to keep Americans in a state of supine
fearfulness and as a front behind which to undermine
constitutional protections and the Bill of Rights.
The Bush-Cheney Regime succeeded in its evil plot, only to throw
it all away by releasing the ridiculous confession by Khalid
Will Bush’s totalitarian Military Tribunal now execute Mohammed
on the basis of his confession extracted by torture, or would
this be seen everywhere on earth as nothing but an act of
If Bush can’t have Mohammed murdered, the US government will
have to shut Mohammed away where he cannot talk and tell his
tale. The US government will have to replicate Orwell’s memory
hole by destroying Mohammed’s mind with mind-altering drugs and
It is to such depths that George Bush and Dick Cheney have
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary
of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate
Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and
Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The
Tyranny of Good Intentions.
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