Understanding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s Game Plan


yosri fouda 2.jpg
Yosri Fouda, an important Al Jazeera journalist who interviewed both Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh, has written a very interesting note today in The Sunday Times of London on what may be driving KSM’s extraordinary admissions during secret hearings at Guantanamo Bay.
The entire piece is very insightful, but here is the last extensive section:

I have no doubt that he would have liked to have been responsible for all the claims on the transcript, but was he? One thing that is missing, which I’m sure he was responsible for, is the Djerba operation in Tunisia: a tanker drove into a synagogue there in 2002, killing 21 people, after KSM gave the perpetrator his approval. That kind of “responsibility” is not uncommon. Maybe he forgot that one.
So he seems to be taking responsibility for some outrages he might not have perpetrated, while keeping quiet about ones that suggest his hand. I think he has blurred the line between what he did and what he was hoping or plotting to do.
He wants to take the credit for high-profile attacks because he is a pragmatist, a power-hungry mastermind, and realises his time is up; he might as well gain sympathy as an ideological hero.
He lived for this spotlight, the chance to say: “Look at this spectacular operation I pulled off against the most powerful nation on earth.” But he is not a fantasist. KSM is a guy who enjoys plotting and being in the field. He could be the head of the mafia and also the imam of a group of people praying in Afghanistan. He would enjoy both roles.
Another possibility is that he might be taking credit so other people, still at large, can avoid the blame. We can never know for sure. One thing that is clear is his wish to be dignified as a prisoner of war. When he mentions George Washington, he is addressing America. He is saying: “This is your own hero, you used to be oppressed by the Brits and the Brits considered George Washington to be a terrorist.”
He knows that the smallest count against him will be enough to have him executed. Hardly anyone, even in Al-Qaeda, will believe he was responsible for all these operations. But he’s hoping they’ll think he has been selfless.
He is not a man of Allah but a man of action. I knew that when they were captured it would be KSM who talked first. Ramzi would be much tougher to interrogate: a true believer in Allah, in his own way. I would bet when he was captured Ramzi thought: “My true jihad has just started.” KSM would have thought: “This is it, game over.”

It would be interesting to know what this 9/11 plotter thinks about the success of his operation and of the distraction of America away from his al Qaeda overlords into the swamp of Iraq.
More later.

— Steve Clemons


22 comments on “Understanding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s Game Plan

  1. Thomas says:



  2. Matthew says:

    Ah, punishing the perpetrator’s children: the favorite tactic of Stalin and Saddam. At least the government should let us see KSM’s Show Trial. They won’t; he might go off script.
    What’s amazing to me is that we can’t even win the propaganda battle against someone who helped murder 3,000 of our civilians. Can you imagine if Bush-Cheney had run the Nuremberg trials?


  3. Cee says:

    It has been reported that KSM’s children where taken into custody. IF he’s even still alive or in custody, this would explain him taking credit for everything under the sun…on orders.


  4. yahaddasayit says:

    To my main man in denial: To say “the distraction of America…” is like saying an alcoholic is “distracted” by a drink. You so often provide allusions with illusions I need to ask how someone with your intelligence and insider’s role can continuously play the victim. Money and power in America hasn’t been “distracted” by Iraq. The people that orchestrate this society PURPOSEFULLY invaded Iraq knowing full well that if they would have captured al Qaeda, their plans for the real wealth of America and the Middle East would never have been realized. You even have Den saying: “…for a country that meant so much, that stood so tall”. Maybe history class wasn’t his thing.
    All delusions. I should have stuck with Joe Cartoon.


  5. B.N. says:

    P.O. American–I assume you mean my blog, right? I like your idea of interactions between blogs. And, no.w, I do not know Steve C.–except from reading his posts on this informative. blog.And, of course, I love to read the outspoken comments.


  6. susan says:

    After his stay in Room 101, Winston Smith loved Big Brother too.


  7. Pissed Off American says:

    Well, personally, I would like to see more interaction between blogs such as your’s and Steve’s, both in host postings and reader comments. Too often these blogs seem to become ideological islands, locked into a few core commenters and pretty much going round and round with the same perspectives being bandied ad nauseum. Case in point, Carroll and my obsession with the corrosive influence AIPAC has on Washington politics and the foreign policy of the United States. Or, to the other extreme, the repetitive and shallow justifications and rationales that are offered for AIPAC’s influence, or those offered to defend this international scam known as the GWOT.
    BTW, are you and Steve acquainted?


  8. B.N. says:

    thanks for taking a look at reflectivepundit.com. And, yes, we are getting increasingly visitors but few comments. Strangely, some people will send me an e-mail and refer to posts. Perhaps it takes a while before we get more comments.


  9. Dan Kervick says:

    I’m with Den on this. I am astonished at the degree to which this notion of KSM the boastful ideologue has taken hold in Washington as the dominant explanation for his tall stories. Is the press corps so brutalized itself that it is emotionally and intellectually incapable of even contemplating the torture to which we know KSM was subjected? Do they think it is unseemly to bring up facts that are already in the public record? Are the unaware of the cumulative effect of prolonged torture on its recipient?
    Or maybe they are afraid that if they mention these unpleasant realities, somebody will think they are “soft on terrorism” or an al-Qaeda sympathizer? In others words, they are just run-of-the-mill cowards.
    So how about this alternative hypothesis for the mountain of fantastic admissions tumbling out of KSM’s mouth at this most propitious time for the White House: KSM is a caged canary who will now sing whatever song his handlers want him to sing. And the songs favored by the handlers are called “The Long War” and “Blood-thirsty Muslim Blues”.


  10. Winnipeger says:

    DonS is right. these purported confessions wouldn’t have anything to do with the burgeoning “prosecutorgate” scandal or the admission that the fbi abused the patriot act and spied on americans without justification, would it? (read with sarcasm)
    calls for gonzalez’s and mueller’s heads, rove being asked to testify before congress, news cycles only getting worse for bushco and voila, suddenly KSM has confessed. timely? i say bullshit.
    btw, den, i hate to admit it, but america has ALWAYS tortured… and so does every other nation in the world… and worse. remember mk-ultra?


  11. rich says:

    It’s pretty well known that torture victims will confess to anything and everything to please their torturers.
    Didn’t torture under Stalin result in extravagant confessions from hapless schmucks, so eager to end the pain that they’d take credit for anything and everything?
    If I’m not mistaken, so far Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s taken credit for numerous plots, some very surprising and nettlesome FOIA requests, the sinking of the Maine, and knocking over the local 7-11.
    The only thing we can’t be sure about one way or the other is the ‘numerous plots’ part.
    If you wince reading this, just consider–it’s the same type of mockery and derision found in the European & Asian press. Bush has made us a laughingstock.


  12. Pissed Off American says:

    I am not promoting my own web site–but you may want to take a look at mu post “The beleaguered administration and the confessions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad at reflectivepundit.com
    Posted by B.N.
    Actually, upon examining your blog, I am suprised you have so few responses in the comment section. It looks like a fairly together website, and Epstein’s and your postings seem knowledgable and informative.


  13. B.N. says:

    The Al Jazeera guy and many others are kidding themselves and try to pull one over us: This KSM is a bad guy who has been through the wringer of “aggressive interrogation” (speak torture) for four years. He has told his handlers anything they wanted to hear and then some.The idea that he wants to boast at this point of the game is as far-fetched as the notion that he still has knowledge that will be instrumental in preventing further terrorism strikes. I am not promoting my own web site–but you may want to take a look at mu post “The beleaguered administration and the confessions of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad at reflectivepundit.com


  14. DonS says:

    A measure of the irrelevancy of the “confessions” is that the MSM ran with it full tilt. So it did manage to get the crimes of King George off the front page for a couple of days. It would all be absurd if it weren’t so tragic.


  15. JohnH says:

    “He would have liked to have been responsible for all the claims on the transcript.” Sounds like he has the makings of an outstanding politician. KSM said everything he thought his handlers wanted him to say and probably lied through his teeth whenever necessary. Difference is, KSM did it under torture, politicians do it for a living.


  16. Den Valdron says:

    How far we all have fallen. How degraded a noble country has become. America tortures. The words are like a knife across my tongue, I am filled with shame and vomit, my heart breaks for a country that meant so much, that stood so tall. How did it all come to this.


  17. ... says:

    MP qote >>Yes, the trouble is, at this point, one doesn’t know if what KSM is saying is lies or the truth. Or, if both, how much if each is involved.<< same could be said about Bush most of the time too, and i don’t think he is being tortured by cheney, but i might have that wrong..


  18. MP says:

    Yes, that is true


  19. Den Valdron says:

    Lies or truth. Coerced or voluntary. There are no certainties there.
    The only certainty is that America tortures.


  20. MP says:

    Yes, the trouble is, at this point, one doesn’t know if what KSM is saying is lies or the truth. Or, if both, how much if each is involved.


  21. Den Valdron says:

    Oh Jesus H. Christ, give me a break.
    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s real game plan is to reduce the voltage being run through his testicles on tuesdays and thursdays, and to get waterboarding cut back from five to three nights a week.
    Who gives a monkey’s ass what KSM has to day. He’s resident number one of torture central, property of a country which has legitimized torture.
    Nothing he says has any independent credibility. Nothing America says about him has any credibility at all.
    End of story.


  22. Pissed Off American says:

    “It would be interesting to know what this 9/11 plotter thinks about the success of his operation and of the distraction of America away from his al Qaeda overlords into the swamp of Iraq.”
    The idea that that he has confessed to so many acts of terrorism to take the heat off of the real perpetrators had crossed my mind. But really, I see the media’s airing of his obviously dishonest confessions as more of a propaganda campaign on Bush’s part, designed to keep the “boo factor” alive and well in our minds. The recent FBI “warnings” about foreigners with “terrorist assocciations” signing up to drive school buses, (but there is nothing for parents to be concerned about), is a damned joke. The machinations and propaganda being advanced by this administration becomes more surreal by the minute. In KSM’s case, we not only need to wade through his lies, we need to wade through the Bush Administration’s lies ABOUT his lies. Who knows what the fuckin’ truth is anymore? We sure as hell haven’t been given any reason to believe the truth is going to issue forth from the media, or the White House. Hell, for all we know, KSM’s confessions may be a total fabrication. So trying to ponder their meanings, and the motivations for these alleged confessions is an exercise in futility. If I was to hazard a guess, my opinion would be that these so-called “confessions” are being aired to lend credibility to the “official line of shit” about what actually occurred on 9/11, and the idea that a few yahoos with box-cutters successfully buffaloed the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the INS, the Mossad, and NORAD.
    One thing is for sure, if you have my head under water, and I am convinced you intend to drown me, I’ll tell you I sodomized the Pope if I believe the confession will end the torture.


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