Do We Still Have Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's Sons?
Finally, after having been held in U.S. CIA and military custody for more than four years while being subjected to “all appropriate pressure” by “interrogators” employing their “full range of permissible techniques,” the former student at North Carolina’s Chowan College and North Carolina A & T, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has finally claimed to have directed just about every major terrorism attack against the United States over the past fifteen years. From the techniques that we have read about, one has to wonder what took him so long to start singing like a canary.
But little known to most Americans, no matter how closely they might follow the news, the torture by whatever name one might choose to call it, is not even the worst of it. According to a March 2003 report that appeared in the Washington, DC, area only in the little-read Washington Times, the United States government has his two young sons in its custody. As reported by Olga Craig of the Sunday Telegraph of London on March 9, 2003:
The boys [Yousef al-Khalid, 9, and his brother, Abed al-Khalid, 7] have been held by the Pakistani authorities but…they were flown to America where they will be questioned about their father. CIA interrogators confirmed that the boys were staying at a secret address where they were being encouraged to talk about their father's activities. "We are handling them with kid gloves," said one official. "After all, they are only little children, but we need to know as much about their father's recent activities as possible. We have child psychologists on hand at all times and they are given the best of care."
To the knowledge of this writer, nothing further about Mohammed’s sons has appeared in the news, so we may assume that that is where matters stand. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s sons, who would now be 13 and 11, have apparently been incarcerated somewhere in the United States for four years now, and all that time they have been at the tender mercies of the Central Intelligence Agency. Now there may still be some innocents among us who will readily believe that the CIA has been giving them nothing but “the best of care,” but that could hardly include anyone with the imagination to put himself in Mohammed’s place. These determined continued believers in the word of people who have been caught in lies repeatedly might also swallow the assertion that we nabbed these moppets to pump them for vital information, never mind that this kidnapping flies in the face of everything that is legal and decent and seems to be just another part of systematic U.S. practice.
If our purpose was simply to question them about their father’s activities, one might ask, why did we find it necessary to take them into custody and to bring them to the United States? No, the lead sentence in the Sunday Telegraph story says it all; the children “are being used by the CIA to force their father to talk.” As an unnamed CIA official is quoted, “His sons are important to him. The promise of their release and their return to Pakistan may be the psychological lever we need to break him."
He sure did take a lot longer than Nikolai Bukharin or Grigory Zinoviev back in the late 1930s in Moscow, but now it looks like he has pretty thoroughly broken and has confessed to everything that we wanted him to, and more. Do you think we will soon be reading stories in the mainstream media that his two precious ones have now been allowed to return to their families, or will the incarcerators be as true to their word as they have been in the case of Palestinian-American professor, Sami Al-Arian?
Some Questions for the "Mastermind"
If he is, indeed, the 9-11 mastermind, I surely would like to ask him a question or two, questions you can be sure will never be asked should Mohammed ever get his day in court. The first would be how on earth he was able to persuade Osama and the boys that the plan would have any chance at all to succeed. From the beginning, it depended upon complete ineptitude on the part of America’s air defenses. Even though Tom Clancy, a man who seems to be on the best of terms with the Pentagon crowd, had already written two novels, Debt of Honor and Executive Orders, in which terrorists hijack airliners with the intent of crashing them into important buildings, the very notion that someone would actually do it was beyond our leaders’ wildest imagination, we have been told. Though the top U.S. bulb might be an exceptionally dim one, why would one make grandiose plans that depend utterly upon such unimaginably low wattage up and down the chain of command? Wouldn’t Mohammed have to be more than a mastermind, but a master mind reader?
More than that, wouldn’t it even have required a degree of clairvoyance that would surely have made the plan very hard to sell to superiors? The hijackers would all have to be able to get through security without their weapons being detected and those weapons would have to be perceived as lethal enough to allow them to control the far larger numbers of passengers and crew of the airplanes. What are the chances, really, of so many people behaving so much like sheep?
“Sorry, Khalid,” I can hear Osama saying, “Go back to the drawing board and come up with something a bit simpler that has a greater likelihood of success,” and we haven’t even mentioned the need for virtuoso piloting and navigating performances by novice pilots on harrowing suicide missions.
If preserving our security were our real concern—and, indeed, if the confession was real—we would be treated to a full explanation of how this bunch of zealots pulled off their miraculous attack, but if I were you I would not be holding my breath waiting for it.
March 18, 2007
For more questions for the supposed evil sorcerer, see "The 'Confessions' of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," by Nila Sagadevan.