For the Night of 15 March 2007
The Chinese quickly saw through the sleight of hand and
warned that the
As noted before, this is the second of the four internal
Protests by up to 20,000 people in an outlying town in the
Han heartland of
Howard has the right of it. Musharraf is the ally, not
The Thai Fourth Army Region declared a curfew in
Nonetheless, he also made a threat against the government of
International news services have made a point of
distinguishing between Afghan Taliban and Pakistani Taliban. If the two could
work out a merger arrangement that is targeted against
The new sanctions are focused on company malefactors, rather
than the country, but they will bite. Even the Chinese and Russians have tired
First of all, security conditions in Diyala Governate are
deteriorating as fast as those in
An article published in the international press showcased
one fact of IED folk lore: the bombers walk to work.
One point is that the locals always know who are the bomb
makers and gun fighters in their communities, bends in the road or cross roads
intersections. A large number of people
always know who are the culprits. Local security in
A second point is that people get tired of the aggravation, the explosions, the investigations that follow and the inconvenience. If they get half a chance at ratting out the irritants while maintaining anonymity, they will. Especially if schools open as a result. At least in two locations IED attacks have dropped. This does not mean they like Americans. They just dislike the annoying bomb makers more.
Special Comment: The Curious Confession of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Note: this comment is
about the processes of the
These comments, then, are an analysis of the statement that was released, only the statement on its face.
The unclassified statement released by the tribunal today did little to build confidence in the tribunal or the reliability of anything KSM said. From the misspelling of the name of a man in US custody for four years to multiple errors of fact bearing on his involvement in various attacks, all ruled irrelevant by the president, the statement is farcical as a product of US jurisprudence. If this is the tribunal process, then alternatives ought to be examined.
Did Khalid understand the proceeding?
Probably, but the statement does not show that to be the case.The president of the tribunal, a Navy JAG officer, asked Khalid whether he wanted to proceed in English. Khalid said he did. After reading a sentence or two of the transcript, it is clear that Khalid cannot express himself clearly in English, and that he did not understand the proceeding against him. Khalid indirectly asked about the significance of being called an enemy combatant.
What was the charge?
Being an an enemy combatant is not a crime, nor is it a charge. Charges are criminal acts, not status. Status crimes – such as being idle with no visible means of support – are unconstitutional. Doing a crime is culpable, not being an American hater. Ironically, Khalid helped the tribunal to confessing to a crime he actually did by his own hand and could be charged with. He clearly wants to be made a martyr. His confession to murdering Dan Pearl is no accident but a compensation for a bumbling tribunal.
Khalid said he was a soldier.
The record shows the tribunal did not understand or
dismissed Khalid’s claim to be a soldier, thus a
prisoner of war under the
He decapitated Daniel Pearl because, according to Khalid,
Why was a translator not used?
An Arabic translator was present and could have been used
more than the two times noted in the statement. In every
But not in this one, though Khalid’s understanding of English appears so bad that he could not reply to even simple questions relative to his confession asked by the president of the tribunal, That is plain error that undermined the credibility of the proceeding.
What does take responsibility mean?
Even the most prejudicial reading of Khalid’s statements are that he admitted to waging war against the US, that is not the same as admitting to the long list of crimes, which Khalid did not. “Take responsibility for” is not the language of criminal justice because it is too vague.
Why did he plead for fairness for others?
But there’s more. Three times Khalid
Khalid said everything; little made sense.
Khalid will say anything, one
could rightly rejoin. That is the point. Khalid did say
everything and admitted to taking responsibility for everything, but it is hard
to distinguish which attacks he participated in, aside from the well known attacks
and the confession to the
Khalid said he was a like a
Other evidence and Khalid’s own words are that he did not do all the things for which he “took responsibility” and a lot of them never occurred. In the record of oral testimony, Khalid made explicit that he took responsibility for many actions in the way that commanders of forces take responsibility. In a real legal proceeding, which this was not, the statement would fall short in hundreds of respects. It is not clear from the statement, whether it was written in Arabic and translated into English, or written by the government and acknowledged by Khalid, or written by Khalid’s so-called personal representative, who appears less than qualified to represent anyone, in the statement.
What was the point of the statement?
Arguably, Khalid does not deserve
due process or any of the other protections of
This man should have been tried in a criminal court.
Our sense of ourselves as civilized people mandates the protections of due process. We apply them for the common good, for the protection of the innocent, not for the benefit of an accused. Khalid’s confession to murdering Daniel Pearl would have been more than enough to justify a jury in a finding of guilt for murder under any competent criminal procedure. One thing that the civilian criminal justice system does well is expose the baseness of the criminal defendant. There is no room for heroic speeches; only for the facts that prove malice, premeditation, deliberation and flagrant disregard for human life.
But the statement before the tribunal gave Khalid a bully pulpit for bragging and for comparing his fight to that of George Washington, which he did by name. That alone made the statement an obscenity. It also made the proceeding incompetent because it showed Khalid never admitted to committing a crime. As he said, “The language of war is victims.”
A couple of substantive points are worth noting. Khalid was born in Kuwait of Pakistani parents.