A Clue to the Truth about 9/11 ?

9. The 9/11 Convictions

                                             1. Mounir al-Motassadeq                              2. Zacarias Moussaoui                                         3. Imad Yarkas
                                                 (convicted, quashed,                                (self-convicted — no trial)                              (convicted, quashed)
                                                 reconvicted, appeal ?)

In September 2001, George W. Bush promised to bring the perpetrators of 9/11 to justice. What happened to that promise between then and January 2009, when he left office ? Let's look at his record. After the first ever 9/11 conviction, not in the USA but in Hamburg on 19 February 2003, Mounir al-Motassadeq was sentenced to 15 years for membership of a terrorist organisation and complicity in the 3,066 murders allegedly committed on 9/11; on 4 March 2004, that conviction was quashed. When his retrial on the same charges ended on 19 August 2005, he was acquitted on the murder charges but was given 7 years on the membership charge. His co-accused, Abdelghani Mzoudi, had been acquitted on all charges on 5 February 2004. On 16 November 2006, at the Karlsruhe Federal Court of Justice, Motassadeq's accessory-to-murder convictions were reinstated — but of only 246 victims, the crew and passengers on the 9/11 planes; those killed in the Twin Towers were now excluded. On 8 January 2007, he was sentenced to 15 years; four days later the Federal Constitutional Court refused to hear his appeal, and on 2 May 2007 the Federal Court of Justice refused to review the case, but it could still be taken to the European Court of Justice or the European Court of Human Rights, or a new trial in Germany might be possible.

On 22 April 2005, after more than three years of pre-trial hearings, Zacarias Moussaoui finally pleaded guilty in Washington to six counts of conspiracy* involving the events of 9/11, saving the expense (and possible embarrassment) of a trial; he then immediately tried to withdraw his plea and claimed he had been involved in a different conspiracy, not 9/11 — a claim given some backing even in the Kean Commission Report. On 4 May 2006, he was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

* specifically, conspiracy to : commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries; commit aircraft piracy; destroy aircraft; use weapons of mass destruction; murder United States employees; destroy property. The WMD referred to are identified as "airplanes intended for use as missiles, bombs and similar devices" — for which idiotic argument, see Appendix 7; how did it ever end up in a legal indictment ?

On the very same day Moussaoui pled guilty, 22 April 2005 — pure coincidence yet again, no doubt — 24 defendants (from the original 41 indicted, including Osama Bin Laden) appeared in Madrid in a trial expected to last two months, with three of the 24 accused of being accessories to the murders of 9/11 — this time numbered at 2,973. In the event, the trial lasted less than three days — Friday 22, Monday 25 and Tuesday 26. On 26 September, the Madrid National Court delivered 18 convictions, but all murder charges and telephone evidence were thrown out, one of the three was acquitted on all charges, one was given 6 years for terrorist membership and the third, Imad Yarkas ("Abu Dahdah"), 27 years, comprising 12 for membership and (as opposed to the 74,325 years — 25 for each murder — requested by the prosecution) 15 for "criminal formation," otherwise known as conspiracy — "providing funding and logistics" for those who planned 9/11, but not, according to the 447-page summary from the 3-judge panel, direct participation in 9/11.

The sum total of Bush's efforts to bring the guilty to justice was two convictions — two more than his successor, to be sure : Barack Obama has convicted nobody in his first two years. If Moussaoui is one day found dead in his cell, like Slobodan Milosevic (or Rudolf Hess), that would neatly dispose of someone whose precise role in 9/11, if any, is still a mystery — not least to a judge who said she had never believed any of his claims; the general consensus is that he was only indirectly involved — no surprise, when he was already in an American prison cell when it happened. As for Yarkas, his 9/11 conviction, on circumstantial evidence, was overturned by Spain’s Supreme Court on 1 June 2006 (although his conviction for terrorist membership was upheld). If, as seems likely, Motassadeq's convictions are reversed yet again, Moussaoui's would be the only success, if that is not an abuse of the word — no trial, no jury and precious little credibility — after nine years of international investigation.

Given the wholesale abuse of legal standards by the Bush administration from 9/11 on — which affected foreign trials as well as domestic — we should treat any conviction as miraculous ; and even when convictions are achieved, they do not necessarily follow a normal pattern like conviction, sentence, jail — as in the bizarre pre-9/11 case of another accused who, like Moussaoui, pled guilty. What happened after that to Ali Mohamed, the al-Qaeda operative with a past life as a US Army instructor at Fort Bragg, alleged FBI informant, CIA agent provocateur, etc etc, is a blank sheet. There is no record of his ever having been sentenced, and although he is said to be in federal custody, attempts to trace him via the Inmate Locator website of the Federal Bureau of Prisons get nowhere. But the Mohamed story — what we know of it — could fill another essay.

                                                       1. Ali Mohamed                                         2. Ramzi Binalshibh                               3. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
                                               (self-convicted, vanished                               (in custody 8 years +,                                    (in custody 8 years+,
                                                from US "legal system")                                      still untried)                                                     still untried)

The alleged "mastermind" of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was in US hands for almost five years (he was arrested in Rawalpindi on 1 March 2003), and Ramzi Binalshibh even longer (arrested in Karachi, 11 September 2002 — the first anniversary — another pure coincidence, need it be said), before in February 2008 it was announced, not by the US Attorney General, but a legal spokesman for the Pentagon, that they and four others were finally to be charged and put on trial, at Guantαnamo Bay, before a military court, with their rights still to be determined by the Supreme Court, and with massive international criticism of what had already been done to them in custody, before and after being brought to Cuba in September 2006 from the CIA's safekeeping. On 12 June 2008, just one week after Mohammed, Binalshibh and three others appeared at an arraignment hearing at Guantαnamo, the Supreme Court declared the Military Commissions Act unconstitutional and upheld habeas corpus rights for all foreign detainees, allowing them to challenge their status in normal civilian courts in the USA. It took until November 2009, after a change of government and the stated intention to close "Gitmo" — an intention so far unfulfilled — before Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder announced that KSM and his associates would be tried at the Southern District Court in Manhattan, just a few blocks away from Ground Zero. That promise is also so far unfulfilled, and there are now statements being made that these defendants may never face trial, and will simply be detained for the indefinite future, on no rational or legal grounds.

On the one hand, we are told that in 2007 Mohammed confessed — to military interrogators — to responsibility for 9/11 "from A to Z"; on the other, that he had planned to plead not guilty at his trial. Why would someone proud, in private, of his part in mass murder turn round and deny it in public court ? Official explanation : he intended to turn the trial into a "platform" for a diatribe against the USA. But this is ridiculous : anything not relevant to the question of his innocence or guilt could easily be ruled out of order, and he could be physically removed from the court, if necessary. Secondly, if he was proud of what he did, why on earth would it have been necessary to — as we are assured happened — torture his confession out of him ? The whole thing is illogical, contradictory nonsense, designed for an audience of idiots who think that justice and revenge are synonymous. If he genuinely was proud, he would plead guilty, he would let 3,000 deaths be a more effective statement against the USA than any speech he could make in a courtroom, and the "trial" would consist, like Moussaoui's, of his sentencing : not if Obama can help it, like Bush before him.

We know what happened to Moussaoui when he started trying to use the court as a platform : the same could be done with these defendants. The propaganda at any trial they got would be coming entirely from the US Government, as has been the case ever since the original propaganda event was carried out — by the US Government. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants are as guilty of 9/11 as Lee Oswald was of the murder of John Kennedy : quite possibly involved in it, but basically convenient scapegoats. When Oswald famously claimed to be a "patsy," most folk took that to mean he was a victim : nobody wondered why he didn't specify who was framing him, when he must have had some idea. Even fewer considered the possibility that his victimhood was voluntary — like KSM's and like Moussaoui's. Oswald was a suicide pilot in 1963 — a voluntary martyr for the cause — and Mohammed and company are going to serve the same function for 9/11. These folk are working for the USA, and their trials, if they ever happen, will bring none of us one inch closer to the truth.

The apparently aborted choice of Manhattan would seem to be have been deliberately designed to sabotage the process. Frank Siller, brother of Stephen, one of 9/11's firefighter victims : "They killed 3,000 people that day." Richard Mason, computer technician : "They committed the crime here." I do hope neither of these is ever accepted for jury service in this case — or anyone else with the same concept of objectivity. How the prosecution hope to find anyone in Manhattan who has no views whatever on these defendants, God only knows, after the amount of coverage they have had, and the things said about them and, allegedly — the magic word — by them. "Those allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks" : well, at least the Attorney General of the United States remembered to use the word, so maybe the farce isn't complete and absolute, although not having a trial at all would come close.

The Pentagon's legal spokesman at the June 2008 arraignment, Brigadier-General Thomas Hartmann, had the effrontery to remind the press that "At Nuremberg, there was no right of appeal." At Nuremberg, in front of civilian judges, and without being tortured, some of the defendants had been tried and executed — for far worse crimes than 9/11 — within 18 months of VE Day; even the Tokyo Tribunal "only" lasted 30 months. The 9/11 defendants may end up having to wait six times as long for their trials to even start as the length of the entire proceedings at Nuremberg, for killing 3,000 — the capacity of just one of the "bathhouses" at Auschwitz, re-used hundreds upon hundreds of times. If Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's history had matched Hermann Gφring's, he would have poisoned himself 526 days after being arrested, on 8 August 2004, three months before Bush had even been re-elected. US Constitution, Bill of Rights, Amendment VI : "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial." Presumption of guilt by public and government alike, seven years of delay before charges are even brought, accusations of mistreatment, etc etc : is it possible the US Government has never had any serious intention, under this President or the last one, of ever allowing these trials to go ahead ?

As for Bin Laden — that other "mastermind" — Donald Rumsfeld long ago frankly admitted he couldn't care less where he is; I dare say the feelings are mutual, and Bin Ladin is probably slightly easier to track down these days than "Rummy." I'd guess he might possibly be safe in the "lawless" north-west of Pakistan — The Wild North-West, home of the notorious Gunfight at the Peshawar Corral and Abdullah the Kid — the only place on Planet Earth too dangerous for the Pentagon to even think of going near. How could they possibly face those suicidal Pashtun gunslingers, totally different from the ones they dealt with over the border in Afghanistan nine years ago ? If Pakistan is such a "safe haven," one wonders why Bin Ladin ever needed to find sanctuary with the Taleban in the first place; and if the USA cares so deeply and sincerely about the niceties of international law that they can't just barge into Pakistan — how uncivilised — one wonders why that fastidiousness was never much in evidence in the cases of Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, Grenada, etc etc. You might almost think they know perfectly well where he is, and their apparent reluctance is to make sure no-one else gets to him — someone, for example, who has figured out his true allegiances. We can fairly swiftly discount the guilt by innuendo of the hundreds held in Guantαnamo for years on end without charge, over 9/11 or anything else — for no better reason than to give the lynch mobs somebody identifiable, and in custody, to direct their hatred and stupidity at — and the repeatedly implied guilt of the late Saddam Hussein, CIA asset and US stooge for 40 years, against whom there never was any 9/11 case — but tell that to the more brainless sectors of the US public, who make up something like half of it.

Two convictions to date, and a possibility of five more, after nine years : is this the justice promised to the American people by a Commander-in-Chief who, at the absolute minimum, failed to prevent the attacks in the first place ? Or what some folk expected from his successor ? Instead of the official version of events being proved in a court, we have had the Kean Report, just as 40 years ago we had the Warren Report — as a substitute for judicial process. The rest of the official 9/11 story, to date, amounts to hot air. The US government has no 9/11 case: not a single shred of evidence, put to a jury in a trial — which excludes Moussaoui — leading to the conviction of someone directly responsible — which excludes Moussaoui, Motassadeq and Yarkas — for committing 3,000 murders. Given this abject failure — or, as I and millions of others believe, worse — far worse — perhaps my contribution might achieve something: it can hardly achieve less. If the real guilty parties have not yet been convicted, the whole question of their identity is wide open. The minor players convicted so far — or even any major ones convicted in the future — could very well be the victims of manipulation by others still in the shadows. If the people who have been convicted so far didn't do it, who did ? Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ? Evidence — his alleged confession ?

No-one who thinks the US government itself organised 9/11 need offer the slightest apology for believing it — Bush failed to prove his case, by producing trials and convictions, and Obama has yet to improve on the Bush record — and we have Northwoods as a specific precedent, to prove that those at the very top of the US military establishment are capable of that level of cynicism — not just thinking it, but planning it, putting it in print and expecting it to be endorsed by a Defense Secretary and an Attorney General. Robert McNamara and Robert Kennedy may have had their reasons for rejecting Northwoods — perhaps not moral compunctions so much as the risks involved in something that, if exposed, would make the U-2 shootdown and the Bay of Pigs fiasco look like minor problems. By 2001, what made them major — the existence of the Soviet Union — was past history, the USA now had no serious enemies or competitors, and Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft were in office.

When would there ever be a better opportunity ? Does anyone with a brain and any sense of honesty seriously believe Osama Bin Laden brought that situation about, or that a government like Bush's would sit around, staring into space, waiting for him to do it ? They made the opportunity happen. Why would a real enemy — if they had any capable of inflicting serious harm — give them a gift like that ? The onus is on those who claim Bush did no more than capitalise on an accident to justify this fatuous image of the USA as a passive spectator, or a defenseless victim, when the historical record tells us the opposite. Were all the USA's meddlings and invasions carried out by a passive, peace-loving state that believed in just minding its own business ? How can anyone who knows about the rapacity and the lying hypocrisy of US governments possibly see them as poor little innocents, wide open to attack by a gang of terrorists living in a cave in Afghanistan ? If Tom Lehrer was still writing — if Kissinger winning the Peace Prize hadn't made him give up — this lunacy would.