Tuesday, May 23, 2006  

20 x ?

Bin Laden has released yet another tape, this time commenting on Moussaoui's conviction and on the detainees in Guantanamo. Bin Laden states that Moussaoui was not the 20th hijacker as the prosecution and (occasionally) Moussaoui have claimed, but that Moussaoui was a bit out of the loop.
Not that Bin Laden makes an exemplary witness for the defense, he does have a point. At various times, the US has claimed to know about "20th hijacker(s)" such as another Saudi who is currently sitting in Guantanamo and this article says that there are several other suspected 20th hijackers in Guantanamo and who knows how many are warehoused in other detention centers.

So, just how many "possible 20th hijackers" are there? There is no question that Moussaoui is al qaeda- although it is unclear to what degree.

But no one seems to be doing the government's math. Moussaoui was in jail on immigration violations prior to the 9/11 attacks and if Bin Laden's comments are to be believed, then having a chief operative picked up, would have scuttled the whole operation, at least temporarily.

And then there is the issue of who knew what when. It seems that someone knew more than Moussaoui- interestingly enough...and that would be...oh guess, please guess!

Judith Miller herself in an interview talks about what she "knew." Apparently there is also someone in the NSA who had some inkling...

So, here we have several "20th hijackers", a problematic reporter, some NSA person who was her anonymous source and Moussaoui sitting in jail the day of 9/11.

Very interesting...

Then what was Moussaoui's trial about?

And now to part two of the current Bin Laden tape.

Bin Laden says, according to the article, that many of the people in Guantanamo are a)not al queda and b)not involved in 9/11.

There are currently slightly under 500 people still there, four years later not formally accused of any crime, not given an arraignment hearing, etc.
Even if Bin Laden is exagerating, let's cut the number in half.

That means at least 200 people currently there have nothing to do with 9/11, etc. We now know that a number of people were sold to the US, were picked up during extrajudicial arrests in other countries not Afghanistan (like Kenya) and the Kuwaitis recently released were cleared by Kuwait of having al qaeda ties, and Kuwait, as our ally, is no slouch.

And there are the pictures, the testimonies, the human rights abuse reports.

Guantanamo is a blot (rorschach-sized) on the US's reputation for maintaining a certain level of legal respect and decency. Actually, that rep has been ruined by the behavior in Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib and other places. And then it was further buried by the likes of Gonzales and the fact that we pulled out of the optional protocol of the Vienna Conventions which establishes an International Court of Justice, in 2005. I suspect that one of the reasons we pulled out was so that no country could sue us in international court for kidnapping, false imprisonment and torture of its citizens.

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