Viewpoint: What’s Shaikhin’?

So, we caught the big, bad al-Qaeda guy, huh? That was the buzz last week, and there was even a rumor that the Bush camp was going to also announce the arrest of bin Laden.

The bin Laden thing was hotly denied, but the report of the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has continued to be put out as a major accomplishment in the “War on Terror.”

CNN and Fox News have babbled about it endlessly when they weren’t yelling “Iraq,” “Iraq,” “attack Iraq.”

Strange thing about the seizure of this fella. On Oct. 30, 2002, Asia Times reported the following:

“Ever since the frenzied shootout last month on September 11 in Karachi there have been doubts over whether Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed head of al Qaeda’s military committee, died in the police raid on his apartment.

“Now it has emerged that Kuwaiti national Khalid Shaikh Mohammed did indeed perish in the raid, but his wife and child were taken from the apartment and handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in whose hands they remain.”

The New York Times, in its edition of March 2, 2003, ran an article by Erik Eckholm which stated:

“Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, suspected of planning the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington and one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, was detained by Pakistani authorities this morning and is now in American custody, officials said.

“The arrest represented a major victory in the American-led global search for pivotal leaders of al Qaeda—the men who planned the suicide hijacking attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, as well as other terrorist acts.”

The Asia Times report also said news of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed’s death was suppressed at the time to allow authorities to use his name to investigate other leads and contacts.

In Washington, presidential press secretary Ari Fleischer issued a statement saying: “Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is one of Osama bin Laden’s most senior and significant lieutenants, a key al Qaeda planner and the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.”

Except that our own CIA, six months ago, announced the shaikh was dead.

Think that’s confusing and weird? Get this. Reuters News Service reported March 2 that Pakistan’s interior minister denied that the shaikh had been turned over to U.S. authorities and said he was still in Pakistan.

A spokesman for Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said the al-Qaeda leader was in his country and being questioned by both U.S. and Pakistani agents.

Earlier, a government official who declined to be identified, said Khalid was turned over to U.S. authorities shortly after his arrest, along with two other al-Qaeda suspects.

Faisal Saleh Hayat, the interior minister, said: “Only when Khalid’s country approaches us and makes a formal request for his extradition, only then will the Pakistani government hand him over.”

Khalid is being referred to as a citizen of Kuwait, or Pakistan, or Yemen or one of the 20 countries whose passports he holds. Who is this guy?

Pakistani News asked the pertinent question: “How can Khalid Shaikh Mohammed be in America, Pakistan and Kuwait at the same time? If he died in the gun battle on Sept. 15, 2002, in Karachi, who has been raided and arrested on March 3, 2003?”

Then too, there is the business about Khalid being the number three man in al-Qaeda and the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. That was, we were told, Osama bin Laden’s role, as I recall. Then, not too long ago, the party line was altered and the claim became the key planner of the 9-11 attacks was Ramzi Bin al-Shibh. He was seized in the raid last year in which Khalid reportedly was killed.

Before this latest claim, Khalid was about number 22 on the list of al-Qaeda’s hierarchy. Suddenly he has moved up and become not only number three in the chain of command but “the mastermind of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.” My! My!

One observer of all this, Mohammed Daud Miraki, Ph.D., may have hit the nail just right when he said: “The U.S. government needed a success in its fraudulent ‘war on terror’ in order to get support for its new murderous adventure into Iraq, hence, came up with this notion of having captured Khalid Mohammed.”

So, who have we got? A cab driver from Cairo? A PLO reject? Who? It all looks like some more Mickey Mouse nonsense from Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, and Ridge, et al. Can we believe anything these jokers tell us?

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