Shoot first?
March 4, 2003 7:54 PM   Subscribe

I think I know why he's not talking. According to this story in the Asia Times, recently capture al-Qaeda operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was killed...over a year ago? [via the memory hole, more inside]
posted by mcsweetie (34 comments total)
this story from the Gulf News published in feb. says that Khalid has escaped the raid alive.

I'm not trying to call anyone a liar here, but I'm just wondering if anyone can confirm or dispell the fact that he was killed?
posted by mcsweetie at 7:55 PM on March 4, 2003

Of course he was killed last year. His "capture" over the weekend, it's (just) a(nother) Bush administration fraud to rebut the claim it can't dismantle Al Qaeda and go to war in Iraq at the same time.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:04 PM on March 4, 2003

Must Bush-haters abandon their critical faculties so easily simply because a 'news' item plays to their prejudices?

I am reminded of nothing so much as the tent revivals I snuck into as a boy ...

Say it brother


Say it loud


I have seeeeen the devil ....


His name is B-U-S-H!!!!



It's great that you have a religion, mcsweetie, but why do you post about it to MeFi?
posted by Jos Bleau at 8:07 PM on March 4, 2003

I'm not trying to call anyone a liar here, but I'm just wondering if anyone can confirm or dispell the fact that he was killed?

Jos Bleau : Sounded pretty non-confrontaional to me. He even posted a link to a refuting source, and then asked for opinions. Where's the troll again? I must have missed his sinister, dogmatic subtext.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:10 PM on March 4, 2003

The early report could be a case of mistaken identity. I suspect conspiracy theorists will read it either way. What's more intriguing is the extent to which the whole 'mastermind of 9/11' spin is almost entirely sourced out of the US, in an attempt, one might cynically say, to diminish the role of Osama bin Laden to that of 'spiritual leader' or 'chairman, not CEO'. Yeah, right.

And the whole question of the arrest's timing, or rather, the announcement's timing, is one that has journalists' noses twitching like bunnyrabbits.
posted by riviera at 8:10 PM on March 4, 2003

Must Bush-haters abandon their critical faculties so easily simply because a 'news' item plays to their prejudices?

I couldn't tell you. but must bush-lovers take to task anyone that brings up a news item that doesn't play to their prejudices?
posted by mcsweetie at 8:13 PM on March 4, 2003

Hmm... doesn't the very first paragraph start off saying that there were doubts as to whether or not he was indeed killed?

As for the rest of the article the writer thereof spends more time qualifying his statements than actually making them... it's all third-hand reports, "it has emerged that"'s, unnamed officials quoted indirectly, a secret burial, and the ultimately bizarre idea that the FBI (and not the CIA) were on site. Looks a little suspicious to me.
posted by clevershark at 8:26 PM on March 4, 2003

It seems to me that this is why secret military tribunals and the like are a bad idea.
posted by moonbiter at 8:28 PM on March 4, 2003

Sorry, it was irresistible, given the Bush=Saddam=Sharon bent of certain loudmouths on Metafilter.

P.S.: although he may turn out to be a great President rather than a boob, I'm no George Bush lover.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:29 PM on March 4, 2003

mcsweetie, if you were to ask me 'what's wrong with Bush?' you would need a nap to get to the end of my oration. I do not love Bush.

But my hatred of him (or anyone) is not so great that my judgement is impaired.

I'm willing to evaluate any person on aspects of what they have done, and what they have failed to do.

The obverse of karl Popper, and probably a French philosophers or two, is that religion consist of beliefs that (A) are not falsafiable and (B) are confirmed no matter what the facts are.

Tell me how your link is different from that?
posted by Jos Bleau at 8:29 PM on March 4, 2003

Ahem. There once was a guy named Osama,
Who vowed to croak every US Mama,
But Bush said he'd Gettim'
And then Bush just forget 'im
while holding up some other asshole as a form of appeasement to the American public that he's doing the job he set out to do but still can't catch and try the one man that would prove competence in the White House goals, while it tries to pursue a completely vacuous and expensive agenda against an impotent dictator.

Oh wait, that last line didn't rhyme, did it? Who cares if they caught the right guy in this Khalid three-card-monte game. This story is proof that the administration will spin any story based on its firm belief that the American people have short or no memory. Wrong and wrong. Get Osama, assholes. Put him on trial. That's what you claimed you'd do, and then claimed was insignificant. Just do it. Prove your competence to the American people, and quit asking for the reverse.
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:34 PM on March 4, 2003

although he may turn out to be a great President rather than a boob

My money's on boob. Then maybe we'll get lucky and Ashcroft will throw a curtain over him.
posted by condour75 at 8:38 PM on March 4, 2003

Someday, haters, you will learn that you have to ask the toughest questions of those agree with you ... till then have fun with under your tent ...
posted by Jos Bleau at 8:48 PM on March 4, 2003

Tell me how your link is different from that?

first of all, if it's wrong for me to assume you were a bush lover (and I made that statement with this very point in mind), then why is it fair for you to assume I'm a bush hater?

secondly, none of the articles I provided links to or the comments I made were indictments of bush. when I said I wasn't trying to call anyone a liar, it wasn't one of those kinds of situations where a person says, "I'm not a racist, but..." or "I'm not a homophobe, but..." if it could be said that I was calling anyone a liar, it would be the Pakistani officials that turned Khalid over to the US.

thirdly, as lazaruslong pointed out, I gave a link to a refuting source. I was faced with two conflicting stories and I wanted some opinions on which is more credible. thankfully, clevershark decided to participate despite your attempts at derailment, and I'd like to see more comments along his line (I'm assumin' it's a dude!).

if you really don't like the thread, I would recommend taking it to metatalk, partly because I doubt my rebuttals will assuage you but mainly because I would be tickled pink to have someone complain about me on metatalk.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:48 PM on March 4, 2003

Jos, forgive the derailing here, but what the blankety-fuck are you talking about?

As far as the Iraq war issue goes, mcsweetie just presented possibly the most rational and even-leveled thread in the last year, especially notable given the massive impact of this story should the allegation be true.

While posting news sources both stating and refuting the story, you and Paris instead presented the most arrogant, self-righteous, condescending attacks on the very concept of disagreeing with Bush's foreign policy, the irony painfully exponentiated by the fact that mcsweetie in no way did that.

riviera and clevershark managed to make responses that didn't leave a dribble-stain across this thread. What's your excuse?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:49 PM on March 4, 2003

a bit of redirect, maybe?

Perhaps we can view this as a good case of the unreliability of the media during active times. After all, if we find ourselves celebrating the deaths of each AlQueda member twice, then we'll find ourselves twice as enthusiastic about the aadministration that's making it happen, right? Hearkens back to that whole election debacle...
posted by kaibutsu at 8:52 PM on March 4, 2003

How can anyone deny that dinosaur bones are but a plant by Satan to mislead the faithful?

Isn't that the same as what the link says?
posted by Jos Bleau at 8:55 PM on March 4, 2003

As the Asian Times article noted, leaving this open is likely an inspiration for more terrorism in Pakistan. (As kaibatsu noted, this would be a second celebration of killing a notable anti-American figure... likely a cause of a second cry for retaliation)

Though I don't doubt the possibility of this being a case of mistaken identity, I also think this could be a very good media play to reveal Mohammed's location- much as the media has been saying how we need to see video of bin Laden, perhaps this is an attempt to turn the tables and demand video proof that Mohammed A. exists, and B. isn't being visibly tortured within an inch of his life.

I recall a while back a story about Israel claiming to have caught an Al-Qaeda agent, only to discover he simply had the same name as one... does something like that ring a bell in anyone's mind?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:56 PM on March 4, 2003

I have to admit, the (alleged? just keeping with the vibe) capture Khalid Sheikh Mohammed came close to inducing me to leap into the air and should "By golly, those Americans are doing something right after all! Catching terrorists like they're supposed to!"

Therefore, it is possibly justifiable (if you're a dreadful cynic), to think "...hey, it's all a bit convenient, isn't it?"

I don't personally believe that it's all a hoax to bolter the world's attitude towards the US; after all, his supporters seem to think he's the right man - but it isn't really outside the realm of possibility.
posted by Jimbob at 9:21 PM on March 4, 2003

Boy, can't wait until we get Osama. Then all the terrorism will stop.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:33 PM on March 4, 2003

This story is proof that the administration will spin any story...

What you're saying isn't clear. What was the "spin?" Did you draw this conclusion from the articles linked above, or are you referring to other info on the Khalid Shaikh Mohammed capture?
posted by shoos at 9:33 PM on March 4, 2003

Hmm... doesn't the very first paragraph start off saying that there were doubts as to whether or not he was indeed killed?

Perhaps careful reading of the entire article will bring enlightenment. For example, you'd quickly find that the first two paragraphs are lead-in material, offering background (the US style of written journalism eschews such, preferring the "Biggest Fact, First Graf" style, while British style almost always has an introductory paragraph or two.)

Thus, when you read the third paragraph....
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.
... it all becomes clear. Saying that the article states that the fate of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in doubt is not true -- the article very clearly states that an unnamed Pakistani official told them that he and another person were killed by US Rangers.

Now, this is but one report from a source I'm not familiar with. The thing to do is check other sources in the same timeframe (October, 2002) and see if they reported such.

I'll also note that the Asia Times has this currently posted as the 2nd item off the front page.
ATol responds to readers' queries

Asia Times Online cannot independently confirm whether Khalid Shaikh Mohammad is dead, alive, free, or in captivity. Confusion, conspiracy theories and rumors abound.

Our article of October 30, 2002, A chilling inheritance of terror, quoted an unnamed Pakistani official who was present at the shootout in Karachi on September 11, 2002, as saying that Khalid had died in that raid.

Clearly, statements by official or unofficial sources on all sides in this "war against terrorism" should not be taken as fact. Nevertheless, they sometimes need to be reported, though with suitable qualification.

The problem with covering this "war on terrorism" is to discern the facts amid the fog of disinformation and lies. Asia Times Online will continue striving to do just this, while admitting that we are bound to get it wrong occasionally.
So, they aren't really retracting, but they aren't currently standing by the story. They do seem to be retracting reporting as fact, rather than as hearsay, the death of KSM -- but not really. But they clearly have not spiked the story.

If you want to pursue this, find out if anyone else reported his death in the October, 2002 timeframe, and who they are citing. If it all comes back to this (or another single) story, then it's just retransmission of rumor. If they all have unique cites, then things become very much more interesting.
posted by eriko at 9:40 PM on March 4, 2003

The linked Asia Times article is from last October, but just today they posted a new article on the confusions over Khalid Shaikh Mohammad's capture.

And according to ABC, the FBI would have caught Khalid in 1996 if not for a member of the Qatar royal family who helped him evade capture. That royal is currently Qatar's Minister of the Interior.
posted by homunculus at 9:42 PM on March 4, 2003

As I said before, it's all "it has emerged that"'s, unnamed sources, third-hand accounts, a secret burial, etc.

Besides the FBI wouldn't be participating in field operations overseas. That's the CIA's job.
posted by clevershark at 9:54 PM on March 4, 2003

Besides the FBI wouldn't be participating in field operations overseas. That's the CIA's job.

The FBI does operate overseas sometimes. The capture of Ramzi Yousef in Pakistan was an FBI operation, run by John O'Neill, who also initially ran the investigation into the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.
posted by homunculus at 10:41 PM on March 4, 2003

The FBI seem to think they do work overseas.

The FBI's counterterrorism responsibilities were expanded in 1984 and 1986, when Congress passed laws permitting the Bureau to exercise federal jurisdiction overseas when a U.S. national is murdered, assaulted, or taken hostage by terrorists, or when certain U.S. interests are attacked. Since the mid-1980s, the FBI has investigated more than 500 extraterritorial cases.

As do a few somewhat reliable news sources(Google cache).
posted by Orb at 11:04 PM on March 4, 2003

I stand corrected. It sure remains quite a murky story though. Makes you long for the good old days of General Zia...
posted by clevershark at 11:13 PM on March 4, 2003

Interesting link to the John O'Neil story... might well be worth a post in itself!
posted by clevershark at 11:16 PM on March 4, 2003

Some US Senators are critical of the FBI's preparedness at home, however.

Interesting link to the John O'Neil story... might well be worth a post in itself!

Here you go.
posted by homunculus at 11:28 PM on March 4, 2003

The Sheik is being play by Ron Jeremy. You be the judge.
posted by srboisvert at 6:17 AM on March 5, 2003

"With Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in custody, U.S. and Pakistani officials say that Osama might not be far behind. Intercepted hand-written letters from bin Laden hint at his whereabouts."

Perhaps Bush will finally be able to speak the forbidden name again.
posted by homunculus at 10:43 AM on March 5, 2003

XQUZ's exquisitely-phrased what the blankety-fuck is officially my new all-purpose interjection.
posted by scody at 2:40 PM on March 5, 2003

Meanwhile, according to Coleen Rowley, neither the FBI nor the Justice Department have ever questioned Zacarias Moussaoui or Richard Reid about their Al Qaeda contacts.
posted by homunculus at 7:47 PM on March 5, 2003

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