Non-redacted truth about Sheik hearings

Ryan Szymczak

Where are you getting your information about the closed hearings in Cuba?

If you simply can’t find the time between Mystic Tans and adding to your obsessive collection of 300-plus pics on Facebook, then the government has you right where it wants you: detached, distracted and self-absorbed.

Take a look at the actual transcript from Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s hearing, made available by the U.S. Department of Defense’s official Web site.

Early on, the detainee points out that his name is spelled incorrectly in the summary of evidence. They spell it Shaykh.

Am I grasping at the irrelevant?

Not if getting the facts straight counts for anything.

The long list of evidence against the detainee includes a 2002 interview in which Mohammed admitted to being the principal al-Qaida operative who directed the Sept. 11 attacks.

Interestingly, in that interview, Mohammed is quoted as speaking nearly perfect English, while the transcript from the hearings reveals the ‘mastermind’ is not hooked on phonics.

Khalid is offered the chance to call witnesses. He requests Ramzi bin al-Shib, the other voice on the 2002 interview tape who could confirm that Khalid Sheik Mohammed never said he was the head of the Sept. 11 attacks.

To this request, the tribunal president replied: “Any corroboration or contradiction by the proffered witness is not relevant . as such, the detainee’s request for the production of that witness is denied.”

Not relevant? The very interview is cited in the list of evidence stacked against Mohammed, but the tribunal president claims that “statements as reported in al Jazeera are of limited value and negligible relevancy to the issue of combatant status.”

What?! Then why is it included in the list of evidence in the first place?

Khalid Sheik Mohammed requests for another witness, Mustafa Hawsawi – the owner of the computer/hard drive that is referenced just under a dozen times in the evidence summary.

“Whether the detainee had actual legal title or ownership of the computer/hard drive or the house where the capture took place is irrelevant … Hawsawi’s testimony will not provide relevant information … denied.”

On page 14, the detainee begins about his experiences upon being transferred, and a number of his statements are redacted, or edited.

Page 19 features Mohammed’s final statement. It is read by his U. S. appointed representative, and it’s a list, numbered one to 31. Each statement begins with “I was responsible for.” Nearing the conclusion of reading the statements, Mohammed interjects with “I was not responsible, but share.” The representative then rereads confession No. 29 with “I shared responsibility .”

Considering Mohammed’s apparently loose grip on the English language, couldn’t he have been trying to point out that he ‘shared’ responsibility in more than just one of his numbered confessions?

No word yet on what will happen to Khalid Sheik Mohammed; though, rest assured the tribunal won’t be hung on this one.

Hey, at least this “war of, I mean on, terror” is finally bringing those evil-doing Sept. 11 masterminds to cold, hard American justice. Yee-haw.

Good timing – considering the election is right around the corner.

Ryan Szymczak is a junior English Major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].