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Friday, March 16, 2007 

Ron Jeremy tells all.

We know that he spent at least 3 years in CIA "black" sites. It's incredibly likely that he was tortured. Craig Murray, former ambassador to Uzbekistan, suggests that he may well have been handed over to the security services in that god-forsaken country, notorious for raping both men and women with glass bottles and boiling at least one person to death. During his enemy combatant tribunal, he had no access to a lawyer. Parts of the transcript are predictably blocked out, including those where he refers to the fact that he was tortured. Keeping all of this in mind, is Khalid Sheikh Mohammad a man broken by torture, a master terrorist or a lying bragger?

The answer is probably a bit of all three. His confession to more or less every terrorist attack ever linked to al-Qaida, at least prior to his capture, and every plot that might have as much been mentioned in passing during communication within the group may itself be a tactic to inspire fear. It's been well established that he was likely involved in 9/11. Along with Ramzi Yousef, he was involved in the original plot to bomb the World Trade Center, and the planning for Bojinka, which might have been the basis for last year's August liquid bombs plot, or if you're more conspiracy-minded, resurrected to convince the public that a ramshackle plot which would have been simply impossible to actually pull off was far more serious than the police and government were letting on. He might well have been involved in the death of Daniel Pearl; he was captured in Karachi, where Pearl's body was found. Whether he personally decapitated Pearl, like Zarqawi is alleged to have beheaded hostages in Iraq, is simply impossible to know for certain.

As for the rest of the things he confessed to, he may well have been involved at the margins, or with the funding, but that would likely be as far as it went. While one counter-terrorism official alleged that KSM funded the Bali bombs, they were almost certainly carried out by Jemaah Islamiyah, and may well have been an independently funded attack. Likewise with the attacks in Mombasa. How far he was involved with Richard Reid's shoe-bomb plot is open to question, as is whether Reid was an actual member of al-Qaida.

Even the Sun's "terror expert" Neil Doyle doesn't think much of KSM's "confession" to plotting to fly 12 planes into nuclear power plants, except that he suggests that bin Laden played down the idea. The reality is that such a plot has never come up before because err, it's bollocks. Try searching Google and see how many hits you get examining such a nefarious plot. It's worth wondering whether those torturing KSM dropped many of these ideas liberally into his sessions, based on news reports however untrustworthy, and stopped zapping his balls when he agreed he was involved. His years spent in CIA black sites, probably in solitary confinement, might well have made him believe he actually was involved in all this nonsense.

Alternatively, he could just be a big show off. He was one of those jihadists who was influenced by the ideas of Takfir wal-Hijra, and not just so that he blended more into Western society. A number of sources suggest that while he and Yousef were in the Phillipines they took full advantage of the local tourist facilities. Indeed, like Yousef, it's difficult to know where Islam came into any of this. It may be, despite his denials and seeming sorrow, that he just liked blowing things up and taking lives in the process.

KSM's confession has if anything made the whole enemy combatant tribunal process look even more ridiculous and completely analogous to the American justice system. Everyone knows he's been tortured, his confession to everything except driving the white Fiat Uno that crossed the path of Princess Diana's car in the tunnel in France only looks feasible to rabid neo-conservatives, with even officials from the Bush adminstration suggesting he might have "exaggerated" a little, and with him only being the first to go through this kangaroo court system, it looks like we've got a whole spring of laughs to look forward too.

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