After Guantanamo Bay Testimony, Khaled Shaikh Mohammed Enigma still intact


(Originally published by Shaffaf and the Beirut Daily Star on March 17, 2007. A news article by the Associated Press reported yesterday (September 8) that “2 decades later, 9/11 self-professed mastermind awaits trial”! Amazing, if one remembers that a disheveled Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was captured on March 1, 2003).




The only two major terror operations for which Khaled Shaikh Mohammed claims no credit, in his recently released testimony to the Military Tribunal at Guantanamo Bay are the bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (August 7, 1998) and the suicide bombing attack against the U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) on October 12, 2000 while it was harbored in the Yemeni port of Aden. 17 sailors were killed in that attack.



The 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings (August 7, 1998) caused the death of hundreds of people in simultaneous car bomb explosions at the United States embassies in the East African capital cities of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, brought bin Laden and al Qaeda to international attention for the first time, and resulted in the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation placing bin Laden on its Ten Most Wanted list.

So, how could it be that the evil genius who claims his first terror attack as far back as 1993, had nothing to do with the operation which brought Ussama bin Laden to fame but, in particular, with the attack against the USS Cole which took place only 11 months before the 9/11 attack ?

In his testimony, Khaled Shaikh Mohammed declares:

« . I swore Bay’aat (allegiance) to Sheikh Ussama Bin Laden to conduct Jihad..

« 2- I was a member of the al Qaida Council.

« I was the Media Operations Director for the Al-Sahab… media outlet..


« 5- I was the military Operational Commander of all foreign operations around the world under the direction of Sheikh Ussama Bin Laden and Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri. »

The year 1998 is « memorable » as it was the year in which Ayman Zawahiri formally merged Egyptian Islamic Jihad into al-Qaeda.

So, here is the evil genius, Khaled Shaikh Mohammed, who undertook spectacular attacks against the US properties and interests around the world as far back as 1993, but who somehow « skipped » the two ONLY major attacks by Al Qaida before September 11, 2001, and who confirms having « sworn Bay’aat (allegiance) to Sheikh Ussama Bin Laden » but omits to give a date for this commitment to become an “al-Qaida operative”, as he is usually, and, probably, abusively called.


This is rather amazing.

If the attack against the USS Cole could be explained  by his being too busy preparing the 9/11 attacks (this is a possible explanation, but this is far from certain, as Khaled Shaikh would not have forgotten to “boast” about his role in the attack), it looks almost certain that he had nothing to do with the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Which probably means that, until August 1998 (or even October 2000), Khaled Shaikh Mohammed had not « sworn allegiance » to Bin Laden and had not become a member of Al Qaida !

 Remember, 1998 was, also, the year when Ayman Zawahiri formally merged Egyptian Islamic Jihad into al-Qaeda.


The assassination of Daniel Pearl : «]. It’s not related to al Qaida » ! 

Even in the case of the Daniel Pearl assassination which took place 5 months after 9/11 ( February 22, 2002), Khaled Shaikh claims (the text is not very clear) : « .. I want to add some of this one just for some verification. It (the Pearl assassination ?) like some operations before I join al  Qaida. Before I remember al Qaida (this should probably be read as : before I became  a member of Al Qaida or even « before I came to know about Al Qaida ») which is related to Bojinka Operation I went to destination involve to us in 94, 95. Some operations which means out of al Qaida. [REDACTED]. It’s not related to al Qaida. It was shared in Pakistani. Other group, Mujahadeen. The story of Daniel Pearl, because he stated for the Pakistanis,  group that he was working with the both. His mission in was in Pakistan to track about Richard Reed trip to Israel. Richard Reed, do you have trip ? You send it Israel to make set for targets in Israel. His mission in Pakistan form Israeli intelligence, Mosad,  to make interview to ask about when (meaning Richard Reed) was there. Also, he mention to them he was both. He was relation with CIA people and were the Mosad. But he was not related to al Qaida at all or UBL.. It is related to the Pakistani Mujahadeen gourp. »

Khaled Shaikh Mohammed is at pains to tell the tribunal that the Daniel Pearl assassination « was not related to al Qaida at all or UBL »!

Should this be interpreted to mean that Khaled Shaikh went back to his « independent » terror career after 9/11 ?  Did the “terror partnership” end after the attack against the US ? And, who is the « other group, Mujahedeen » which Shaikh mentions in his testimony, the group to which Daniel Pearl admitted he « was (in) relation with CIA people and were the Mosad » ?

Khaled Shaikh, adding :

« For this in not necessary as I responsible, responsible. But with in these thing responsible participant in finances ».

This clumsy phrase should probably be understood in the sense that Khaled Shaikh was a partial « financer » of some operations.  Which is different from his other claims, such as « I was in charge of training and financing… ».

This, probably, means that Khaled Shaikh, on his own and from his own war treasury, joined others in financing certain operations. Which puts him in the role of « employer », just like Ussama Bin Laden, and not merely as an “operative of al Qaida”.


A fundamentalist version of the Khaled Shaikh career

Thus, the Khaled Shaikh Mohammed enigma seems to outlast his Guantanamo Bay testimony.

What is remarkable is that very credible fundamentalist sources, which I personally talked to, had never accepted the « al Qaida Operative » title. According to such sources, Khaled Shaikh Mohammed was « not a member of al Qaida » !

The same sources claim that : first, Khaled Shaikh had been the first (many years before Bin Laden) to attack the US itself and US interests. This is corroborated by the 1993 attack against the Twin Towers and later attacks, or attempts, in 1994 and 1995. His Jihadi « prestige », thus, was far more important than that of Bin Laden, who did not undertake his first major operation against the US until 1998.  So, why should Khaled Sheikh, who almost succeeded to destroy the Twin Towers in 1993, accept to join a Bin Laden who had achieved nothing to compare with him. Especially that :

Second, Khaled Shaikh was « rich on his own » and, thus, did not need financing from Ussama ! The comparison, here, is with Abu Hafs al Masri who, the same credible sources claim, had joined Bin Laden out of financial necessity.

And, third, that Khaled Shaikh’s « organisation » was much more « sophisticated » than that of Bin Laden.

Some fundamentalist sources even claim that Khaled Shaikh Mohamed had refused to swear allegiance to Bin Laden, though the presumed date for this refusal is not certain.


Baluchistan Liberation Army !

Thus, the terror career of Khaled Shaikh Mohammed is still vague. Including the years he passed in Qatar, his presumed relations with a minister and member of the ruling family (and his son). And, including his arrest at (rumors claimed) a house in Rawalpandi’s army cantonment area.

So, who is Khaled Shaikh Mohammed ?

It has been claimed that Khaled Shaikh Mohammed had had connections to Pakistani Intelligence services, for many years, as far back as the period when Hamid Gul had been director of ISI. It is, also, claimed that Shaikh’s connections with Pakistani services were so « high level » that even Ussama Bin Laden had to ask him to intercede in his favor with the Pakistanis.

Moreover, sources claim that the departure of Hamid Gul from the ISI did not weaken Khaled Shaikh’s connections with Pakistan’s ISI.

In the meantime, it is also claimed, Khaled Shaikh Mohammed had been at the head of his own outfit, the Baluchistan Liberation Army. But, if so, why should Pakitani ISI deal with an operative who wanted to break Baluchistan from Pakistan ? Probably, because they were interested in destabilisation operations in the Iranian Baluchistan, the same as ISI tolerates Kashmiri liberation fronts against the Indians. This leads to the 1994 attack against the tomb of Imam Ali Reza in Mashad (Iran).  Indian analyst B. Raman claims that Zarqawi had been a member of the team, which was lead by Ramzi Youssef, that attacked the Ali Reza mausoleum 11 years before the Samarra attack which ignited a confessional war in Iraq.

Fundamentalist sources seem to agree with Khaled Shaikh’s claims that he was « responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z », including claims that it was Khaled Shaikh who « sold the idea » to Bin Laden, rather than being recruited by Bin Laden as operational director for this terror attack. In this context, it is claimed that the Hamburg Cell first connected to Khaled Shaikh Mohammed who presumably introduced Bin Laden to the terror plot.

As for Khaled Shaikh’s claims to having « trained »  9/11 hijackers at his Bait al Shuhada (Qandahar), it seems to have been of a certain notoriety among Arab fundamentalists that Khaled Shaikh had his own small training camps.

Finally, there seems to be a link with a certain Azamary, who was arrested in Kuala Lumpur in 1995 then transferred to a US prison.

Another presumed member of Khaled Shaikh’s group was Mir Amal Kansi,  a Pakistani citizen who spent four years on the United States Department of Justice’s FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list after he shot five people with an AK-47, killing two, in their cars as they were turning towards the entrance to US CIA headquarters on January 25, 1993. He was captured in Pakistan more than four years later and following a trial, was executed by lethal injection in the state of Virginia, United States in 2002.

The problem with the 31 items list of terror put forward at the Guantanamo Bay Tribunal : the shadow of Khaled Shaikh Mohammed looks even longer than that of al Qaida ! Should we learn to nuance the idea that al Qaida is behind every attack anywhere in the world ?

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