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KSM, Waterboarding, Gitmo and Pearl's Murder

A military tribunal awaits Khalid Sheikh Muhammed as he rests in Guantanamo Bay's Camp X-Ray. TIME reports that not only will the man Ayman al-Zawahiri recently vowed to free be tried for masterminding the September 11 terrorist attacks on America, but also for personally wielding the knives (yes, plural) that beheaded Wall Street Journal investigative journalist Danny Pearl. With thanks to Andi via MilBlogs, the following is from Fingering Danny Pearl's Killer...

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM) was one of 14 "high value" prisoners recently moved to the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from secret CIA prisons overseas. In announcing the transfer on Sept. 6, President Bush also promised to try some of the most important captives in military tribunals, a plan that Congress approved last month.

One former U.S. national security official tells TIME there is no doubt that KSM personally wielded the knife that killed the Wall Street Journal reporter. This official says that Ahmad Omar Saed Sheik insisted under interrogation that taking Pearl's life was not at first part of the kidnap plot — though Sheik also told his questioners that Pearl's kidnappers could never have released him because he was Jewish. But as the scheme unfolded, someone senior to him in the al-Qaeda hierarchy, known as "the fat man," took control of the operation and beheaded Pearl.

Sheik never identified KSM as the actual killer, however. The FBI deduced KSM's role only after analyzing a video of the crime, in which only the perpetrator's hands are visible. That video was released by Islamic militants soon after Pearl's murder and then widely shown on Arab television and the Internet. Eventually, the FBI obtained its own version of the original video, as well as the camera used to photograph the murder.

Once KSM was taken into custody in March 2003, a comparison of the hands shown in the video and KSM's own hands, along with other evidence, confirmed the FBI's suspicions. Then, under interrogation, KSM confessed, national security officials told TIME, admitting without remorse that he personally severed Pearl's head and telling interrogators he had to switch knives after the first one "got dull."

This is the face of evil. He is in similar company at Guantanamo Bay.

Make special note of how the information on Pearl's murder was obtained from KSM, where he sat, and where he now sits.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, who seeks Camp X-Ray's closing on humanitarian grounds, said yesterday of Guantanamo Bay, "It is widely argued now that the existence of the camp is as much a radicalizing and discrediting influence as it is a safeguard to security."

America will miss Tony Blair more than most currently appreciate.

We will not miss Khalid Sheikh Muhammed.