December 8, 2007 by Nicholas Levis
Writing in TIME magazine, former CIA agent and occasional "conspiracy theory" debunker, Robert Baer, concedes that 9/11 skeptics seem all the more credible after the CIA admits destruction of key evidence. Full-time debunker Gerald Posner also sees a cover-up.
The most important document in the official mythology of September 11th, The 9/11 Commission Report, is based largely on the reported statements of three prisoners: Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, Ramzi Binalshibh, and Abu Zubaydah. The Report describes these men as high-ranking members of Al Qaeda; US authorities announced the captures of the three at different points in 2002 and 2003. According to the CIA and US military, they have been held ever since at "undisclosed locations," and have had contacts only with a handful of interrogators. No US agency has ever produced any of them in a public proceeding.
Khalid Sheikh Mohamed was originally reported as killed during an attempt to capture him in Pakistan in September 2002. He apparently survived, for he was reported as captured in March 2003. Until 2004, it was considered a security breach for a US government source even to mention his name (although it had been public since 2002).
The 9/11 Commission asked to see Mohamed and other prisoners, and was denied. The only evidence of his existence provided to the Commission was in the form of printed English-language transcripts of interrogations supposedly held at the Guantanamo prison. Videotapes were said not to exist. But although the Commission portrays Mohamed, in particular, as the originator and mastermind of the September 11th plot, it made no fuss about its denial of access to him. The Report simply cites him and the others uncritically as primary sources, without expressing a shred of doubt that the transcripts constitute the mens' words, that the words are genuine and unedited, or that the prisoners really are who the CIA says they are. This is despite the fact that Ernest May, one of the architects of the Report, admitted in a May 2005 memoir that the Commission never had full confidence that the words were truly theirs.
We learned this week that CIA videotapes of at least some of these supposed interrogations -- the tapes which were previously said not to have existed -- are now said to have been destroyed in 2005. The CIA has copped to destroying the Abu Zubaydah tapes, but has yet to name the prisoner(s) in the other destroyed tapes. (That one of them was Mohamed is a good bet.)
The CIA claims -- bizarrely -- that this was done to protect the identities of the interrogators (as though blurring them out would be beyond the agency's 19th-century video technology). The corporate media have promptly floated the idea that the motive was to cover up the use of torture, possibly waterboarding. But as the "evidence" from which the official 9/11 fable lives disappears further into a black box, naturally any breathing skeptic must wonder to what extent the tapes, or even the prisoners, existed in the first place. And if the tapes existed, was the motive behind their destruction to hide torture, or to hide evidence? Even a defender of the official story like former CIA agent Robert Baer knows this latest story only adds to the stink.
Gerald Posner, meanwhile, finds occasion to repeat the story told to him, of how Zubaydah was supposedly duped by the CIA into naming three Saudi princes and a Pakistani general as accomplices to the terror network. All four of these personages subsequently turned up dead, the three princes in fact killed in separate incidents within a single week.