In an especially well-timed release this week, Richard Miniter‘s MASTERMIND: The Many Faces of the 9/11 Architect, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed reveals Mohammed’s rise to the top of Al Qaeda and his planning of the jihadist attacks on America in 2001.
More than that, though, Miniter’s book includes shocking new disclosures about how the US treats its detainees. Miniter tells Big Peace:
I was stunned to learn while researching Mastermind that Guantanamo detainees succeeded in convincing prison officials to no longer raise the American flag anywhere they could see it. Each morning on every U.S. military base around the world, the American flag is raised to a bugle. But in the interests of not offending the detainees, it was stopped at Guantanamo.
Released just after the killing of Osama Bin Laden, MASTERMIND combines on-the-scene reporting on three continents, thousands of documents, reports from intelligence agencies in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the United States, as well as eyewitness accounts and exclusive interviews.
Some amazing excerpts:
The Secret Sex Life of a Jihadist
KSM poses as a romantic, but only when the mood suits him. He adores the grand gesture–writing love poems to the wife of his CIA interrogator or, during a break in planning the pope’s assassination, buzzing with a rented helicopter the dental clinic where a Catholic Filipina girlfriend worked. KSM (and his nephew Ramzi Yousef) smiled down at her, while slowly unfurling a banner reading I LOVE YOU. Still, his romanticism had limits. A laptop seized by Philippine police features audio recordings of him mocking the whores he had rented. He was also an avid consumer of porn.
Clinton officials, liberal activists, and camera-chasing lawyers
Clinton’s former attorney general, Janet Reno, agreed to headline fundraising efforts for the American Civil Liberties Union, a liberal Washington- based individual-rights group that has been at the center of legal fights over political issues for more than fifty years. In April 2008, the ACLU announced that it had raised a war chest of $8.5 million to provide a free legal- defense team for the more than three hundred detainees held at Guantánamo. While each of the detainees who had been formally charged, including KSM, already had military lawyers to provide a free legal defense for them, the ACLU was funding civilian lawyers who would attempt to bring legal claims on behalf of detainees in civilian courts and to provide research and support for military-defense lawyers.
Holder the Ideologue vs. Emanuel the Politico
Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, soon went to war with Eric Holder over his plans to prosecute CIA officers and to hold civilian trials for detainees, like KSM, in New York. Holder still wanted to prosecute CIA officials who had interrogated Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and other high- value detainees, while Emanuel feared the political ramifications of antagonizing the CIA. “Didn’t he get the memo that we are not re litigating the past?” While playing hardball with the CIA interrogators, whose work had saved hundreds of lives, Holder sought to extend every legal courtesy to KSM and other high-value detainees, who had repeatedly confessed to joyfully mass-murdering thousands of civilians. Holder was still pushing ahead on civilian trials for Guantánamo detainees, the foremost of which was KSM.
Excerpted from Mastermind. Published by Sentinel. Copyright Richard Miniter, 2011.