Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: The Official Legend of 9/11 is a Fabricated Setup


[Note: the following text originally published by Global Research on October 26, 2003 was excerpted by the author from a much longer text, see references at the foot of this article]

The Official Legend of 9/11 as a prefabricated set-up.

As we will see, the Moussaoui indictment had lain the groundwork for the eventual Khalid Shaikh Mohammed/ Ramzi Binalshibh/ Mustafa Ahmed nexus that really gets rolling in June 2002, when Khalid is first introduced as the 9/11 “mastermind”, then proceeds through Binalshibh’s choreographed arrest in September 2002, and culminates with the simultaneous arrest of Khalid and Mustafa Ahmed in March 2003. Further, we will see how FBI Director Mueller uses the details in the Moussaoui indictment to explicitly pair up Khalid and Mustafa Ahmed – a full nine months before these characters end up sharing news space for their own simultaneously choreographed apprehensions.

The unsealed December 2001 Moussaoui indictment also set out two “unindicted co-conspirators” who had yet to play their final roles in the unfolding 9/11 Legend – Ramzi Binalshibh and Mustafa Ahmed al-hawsawi (the “official” paymaster)…

Of the various pivot points in the unfolding
9/11 Legend, the time period of June 4-5 2002 was among the most significant.

…Around the same time that the joint
Senate-House Inquiry was proceeding under the co-chairmanship of Bob Graham
and Porter Goss (the September 11 breakfast partners of Omar Saeed’s reported
ISI “handler”), Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was formally introduced as the
operative mastermind behind 9/11. John J. Lumpkin of the Associated
wrote the definitive article here, courtesy of the revelations
of an anonymous “top U.S. counterterrorism official”

…Lumpkin’s key June article served
as a guidepost as to how the unfolding 9/11 Legend would finally crystallize.
As reported by Lumpkin, in the same article where Khalid was introduced
as the new 9/11 mastermind, he was also “accused of working with Ramzi
Yousef in the first bombing of the World Trade Center [in ’93]” in addition
to working with Yousef on a 1995 plot (code-named Bojinka) to bomb
a dozen airliners headed to the United States

…It was not by accident that the 9/11
paymaster – now officially dubbed as Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi
was mentioned in an article introducing Khalid as the mastermind.
As it turned out, about the same time that Lumpkin’s article was making
the rounds, Robert Mueller was making a statement before the Senate-House
Committee, narrating the full details of the money trail story (as set
out in the Moussaoui indictment), but this time adding the role of Khalid
Shaikh Mohammed, who, according to Mueller’s statement, shared a credit
card with Mustafa Ahmed “Alhawsawi.”

Thus, Mueller inserted Khalid into the
Money Trail Story by way of a direct connection with the “Mustafa
Ahmad” alias. And now, thanks to Lumpkin, “Mustafa Ahmad” was not
to be thought of as simply a convenient pseudonym, but rather as a real
person, bin Laden’s bona fide “financial chief”…

…Once Lumpkin’s June 2002 article
on Khalid was out, further incriminating details were coming out fast
and furious. According to CBS News, U.S. officials now had
“evidence” that Khalid had met with “some of the 9/11 hijackers at their
Hamburg, Germany apartment in 1999.” Presumably, Ramzi Binalshibh
– Mohammed Atta’s Hamburg roommate who was also thought to be a potential
“twentieth hijacker” – was among them. Lumpkin’s key June article also
mentioned Binalshibh as part of Atta’s Hamburg “cell.” And as Binalshibh
was paired with Mustafa Ahmed as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the
Moussaoui indictment, we have perhaps an indication that Khalid, Binalshibh,
and Mustafa Ahmed were part of a concerted strategy touched off in early
June 2002 to bring this phase of the 9/11 Legend to a close. Conveniently
timed for release on the very next day – June 6, 2002 – further news followed
that, according to National Security Agency intercepts, Khalid was heard
talking on the telephone with hijacker Mohammed Atta. Moreover,
for the very first time, authorities were now reporting that Khalid was
actually the uncle of Ramzi Yousef. In other words,
when the nephew failed to bring down the Towers in ’93, the uncle took
up the slack in ’01.

Perhaps it was this sort of conceptually
artistic symmetry that made Khalid so attractive as the designated mastermind.
Through Khalid, one had a direct connection to the first World Trade Center
attack, providing a smoking gun continuity leading directly to al-Qaida.
Prior to Khalid’s June 2002 public promotion, he was lurking on the official
terror lists merely as an indicted conspirator in the 1995 Bojinka
plot masterminded by Ramzi Yousef. Thus, while Khalid had not
previously been directly connected to the 9/11 plot, he did
make the “most wanted” cut based on his alleged 1995 collaboration
with Yousef. With that in mind, one can almost picture sitting in
with the members of the National Security Council on a balmy Spring morning
in late May 2002, leafing through their photo albums as they argued over
the most appropriate candidate to close off the official 9/11 Legend.
As it turned out, they chose the guy with the unibrow and the hair shirt.

What was the official reason for revealing
the role of Khalid at this point in time? According to CBS News,
it was senior al-Qaida figure Abu Zubaydah (captured a few months previously)
who had “fingered [Khalid] as the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks.”
Abu Zubaydah, the first “big fish” captured in the War On Terror, had
previously – and conveniently – been fingered as a major al-Qaida player
by Ahmed Ressam…

… As we will see, once Ramzi Binalshibh’s
number comes up for apprehension (in September 2002), followed by the
capture of Khalid and Mustafa Ahmed in March 2003, another version will
be offered for the timing of Khalid’s introduction as 9/11 mastermind.
But first, we should take note of James Risen’s June 5, 2002 article for
the New York Times, in which Risen reported that the authorities
“had begun to suspect soon after the [Sept. 11] attacks that [Khalid]
had some role in the hijackings. But in the next months, a detailed
financial investigation of the money trail from the plot led
officials to believe that he had a more prominent role than previously
suspected.” In other words, as Risen had framed it, Khalid had first
garnered notice for 9/11 by way of his connection to the money trail.
Was this a retrospective addition into the record? – for Khalid most certainly
did not make it into the Money Trail Story as of December
2001, when pretty much all the details of the money trail were crystallized
within the Moussaoui indictment. On the other hand, there is a possibility
that Khalid was intended from the very beginning to be featured
as the 9/11 mastermind, yet perhaps he could not be safely inserted back
into the Legend by way of the money trail until that nasty confusion
over the “Mustafa Ahmad” alias was resolved…

…By June of 2002, the contents of
the Moussaoui indictment could indeed be viewed as the clear signpost
pointing the way to the manner in which the final loose ends of the Official
9/11 Legend would be tied up for posterity. With Ramzi Binalshibh
and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi already tied together as unindicted co-conspirators
in the Moussaoui case, FBI Director Robert Mueller would, by this time,
explicitly weave in Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, pairing him up with Mustafa
Ahmed and thereby inserting this newly-christened 9/11 mastermind into
the Money Trail Story. The Associated Press’ John
Lumpkin would reference all three in his key June 2002 article.
It is as if the powers-that-be were putting this trio of nefarious characters
on notice – from here on, their fates were to be indelibly entwined.

If habitual coincidence is the mother
of all conspiracy theories, then one must surely raise a discerning eyebrow
at the revelation that, around this time – after more than a decade of
staying hidden in the shadows – Khalid Shaikh Mohammed suddenly was stricken
with an urge to conduct his very first interview, with none other than
Ramzi Binalshibh at his side. The journalist chosen for this honor
was the London bureau chief of Al-Jazeera, Yosri Fouda…

…On September 9, 2002, the die was
cast. Al-Jazeera was broadcasting Part I of Fouda’s historic
interview with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh. For
the first time, millions would hear – from the planners themselves – exactly
how the September 11 plot was put in motion. It was al-Jazeera’s
version of VH1’s Behind The Music, featuring guest commentaries
from Vincent Cannistraro and Lyndon LaRouche. Unfortunately, viewers
would only get the audio feed of Khalid and Binalshibh, as Binalshibh
and Khalid purportedly had confiscated from Fouda his videotape of the
proceedings before he had taken leave of them back in June.

In more ways than one, September 9 was
an ideal launch date for the interview broadcast. By then, the mainstream
media had the whole summer to feed the public – and themselves – with
various leaks, revelations, and “official” comments concerning Khalid
and Binalshibh’s newfound place in the 9/11 pantheon. Set-up and
payoff. Moreover, the interview was now being broadcast in the immediate
lead-up to the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, thereby further
raising the profile of this historic broadcast…

…It was practically a seamless propaganda
extravaganza, except for one small detail – Fouda had gone on record as
dating the interview to June of 2002, thereby raising the prospect of
two plausible scenarios. Scenario One: Khalid and Binalshibh’s
respective roles in the plot were first discovered solely due to Fouda’s
contact with them;
or Scenario Two: The decision
to send Fouda on his interview errand was made at the same time that a
decision was made to market Khalid as the new 9/11 mastermind.
the two scenarios, the first one was far more palatable – from a propaganda
perspective – as at least it could be kept within the borders of plausible
deniability, and only Fouda would get burned by it. The second scenario,
however, would raise the prospect of one of those uncomfortable coincidences
that could conceivably expose the 9/11 Legend as a pre-fabricated set-up.

Only two days after the initial broadcast
of Fouda’s interview with Khalid and Binalshibh – on the first anniversary
commemorating the 9/11 attacks – Pakistani forces, accompanied by FBI
agents, raided an apartment complex in Karachi. After a “four hour”
gun battle involving “hundreds” of Pakistani soldiers and policemen, the
authorities captured, among a few others, Ramzi Binalshibh himself.
Their original target, however, had been Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, whom
they had been tracking for months throughout Karachi. While Khalid
had just barely slipped away only a few hours before Pakistani forces
had arrived at his door, the authorities were reportedly “surprised” to
discover that they had netted Binalshibh in the process. At least
that is now the official version of the day’s events…

…With the well-timed arrest of Ramzi
Binalshibh in September 2002, journalist Yosri Fouda was in a bind.
Only days before, he had gone on record – repeatedly – as dating his interview
with Khalid and Binalshibh to June 2002. Up to the time of Binalshibh’s
arrest, the official legend had it that Khalid’s pivotal role as 9/11
mastermind was revealed to U.S. authorities through their interrogation
of Abu Zubaydah, who was captured in March 2002. Now, in the aftermath
of Binalshibh’s capture, word was circulating that perhaps authorities
had learned of Khalid’s true role by way of Fouda. That contention,
of course, would remain most plausible if Fouda’s interview could definitively
be back-dated to a time before early June 2002 – that is, to a
time before Khalid was first publicly announced as 9/11 mastermind.
The alternative scenario quite simply pointed to a conclusion that
would have to be denied at all costs – that the decision to out Khalid
publicly as the 9/11 mastermind was coordinated with the decision to send
Fouda on his interview errand with Khalid. Had Fouda erred, then,
by initially claiming that his historic interview had taken place in June
2002? Had he possibly exposed a seam pointing the way to a coordinated

Soon after the Binalshibh arrest, Fouda
took the opportunity to revise the date of his interview for the record,
revealing to Abdallah Schleifer of the Kamal
Adham Center For Journalism:

Fouda: “Actually,
this question of dates is very important for another reason. All
of these Islamist websites that were denouncing me alluded to my interview
as taking place in June. That’s what I mentioned both in my article
in The Sunday Times Magazine and in my documentary – that I met them
in June.”

Schleifer: “So?”

Fouda: “I

Schleifer: “Really?”

Fouda: “Yeah.”

Schleifer: “But
you’re going to come clean with [us], right?”

Fouda: (laughter)”Yes, of course. I lied because I
needed to lie. I’ll tell you why. Because I thought, maybe even
expected, that if something when wrong and I needed to get in touch with them
through a website or a statement or a fax … they would be the only ones
who would know that I had met them one month earlier than I let on, and so
I’d know I was talking to the right people.

So after the first wave of denunciations
a pro-Qa’ida website “” put up a statement online in the name
of Al-Qa’ida clearing me of any blame or connection with Ramzi’s arrest
and I knew this was an authentic communique because it alluded to the
interview taking place in May.”

Apparently, Fouda had lied again, for
on March 4, 2003 (i.e. a few days after Khalid’s eventual arrest), Fouda
offered up this newest version of his 48-hour encounter to The Guardian:


“It was late afternoon, Sunday 21
April 2002, when I packed my bags before joining Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
and Ramzi bin al-shibh for a last prayer before saying goodbye.”

That, as they say in legal parlance,
is a very definite recollection. In short, Fouda had impeached
his own testimony through these two explicitly detailed, contradictory
dates. Fouda, through this compounded lie, was now calling into
question the very credibility of his entire interview with Khalid and

…Recall that, back in June 2002, the
“official” legend at the time had it that it was Abu Zubaydah, back in
March 2002, who had spilled the goods on Khalid. Yet with Khalid’s
March 2003 apprehension, this one aspect of the legend was duly revised.
As revealed by Keith Olbermann in a March 3, 2003 item:
“Ironically, it would be [Fouda’s] interview that would point out, to
U.S. intelligence, that [Khalid Shaikh] Mohammed and Binalshibh were the
brains behind the 9/11 attacks”…

…Within weeks of Binalshibh’s
Sept. 11, 2002 arrest, the disinformation apparatus was revisiting the
Daniel Pearl thread of the 9/11 Legend, this time with a bombshell UPI
exclusive from Richard Sale and Anwar Iqbal, dated September 30, 2002:


…”Bob Baer, a former case officer
in the agency’s Directorate of Operations, said he provided Pearl with
unpublished information about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed…

…’I was working with Pearl,’ said
Baer, who had written a book about his time as a CIA official and has
acted as a consultant and source for numerous media outlets. ‘We
had a joint project. Mohammed was the story he was working on,
not Richard Reid’ “…

…In Baer’s book, See No Evil,
Khalid is mentioned briefly as an expert in hijacking planes, but precious
little detail is offered. One must be extremely cautious in assimilating
any “official” details about Khalid offered after June 2002, as one cannot
be sure as to which biographical details were fabricated solely
to buttress Khalid’s early June 2002 legend as the 9/11 mastermind.
Interestingly, while Baer’s brief reference to Khalid in his book is one
of the very few public characterizations of him offered between
September 2001 and June 2002, one must wonder why Baer chose to wait a
good eight months after the Pearl kidnapping before revealing this new
chapter about Khalid. Even more so, one must wonder why, back in
June 2002, when Khalid was making the headlines as the newly marketed
9/11 mastermind – and at a time when the red-hot Baer was doing the post-9/11
media circuit – he apparently did not find it newsworthy to reveal the
Khalid angle to the Pearl story. Or perhaps he had forgotten it
altogether, and it had taken as long as three weeks after the Binalshibh
arrest to jog his memory.

But with his memory now firmly jogged,
apparently he would set out to discover what happened to his “joint project”
partner, Daniel Pearl. Perhaps to his horror, he discovered that Pearl
might have been disposed of by their joint research subject. “I
have heard from (intelligence) people who follow this closely that it
was people close to [Khalid Shaikh] Mohammed that killed him [Pearl],
if it wasn’t Mohammed himself,” Baer revealed to UPI…

…On September 26, 2002 , only days
before Baer’s bombshell admission, John Lumpkin of the Associated Press
presented his update on the 9/11 paymaster role. Recall that it
was Lumpkin who had written, back in early June 2002, the definitive article
introducing Khalid as the 9/11 mastermind, including references to the
now-official paymaster Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi (a.k.a. Shaikh Saiid al-Sharif)
and Ramzi Binalshibh. Now, Lumpkin was reporting the contents of
Robert Mueller’s formerly secret testimony before the Joint Senate-House
Committee, made back in early June 2002, around the time of Lumpkin’s
key article on Khalid…

…And, as if to lay the groundwork
for Khalid and al-Hisawi’s eventual simultaneous capture, Lumpkin wrote,
“Both al-Hisawi and Mohammed are at large and are among the most wanted
al-Qaida figures remaining.” He might also have mentioned Osama
bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, but then that wasn’t the point
of the article. As I have argued, the time was fast approaching
for al-Hisawi, Binalshibh, and Khalid (in conjunction with the Moussaoui
indictment) to wrap up this segment of the 9/11 Legend and to take their
indelible places in the official history books…

…Approaching the end of 2002, with
Binalshibh secretly stashed away in U.S. custody – and with most people
focused on the emerging War In Iraq – the time was now ripe to bring this
part of the Official 9/11 Legend to its neat and tidy conclusion.
For the record, the aforementioned John J. Lumpkin of the Associated
(who had written the definitive June 2002 article introducing
Khalid as the new 9/11 mastermind) took the opportunity – on December
27, 2002 – to clarify the true identity of the official 9/11 paymaster,
this time providing the very first explicit acknowledgment of those troublesome
contradictions previously conveyed through the pages of the Associated

…Not that many people noticed – or
cared. Still, all that prior nasty confusion concerning the 9/11
paymaster alias had to be qualified and clarified in time for [Mustafa
Ahmed] al-Hisawi’s approaching “official” arrest…

…In any case, the main story points
of the Official 9/11 Legend were fully elaborated and resolved
with the simultaneous capture of Khalid and the official paymaster, Mustafa
Ahmed al-Hisawi, in March 2003. Only weeks later, however, with
the War In Iraq in full sway, these presumably senior operatives in the
9/11 plot drew negligible scrutiny from the media and the public at large.
Both men were reportedly stashed away in secret locations, presumably
sharing the fruits of their interrogations with anonymous officials, who
would duly pass off the requisite “scoops” to writers with a curious penchant
for special intelligence access (Gerald Posner, for example).

Meanwhile, the – perhaps choreographed?
– farce of the Moussaoui trial would drag on, with Moussaoui reportedly
insistent on calling Khalid and Binalshibh as witnesses for the defense.
At this point, one would be cautioned as to drawing any firm conclusions
about the ongoing events of the Moussaoui trial. The important fact
to keep in mind is that Moussaoui all along was likely set up as the convenient
vessel through which the Justice Department and Mueller’s FBI – cunningly
obscured by Mueller’s hedges – would gradually elaborate the main contours
of the Official 9/11 Legend in that crucial first year following
9/11. In other words, by way of the lone Moussaoui indictment,
the authorities were able to provide the illusion of a massive legal investigation
covering literally thousands of pages, spanning continents in order to
ferret out the full depth of Moussaoui’s nefarious associations.
In this respect, one might surmise that once Moussaoui has fully served
his purpose as an investigative/propaganda vessel (as he likely
already has), the authorities will then proceed to demonstrate that the
Moussaoui case was never particularly relevant after all – thereby successfully
concealing the all-important function that his case did serve in
the finely calibrated public dissemination of the Official 9/11 Legend.

Given the foregoing, it remains to be
seen how the authorities will conclusively deal with the festering anomalies
surrounding their three prize catches – the elusive Binalshibh, the perhaps
dead Khalid, and the perhaps fictitious Mustafa Ahmed al-Hisawi.
Nevertheless, it is a safe bet that in the meantime, the authorities will
continue to weave ever more complex and murky tapestries around the personalities
of these operatives, employing the mercenary talents of writers like Gerald
Posner to add to the crumbling sediment of “facts.”

Chaim Kupferberg is a freelance researcher, writer
and frequent Global Research contributor.


This text is excerpted
from: Truth,
Lies, and The Legend of 9/11
by Chaim Kupferberg,
first published by Global Research in October 26, 2003.

Other Writings By Chaim Kupferberg:

“The Propaganda Preparation For 9/11”,
Centre for Research on Globalization,
, June 2002.

“Daniel Pearl and The Paymaster of
9/11”, Centre for Research on Globalization,
, September 2002

Research Articles by Chaim Kupferberg

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