A man is secretly detained for many months and years, incommunicado. What the people know of him is that he engaged in plots against the government, against the country. Eventually he is brought before a tribunal. Of course, he confesses to "a vast series of plots." Yes, I did it. And what's more, here's what I wanted to do!
I couldn't tell you if Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is really a "terrorist mastermind" or if he's a total fiction, invented by the government, represented by a goofy snapshot of a disheveled Arab man, who could be a Riyadh cabbie waking up with a hangover for all we know. Nor could anyone else really tell you. If not a product of our government, he is, at least, its singular possession. His existance lacks externality. He has no being, only meaning. Bless you, Jean Baudrillard: The Simulacrum is true.
The New York Times, meanwhile, pulls its usualy Pravda for this shameful farce.
"Mr. Mohammed, long said to be the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, he confessed to them and acknowledged full or partial responsibility for more than 30 other terror attacks or plots.It reads like a dispatch from the USSR. It reads like an East German party paper. Here is the thing about show trials: some of the tried are guilty of crimes. Some of them are terrorists, or violent revolutionaries, or foreign agents, or spies, or traitors. But the nature of the process is worse than any of their real or imagined crimes because it obviates guilt. It makes the judgement moot. It makes the finding and the confession irrelevant. Here is what we can say about the show trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed: Even if he were truly guilty of every item on the confession, he was not nor ever will be brought to justice.
”I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z,” he said.