The Mark Steyn Show with James E Mitchell

Published on March 14, 2017 by Mark Steyn

In this episode of The Mark Steyn Show, Mark talks to the man who waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, James E Mitchell. In an extended interview about his new book Enhanced Interrogation, Dr Mitchell recalls getting to know some of the world’s most high-value terrorists – and what happened to him when his own government decided he was the problem.

Weaponization of Political Correctness

Secure Freedom Radio, Jim Hanson interview with Dr. James Mitchell, April 19, 2017:

Dr. JAMES MITCHELL, Key architect of the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program, author of Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America:

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  • Effectiveness of enhanced interrogation
  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s prediction that America would defeat itself

(PART TWO):

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  • The obligation to jihad
  • Terrorism funding through zakat

(PART THREE):

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  • Islamic reform

(PART FOUR):

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  • Three ways to vet immigrants
  • Social media factor analysis

UTT Throwback Thursday: IRAN is Still a Threat

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, April 6, 2017:

President Jimmy Carter’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young, said “(Ayatollah) Khomeini will eventually be hailed as a saint.”

As a result of the U.S. administration being soft-hearted, soft-minded, and naive, Iran launched an Islamic revolution, and on November 4, 1979 52 American hostages were taken from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held for 444 days until President Reagan’s Inauguration Day.

The following month, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

President Obama’s administration appeased Iran and provided it billions of dollars in violation of federal law.

This was done despite the recognition by the U.S. government that Iran is the most dangerous state sponsor of terrorism in the world, continues to aggressively pursue nuclear weapons, and makes it’s desire to destroy the United States and Israel clear.

Iran’s constitution states:  “In the organization and equipping of the countries (sic) defense forces, there must be regard for faith and religion as their basis and rules. And so the Islamic Republic’s army, and the corps of Revolutionary Guards must be organized in accordance with this aim. They have responsibility not only for the safeguarding of the frontiers, but also for a religious mission, which is Holy War (JIHAD) along the way of God, and the struggle to extend the supremacy of God’s Law in the world.”

The Iranian constitution then quotes Koran 8:60 which is:  “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of God and your enemies, and others beside.”

This is the same Koranic quote referenced on the International Muslim Brotherhood’s logo.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah – a designated terrorist organization – reports to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah kisses the sleeve of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a sign of respect and deference.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei stands with Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah under a portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini.

From the Congressional Record dated October 4, 2002:  “Prior to September 11, Hezbollah, through its terrorist wing, the Islamic Jihad Organization, had killed more Americans, by far, than any other terrorist organization in the world. The bombing of U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, the hijacking of TWA flight 847, numerous other brutal kidnappings and murders of Americans.”

From the 9/11 Commission Report:  “In June 1996, a truck bomb demolished the Khobar Towers apartment complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 U.S. servicemen and wounding hundreds.  The attack was carried out primarily by Saudi Hezbollah, an organization that had received help from the government of Iran…In late 1991 or 1992, discussions in Sudan between Al Qaeda and Iranian operatives led to an informal agreement to cooperate in providing support – even if only training – for action carried out primarily against Israel and the United States.  Not long afterward, senior Al Qaeda operatives and trainers traveled to Iran to receive training in explosives…The relationship between Al Qaeda and Iran demonstrated that Sunni-Shia divisions did not necessarily pose an insurmountable barrier…Senior managers in Al Qaeda maintained contacts with Iran and the Iranian-supported worldwide terrorist organization Hezbollah…Al Qaeda members received advice and training from Hezbollah.  Intelligence indicates the persistence of contacts between Iranian security officials and senior Al Qaeda figures after Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan…In October 2000, two future muscle hijackers Mohand al Shehri and Hamza al Ghamdi, flew from Iran to Kuwait…In November (3 other muscle hijackers) traveled in a group from Saudi Arabia to Beirut and then onward to Iran.  An associate of a senior Hezbollah operative was on the same flight that took the future hijackers to Iran…There is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of Al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers.”

Additionally, senior Al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his family lived in Iran.

FBI officials testified in February 2002 “FBI investigations to date continue to indicate that many Hezbollah subjects based in the United States have the capability to attempt terrorist attacks here should this be a desired objective of the group.”

CIA Director George Tenet testified in February 2003 “Hezbollah, as an organization with capability and worldwide presence, is [Al Qaeda’s] equal, if not a far more capable organization.”

A July 28, 2011 U.S. State Department press release reads:  “The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designation of six members of an al-Qa’ida network headed by Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, a prominent Iran-based al-Qa’ida facilitator, operating under an agreement between al-Qa’ida and the Iranian government.”

In 2012, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security – Iran’s primary intelligence agency – for providing material support to Hezbollah and Hamas (TERRORIST organizations), for providing Al Qaeda operatives with documents (passports, ID), facilitating Al Qaeda’s movement in Iran, and providing weapons and money to Al Qaeda in Iraq during the war there.

Approximately one week ago, U.S. Central Command Commander General Votel testified before Congress that “Iran posses the greatest long-term threat to stability in this part of the world.”

It is high time the United States government destroy Iran’s ability to wage war at all levels, including Hezbollah’s operations in Lebanon, Iran, and their cells here in the United States.

Guantanamo detainee selected for aborted 9/11 hijacking transferred to Oman

Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, January 18, 2017:

The Defense Department has released a list of ten now former Guantanamo detainees who were transferred to Oman earlier this week. One of them is Mohammed Al Ansi, a Yemeni who was captured in northern Pakistan in late 2001 and transferred to the detention facility in Cuba in Jan. 2002.

Mohammed Al Ansi

Mohammed Al Ansi

US authorities repeatedly found that Ansi (seen on the right) may have been selected to take part in an aborted part of the 9/11 hijackings.

Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) concluded in a leaked threat assessment, dated May 17, 2008, that Ansi “swore bayat (oath of allegiance) to” Osama bin Laden “and received specialized close combat training for his role as a suicide operative in an aborted component of the 11 September 2001 al Qaeda attacks.”

Another version of the allegation was included in a summary prepared by the Obama administration for the Periodic Review Board (PRB) process at Guantanamo.

“Judging from other detainee statements and corroborating information,” the Oct. 14, 2015 summary reads, Ansi “participated in advanced combat training and may have met with al Qaeda external operations chief Khalid Shaykh Mohammed … in Karachi and been considered for participation in a suicide attack or deployment in the West.”

Al Qaeda originally considered hijacking US airliners leaving from airports in Southeast Asia as part of the 9/11 plot. But bin Laden reportedly canceled this part of the operation because he thought it would be difficult to coordinate the additional hijackings.

According to the US government’s files, one of the ringleaders for the canceled 9/11 hijackings was Walid Bin Attash, a senior al Qaeda operative who helped plot the Oct. 2000 USS Cole bombing. Bin Attash allegedly performed surveillance on American airliners operating in Southeast Asia. After his part of the plot was called off, Bin Attash turned his attention to other al Qaeda plans.

Bin Attash, who is currently held at Guantanamo, fingered Ansi and three other detainees as would-be participants in the airliner plot. Leaked threat assessments prepared by JTF-GTMO, as well as files prepared for the detainees’ PRB hearings, link all four of them to the initial plan. Two of them were previously transferred by the Obama administration. Abdul Rahman Shalabi, a Saudi, was transferred to his home country on Sept. 22, 2015. Abd al Malik Abd al Wahab, a Yemeni, was transferred to Montenegro on June 22, 2016.

Only the fourth detainee identified by Bin Attash as being part of the plot, a Yemeni named Zuhail Abdo Anam Said al Sharabi, remains in US custody at Guantanamo. A summary prepared for Sharabi’s PRB hearing notes that he traveled to Malaysia, where he stayed with Bin Attash and two of the 9/11 hijackers. Sharabi apparently denied this allegation during questioning, but also described the pair of 9/11 hijackers as “martyrs.” JTF-GTMO’s analysts found that Sharabi’s trip to Malaysia with Bin Attash was ordered by Osama bin Laden himself as “part of the pre-planning for the hijacking plot.” The pair stayed at the home of Hambali, a notorious al Qaeda leader in Southeast Asia who is also still detained at Guantanamo.

Bin Attash told authorities that, just two months prior to 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) took the four (including Ansi), as well as two others, “to Karachi to teach them English language and American culture.”

Read more

Also see:

  • US transferring 4 Gitmo detainees to UAE and Saudi Arabia, officials say (foxnews.com) After the transfers are complete, 41 detainees will remain at the detention camp. It is not immediately known if any more transfers will take place before Obama leaves office Friday, though it is clear the outgoing president will not achieve his 2008 campaign goal of shuttering the camp.

9/11 Mastermind’s Interrogator: KSM’s Predictions ‘Are Coming to Pass’

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Fox News Insider, December 21, 2016:

Dr. James Mitchell, the man who personally interrogated 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, said the avowed terrorist foretold of the dangers that could arise through lax immigration policy.

“[He] was warning of this very kind of thing ten years ago,” Mitchell said, “[His] predictions are already coming to pass.”

Mitchell said Mohammed told him that America’s civil liberties and openness were “gifts from his god” and were the weaknesses and flaws necessary to carry out an infiltration of Sharia law throughout the West.

“Political correctness allows them to operate in our midst without being challenged,” he said,

“Like-minded Jihadi brothers would emigrate, wrap themselves in civil liberties for protection” and fund themselves through the welfare system, he said.

These trends, Mitchell said, could be reflected in terror attacks, like this week’s attack in Berlin.

He said the best way to hinder terrorists’ progress would be to “slow down immigration” from countries that support terrorism.

9/11 Mastermind Reveals Trump’s Plan to Fight Terrorists Works

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Khalid Sheikh Mohammed shows anti-war leftists were playing into Al Qaeda’s hands.

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield,  December 2, 2016:

The left aided Islamic terrorists most not with street protests, but by embedding counterintuitive narratives into the framework of counterterrorism. These narratives turned reality on its head.

In counterterrorism, counterintuitive narratives transformed inaction into a virtue.

One of the most pervasive myths was that Islamic terrorists actually wanted us to fight them and that we could only defeat them by ignoring them. The irrationality of the myth that terrorists wanted us to bomb and kill them was exceeded only by its persistence among experts and political officials.

Popularly known as “Playing into their hands”, the goal of this counterintuitive narrative was to make the ostrich approach appear prudent and masterful while flipping around patriotism by accusing national security hawks of playing into the hands of the terrorists by killing them.

Only the appeasers had the secret to defeating Islamic terrorism while the patriots were truly traitors.

Trump faced repeated accusation from Hillary and her proxies that he was playing into the hands of ISIS with calls to get tough on Islamic terrorism. And you can expect the smear that he’s playing into the hands of the terrorists by bombing and killing them to recur throughout his administration.

But the myth has been shredded by James E. Mitchell’s book, “Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying To Destroy America.” As the man who helped the CIA break terrorists, Mitchell had written the “book” on effective methods for fighting Islamic terror. And now he actually wrote the book on what the terrorists really wanted and fear.

And no, they didn’t want to be bombed. We weren’t “playing into their hands” by killing them or by making it harder for them to come to America. It was the left that was playing into Al Qaeda’s hands.

And that still is.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks, revealed that Al Qaeda shared the leftist panic and disaster over Bush’s “cowboy” approach to fighting terrorists. The United States had backed down from Islamic terrorists so many times that they had come to take our defeatism for granted. Al Qaeda didn’t have a masterful plan to lure us into Afghanistan, as the left liked to insist, instead it expected President Bush to follow in Clinton’s footsteps by delivering an empty speech and then writing it off as a law enforcement problem. Much as Obama had done with Benghazi.

It wasn’t expecting the roar of jets over Kandahar.

“How was I supposed to know that cowboy George Bush would announce he wanted us ‘dead or alive’ and then invade Afghanistan to hunt us down?’’ Khalid Sheikh Mohammed whined.

“KSM explained that if the United States had treated 9/11 like a law enforcement matter, he would have had time to launch a second wave of attacks”, but instead Al Qaeda and its plans for the next wave of attacks were crushed “by the ferocity and swiftness of George W. Bush’s response.”

Like Saddam’s WMDs, the left has made great sport of the lack of major follow-up attacks by Al Qaeda. But Al Qaeda couldn’t follow up because it was under too much pressure. Unsurprisingly, killing terrorists actually worked. Unknown numbers of American lives were saved because President Bush believed that killing terrorists was more effective than appeasing them.

The left had always insisted on treating 9/11 as a law enforcement matter. That is why Obama aggressively pushed to move Islamic terrorists into criminal courts. Even his Osama bin Laden bid was only an effort to capture the top Al Qaeda terrorist so that he could put him on trial in a criminal court.

“My belief was if we had captured him, that I would be in a pretty strong position, politically, here, to argue that displaying due process and rule of law would be our best weapon against al-Qaeda,” Obama had argued, showcasing a typical counterintuitive narrative myth.

Osama’s death proved to be a lucky political break for Obama, but he hadn’t been trying to fight terror. Instead he was working to appease it.

Various counterintuitive narratives were invoked in defense of this bad policy, including the “Playing into their hands” myth. But now we know that it was leftists who were playing into Al Qaeda’s hands.

The mastermind of 9/11 wanted us to send the cops after Al Qaeda. He wasn’t looking to dance with an A-10. And had Bill Clinton turned over the White House to Al Gore instead of George W. Bush, 9/11 would have been far more devastating as the opening round of a series of major Islamic terror attacks.

Another great counterintuitive myth is that Islamic immigration, which provides fertile recruiting ground for foreign terror groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS to pursue their Jihad on America using operatives already embedded in the country, is actually the best way to fight Islamic terrorism.

When Trump called for a ban on Muslim migration, counterintuitive narratives were deployed that accused him, once again, of playing into the hands of ISIS and Al Qaeda. Islamic immigration, the counterintuitive myth claimed, disproved the claims of Islamic terrorists about America. The more Muslim migrants we took in, the more Muslims would come to love us and reject Islamic terrorism.

But Khalid Sheikh Mohammed revealed that he did not oppose Islamic immigration. He viewed it as the certain way for Muslims to defeat America and the free world. Islamic terrorism was a short range gamble. The “moonshot” of Islamic conquest wasn’t terrorism, it was Muslim migration to the West.

And even in the short term, Islamic terror was still enabled by Islamic immigration.

“Jihadi-minded brothers would immigrate into the United States” and “wrap themselves in America’s rights and laws’ while continuing their attacks,” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed admitted.

While the counterintuitive narrative deeply embedded in CVE insists that Islamist “civil rights” groups like CAIR are our best “partners” in fighting Islamic terrorism and that extending every possible legal protection to Islamic terrorists will help discredit them, Mohammed saw Islamic migration and the whole Islamist civil rights scam enabled by the radicals at the ACLU and elsewhere, as cover for Islamic terrorism.

All of this is obvious to any thinking person who possesses enough common sense to come out of the rain. So why did so many important people fall for the counterintuitive myths of counterterrorism?

The strange seductiveness of counterintuitive narratives lies in their rejection of common sense solutions. Instead they follow the standard leftist pattern of descending into the matrix of a logically illogical system which is internally consistent, but makes no sense when applied to the real world.

Counterintuitive narratives make elites and experts feel smart for appearing to transcend common sense to grasp deeper insights into human nature and how the world works. Such gnostic revelations are a big part of the left’s appeal, particularly to college students, but these mythologies are a myth.

The left loves to play with language, but word games don’t change reality. They just seduce those who consider themselves bright into believing that their cleverness is more meaningful than reality.

But eventually the ivory towers fall, the sand castles are washed away by the tide and the lies die.

Common sense was always right. Killing terrorists works. Appeasing them doesn’t. Terrorists are broken through pressure, not milk and cookies. Trump’s proposals work. Those of the left only enable terrorism.

“America will expose her neck for us to slaughter,” Mohammed predicted. And it did.

But just as the mastermind of September 11 had not anticipated what President Bush would do, Islamic terrorists never saw President Trump coming.

***

A good follow-up on the manipulation of language to achieve political ends:

***

Brian Kilmeade recently interviewed Dr. James Mitchell on his new book. “‘Enhanced Interrogation”:

A horrifying look into the mind of 9/11’s mastermind, in his own words

Khalid Sheik Mohammed in 2003. (Associated Press)

Khalid Sheik Mohammed in 2003. (Associated Press)

November 28, 2016:

What is it like to stare into the face of evil? James E. Mitchell knows.

In his gripping new memoir, “Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying To Destroy America,” Mitchell describes the day he was questioning Khalid Sheik Mohammed, when the 9/11 mastermind announced he had something important to say. “KSM then launched into a gory and detailed description of how he beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl,” Mitchell writes. Up to that moment, the CIA did not know KSM had personally carried out the murder. When asked whether it was “hard to do” (meaning emotionally difficult), KSM misunderstood the question. “Oh, no, no problem,” KSM said, “I had very sharp knives. Just like slaughtering sheep.”

To confirm his story, the CIA had KSM reenact the beheading so that it could compare the features of his hands and forearms to those in the video of Pearl’s murder. “Throughout the reenactment, KSM smiled and mugged for the cameras. Sometimes he preened,” Mitchell writes. When informed that the CIA had confirmed that he was telling the truth, KSM smiled.

“See, I told you,” KSM said. “I cut Daniel’s throat with these blessed hands.”

This is the pure evil Mitchell and his colleagues confronted each day at CIA “black sites.” “I have looked into the eyes of the worst people on the planet,” Mitchell writes. “I have sat with them and felt their passion as they described what they see as their holy duty to destroy our way of life.”

The world has heard almost nothing from KSM in the 15 years since the 9/11 attacks, but Mitchell has spent thousands of hours with him and other captured al-Qaeda leaders. Now, for the first time, Mitchell is sharing what he says KSM told him.

Mitchell is an American patriot who has been unjustly persecuted for his role in crafting an interrogation program that helped stop terrorist attacks and saved countless lives. He does not shy from the controversies and pulls no punches in describing the interrogations. If anything, readers may be surprised by the compassion he showed these mass murderers. But the real news in his book is what happened after enhanced interrogations ended and the terrorists began cooperating.

Once their resistance had been broken, enhanced interrogation techniques stopped and KSM and other detainees became what Mitchell calls a “Terrorist Think Tank,” identifying voices in phone calls, deciphering encrypted messages and providing valuable information that led the CIA to other terrorists. Mitchell devotes an entire chapter to the critical role KSM and other detainees played in finding Osama bin Laden. KSM held classes where he lectured CIA officials on jihadist ideology, terrorist recruiting and attack planning. He was so cooperative, Mitchell writes, KSM “told me I should be on the FBI’s Most Wanted List because I am now a ‘known associate’ of KSM and a ‘graduate’ of his training camp.”

KSM also described for Mitchell many of his as yet unconsummated ideas for future attacks, the terrifying details of which Mitchell does not reveal for fear they might be implemented. “If we ever allow him to communicate unmonitored with the outside world,” Mitchell writes, “he could easily spread his deviously simple but potentially deadly ideas.”

But perhaps the most riveting part of the book is what KSM told Mitchell about what inspired al-Qaeda to attack the United States — and the U.S. response he expected. Today, some on both the left and the right argue that al-Qaeda wanted to draw us into a quagmire in Afghanistan — and now the Islamic State wants to do the same in Iraq and Syria. KSM said this is dead wrong. Far from trying to draw us in, KSM said that al-Qaeda expected the United States to respond to 9/11 as we had the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut — when, KSM told Mitchell, the United States “turned tail and ran.” He also said he thought we would treat 9/11 as a law enforcement matter, just as we had the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the USS Cole in Yemen — arresting some operatives and firing a few missiles into empty tents, but otherwise leaving him free to plan the next attack.

“Then he looked at me and said, ‘How was I supposed to know that cowboy George Bush would announce he wanted us ‘dead or alive’ and then invade Afghanistan to hunt us down?’” Mitchell writes. “KSM explained that if the United States had treated 9/11 like a law enforcement matter, he would have had time to launch a second wave of attacks.” He was not able to do so because al-Qaeda was stunned “by the ferocity and swiftness of George W. Bush’s response.”

But KSM said something else that was prophetic. In the end, he told Mitchell, “We will win because Americans don’t realize . . . we do not need to defeat you militarily; we only need to fight long enough for you to defeat yourself by quitting.”

KSM explained that large-scale attacks such as 9/11 were “nice, but not necessary” and that a series of “low-tech attacks could bring down America the same way ‘enough disease-infected fleas can fell an elephant.’ ” KSM “said jihadi-minded brothers would immigrate into the United States” and “wrap themselves in America’s rights and laws” until they were strong enough to rise up and attack us. “He said the brothers would relentlessly continue their attacks and the American people would eventually become so tired, so frightened, and so weary of war that they would just want it to end.”

“Eventually,” KSM said, “America will expose her neck for us to slaughter.”

KSM was right. For the past eight years, our leaders have told us that we are weary of war and need to focus on “nation building at home.” We have been defeating ourselves by quitting — just as KSM predicted.

But quitting will not bring us peace, KSM told Mitchell. He explained that “it does not matter that we do not want to fight them,” Mitchell writes, adding that KSM explained “America may not be in a religious war with him, but he and other True Muslims are in a religious war with America” and “he and his brothers will not stop until the entire world lives under Sharia law.”

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