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"I think that we're going to shine a light on something that a lot of people don't want to look at" is how American Civil Liberties Union attorney Denney LeBoeuf put it, according to The New York Times on Saturday.
No problem, says Attorney General Eric Holder, who claims to have "great confidence" that other evidence — apart from what may have been gleaned from the 183 times Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, for example — will suffice to convict him.
Maybe so, But what the Fawning Corporate Media (or FCM) have so far neglected is the likelihood that the testimony will be so public that they will have to break their studied silence about why Sheikh Mohammed and his associates say they orchestrated the attacks of 9/11.
For reasons that are painfully obvious, the FCM have done their best to ignore or bury the role that Israel's repression of the Palestinians has played in motivating the 9/11 attacks and other anti-Western terrorism.
It is not like there is no evidence on this key issue. Rather, it appears that the Israel-Palestine connection is pretty much kept off limits for discussion.
Yet, as Sheikh Mohammed and the other alleged 9/11 conspirators go to trial, the FCM's tacit but tight embargo will be under great strain. Eyes will have to be averted from the sensitive Israeli-Palestinian motive even more than from torture, which most Americans know about (and, God help us, are willing to explain away).
To refresh our memories, let's recall the bromides we were fed by the likes of President George W. Bush about why the terrorists attacked on 9/11.
Rather than mentioning long-held grievances expressed by many Arabs — such as Western intrusion into their region, Washington's propping up of autocrats who enrich themselves in deals with multinational oil companies, and Israel's military occupation of Palestinian territory — Bush told the American people that "the terrorists hate our freedoms."
Former Vice President Dick Cheney reprised that feel-good theme in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute on May 21. Cheney said the terrorists hate "all the things that make us a force for good in the world — for liberty, for human rights, for the rational, peaceful resolution of differences."
Some observers might have found those qualities strange for Cheney to cite given his role in violating constitutional rights, torturing captives and spreading falsehoods to justify an aggressive war against Iraq.
But Cheney also slipped up in the speech, presumably because he had lost his best speechwriters upon leaving office. He inadvertently acknowledged the Israeli albatross hanging around the neck of U.S. policy in the Middle East.
"They [terrorists] have never lacked for grievances against the United States. Our belief in freedom of speech and religion " our belief in equal rights for women " our support for Israel" — these are the true sources of resentment," Cheney said.
Yet "our support for Israel" is hardly ever included in these formulations, but Cheney at least got that part right.
Rarely in the FCM — and not even often on the Web — does one find Sheikh Mohammed's explanation for what motivated him to "mastermind" 9/11. Apparently, few pundits have made it as far as page 147 of the 9/11 Commission Report.
The drafters were at work on the report when they learned that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had been captured. They knew that he earned a degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina A&T in Greensboro in 1986, before going to Afghanistan to fight the Russian occupier.