About KSM’s Lies

I’ve been meaning to return to this post for some time.  But with the torture apologists teeing up for another attempt at self-justification and with Ali Soufan’s recent op-ed, now is as good a time as any.

As I suggested in that earlier post, in March 2003, the CIA subjected Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to brutal torture, including waterboarding him 183 times. Then, after that month of torture concluded, they did an assessment of what he had told him.

And the CIA itself, after torturing KSM for a month, concluded he had lied (this is from footnote 4, Chapter 7 of the 9/11 Report).

In an assessment of KSM’s reporting, the CIA concluded that protecting operatives in the United States appeared to be a "major part" of KSM’s resistance efforts. For example, in response to questions about U.S. zip codes found in his notebooks, KSM provided the less than satisfactory explanation that he was planning to use the zip code to open new email accounts. CIA report, Intelligence Community Terrorist Threat Assessment, "Khalid Shaykh Muhammed’s Threat Reporting–Precious Truths, Surrounded by a Bodyguard of Lies," April 3, 2003, pp 4-5.[my emphasis]

Compare that to what Cheney’s hagiographer’s source now claims:

"Almost all of the good information came from waterboarding and the other EITs," says a former senior U.S. intelligence official. "Once they broke, they broke for good. And then they talked forever."

Hayes’ article is (plausibly or not) entirely sourced to former and current CIA officials; presumably, they’ve seen this report. They know that as soon as CIA finished waterboarding KSM, they judged that he was lying particularly about anything that would expose US operations. Yet they are out still trying to claim information KSM gave them after that point–in July and September and the following years–was tied directly to the waterboarding they did before they concluded KSM was lying to them. 

And while we’re on the subject of lying, let’s return to what KSM has said he lied about while being tortured during his 2007 Combatant Status Review Tribunal.

… I make up stories just location UBL. Where is he? I don’t know. Then he torture me. Then I said yes, he is in this area of this is al Qaida which I don’t him.

So in addition to the information about US operatives that CIA believed KSM was lying about while he was being tortured, KSM himself maintains he lied about where Osama bin Laden was.

With that in mind, recall Ali Soufan’s accusation from this weekend. 

Mr. Mohammed knew the location of most, if not all, of the members of Al Qaeda’s leadership council, and possibly of every covert cell around the world. One can only imagine who else we could have captured, or what attacks we might have disrupted, if Mr. Mohammed had been questioned by the experts who knew the most about him.

I’m not sure, but it appears that Soufan may have believed KSM knew all this information based on his knowledge of what a colleague of his–one who was prohibited from speaking with KSM–knew.

Because the bureau would not employ these problematic techniques, our agents who knew the most about the terrorists could have no part in the investigation. An F.B.I. colleague of mine who knew more about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed than anyone in the government was not allowed to speak to him.

Now, Soufan clearly has an agenda here, so there’s good reason to be skeptical about what he says. But as to the exclusion of the best suited expert on KSM, Phillip Zelikow (who would have still been a neutral observer when he made the observation–reading the interrogations reports is what made him a skeptic about the efficacy of these interrogations) raised concerns about the same thing.

Among the many hidden costs to intelligence collection are ones like this point, which Soufan makes: "An F.B.I. colleague of mine who knew more about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed than anyone in the government was not allowed to speak to him." At the 9/11 Commission, we noticed this too. At the time (late 2003), my commission colleagues and I could not understand why this agent was not helping to question KSM. This was part of broader concerns we had about the substantive quality of the interrogations. I raised the issue in writing with the CIA’s General Counsel in our efforts to dig deeper into the way the interrogations were being conducted —  a point that I mentioned in this previously disclosed memo.

Understand, according to that memo, even from the limited information the 9/11 Commission was getting, it was clear the people doing the KSM interrogations didn’t know stuff about KSM they should have.

So go back and compare what KSM said at his CSRT in 2007 with what Soufan claims. KSM says he was asked about Osama bin Laden’s location and–after first claiming he didn’t know–later (after torture) lied about it. Soufan–presumably drawing on the knowledge of FBI’s best KSM expert–claims KSM did know locations of top leaders.

Now, I’m not sure who to believe on this point, but it suggests the possibility that when KSM was lying about where OBL was, he actually did know his location.

Like I said, where the truth is on this point, I have no way of judging. One thing is clear, though. None of the apologists are claiming that torturing KSM helped them to find OBL. 

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

54 replies
  1. Garrett says:

    Late May 2002 was a good time for terror alerts. We had to worry about al-Qaida rising up out of the sea, in scuba suits.

    Jose Padilla had just been captured, but was still a material witness, which I would think places some limits.

    I’m inclined to blame it on KSM. The FBI had walked out, probably just shortly before this time.

  2. Leen says:

    From what I have heard from folks who are from and back in Afghanistan. The Bush administration never provided verifiable evidence that proved that OBL was directly invoved with 9/11

    at information clearing house
    FBI says, it has “No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11”

    By Ed Haas

    06/18/06 “Muckraker Report ” – June 6, 2006 – This past weekend, a thought provoking e-mail circulated through Internet news groups, and was sent to the Muckraker Report by Mr. Paul V. Sheridan (Winner of the 2005 Civil Justice Foundation Award), bringing attention to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist web page for Usama Bin Laden.[1] In the e-mail, the question is asked, “Why doesn’t Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted poster make any direct connection with the events of September 11, 2001?” The FBI says on its Bin Laden web page that Usama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998 bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. According to the FBI, these attacks killed over 200 people. The FBI concludes its reason for “wanting” Bin Laden by saying, “In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorists attacks throughout the world.”

    On June 5, 2006, the Muckraker Report contacted the FBI Headquarters, (202) 324-3000, to learn why Bin Laden’s Most Wanted poster did not indicate that Usama was also wanted in connection with 9/11. The Muckraker Report spoke with Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI. When asked why there is no mention of 9/11 on Bin Laden’s Most Wanted web page, Tomb said, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”
    FBI says, it has “No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11”

    By Ed Haas

    06/18/06 “Muckraker Report ” – June 6, 2006 – This past weekend, a thought provoking e-mail circulated through Internet news groups, and was sent to the Muckraker Report by Mr. Paul V. Sheridan (Winner of the 2005 Civil Justice Foundation Award), bringing attention to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist web page for Usama Bin Laden.[1] In the e-mail, the question is asked, “Why doesn’t Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted poster make any direct connection with the events of September 11, 2001?” The FBI says on its Bin Laden web page that Usama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998 bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. According to the FBI, these attacks killed over 200 people. The FBI concludes its reason for “wanting” Bin Laden by saying, “In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorists attacks throughout the world.”

    On June 5, 2006, the Muckraker Report contacted the FBI Headquarters, (202) 324-3000, to learn why Bin Laden’s Most Wanted poster did not indicate that Usama was also wanted in connection with 9/11. The Muckraker Report spoke with Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI. When asked why there is no mention of 9/11 on Bin Laden’s Most Wanted web page, Tomb said, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”

    • LabDancer says:

      Is this now a Truther thread? Guess I’m not up on all subtleties of the Handbook of Triple-Secret Signals Protocol; I got the impression fearless leader was demonstrating how even Hayes’ own entirely undisturbed work for Papa Dick at the friendly confines of Weakly Standard contains its own rebuttal.

  3. Leen says:

    Interesting tidbit over at Seminal
    Two Retired Generals Denounce Former Vice President Cheney
    By: DavidDanzig Friday September 11, 2009 12:03 pm

    It’s not every day that retired generals denounce a Vice President. But two distinguished military leaders felt compelled to speak out against Mr. Cheney’s support of torture, in an op-ed in today’s Miami Herald.

    General Charles C. Krulak and General Joseph P. Hoar have this to say:

    In the fear that followed 9/11, Americans were told that defeating Al Qaeda
    would require us to “take off the gloves.” As a former Commandant of the U.S.
    Marine Corps and a retired Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Central Command, we knew that was a recipe for disaster. But we never imagined that we would feel
    duty-bound to publicly denounce a Vice President of the United States, a man who
    has served our country for many years. In light of the irresponsible statements
    recently made by former Vice President Dick Cheney, however, we feel we must
    repudiate his dangerous ideas – and his scare tactics.

  4. Gasman says:

    I find it absolutely amazing at the willingness of the pro-torture crowd to lie and engage in easily disprovable historical revisionism. I believe that the explanation has two parts: 1.) they are still oriented to a pre-YouTube/internet world where it was easier to lie; and 2.) the people most likely to believe them, i.e., conservative Republicans are highly unlikely to fact check anything that buttresses their overall worldview.

    If they truly believed that torture was patriotic and would keep us safe, why did they lie about it from the start? Their actions betray them as ones who knew their actions illegal and barbaric. The justification came only after they had been outed by others. If you believe something to be right, you don’t need to lie about it.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As far as resisting torture, KSM didn’t have to lie forever or lose all his fingers, toes and scrotum. He just had to lie as long as he could, to buy time, knowing that OBL would routinely move himself around once, twice, thrice even if he didn’t know that KSM was captured and being interrogated. After a while, he could just “relax” and allow himself to be forced to tell a version of the truth, knowing that by then, hiding places and facts would change enough to protect his comrades in arms.

    On the other hand, had those who knew him, his network and culture intimately been allowed to use non-coercive interrogation methods, he might have directly or inadvertently revealed more sooner.

    Without such informed interrogators, Cheney’s methods were all about pounding the table and claiming his was bigger: neither he nor his people would know enough to put what their interrogations gleaned from prisoners to good use. They could only hope that a pattern “would emerge” in someone’s mind that could be put to political or protective good. I’m sure Cheney imagined himself to be interested in the latter; his methods, his reliance on magical thinking, and his team’s disdain for those with expertise, suggest he cared only about the former.

    • skdadl says:

      As far as resisting torture, KSM didn’t have to lie forever or lose all his fingers, toes and scrotum. He just had to lie as long as he could, to buy time, knowing that OBL would routinely move himself around once, twice, thrice even if he didn’t know that KSM was captured and being interrogated. After a while, he could just “relax” and allow himself to be forced to tell a version of the truth, knowing that by then, hiding places and facts would change enough to protect his comrades in arms.

      I think this is both a sensible and the glaringly obvious point. (Ok: it’s what always occurs to me.) Who on earth would be stupid enough to assume that anyone could tell them where OBL was, weeks, months after the victim’s capture?

  6. Hmmm says:

    OT — Oh dear gawd, does it ever stop with these R types?

    Steve Nunn, a former Kentucky GOP lawmaker and gubernatorial candidate was found by police this afternoon with slit wrists in the cemetery where his parents lie buried. Hours earlier, Nunn’s former fiancée had been found shot to death in a Lexington parking lot.

    • fatster says:

      That, the disgusting matter with the CA Assembly member Duvall and a couple of other doozies, just this week pushed my collection of Repug sexual mischief one more page forward (to 101).

      You wouldn’t want to hazard a guess that these people have some deep repression issues would you?

      • Hmmm says:

        Heaven forfend I should ever even begin to draw breath to suggest it’s oh so simple yet oh so deadly suppressed guilt that drives them mad with that special vengeance only denial can conjure. Yea, in their thousands. Unto the Nth generation, verily.

        Corollary: If they got therapy, they’d have to face it and deal with it. Then they couldn’t be Rs any more. No wonder they’re against health reform, it’d decimate their numbers.

        • fatster says:

          Ah, the soaring prose, the keen insight, the prophet that you are. You bet they wouldn’t be Rs if they got therapy. Maybe we could get mandatory therapy for Rs in Baucus & Fowler’s mahvalous tax-payer give-away. You know, to counterbalance the mandatory death panels and all.

  7. fatster says:

    O/T or Old Topic (Pay2Play)

    Post Marketing Executive Resigns After ‘Salons’ Incident
    By Paul Farhi
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, September 11, 2009; 2:32 PM

    “The marketing executive at the center of a controversial series of Washington Post-sponsored dinner “salons” has resigned from the newspaper some 10 weeks after the events were canceled, The Post said Friday.

    “Charles Pelton, who had helped organize and promote the monthly dinners as The Post’s newly hired general manager of events and conferences . . . “

    More.

  8. fatster says:

    Spanish Investigators Push Justice Department On Torture Role; How Will Holder Answer?
    By Scott Horton
Special to the Huffington Post

    “Two investigating judges from the Spanish national security court, the Audiencia Nacional, are asking the U.S. Justice Department for details about the role played by Bush Administration lawyers in the development and approval of torture practices that were apparently applied to a number of Spanish subjects held in Guantanamo.

    “The judges have asked for responses by the end of October, setting up another major test for Attorney General Eric Holder. This time, the question is whether Holder will choose to oblige or stymie international criminal investigations of Bush officials for torture, in the absence of any domestic efforts in that direction.”

    More.

      • LabDancer says:

        Assuming Horton has it right about Holder having received letters rogatory, it should make everyone’s day here.

        • bmaz says:

          Why? The DOJ will not respond with anything of substance, if they respond at all. In light of the fact that the Spanish government does not consider the investigations authorized, my guess is there is little jeopardy in refusing to comply. Letters rogatory are official modalities between sovereignties through the diplomatic process, usually the State Department in the US. If the corresponding Spanish entity will not back up the two Spanish Judges, Garzon and Velasco, and it does not appear they have the support of the official government, that could be a problematic link in the complicated chain in the letters rogatory process. I can’t see much hope for anything substantive in the least here.

          • LabDancer says:

            Due to intervening dinner & bevvies, this reply may have achieved EPU status; but anyway, thanks for picking up on this — & also for it being you, since you’ve likely dealt with this in the context of Mexico

            [bearing in mind that context enjoys the benefit of the Inter-Americas Convention, and whatever one makes of, in my experience at least, the wide character of situational responsiveness to inter-jurisdictional requests].

            Short response: In order for Horton’s report to be strictly accurate, the report he refers to by Andy Worthington [tho does not actually link to], on Worthington’s having followed up on a report in the Spanish newspaper Público [which is what Horton actually links to], in particular the bit that comes from Philippe Sands, the objections of the Spanish national government & national prosecution service have been overcome.

            Longer response [with not enough jokes]:

            [1] The first mention I can recall of letters rogatory issuing from the Spanish courts was close to the beginning of the year: Terry Gross of Fresh Air on NPR interviewed Philippe Sands on January 7, 2009, in the course of which she asked a line of questions to the effect of ‘where all this might be headed’, in reply to which Sands outlined several investigatory powers, clarifying his goal being the light of investigation over the heat of prosecution.

            [2] The next time I recall this coming up in any meaningful way was in March, in a piece Horton wrote for The Daily Beast [before he dumped that dive for HuffPo], where the news was of Judge Garzón’s having announced his intention to pursue investigation into what’s become known as the Big 6: AGAG, Yoo, Addington, Haynes, Bybee & Feith.

            [I recall it hadn’t previously struck home that Feith is a lawyer — no doubt unreasonable vanity on my part, resisting that “the dumbest fucking guy on the planet” could have obtained a J.D. See that, all you IANALs? We’re just not that smart!]

            [3] Deeper into the spring there were various reports, some stating, and others implying, that the Spanish government, the [I guess] A.G. and the Spanish legislative bodies [the unwashed Congress of Deputies & the presumably-less-shit-on-them Senate sheriffs: collectively, albeit misleadingly, the “cortes”] were all taking or considering action to prevent Garzón’s pursuing the Big 6.

            [4] As it turned out, the main concern of the cortes, or at least the one they could do anything about, had nothing to do with the Big 6, but instead focused on an investigation into activities attributed to the Mossad, & the inconvenience of same for such things as ongoing bilateral trade, mutual security concerns, junkets & the like [I gather AIPAC may have international chapters]; so much for the cortes.

            [5] The thrust of the objection by the Spanish AG, AS STATED, had to do with:

            [a] the appearance that, based at least partly on reputation, Garzón was conducting the initial “inquisition”

            [which I don’t think any more involves the pointy ends of pillows & comfy chairs, & is actually more akin to an investigation including a grand jury; so there could be SOME comfy chairs involved];

            on a wider basis than would be justified on the face of the several complaints he’d “accepted” from Spanish nationals caught up in the US government’s rendition-&/or-torture programs, such that he MIGHT be exceeding the authority & jurisdiction of his office;

            [See Garret, Jim]

            and

            [b] the appearance of judicial bias

            [In the Spanish system, if there’s a charge, the process moves on into more familiar territory: an adversarial trial, under rules that are designed to comply with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms [for which apparently we can’t Blame Canada, as it predates the Eskimo Bill of Rights by about 30 years], & given the role of the judge there is strictly as umpire, it’s not just conceivable but quite usual for the judge who led the inquisition to proceed to call the balls & strikes;
            though it’s also not at all unusual for a defendant to launch a challenge on the basis of bias from the judge’s earlier role. Hey folks, not only do we include “tdfgotp” in our ranks — our grandstanding respects no borders!]

            [6] Despite what the Spanish government actually said, and what that might have implied about its authority, the legal basis for its objections was indistinguishable from that of the Spanish AG.

            [It might strike some as a harsh judgment, but sometimes I have the impression that politicians also do a little grand-standing.]

            [7] You- & I’m sure many others here as well- will recall that it was reported variously that Garzón was considering [effectively] recusing himself; but remember: what was on his desk in front of him at the time was the Big 6 case.

            [8] I think there may already been reports of Garzón’s having arranged to refer further proceedings on the Big 6 case to this other judge, but in any event Horton, Worthington & [according to the latter] Sands confirm that [plus the Spanish newspaper, for those more hispanically adroit than me].

            [9] According to Andy Worthington’s report [pre-Cambrian era link below], the “new” news is that Garzón recently “accepted” a number of complaints, some from human rights organizations which can claim standing the way the ACLU & CREW for example do here, some from individuals who claim to have been subjected to the US government programs in question [one paralyzed for life in consequence — put that under Effective Forensic Aids 101]; to me, that looks more like where he was in, say, January with the Big 6.

            Now, I wrote some stuff earlier today on a previous thread that some might take as praising Holder, and maybe it sort of does in generation-serving way, but — even tho it’s not at all necessary to this explication — I’m supposing the more cynical [dare I state bmaz-ian] view that part of the reception the Obama White House had for the Spanish prime minister, Zapatero, and entourage, was taken up with face-to-face briefing on the realities of the Spanish judicial system, and in particular the limits the p.m. & the cortes have on the Spanish judicial branch — &, to the point, that had something material to do with:

            [a] the fawning report on Holder’s sad slogging through the various reports from the CIA IG [unredacted] & the DOJ OPR [not yet released], and

            [b] the opacity around whatever the hell Holder has Durham doing.

            [I can update separately on a commitment on the latter from a week or so back, but for present purposes I’ve been given a “definite maybe” on it being insta-convertible to grand jury status; to which I observed “What isn’t?”, adding only here it’s pretty much impossible to go into that status without that fact being leaked].

            Be those as they may, the upshot is that when it comes to the justice system in Spain, the reign is plain: so long as they stay within their jurisdiction, the professional judging class calls the shots — and the Spanish government and the Spanish A.G. have already let fly with what few bolts they’re provided.

  9. fatster says:

    Judge denies CIA bid to delay secrets case
    Former DEA agent sued agency over alleged wiretapping of his home

    updated 1:18 p.m. PT, Fri., Sept . 11, 2009

    WASHINGTON – “A federal judge says the CIA is hiding behind dubious national security arguments to shield itself from a potentially embarrassing lawsuit.

    “U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who earlier ruled that CIA officials committed fraud to protect a former covert agent accused in the suit, has rejected an emergency request to put the case on hold while the government appeals.”

    More.

    • Leen says:

      Will never forget the faces of Senators Biden, Kennedy, Kerry, Voinovich, Lincoln Chaffee when Biden continued to demand the NSA intercepts from Bolton allegedly having to do with spying on Colin Powell. I thought this group of Senators were going to jump over the chairs, tables, etc during the Bolton nomination hearing to kick Bolton’s smug ass.

      Sidney Blumenthal wrote a bit about this alleged spying on Powell here

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl…..sa.comment
      The Bolton confirmation hearings have revealed his constant efforts to undermine Powell on Iran and Iraq, Syria and North Korea. They have also exposed a most curious incident that has triggered the administration’s stonewall reflex. The foreign relations committee has discovered that Bolton made a highly unusual request and gained access to 10 intercepts by the National Security Agency, which monitors worldwide communications, of conversations involving past and present government officials. Whose conversations did Bolton secretly secure and why?

      Staff members on the committee believe that Bolton was probably spying on Powell, his senior advisers and other officials reporting to him on diplomatic initiatives that Bolton opposed. If so, it is also possible that Bolton was sharing this top-secret information with his neoconservative allies within the Pentagon and the vice-president’s office, with whom he was in daily contact and who were known to be working in league against Powell.

      If the intercepts are released they may disclose whether Bolton was a key figure in a counter-intelligence operation run inside the Bush administration against the secretary of state, who would resemble the hunted character played by Will Smith in Enemy of the State. Both Republican and Democratic senators have demanded that the state department, which holds the NSA intercepts, turn them over to the committee. But Rice so far has refused. What is she hiding by her cover-up?

      • eCAHNomics says:

        Sometime after they had made a complete fool of Powell, summer 04 maybe, his wife was doing a book signing in Manhattan. She writes childrens’ books and I had great neices & nephews for whom they might be good presents. Besides, how often do you get to own a book signed by the wife of the Secy of State? So I went. There were only about a half dozen people there, and as I was standing in the very short line, I drafted a Q for her: Why does your husband want to be the losing member of a losing team? But then I slapped my face, and convinced myself to be polite, so I didn’t say anything. To this day, I’m sorry I didn’t.

      • SKIMPYPENGUIN says:

        Principals and Deputy Secreatries/Secretaries can and do request the latest from the “firehose” (latest signals intelligence).

        It’s not inconceivable Ambassador Bolton was the stay behind/mole put there to subvert Powell. I would bet money he’s on the short list for National Security Adviser or Secretary of State whenever the Republicans end up in office again. He’s been very public since the election.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Our agreements and critiques rest on the assumption Cheney wanted to know the truth, that he wasn’t just blindly tearing out hearts to make himself feel secure and less of a draft dodger who had allowed 9/11 to happen on his watch and was scared shitless it would happen again and keep him and his Lil’ Liz from fulfilling their political destinies. The magical thinking part, the disdain for expertise says he just wanted to punish, but also to look like he was doing something more constructive.

    I remember reading about Doug Feith interviewing would be DoD assistants. He discarded any candidates who spoke Arabic or knew something about Iraq or Iran. The claim was that they would be stuck in old views, not with the new para-dig-mee (as Bush would call a new way of looking at the world). The more likely reality is that expertise itself was threatening to those who operated solely based on loyalty to an informal, destructive, Cheney-centered chain of command.

    Expertise gives a critical viewer who is on the team the status to refute the ignorant and the absurd. Ask Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame how well Big Dick was able to tolerate that.

    • bobschacht says:

      Our agreements and critiques rest on the assumption Cheney wanted to know the truth…

      Not on this blog! Here we know that Cheney wanted not truth, but disinformation that could be pretended as truth that he could use to foment his neocon projects.

      After all, torture is really designed to get folks to tell you what you want to hear, right?

      Bob in AZ

    • Leen says:

      And still we have not witnessed Dougie Feith or any of the other false intelligence creators, cherry pickers, dessiminators held accountable. Not one of them.

      Lies under oath having to do with a blow job = impeachment

      Lies about pre-war intelligence = hundreds of thousands dead, injured and millions displaced

      Twisted sick priorities

  11. allan says:

    EW’s sneering attitude towards Stephen Hayes is completely unwarranted.
    I mean, it’s not as if this is the same Stephen Hayes who wrote Case Closed
    in the Weekly Standard back in November, 2003, claiming that a secret U.S. government memo proved the cooperation between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

    • eCAHNomics says:

      You better go back & add a snark tag on edit, just in case, you know. *g*

      BTW, by the time I read Hayes’ The Connection, in trying to figure out why they thought there was one (read it in summer 04), I came across the al-Libi confession. Didn’t at that point know who al-Libi was so I googgled him. IIRC, al-Libi’s recantation happened before Hayes published the book. I guess Hayes was unfamiliar with teh google, or at least thought his readers would be.

  12. eCAHNomics says:

    Anyone think that OBL was still in the same location that KSM knew about (if indeed he did know) by the time KSM was tortured? What was the point? Did they think OBL didn’t know KSM had been captured and therefore wouldn’t move or take other precautions against everything KSM might reveal. This is so much worse than Kestone Kops. Pathetic.

  13. Blub says:

    I guess, speaking for myself, I’m a bit hesitant to probe the effectiveness of torture. It’s use was illegal and barbaric. People who were tortured should be compensated and cut lose. No further use of information obtained through torture should be allowed, regardless of whether that information may or may not actually be relied upon.

    In the Anglo tradition, going as far back as Tudor England, kings (through the Privy council) might order the issuance of torture warrants, but evidence obtained from their use could not be used in official actions or judicial proceedings. Torture was for the sole purpose of obtaining confessions which might then be used as propaganda by the king.

    We should not make use of information obtained through torture… whether or not that information may or may not have validity or utility should be beside the point.

    • cinnamonape says:

      If torture were an effective form of extracting accurate information we’d use it during final examinations and Bar Exams. Psychologists KNOW from thousands of studies that stress reduces the ability of a person to recall information, that it distracts the recipient from comprehending questions. Punishment makes individuals compliant to providing what the interrogator or torturer Wants to hear…what will stop the torture of abuse. You’ve pointed out that torture was used by Edward and others to extract confessions, it didn’t matter if those confessions were valid or invalid. The Inquisition were able to obtain confessions of sex acts with the Devil.

      Do a review of the Orange alerts issued by Homeland Security. Hundreds of millions spent on shut-downs, searches, and intense investigations that led to not a single real plot being thwarted. Not a single “domestic cell” was shut-down during or because of information obtained during these alerts. Then, in the aftermath, DHS admits that the info came from “false reports” by detainees. Even more interesting is the fact that the alerts were issued at time when Bush needed a bump in his poll numbers.

      • Blub says:

        exactly, but my point is that by debating effectiveness (and I don’t disagree with you that it probably is totally ineffective, as the British legal system acknowledged back to the 16th century) we are to an extent acknowledging it’s possible legitimate use. I think that’s a slippery slope. It’s like trying to argue whether or not universal genocide would end war or whether sterilizing criminals would reduce crime. We would never consider such things. And we should never consider torture. Whether or not it works should be beside the point.

        • cinnamonape says:

          exactly, but my point is that by debating effectiveness we are to an extent acknowledging it’s possible legitimate use. I think that’s a slippery slope. It’s like trying to argue whether or not universal genocide would end war or whether sterilizing criminals would reduce crime. We would never consider such things. And we should never consider torture. Whether or not it works should be beside the point.

          Should be…but it isn’t for many people. Can you tell me of a single issue where ONLY moral considerations led people to make a revolutionary shift in terms of a like issue? Slavery? apartheid?Women’s suffrage? Have we ended war, clearly it’s immoral. Universal genocide (well besides the fact that it would eliminate everyone…a very pragmatic reason its not practiced…and genocide has been reduced because every thinking person realizes that they could be targetted by it…just like the “other”…plus there are major retraints (pragmatic) on those that would practice it. They haven’t been shifted by moral arguments…but judicial ones.

          I suspect that enough people in the “Age of Reason” were persuaded by the ineffecacy of torture to swing over to bolster the “moralists” [and at the time the moral authority-the Church- was “pro-torture”…or at least not making sermons from the pulpit regarding this]. Remember that Britain had shifted religiously/politically back and forth several times, with those religionists and political supporters of the opposition tortured. The torture of “innocent” British traders at Amboyna in the East Indies became a cause celebre -leading to two wars with the Netherlands. Pragmatically it was difficult to declare torture reprehensible and to allow it to be performed on ones own subjects. It was a multiple-pronged assault- reason and moral- that ended torture in Britain (though it continued surrepticiously).

          Even now one of the most powerful arguments against torture is “if you allow it…it will be used against your soldiers and citizens”. That really is the framework of the Geneva Con ventions Vs. Torture.

  14. cinnamonape says:

    I’m betting the NSA were intercepting every phone call and internet message from Muslims and left-wing groups and politicians into and out of those Zip Codes.

  15. libbyliberal says:

    Only 1 out of 4 Americans is against torture of any kind.

    America’s War on Empathy prevails.

    Joe Wilson kind of unofficial captain of “death panels” for immigrants.

    • Blub says:

      true… and 1 in 4 probably supports the preemptive torture of progressives (well, at least brown-shaded ones) just in case they might be harboring any communistic thoughts ;-P… it still doesn’t make torture any more defensible.

    • allan says:

      Reading David Niewert’s The Eliminationists about how attitudes
      migrate from the fringe into the realm of normal discourse,
      and then seeing it happen in real time, was really depressing.

    • bobschacht says:

      I also once heard that something like only 1 out of 4 Americans support the various items in the Bill of Rights (if offered as an unadorned list.)

      The American Spirit has a dark side. The Constitution was meant to save us from ourselves.

      Bob in AZ

    • cinnamonape says:

      “Only 1 out of 4 Americans is against torture of any kind.”

      That’s BS. Would they accept a School vice-principal torturing their child to extract a confession about “who grafittied up the school toilet”? Would they say that some nutcase kidnapping a woman and torturing her in order to get her to accept a “marriage” is acceptable? Would the accept Whoever did that survey clearly summarized it wrongly or simply didn’t ask well-phrased Questions.

      I suspect that what really is intended to be said here is “Only 1 out of 4 Americans are opposed to all forms of torture under all circumstances.” This would include people who a) think torture really does work- due to a variety of social propaganda like “24″, b) particularly in “ticking time bomb scenarios”, c) doesn’t produce long lasting psychological or physical damage, d) no other form of interrogation IS effective, more reliable or more accurate.

      Those who are trying to convince people that torture is “morally wrong” probably are preaching to the choir. It’s unlikely that those with powerful moral Qualms already support torture. The bigger pool are those that believe some “greater good” was attained by the actions. Then there are the irrevocably lost who see any accused brown individual as guilty, and that torture is “punishment” not a means of interrogation at all.

      I suspect the “moralist” POV is one not to end torture…but to hold themselves in a position of moral superiority over the “pragmatists”. But arguing from that position merely turns the “pragmatists” off…it implies that torture IS effective, has stopped imminent terrorist attacks, has high accuracy, etc. Only until these concerns are allayed will they shift.

  16. Maddy says:

    You guys make excellent points, and snark. This is visceral for me, torture should never ever ever ever be used as a tool of intelligence gathering or anything else you can name. These fucks sit around debating its merits like it is an intellectual exercise. These are human beings, flesh and blood, and no intellectual discourse will ever explain it, mitigate it, or make it palatable to me.

    And you cannot sweep this under the table, the bush years and their actions have cast a pall over this country that needs the light of truth, if we are ever to get past it. We ignore it at our peril.

  17. libbyliberal says:

    Hey, guys. Acquarius shared this on my Afghanistan diary from a link assocation from Gitch. It sums it up pretty profoundly:

    http://onlinejournal.com/artma…..5096.shtml

    These are the architects of “regime change” — the psychopathic assertion that criminals are free to overthrow governments, murder civilians and steal the assets of sovereign nations — “because we can,” as Richard Cheney declared. In a sovereign nation governed by the rule of law, these subversives would have good reason to fear prosecution for treason and war crimes. Hence, the demolition of the US Constitution and re-engineering of law to provide themselves with immunity and crush political dissent.

    Ethical minds do not conceive covert schemes to “march” humanity toward world dictatorship, nor plot the destruction of national sovereignty to rule the world. Human beings with a functioning conscience do not orchestrate mass murder, stage terrorist attacks, bankrupt economies and overthrow governments. These crimes against humanity are manifestations of criminal insanity. Delusions of grandeur, subversion, compulsive lying, larceny, kidnapping, torture and genocide indicate clinical symptoms of psychopathy and severe antisocial character disorders. [12]

    The greatest danger of any centrally controlled system is the ease with which it can be hijacked by tyrants. That alone, is good reason to decentralize the global financial system, diversify national currencies and establish public control of money and credit within every nation state. International commitment to strengthening constitutional protection of civil liberties in every country must begin with repealing totalitarian “anti-terrorism” laws and dismantling the architecture of illegitimate “supranational sovereignty.”

    This article is an excerpt from a more detailed work on the history of organized crime syndicates masquerading as the US government: nikkialexander.wordpress.com

    Endnotes

    Snip>

    [12] In contrast to Hollywood’s inaccurate portrayal of psychopaths as blue-collar misfits who stalk young women and rob convenience stores, most psychopaths come from well-to-do families and are white-collar criminals who, because of their wealth and position, seldom face consequences. Psychopaths are devoid of conscience, incapable of compassion, accountability or remorse, lie routinely, manipulate and deceive, operate in secrecy, control and suppress information. They view themselves with grandiose self-importance and are flagrantly contemptuous of the law. Their craving for dominance over others propels them into the centers of power where they are overrepresented in the top ranks of corporations, politics, law enforcement, law firms and the media. Psychopathology research: http://www.ponerology.com.

    • bobschacht says:

      The greatest danger of any centrally controlled system is the ease with which it can be hijacked by tyrants.

      Isn’t this basically the point of Naomi Wolf’s book, The End of America?

      Bob in AZ

Comments are closed.