Gul Rahman: Another Case Where Torture (and Homicide) Failed to Elicit the Location of Extremist Leaders

The US government has a long history of refusing to turn over evidence on its torture program, most recently when DOJ refused to cooperate with a Polish inquiry into the black site at which Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times.

So it’s no surprise that they are refusing to turn over the remains of Gul Rahman–the detainee whom the CIA killed in the Salt Pit in 2002–to his family. (h/t Mary) The FBI is also refusing to turn over the autopsy report on Rahman’s death to the AP on account of the probably “pretend” investigation they’re conducting on it.


In addition to reporting that news, the AP reports the excuse the CIA is now giving for having killed Rahman in the first place.

Former CIA officials say Rahman was acting as a conduit between Hekmatyar and al-Qaida. Hekmatyar’s insurgent group is believed to be allied to al-Qaida. The former officials said the CIA had been tracking Rahman’s cell phone at the time of his capture and were hoping the suspected militant would provide information about Hekmatyar’s whereabouts.

But Rahman never cracked under questioning, refusing to help the CIA find Hekmatyar. Former CIA officials described him as one of the toughest detainees to pass through the CIA’s network of secret prisons.

Note the logic of this argument? For some reason, they couldn’t find Hekmatyar by tracking Rahman’s cell phone (Rahman was picked up long before Afghans got more aggressive about hiding their cell phone locations).

But if they couldn’t find Hekmatyar by tracking Rahman’s calls to him, then why were they so sure he knew where Hekmatyar was?

So now they’ve got to explain away his death because he was “one of the toughest detainees to pass through the CIA’s network of secret prisons,” and not because maybe he didn’t know the answer to the question they were asking, the location of Hekmatyar himself.

Of course, there’s a history of using the worst kinds of torture on detainees who don’t know or wouldn’t reveal the whereabouts of others, too. The location of Osama bin Laden, after all, is one of the things that KSM has said he lied about in response to his brutal torture.

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.

Mind you, in KSM’s case, at least, Ali Soufan believes KSM could have been persuaded to reveal OBL’s location if only real interrogators had interviewed him.

KSM should consider himself lucky, I guess, that the government’s brutal torture in hopes of learning the location of top extremist leaders got slightly safer between the time they killed Rahman and wateboarded him a mere 183 times.

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