Pentagon Charges the Third Detainee Who Was Water-Boarded

The Pentagon charged Abd al Rahim al Nashiri in relation to the USS Cole bombing today (and click through for links to the charging documents and more).

The Pentagon Monday announced a proposed death penalty prosecution of a Saudi man at Guantánamo, alleging he organized the October 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole off Aden, Yemen, that killed 17 American sailors.

The 11-page charge sheets, signed by a Marine major, accuse Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, 43, of conspiracy, murder and other law of war violations.

It seeks to try him by military commission at the U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba, and execute him if convicted.

This one will be interesting.

As you recall, the CIA has admitted to water-boarding three detainees: Abu Zubaydah, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and al-Nashiri.

Abu Zubaydah remains uncharged at the moment. Perhaps they think he’s too crazy to stand trial. Perhaps, once they realized he was a glorified travel agent, they didn’t want to try him. Perhaps they simply don’t have the evidence. But for some reason, after accusing Abu Zubaydah of being a 9/11 mastermind for years, they haven’t included him in the batch of people they’re trying for 9/11.

Then there’s KSM. KSM appears ready to lead his four co-defendants straight to the gallows in hopes of becoming martyrs to the cause. And the Bush Show Trial administrators seem only too happy to go along. Thus, while KSM has already repeatedly raised the torture used on him in the one public hearing he had, it won’t make much difference so long as he continues to request to be killed.

Finally, there’s Nashiri. Though there appears to be abundant evidence tying Nashiri to the Cole bombing, the Administration hasn’t vilified (or glorified, if you’re KSM) him like they have other high value detainees. To most Americans, I’d guess, he’s a rather anonymous terrorist.

But Nashiri, unlike KSM, is fighting his charges.

In March 2007, according to a partially censored Pentagon transcript, Nashiri told U.S. military officers at Guantánamo that he concocted the confession to please his captors. ”From the time I was arrested five years ago, they have been torturing me,” he said then.

Which, for all that KSM wants and seems capable of orchestrating a collective martyrdom, means Nashiri’s trial will be particularly interesting. Given that he claims his confession was false, it’ll really expose how the Gitmo Show Trials will deal with people who claim to be being falsely tried because of torture.

But then, given that Nashiri is nowhere near as controversial as KSM or Abu Zubaydah, perhaps no one will notice.  

39 replies
  1. FrankProbst says:

    Then there’s KSM. KSM appears ready to lead his four co-defendants straight to the gallows in hopes of becoming martyrs to the cause.

    The supreme irony of the show trials is that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is the only key player whose behavior makes any sense. He knows that he’s never going to go free. Even if turns out that he’s really a nun in a gorilla suit, we’re STILL never going to let him go. And every day of his life from now on is just going to be one more opportunity for his captors (us, sadly) to torture him. He has decided to commit suicide by execution, which is what almost any rational person would do in his situation.

    I understand his behavior perfectly. It’s our government’s behavior that I can’t come to terms with.

  2. skdadl says:

    The military lawyers who are fighting back have had some successes. (Greetings and salutations to Lt-Cmdr Kuebler, eg, Omar Khadr’s lawyer.) That and some of the nervousness evident in court rulings about the politicization of these trials is where I am placing my (maybe naive) faith right now.

    No one will notice? With EW on the case? Carol Rosenberg and the Miami Herald? Senate Armed Services? The CBC? Mary? A bunch of Wheelies? (How’m I doin’ so far?)

      • MadDog says:

        Saw it the first go-around and KO got to weaseling and waffling big time.

        Now he’s for and against anything Obama does. Won’t get him off Glennzilla’s hook, but admitting one was wrong evidently ain’t in KO’s repertoire.

        As I said yesterday, KO is KO’d!

  3. MadDog says:

    Of course, these Gitmo Show Trials are meant to be prime time MSM material (bread and circuses sound familiar?) for the Repugs’ 2008 Election campaigns.

    Another instance of the 1st Repug Commandment: “Heads we win, tails you lose!”

    Should there be outcries from Defense Attorneys (Military and Civilian), Military Commission or Federal Judicial rulings against the Administration, Congressional weeping and gnashing of teeth about kangaroo-ism, why the Repugs will use all these affronts to superglue these things to Democrats being “soft on terror”.

    Should however, there be convictions, why then the Repugs will crow about how they, not Democrats, made America safer.

    And Rahm, Steny, Nancy and Harry still won’t have a clue.

  4. drational says:

    I cannot believe they only waterboarded 3.
    If they believe it works, why would they not have used it?

    • MadDog says:

      Somebody needs to clue in Federal judges that the Federal government committing crimes like rendition for torture is not a National Security privilege!

      Sheesh, how clueless are the idiots on that Appeals Court?

      Oh, wait a minute. Federalist Society = Hooray for torture! Nevermind! Whatever was I thinking?

    • skdadl says:

      Very depressing, isn’t it.

      Could one of the lawyers please explain this statement (Reuters, CBC) to me?

      “Arar has not adequately established federal subject matter jurisdiction over his request for a judgment declaring that defendants acted illegally by removing him to Syria so that Syrian authorities could interrogate him under torture,” Reuters reported the ruling as saying.

      The part about “sensitive matters of foreign policy and national security” I have no trouble interpreting. Our guys do that too. CYA and circular arguments all the way.

      Your Federal Appeals Court has a great sense of timing and occasion, mind. Tomorrow is Dominion Day — well, we call it Canada Day now, but I’m old-fashioned, and Canada Day sounds kind of commercial to me.

      Due-process rights … anyone on that court ever heard of human rights?

      • bmaz says:

        Basically is saying that Arar does not possess a claim that the court can adjudicate. There are probably several different sub-factors; for instance some claims may really be for acts by foreign actors on foreign soil, other claims he may not be able to establish standing without the information being withheld by state secrets assertion, etc. That is just a guess, I have not read the decision.

        • MrWhy says:

          Two points. This was a split decision, Judge Robert Sack arguing that the case was not about immigration, but rather an intentional rendition.

          Second, if the majority decision stands, then anyone in a similar situation has no recourse under the American justice system. The Justice Dept. argued that Arar’s deportation was lawful, and the majority on the Court of Appeals argued that Arar had no standing because he was an inadmissible alien.

  5. masaccio says:

    OT, reporting from Nashville.

    Home again. Warm, but the sun was shining, and I hadn’t seen it in 20 days, between the rain and the pollution. Back to my work-a-daddy life.

  6. strider7 says:

    What a difference 40 years can make
    Whenever we captured a VC or NVA soldier we woukd ship them back to the rear area.Mostly they never made it,usually a scout gave him an option to either jump from the helicopter or he would be shot.The higher ranking ones were given to ARVN interrogators never to be heard from again.End of story

  7. yonodeler says:

    Winning a conviction of an accused terrorist while dressing up torture with a purported high, pure purpose while proving the effectiveness of torture for fact-finding, would rack up multiple wins for the administration—in their thinking. (to those who accept the reasoning)

    • yonodeler says:

      My dragging and dropping is lacking. That should have gone like what’s below.

      Winning a conviction of an accused terrorist while dressing up torture with a purported high, pure purpose while proving (to those who accept the reasoning) the effectiveness of torture for fact-finding, would rack up multiple wins for the administration—in their thinking.

      • hackworth says:

        Good Republican theatre. They could sell tickets. If they can control the message with terrist trial theatre, extoll the virtues of Dick’s Dark Side arts, and concurrently cover their own asses its a triple play. The MSM will provide non-stop coverage (double entendre).

  8. AZ Matt says:

    From Salon

    Bush’s top general quashed torture dissent

    New evidence shows that despite warnings from across the military, former Gen. Richard Myers shut down legal scrutiny of brutal interrogation tactics.

    By Mark Benjamin

    June 30, 2008 | WASHINGTON — The former Air Force general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Richard Myers, helped quash dissent from across the U.S. military as the Bush administration first set up a brutal interrogation regime for terrorism suspects, according to newly public documents and testimony from an ongoing Senate probe.

    In late 2002, documents show, officials from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps all complained that harsh interrogation tactics under consideration for use at the prison in Guantánamo Bay might be against the law. Those military officials called for further legal scrutiny of the tactics. The chief of the Army’s international law division, for example, said in a memo that some of the tactics, such as stress positions and sensory deprivation, “cross the line of ‘humane treatment’” and “may violate the torture statute.”

    Myers, however, agreed to scuttle a plan for further legal review of the tactics, in response to pressure from a top Pentagon attorney helping to set up the interrogation program for then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

    The documents unearthed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, along with testimony from a recent hearing, shed new light on the role played by the man who was the nation’s highest-ranking military officer and who acted, by law, as the top military advisor to President Bush. Until now, it was unclear how Myers handled those duties during the genesis of the military’s harsh-interrogation program.

    “He is rarely referenced as one of the usual suspects,” noted Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington Law School who is following the continuing Senate investigation. “He did play a much more central role” than previously known, Turley said. “The minute the military lawyers expressed concern, they were shut down.”

  9. Tross says:

    “From the time I was arrested five years ago, they have been torturing me,”

    I remember a time when if a prisoner in US custody said this, everyone knew it was a lie.


  10. bobschacht says:

    OT, but of interest to many–

    I just saw the replay of Olbermann’s special comment. I thought it was an unusually nuanced comment. He laid out some interesting choices for Obama.

    I guess we will all be looking forward to John Dean’s upcoming essay on FindLaw.

    Bob in HI

    • LabDancer says:

      Agreed- given the intemperance in his previous DKos post [He has another up contemporaneous with this evenings Krant] I was fearful that he would crash & burn: hes by far the closest corporate media pundithead to a liberal progressive & it would be a shame for him to go down to friendly fire. But I don’t think he so much gained ground as didn’t lose much.

      Which if important at all is only so in relation to the larger issue of getting public attention to the FISA amendment bill & what a truly astounding number of bunch pompous nincompoops & posturing asses sit in Congress. There is so much wrong with the FISA amendment bill that retrospective civil immunity for the telcos IMO is the LEAST of the problems. Those who like Glennzilla conflate it with the death of the 4th Amendment are actually UNDERSTATING the concerns. I’d like to think the first judge who has this travesty in front of her or him would cut it to shreds but the fact is its almost impossible to see how the privacy invasions enabled by it will even come to light. And the PROSPECTIVE immunity until 2012? Mixed metaphor alert: A license to kill & a genie that will never be crammed back in the bottle.

      And to think- Senator Obama was gold medalist in constitutional law under Larry Tribe, president of the law review, & for ten years or more lectured on what now appears to be about to go extinct.

      Want a laugh? The 4th Amendment was the shining example used by Australia, New Zealand, Canada & the entire European Union in those bodies requiring a showing of reasonably articulated rational cause before breaching an individual’s rights to privacy. How do you imagine the other 20 or so countries we count as the “west” will be able to sustain their support for privacy rights given this fiasco. Oh well…easy come easy go.

      And on the other hand, if you work for the President you are protected by a vast array for magical privileges.

      So that’s it then…the end of the experiment in free & democratic government. Wake me when the next Renaissance rolls around.

      • yonodeler says:

        So that’s it then…the end of the experiment in free & democratic government. ….

        Our executive should-be protectors along with most of our legislators want to convince up that we live in such dangerous times that ideals codified as rights must give ground. In the time of the Framers, even with the best available scouts and allies, there was no assurance that an imminent attack could be detected early enough to fully prepare for it. A pathogen introduced accidentally or intentionally could decimate local populations, and there was no effective medical treatment for many contagious and noncontagious diseases. Debilitating and lethal accidents were common. There were storms, fires, and the possibility of unforeseen natural disasters. No one considered living to three score and ten to be more likely than not. The Framers could have played up fear more easily than our government lawmakers and executives can, but it wasn’t what they were about.

      • nomolos says:

        Gotta protect those israelis at all costs doncha know. without them we would have no excuse to bomb the shit out of them Ayrabs.

  11. BayStateLibrul says:

    The Bush legacy.
    Is malignant achievement punishable by law?
    He still has time for more fuck-ups…

    “By almost any measure, this constitutes a record of substantial, if almost entirely malignant, achievement.”…..h_wrought/

  12. al75 says:

    What a difference 40 years can make
    Whenever we captured a VC or NVA soldier we woukd ship them back to the rear area.Mostly they never made it,usually a scout gave him an option to either jump from the helicopter or he would be shot.The higher ranking ones were given to ARVN interrogators never to be heard from again.End of story

    I knew an old German guy who became a passionate American patriot after he was captured by the US in WWII. The decency of the treatment he received stunned him, and convinced him that America was the greatest country in the world.

  13. Akatabi says:

    Could it be in any way related to the fact that the attack on the Cole happened under Clinton’s watch?

  14. klynn says:

    Hey EW,

    Here’s an interesting article over at Guardian about Iran/Israel tensions due to, surprise, espionage.…..clear.iran

    Iran yesterday sentenced a businessman to death after a court convicted him of spying on the country’s military and nuclear programme for Israel.

    Ali Ashtari, 45, was identified by Iranian media as the manager of a company selling communications and security equipment to the government.

    Ashtari had been paid by the Mossad secret service and had caused “irreparable damage”, it was reported. Israel denied any knowledge of the case, which is standard procedure in espionage.

    • klynn says:

      Thus, I find the timing of the announcement of charges against Nashiri irt bombing the USS Cole suspect…shiny terror object to distract us…

    • Leen says:

      Wonder if he was working for Amdocs or Comverse Infosys the Israeli based communication companies that have “allegedly” been used to spy in the U.S.

      This is one of the most complete articles written about this issue.

      June 2, 2008 Issue
      Copyright © 2008 The American Conservative

      The Spy Who Loves Us

      Pay no mind to the Mossad agent on the line.

      by Philip Giraldi

      Israel conducts much of its high-tech spying through its corporate presence in the United States. It is heavily embedded in the telecommunications industry, which permits access to the exchange of information. The Whitewater investigation revealed that President Bill Clinton warned Monica Lewinsky that their phone-sex conversations might have been recorded by a foreign government. That foreign government would have been Israel, where government and business work hand-in-hand in the high-tech sector, and many former government officials and military officers hold senior management positions. The corporations, in return, receive large contracts with the Israeli government and the Israel Defense Forces.

      Two Israeli companies in particular—Amdocs and Comverse Infosys, both of which are headquartered in Israel—do significant business in the United States. Amdocs, which has contracts with the 25 largest telephone companies in the U.S. that together handle 90 percent of all calls made, logs all calls that go out and come in on the system. It does not record the conversations themselves, but the records provide patterns, referred to as “traffic analysis,” that can provide intelligence leads. In 1999, the National Security Agency warned that records of calls made in the United States were winding up in Israel. Amdocs also has an apparent relationship with some of the art students who were arrested in 2001. Several were provided with bond money by an Amdocs executive.

      Comverse Infosys provides wiretapping equipment to law enforcement throughout the United States and also has large contracts with the Israeli government, which reimburses up to 50 percent of the company’s research and development costs. Because equipment used to tap phones for law enforcement is integrated into the networks that phone companies operate, it cannot be detected. Phone calls are intercepted, recorded, stored, and transmitted to investigators by Comverse, which claims that it has to be “hands on” with its equipment to maintain the system. Many experts believe that it is relatively easy to create a so-called “back door” that permits the recording to be sent to a second party, unknown to the authorized law-enforcement recipient. And Comverse equipment has never been inspected by FBI or NSA experts to determine whether the information it collects can be leaked, reportedly because senior government managers block such inquiries.

      According to a Fox News investigative report, which was later deleted from Fox’s website under pressure from various pro-Israel groups, DEA and FBI sources say that even to suggest that Israel might be spying using Comverse “is considered career suicide.”

      • klynn says:

        Yeah, I posted about this last week. Wasn’t the Brit Hume report interesting too?

        Here it is again:

        Enjoy the whole FOX report…It’s amazing and why I think everyone is so pressured (from AIPAC/Israel) to vote yes for the Hoyer compromise. Hoyer has quite the record for introducing AIPAC based legislation, it’s unusual in proportion to his other sponsored legislation. The math speaks. He practically takes legislation penned by AIPAC and walks it through. So, in light of this story, anyone can do the math…

        Speaking of math, math can be so helpful sometimes to see the big picture. Especially when looking at different countries, their population representation as compared to within the country versus the world and the % of different population groups and their representation in different governments around the world.

        • Leen says:

          Sorry I missed your link. That four part series was taken off the Fox website so fast in the fall of 2001 it could have made your head spin. Now it is listed on the web under some twisted titles…

          Really something that Aipac could still retain so much power after it’s top officials Rosen and Weismann have been indicted for passing highly classified intelligence off to Israeli officials. No one in the MSM… few in the so called “progressive” blogosphere will get near this topic.

      • nomolos says:

        Think this was purely accidental?

        Seems the cut was somewhere between Palermo, Sicily, and Alexandria, Egypt. That sounds like the South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE 4) cable, which has 17 landing points connected:

        Marseilles, France
        Annaba, Algeria
        Bizerte, Tunisia
        Palermo, Italy
        Alexandria, Egypt
        Cairo, Egypt (overland)
        Suez, Egypt (overland/return to submarine)
        Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
        Fujairah, United Arab Emirates
        Karachi, Pakistan
        Mumbai, India
        Colombo, Sri Lanka
        Chennai, India
        Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
        Satun, Thailand
        Melaka/Malacca, Malaysia
        Tuas, Singapore

  15. MadDog says:

    OT – “Delayed” Rand Report for the US Army on Prewar Planning and the Occupation of Iraq now available online.

    Full Report (273 page PDF) here.
    Summary Report (17 page PDF) here.

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