Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Was Waterboarded 183 Times in One Month

I’ve put this detail in a series of posts, but it really deserves a full post. According to the May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 and Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002.

On page 37 of the OLC memo, in a passage discussing the differences between SERE techniques and the torture used with detainees, the memo explains:

The CIA used the waterboard "at least 83 times during August 2002" in the interrogation of Zubaydah. IG Report at 90, and 183 times during March 2003 in the interrogation of KSM, see id. at 91.

Note, the information comes from the CIA IG report which, in the case of Abu Zubaydah, is based on having viewed the torture tapes as well as other materials. So this is presumably a number that was once backed up by video evidence.

The same OLC memo passage explains how the CIA might manage to waterboard these men so many times in one month each (though even with these chilling numbers, the CIA’s math doesn’t add up).

…where authorized, it may be used for two "sessions" per day of up to two hours. During a session, water may be applied up to six times for ten seconds or longer (but never more than 40 seconds). In a 24-hour period, a detainee may be subjected to up to twelve minutes of water appliaction. See id. at 42.  Additionally, the waterboard may be used on as many as five days during a 30-day approval period.

So: two two-hour sessions a day, with six applications of the waterboard each = 12 applications in a day. Though to get up to the permitted 12 minutes of waterboarding in a day (with each use of the waterboard limited to 40 seconds), you’d need 18 applications in a day.  Assuming you use the larger 18 applications in one 24-hour period, and do 18 applications on five days within a month, you’ve waterboarded 90 times–still just half of what they did to KSM.

The CIA wants you to believe waterboarding is effective. Yet somehow, it took them 183 applications of the waterboard in a one month period to get what they claimed was cooperation out of KSM. 

That doesn’t sound very effective to me. 

Sign the petition telling Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate torture here.

Update: Here’s one reason to demand a special prosecutor to investigate these actions. In addition to revealing the sheer number of times KSM and Abu Zubaydah were waterboarded, the memos reveal that the interrogators who waterboarded these men went far beyond even the expansive  guidelines for torture described in the Bybee Memo, notably by dumping water onto their nose and mouth, rather than dribbing it on.

The IG Report noted that in some cases the waterboard was used with far greater frequency than initially indicated, see IG Report at 5, 44, 46, 103-04, and also that it was used in a different manner. See id. at 37 ("[T]he waterboard technique  … was different from the technique described in the DoJ opinion and used in the SERE training. The difference was the manner in which the detainee’s breathing was obstructed. At the SERE school and in the DoJ opinion, the subject’s airflow is disrupted by the firm application of a damp cloth over the air passages; the interrogator applies a small amount of water to the cloth in a controlled manner. By contrast, the Agency Interrogator …  applied large volumes of water to a cloth that covered the detainee’s mouth and nose. One of the psychologists/interrogators acknowledged that the Agency’s use of the technique is different from that used in SERE training because it is "for real–and is more poignant and convincing.") [my emphasis]

There’s been a lot of discussion about whether those who did what the OLC memos authorized should be prosecuted. But in the case of those who waterboarded KSM and Abu Zubaydah, that’s irrelevant, because they did things the OLC memos didn’t authorize.

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 Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, 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 in Grand Rapids, MI.

125 replies
  1. WilliamOckham says:

    I’m pretty sure that those limitations were developed after all the waterboarding was finished. They are first mentioned in the May 10, 2005 memo.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, I agree–no doubt one of the innovations brought in after CIA actually consulted with their own doctors. Sort of like lowering the sleep deprivation limits from 11 days to 7.5.

      Progress, dontcha know?

    • blue299 says:

      Why dont anyone just see this torture for what it truly is…

      Bush Regime simply wanted someone to confess they were behind 9/11 by any means necessary.

      How is it possible in a world where crime can’t be stopped, we here in America have stopped terrorist attacks for 8 years?

      After terrorists “sucessfully” hijacked 4 planes and one plane hit the most SECURE building on the face of the planet these same terrorist can’t even step on a roach in america in the name of al qaeda?

      How is it in our nation, where 1 million ppl cross the border illegally every year we are able to stop terrorism that we were victimized in the past by?

      All these articles about water boarding and whether it was good or not for info are meaningless when the obvious motives behind them are to cover up the real murderers, the BushCheneyIsrael crew.

      May freedom ring!

  2. TheraP says:

    That doesn’t sound very effective to me.

    Unless their purpose was pure torture to effect a psychological breakdown! (And I think that’s what they were after.) I’m convinced that was torture’s purpose. That’s why, I believe, they used psychologists.

    • RichardKanePA says:

      I just think by trying not to admit it they end up torturing worse.

      If they in the field or some after grab a victim by the nuts and say Where are the solders hiding” and before they are finished say “You lie” or “Tell me more” and keep twisting the victim would be far better of then 186 water boarding attempts or years of sleep deprivation and isolation. People who got out of Saddam’s prisons alive were less shook up then some of the US victims who can never think straight again.

      For more info. and about a 7 and 9-year-old tortured see,
      http://oxdown.firedoglake.com/diary/4856

      http://rawstory.com/08/blog/20…..e-tortured

      RichardKanePA

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As bobschacht said in an earlier post, this much waterboarding, with its inherent prolonged deprivation of oxygen, could easily have led to loss of brain cells and permanent loss of brain function. Let’s not forget the hormonal overload from the related panic and stress from being drowned and brought back six times a day for a month.

    Nerve cells are, of course, the first to die owing to lack of oxygen. Waterboarding involves holding your breath as long as possible, while water is poured over or into your face, mouth and nostrils. When you can no longer resist the impulse to breath, you inhale – water – which extends the time the body is without oxygen.

    And let’s repeat the number Marcy made plain. This man was drowned, and brought back, six times a day for a month. How likely is that to induce psychotic behavior? What would the mind do in order to escape the pain and panic? How likely is that to meet the torture definition of enduring physical or mental pain or suffering?

    This man had earlier given up whatever he knew. The repeated torture was an experiment, like the Nazis in their death camps; or it was punishment; it was fun; or the interrogators were more afraid of their political masters than the ultimate reach of the law.

    Mr. Obama has taken the superficial course of trying to fix corrupt banks by improving only the market’s perception of them (at enormous expense), not by re-regulating them and excising the corruption. He is doing something similar with regard to his predecessor’s political corruption. He insists that criminal consequences for criminal behavior is undeserved vengeance, not just punishment (the real meaning of “retribution”). Mr. Obama is again focusing on the wrong cure. He is putting off judgment day, not avoiding it.

    • Synoia says:

      Impeach Obama for not prosecuting.

      Either in the banking crisis or in these Torture cases.

      Start it now.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Calm yourself. Mr. Obama has been in office three months. He has a long way to go before removing him from office is more than a rude parlor joke in Georgetown.

        He is not progressive, he is what used to be called a centrist Republican, territory now held by the Democrats. It’s as important to beat back the Republican extremism as to move Mr. Obama to greater reforms.

      • hillvoter says:

        Start it now. Not only for not prosecuting but for the additional massive bailouts of these global corporations that are now posting record profits.

  4. bmaz says:

    Yeah, so basically it was just hunky dory to freaking drown a man for up to twelve minutes per day. Because that is what they are saying.

    Secondly, not only do their numbers not add up, as you suggest, but there is not a lot of basis for believing they restricted their activity to even that which was disclosed in the tapes (before they were destroyed) and/or the activity logs. Remember how abu Gharaib was just a few bad acts by a couple of rotten apples? Uh huh. And they only waterboarded KSM in March of 2003 and no other times? AZ in August 2002 and no other times? Really? Also, let’s not lose track of the fact that they openly and brazenly combined their modalities of torture; it’s not like these guys caught a sandwich and a nap in between sessions.

    I would like someone to explain to me how what the Bush Administration did to Iraqis and other middle easterners is any different than what Sadaam Hussein did. I’ll bet a decent tally would show that the number of unnecessary deaths was as about as large from our years in Iraq as it was from Hussein.

    • Valtin says:

      Not that I think you do, either, at this point, but I wouldn’t believe anything the CIA says about the torture, nor what any administration figures say. I have repeatedly provided in my writings documentary proof that lies and planning for the cover-up is part of the government’s M.O. from the very beginning of their plotted crimes. (See here and here.)

      I’d say the outrageous claims re waterboarding KSM are either counter-intelligence or black ops claims — look how bad we really are if you fall into our hands — or the documentation of the descent of the torture regime into Nazi-like levels of depravity, or both.

      The failure of the government to press for accountability for crimes of this level is startling, and the effect upon society as a whole will be corrosive.

      • Peterr says:

        That’s what I posted on earlier today at FDL, noting the testimony of the Executive Director of the Center for Victims of Torture at Alberto Gonzales’ confirmation hearings — five months BEFORE Bradbury wrote these memos.

        I particularly noted this section from the testimony:

        In global human rights campaigns against torture, one key focal point is the minister of justice or attorney general, who has three important roles: (1) to establish policies and procedures that diminish the incentive to use torture, such as regulating the role that confessions play in the overall administration of justice; (2) to prosecute or sanction torturers or persons who ill-treat detainees, and (3) to eliminate both the reality and the appearance of impunity among interrogators.

        Emphasis added.

      • MadDog says:

        …I’d say the outrageous claims re waterboarding KSM are either counter-intelligence or black ops claims — look how bad we really are if you fall into our hands — or the documentation of the descent of the torture regime into Nazi-like levels of depravity, or both…

        My vote is strongly for the 2nd!

        Since both the May 30, 2005 Bradbury Memo, and the original report of this massive amount of waterboarding came from the CIA’s own still Top Secret Inspector General Report, the strongest likelihood is that this information was never intended to be made public.

        That isn’t to say that the Bush/Cheney Administration wouldn’t mind if KSM and Zubaydah managed to whisper this to all their BFFs.

        Cheney, in particular, totally fits the picture of someone who wants the entire world to think he is the baddest of badasses!

        As Junya has been fond of saying: “Mission Accomplished!”

  5. sojourner says:

    Slightly OT, but something I have to wonder about…

    The Bushies had a “reunion” this week to strategize about how to preserve his “legacy” that he is so worried about.

    I have to wonder if the timing of the release of the memos was partly to help ensure that his “legacy” continues to be a source of concern for both him and the people who supported him — and also send a warning not to get to wrapped up in trying to spin a different reality.

    Regardless, the revelations that have come out certainly prove that Bush permitted (and even encouraged) torture — and the populace at large should be disgusted!

  6. Nell says:

    A question I posed in an earlier thread is maybe even more relevant here:

    Were the torture sessions with Khaled Sheikh Mohammed taped?
    Do those tapes still exist?
    Who has seen them? I have to assume some of the Principals did.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      According the CIA, the answer to your question is no. Take that for what it is worth. I’m not aware of any claims that there are tapes of KSM.

      • Nell says:

        So we are supposed to believe that the information in the 2005 memo about his sessions is based on… extensive, detailed, timed notetaking.

        Uh huh.

        • MadDog says:

          Whether some type of recordings (video and/or audio) were made, and later destroyed or hidden, be confident that extensive notes were indeed kept. From my comment on Thursday:

          From Page 8:

          …Careful records are kept of each interrogation, which ensures accountability and allows for ongoing evaluation of the efficacy of each technique and its potential for any unintended or inappropriate results…

          The CIA destroyed those 92 videotapes, but I bet they still have those “records”.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            This is Washingtonspeak, designed by lawyers for lawyers. It is meant to be technically accurate, but as unhelpful to prosecutors as possible. Ideally, the answers are meant to foreclose further inquiry by implying, but not stating, that it would be pointless.

            The “tapes” may have been destroyed, for example, but the data from them may have been copied onto other digital media. Or it could “the” tapes were destroyed, but not “those” tapes, etc. How well do federal prosecutors know the bowels of Langley?

          • TheraP says:

            And the “records” could contain “links” to the digitized torture sessions. It’s always a possibility! I never discount the sadist or the person who saved something for a “rainy day” – and who knows what kind of rainy day it might be…

            • MadDog says:

              In response to both you and earlofhuntingdon, I do think it is likely that copies of some of the videod torture sessions remain.

              And as to the “other” records, in the ACLU’s case versus the CIA’s videotape destruction that Judge Hellerstein is hearing, the CIA itself said that they had 3,000+ documents related to the case:

              CIA Says It Has 3,000 Documents Related To Destroyed Interrogation Tapes

              The most recent filing that I’m aware of at the ACLU regarding this issue is this letter to Judge Hellerstein in response to the CIA’s letter here.

              Basically, the ACLU is insisting on a whole lot more production of record material than has been released even with these OLC Torture Memos.

  7. Peterr says:

    From the Center for Victims of Torture’s ”Eight Lessons of Torture”:

    4. Torture has a corrupting effect on the perpetrator

    The relationship between the victim and the torturer is highly intimate, even if one-sided. It is filled with stress for the interrogator, balancing the job with the moral and ethical values of a person with family and friends. One way this cognitive dissonance is managed is through a group process that dehumanizes the victim. But still another way is to insure that some sort of confession is obtained to justify to the interrogator and to his superiors that pain and suffering was validly used.

    From what we’re seeing, I’d say both methods of managing the cognitive dissonance were at work here. The messages from above were clear and consistent that those being held at Gitmo were somehow less than human. Similarly, the pressure from above was clear and consistent that nothing short of a confession was acceptable.

    I wonder how these interrogators are doing these days, looking back on their handiwork.

    • TheraP says:

      Plus they screened certain personnel for just that eventuality:

      The CIA dispatched personnel from its office of medical services to each secret prison and evaluated medical professionals involved in interrogations “to make sure they could stand up, psychologically handle it,” according to a former CIA official.

      From: http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..id=topnews

      And here’s a description from Today’s Times of the effect on CIA personnel forced to witness torture:

      Abu Zubaydah had provided much valuable information under less severe treatment, and the harsher handling produced no breakthroughs, according to one former intelligence official with direct knowledge of the case. Instead, watching his torment caused great distress to his captors, the official said.

      Even for those who believed that brutal treatment could produce results, the official said, “seeing these depths of human misery and degradation has a traumatic effect.”

      from: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04…..ah.html?hp

  8. PJEvans says:

    The CIA dispatched personnel from its office of medical services to each secret prison and evaluated medical professionals involved in interrogations “to make sure they could stand up, psychologically handle it,” according to a former CIA official.

    They meant to say ‘to see how many of them were sadistic sociopaths unfit for anything but a lifetime in prison’, didn’t they?

        • GOLEM says:

          “By the way, consider this. If they KNEW to carefully screen personnel from the office of medical services – they MUST have known that witnessing torture would potentially cause CIA personnel to break down.”

          It is my understanding that the Nazis had the same problem of psychological breakdown of active personnel in their extermination programs and in time they developed an industrialized means of stepping their key practitioners back from the immediate engagement… and in part why we hear about the victims themselves operating the gas chamber systems. This legalized stepping back from the immediate process, giving it paperwork justification, is a similar process as the one of dehumanization that needs to occur in order to maintain these sadistic torture practices. Everyone is made to be hands-off. The Nazis also worked on screening and selecting practitioners in order to reduce the frequency of psychological burn-out, as well as assure less news would be carried out into the world-at-large when the less hardened practitioners on occasion went berserk.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Excellent post, BTW. I was wondering why you weren’t here more often. m.b., b.sc., d.phil.

        • TheraP says:

          I read here nearly every day. But generally only comment if I have something to add. The work this group does is just so good!

    • Palli says:

      “sadistic sociopaths unfit for anything but a lifetime in prison” When they get out of themilitary torture business they will live among us…and work as prison guards

  9. TheraP says:

    By the way, consider this. If they KNEW to carefully screen personnel from the office of medical services – they MUST have known that witnessing torture would potentially cause CIA personnel to break down.

    If they knew the torture monitors and designers might break down, they KNEW this was cruel and unusual and illegal!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      There is that Catch-22, isn’t there? Take away one card, and the house comes falling down. Let’s hope so.

    • PJEvans says:

      They also must have realized that there were people high in that maladministration who were getting off on watching – or hearing – the recordings. (I’d suspect it was George’s decision as much as Dick’s, since neither seems to relate well to other people.)

    • Rayne says:

      Here in this post and thread are the two things needed to begin prosecution.

      – the number of times waterboarding was used;
      – the screening of medical monitors.

      On the face of it, the number of times waterboarding was used was egregious. We have more evidence than this, but this evidence alone is damning.

      That monitors had to be screened for the ability to tolerate these conditions was more subtle, but equally damning; if conditions are too difficult for monitors to stomach, it must be beyond the pale for the detainee to endure.

      The situation shocked the conscience (Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165, 72 S. Ct. 205, 96 L. Ed. 183 (1952)).

      This is why it took so long to get these memos released as well — because the deeds and contents shocked the principles who fought against their release as well, because they knew that the world would be just as shocked.

      There is no “good faith” defense; they are kidding themselves. Obama may have told them they can rely on “good faith,” but they cannot do so if they have constantly acted in bad faith to mask these shocking deeds.

      Demand a special prosecutor now, here.

      • TheraP says:

        We need to follow up on all these details. We need to call for more and more information. For example, in my own post I asked things I’d written here a day or two ago – like where are these psychological assessments? And where is the raw data that was utilized for the assessments? The reason this is needed is because, apparently, psychological assessments were used not just to find weaknesses for how to torture but to find “excuses” to justify torture – excuses like the person lies or they’re “hard to break” – strong of character, that kind of thing.

        I think by working together we on the web, utilizing our various skills, can “see through” the fog the bushies dished up!

        For example, if professionals would have broken down, isn’t it interesting that the likes of condi rice and cheney and so on could so easily watch what was happening – and blithely order up more of the same?

  10. MadDog says:

    EW, no wonder I’ve been totally confused these last 2 days and unable to find that passage:

    The CIA used the waterboard “at least 83 times during August 2002″ in the interrogation of Zubaydah. IG Report at 90, and 183 times during March 2003 in the interrogation of KSM, see id. at 91.

    The May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo you reference at the start of this piece (and in some earlier posts), has the wrong link and is not the correct document.

    It actually links to the May 10, 2005 Bradbury memo.

    Another reason I’ve been having a problem finding your KSM 183 times quote is that the ACLU’s link to the real May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo is such a “dirty” PDF conversion, that the section you quote on the times KSM was waterboarded is mostly illegible.

    And to add the final bit of fuel to my confusion, the NYT’s PDF version of these memos, while a far better and cleaner PDF conversion, is missing the last 20 pages of the May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo.

    P.S. – I don’t even think the NYT realizes they’re missing the best part of the May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo.

    What’s a MadDog to do? *g*

    • MadDog says:

      Ok, at least somebody saved the ACLU’s original attempt to convert the May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo.

      While this version is the ACLU’s original attempt at conversion, and they converted it as a single image rather than a text-based PDF, at least now I can properly read the passage EW quotes.

      At the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), here’s that original ACLU version of the May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo.

    • WilliamOckham says:

      The ACLU had links to better versions of the docs up yesterday, but I lost them (because my laptop has developed an overheating problem that causes it to shutdown unexpectedly).

      • MadDog says:

        The NYT did a far better job of PDF conversion to a text-based PDF, but the sad fact is those fools missed the most important part of the May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo.

        The ACLU’s efforts at PDF conversion have been…ahmmm…how shall I put it? Amateurish? Of course, Non-profits don’t have much to spend on us high-priced Techies, do they? *g*

        • WilliamOckham says:

          My friends over at the National Religious Campaign Against Torture grabbed the better, but mislabeled pdfs from the ACLU’s site from yesterday.

          At the link, the first link labeled May 10 (the 46 pager) is actually the 40 page May 30 memo. The link labeled May 30 is really the 46 page May 10 memo. But they’re legible.

        • Rayne says:

          Yes, agreed, it’s probably cost-driven, and it’s probably the software. Looks like it was done using something a couple generations older than NYT might use.

          All the more reason to throw them some $$ and earmark it for technology.

        • emptywheel says:

          Be nice to them. DOJ didn’t put up memos, so everyone was looking at ACLU, and they seem to have gotten them up as quickly as they could, then tried to fix the hash job of it once things calmed down.

          They’re a non-profit, not a breaking news agency.

          And that said, they’ve been hard hit by the recession…

          • MadDog says:

            I’m only teasing the ACLU. *g*

            Seriously, they are some of the bestest people in the entire world, and I made sure they got some financial loving from yours truly!

            I happily point all to the ACLU’s Donation Page, and fervently exhort everybody to make their appreciation known!

  11. Nell says:

    Sen. Whitehouse is clearly willing to prosecute CIA people, based on that interview:

    MSNBC: If this is so grotesque and so far outside our values, why isn’t Pres. Obama prosecuting?

    Sen. W: It’s premature. The Office of Professional Responsibility is still looking into this, the Senate Intelligence Committee is looking into this still, Sen. Rudman’s internal review in the Obama administration is still going on…

    What Pres. Obama has done is set the parameters for what will and will not be prosecuted, and I think he’s set them right: If you operated in good faith and put reasonable reliance on these opinions and if you stayed within them, both in what they authorized and the required predicates, you won’t be prosecuted.

    But the facts remain to be developed as to whether the program met those requirements. Actions that went outside those bounds are prosecutable. But you don’t make those kinds of decisions until you have all the facts in hand.

    The glass half-full interpretation of this is: Those who tortured before any ass-covering memos were written are vulnerable to prosecution. Those who went beyond the guidelines, those who clearly weren’t operating in good faith, and those who proceeded without the required predicates are vulnerable to prosecution.

    And those who were putting on the pressure to do these things in the first place — George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, and George Tenet — are squarely in the prosecutorials sights.

    Not to mention all those who committed crimes of perjury, destruction of evidence, and obstruction of justice to cover it up.

    • Rayne says:

      Exactly.

      Can you imagine how bad, how shocking to the conscience the content had to be for then-DNI director John “Death Squad” Negroponte to strongly advise Porter Goss as then-head of CIA not to destroy the videotapes of interrogations?

      I still wonder if any of the tapes also capture other outsiders witnessing this process; how much more egregiously shocking will this get before we are done?

  12. emptywheel says:

    MD

    Ah nuts. I thought I had fixed it.

    One of the underlying probs with the docs is that ACLU originally had them misnamed, but correctly linked (except for this one, which was damaged the first time they linked it). And then they went back and renamed their links and–well, you see where I’m going. Is it right now?

    • MadDog says:

      …Is it right now?

      Nope. *g*

      And I do sympathize with the problems you’ve been experiencing ’cause it has been totally driving me nutzo too. *g*

    • MadDog says:

      Btw, per my # 22, specifically this:

      P.S. – I don’t even think the NYT realizes they’re missing the best part of the May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo.

      Do you think we should somehow alert the NYT?

      Seriously, this “KSM waterboarded 183 times in March 2005″ is like totally blockbuster material!

      And those fools at the NYT don’t even know that the part that contains it on the May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo at their site is missing.

      Again seriously, if I had a high-up contact at the NYT, I’d be ringing their phone off the hook because this would be their Sunday NYT fookin’ headline!

      • Rayne says:

        I wonder whether the editors at NYT may have intervened and avoided the info, or are asking for other corroboration. As WilliamOckham points out at (27), KSM’s perception reported by ICRC does not agree with the number (183), and Valtin suggests at (31) use of these possibly inflated numbers as black ops propaganda. What would an editor do had these points been argued during an editorial review? Who knows if the NYT will touch this at all for this reason, even if prodded?

        So now we ask ourselves what is the level of waterboarding which does not appear on the face of it to be shocking? once? twice? a dozen times? a hundred? It looks like a slippery slope — until you get to the question of vetting monitors for suitability. What were monitors asked as they were screened for suitability? That they had to be screened at all is bad; if they were asked specific questions about their tolerance for violence, we have now gone well beyond rational and humane.

        • MadDog says:

          I wonder whether the editors at NYT may have intervened and avoided the info, or are asking for other corroboration. As WilliamOckham points out at (27), KSM’s perception reported by ICRC does not agree with the number (183), and Valtin suggests at (31) use of these possibly inflated numbers as black ops propaganda. What would an editor do had these points been argued during an editorial review? Who knows if the NYT will touch this at all for this reason, even if prodded?

          Since the reference comes directly from both the OLC’s document, and originally, from the CIA’s own IG Report, I’d think the NYT could take it to the bank!

          • Rayne says:

            You’d think so. Believe me, I’ve been in hour-long heated discussions with editors about the use of the word “f*ck” in a story. I could believe editors might take issue. We also know, too, that the NYT has been gamed. Did they get any calls from former Bush officials like the one who spoke to Mike Allen, asking NYT NOT to go there?

            You might consider asking them that question.

            A tweet from Jay Rosen:

            Think: if @mikeallen calls anonymous torture memo attack spin the “official” Bush view, what’s it say about the Bush view?

            Pathological. Insane.

          • emptywheel says:

            And Dan Levin appears to corroborate it–though he may have gotten it from the IG report.

            If only we had those video tapes around to check the number…

        • greenwarrior says:

          maybe it wasn’t just questions. maybe they were asked to witness something on video. or listen to audio. or watch or listen to something live (that’s really a disgusting thought). or maybe they were asked to actually do something similar to what they’d be doing in the secret prisons. this is very difficult for me to contemplate.

          and the people who were assessing them watched their reactions and monitored them physically and asked them questions.

  13. WilliamOckham says:

    According to KSM, he was waterboarded on five separate occasions. From the ICRC report (emphasis added):

    In addition I was also subjected to ‘water-boarding’ on five occasions, all of which occurred during that first month. I would be strapped to a special bed, which could be rotated into a vertical position. A cloth would be placed over my face. Cold water from a bottle that had been kept in a fridge was then poured onto the cloth by one of the guards so that I could not breathe. This obviously could only be done for one or two minutes at a time. The cloth was then removed and the bed was put into a vertical position. The whole process was then repeated during about one hour. Injuries to my ankles and wrists also occurred during the water-boarding as I struggled in the panic of not being able to breathe. Female interrogators were also present during this form of ill-treatment and a doctor was always present, standing out of sight behind the head of bed, but I saw him when he came to fix a clip to my finger which was connected to a machine. I think it was to measure my pulse and oxygen content in my blood. So they could take me to breaking point.

    I take this to mean that they were repeatedly waterboarding him at the rate of between 35-40 times in each 2 hour session. KSM is probably overestimating how long each waterboarding lasted and underestimating the total length of the sessions. Being drowned repeatedly will mess with your perception of time passing. I suspect that every 3 or 4 minutes, they waterboarded him for 30 or 40 seconds. Just imagine this scene. The featureless, clinical setting. The doctor calmly standing by, monitoring the situation so that they can take just up to the point of death or permanent damage. Calling it barbaric would be unfair to the uncivilized. This is a uniquely modern, ‘civilized’, scientific approach to cruelty.

  14. bobschacht says:

    BTW, according to CNN, Haynes and Mukasey are claiming that “half” of what we “know” about Al Qaeda came from torture sessions. Did they really write that, and if so, I’m wondering if its puffery or true.

    Bob in HI

    • Rayne says:

      Good freaking gods. Those two are continuing to argue they were GOOD Nazis?

      That the ends justified the means??

      They are digging such a damned big hole for themselves.

      Making me even sicker to my stomach thinking about this full-court press of spin, trying to white wash the truth of their culpability and inhumanity. I think I have to go out and dig some more in the garden to get this rancid taste out of my mouth, go and work it off.

    • MadDog says:

      …Did they really write that, and if so, I’m wondering if its puffery or true…

      Twas in the WSJ Op-Ed they jointly wrote:

      …As already disclosed by Director Hayden, as late as 2006, even with the growing success of other intelligence tools, fully half of the government’s knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from those interrogations…

      Mikey Hayden has a track record as a serial liar (Director of the NSA when warrantless wiretapping was started), and Mumbles Mukasey has a reputation for equivocation coming close to that of Alberto “Fredo” Gonzales or Karl “Turdblossom” Rove.

      Neither individual should be trusted further than a 2 year old child could throw them.

      • bobschacht says:

        Thanks for the link!
        But the Hayden-Mukasey version will of course be accepted as gospel truth by Faux News, Rush Limbo, Glenn Beck, et al., and they will be hammering Obama about it, and how he is “weak on terrorism.”

        Ugh.

        Bob in HI

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      For an anthropologist, it must be hard to switch from statistics as serious analysis of phenomena to statistics as political tool. “Half of what we know” know could be precious little. These bozos could also be lying or exaggerating. They’re trying to keep themselves or their political masters out of the dock or jail, so lying would be high on my list of hypotheses.

      • bobschacht says:

        For an anthropologist, it must be hard to switch from statistics as serious analysis of phenomena to statistics as political tool. “Half of what we know” know could be precious little. These bozos could also be lying or exaggerating. They’re trying to keep themselves or their political masters out of the dock or jail, so lying would be high on my list of hypotheses.

        Lying or exaggerating would be high on my list of hypotheses, too. Besides, if after torturing these two guys they wound up with, say, 8 factoids about Al Queda that checked out, what about
        * the 92 factoids that were debunked only after a wild goose chase and millions of dollars
        * the likelihood that they could have gotten the same 8 true factoids, without the 92 false leads, by other, simpler, more humane methods

        Investigating claims like these are one of the reasons we need Leahy’s Truth Commission, quite apart from the issue of prosecuting war criminals and other crimes.

        Bob in HI

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I agree. Good example you raise about the ratio between the wheat of intelligence and the chafe of screaming prisoners trying to stop their torture.

          If the public ever had an accounting of the waste and the direct and indirect costs generated by Mr. Cheney’s torture regime, the only supporters Republicans might have left would be Fox Noise and Regent University.

    • bmaz says:

      BTW, according to CNN, Haynes and Mukasey are claiming that “half” of what we “know” about Al Qaeda came from torture sessions. Did they really write that, and if so, I’m wondering if its puffery or true.

      Yeah, what that tell me is that 65% of what we know about al-Qaida is probably crap.

    • Nell says:

      Hayden and Mukasey.

      That snake Haynes hasn’t shown up yet, thankfully. He was DoD; Hayden was CIA.

  15. perris says:

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Was Waterboarded 183 Times in One Month

    I wonder how many of those times they had to revive him from death

    The CIA wants you to believe waterboarding is effective. Yet somehow, it took them 183 applications of the waterboard in a one month period to get what they claimed was cooperation out of KSM.

    everyone is telling us they gained the most information without torture

    in addition, even suppose there was actionable information gained throught their depravity, how many new terrorists did they help recruit, how many events did they cause through these policies, how many did they turn into enemies

    these numbers are not even discussed accept by commedians like jon stuart

  16. tbau says:

    even if there are prosecutions, i’m not convinced obama won’t just issue pardons. he is now–and always has been–their firewall.

    • Rayne says:

      And you know that based on 93 days in the White House? ALWAYS has been their firewall?

      I think he broke the firewall with the release of these documents.

      • tbau says:

        i know that he is still serving as a firewall because, at the same time he released these memos, he also stated “no prosecution for cia tactics.”

        and it didn’t take 93 days for him to affirm this willingness to go to mat to protect the previous administration; or did he initiate some sort of investigation while “moving forward” that i’m not aware of?

        • Rayne says:

          This is exactly what Obama said:

          In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.

          Emphasis mine. Nowhere in his statement does he say he will never prosecute CIA or other participants in torture. The exercise of pointing out the number of waterboardings conducted on at least two of the detainees in question makes it clear that many participants in the interrogation process were not acting in good faith; it is unreasonable for any person trained in CIA or military to believe the “blessings” they received in the form of sanctioned legal advice would permit such shocking conduct.

          If there’s a firewall here, it’s transparent and flimsier than cellophane.

          • tbau says:

            um, the yoo memos and the subsequent explication of the timelines have already demonstrated folks did not act in good faith in providing “cover” for torture. he’s been reluctant to pursue them. does his caveat cover them as well?

            seems to me this “good faith” provision is part of the firewall.

            • Rayne says:

              Did you happen to catch David Axelrod’s reaction? probably not.

              The White House will offer predictable responses; IT HAS TO. In case you haven’t been paying attention, torture is tightly bound up with rendition, and both topics if investigated and prosecuted as fully as it should be will open up new cans of worms.

              The way you are carrying on, I’ll bet you forgot Poland.

              And Ireland.

              And a few other countries, and the political challenges a U.S. president takes on when he goes after members or leaders within the CIA.

              Don’t you think all those issues are going to get cracked wide open?

              Put your thinking cap on; maybe you’ll eventually realize WE have to do the heavy lifting here. You would like it to be as easy as Obama’s AG simply launching investigations and beginning prosecution, but it’s not going to be. The challenge is proportional to the complexity, and if we want a working democracy, we’re going to have to fight for it. A democracy does not survive on the actions of one man alone.

              • tbau says:

                yes, torture is bound up with rendition, and both should be investigated and prosecuted–-i forgot nothing of the sort, but i’m curious as to what is it that you think i’m forgetting. you’re missing a middle term here.

                again, obama could simply START with those at home who did NOT act in GOOD FAITH. there’s already been plenty of work done on the timelines for the torture memos that strongly suggest plenty of domestic actors (in the OLC and other places) DID NOT act in good faith–isn’t that the obama’s criteria for investigation in the yardstick you indicated, in the quotation you thought relevant enough to emphasize?

                who says we aren’t doing the heavy lifting? and who says we’re not fighting for a working democracy?

                as i mentioned before, and if you’ve been following this blog, then you know there’s already been a great deal of explication of the torture/rendition documents. what we do hope, however, is that “one man,” as you say, would not oppose/block the prosecution of cia officers who tortured.

                see video confirmation by obama, rahm e, gibbs, etc under the maddow video. IN THEIR WORDS:

                http://www.salon.com/opinion/g…..index.html

                i’m sorry, but if you can’t see that these indicate an apprehension to pursue investigation/prosecution, then maybe you should try to pull your own thinking cap up over your eyes.

  17. cinnamonape says:

    EW~ Here’s how you do this. You get approval for two consecutive thirty day periods and backload the 5 day approved phase to the end of that. Then when the approval period ends you front-load the new five daysof approved.

    So let’s say you have waterboarding permission from February 7th to March 7th…and from March 8th to April 7th. You’d simply waterboard from March 2-7; and then from March 8th-13th. As you point out

    “During a session, water may be applied up to six times for ten seconds or longer (but never more than 40 seconds). In a 24-hour period, a detainee may be subjected to up to twelve minutes of water application. See id. at 42. Additionally, the waterboard may be used on as many as five days during a 30-day approval period.

    So you’d be able to get the ten days in a calendar month. They can be waterboarded (the time of actual water application) 12 minutes in a 24 period (i.e. 720 seconds). Each application is as little as 10 seconds (but up to 40). So one could – if they don’t count the rest/interrogation periods (i.e. part of the session, not the actual event of water application) you could even perform 72 events of water application per 24 hour period. There is thus easily enough flexibility in these rules to allow the massive numbers that were used on KSM.

    KSM’s 187 applications could entail as “few” as 1870 seconds of water application time (10 seconds each) or as much as 7440 seconds (40 second applications). The CIA was allowed to do 2160 seconds in a three day period. In a five day period they could do a full hour (3600 seconds).

    But as I noted, if you back load-front load the periods of “permission” you could almost max out on KSM with 40 second applications (a total of 2 hours = 7200 seconds). Given that KSM likely blacked-out or vomited or had other response that would have terminated a full application some of those likely were “interrupted” sessions.

    But it’s interesting that the maximal time “granted” almost meshes with the amount of sessions he had X 40 seconds.

    • emptywheel says:

      True. That certainly seems what they’ve written the sleep deprivation rules for: to allow 7.5 days, then 8 hours rest, then another 7.5 days, and so on.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I’d love to hear what independent psychologists and psychiatrists say about week-long periods of no sleep, interrupted by eight-hour periods of rest. That’s like stopping torture just before the heart attack, then restarting it. The odds seem high of doing permanent psychological damage and considerable physical damage to the heart and other organs most affected by intense chronic stress.

        The military employs a simple rule: sleep or eat. One or the other you can do for a long time, but not both. Which suggests the dangers of extended sleep deprivation were known to the rank and file, as well as the specialists. These prisoners were subjected to even more serious, multiple combinations of stress.

        Among the questions that raises is just who developed such “acceptable” rhythms and where are they now? At your local Kaiser Permanente, counseling children?

    • worldwidehappiness says:

      So you’d be able to get the ten days in a calendar month. They can be waterboarded (the time of actual water application) 12 minutes in a 24 period (i.e. 720 seconds). Each application is as little as 10 seconds (but up to 40). So one could – if they don’t count the rest/interrogation periods (i.e. part of the session, not the actual event of water application) you could even perform 72 events of water application per 24 hour period. There is thus easily enough flexibility in these rules to allow the massive numbers that were used on KSM.

      KSM’s 187 applications could entail as “few” as 1870 seconds of water application time (10 seconds each) or as much as 7440 seconds (40 second applications). The CIA was allowed to do 2160 seconds in a three day period. In a five day period they could do a full hour (3600 seconds).

      Could you have ever dreamt 10 years ago that you would be writing something like this about practices in the USA?

      Shocking isn’t it? But it’s almost funny to be doing such mathematics, except the subject matter is so evil.

      • cinnamonape says:

        Doing the math makes me almost feel complicit. But I suppose someone had to do the calculations of what occurred at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen at the Nuremburg Trials.

        One more point…to really emphasize the madness here.

        Lets assume that the interrogators were taking their time. Using 10 second applications but using the full daily quota allowed. Also lets assume that between the applications they waited two minutes to interrogate, and let the tension build up again. Building tension and fear is critical to this working to “break” the will, after all.

        So they are allowed 12 minutes X 6 applications of 10 seconds each = 72 applications.

        With a 2 minute break they could torture for about 2.5 hours. Spread the time of interrogation/break out to four minutes between “applications” and you’re at it for 5 hours a day.

        Maybe mix this up with confinement in boxes, sleep deprivation, stress positions…and you have an insane individual in a few days.

        So

        • klynn says:

          Doing the math makes me almost feel complicit. But I suppose someone had to do the calculations of what occurred at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen at the Nuremburg Trials.

          I understand your point. My comment was not meant in the context of offending. My great grandfather and my grandmother were part of Nazi resistance and fought against Hitler. My “math” would never be about offending their work to oppose Hitler or to offend any victim through history.

          My point: for years, we have been sickened by the fact we tortured. Further sickened by the depth of torture and justifications made. Then. I. Read. 183. On. Friday.

          No words could capture how much further sickening it was to read one person alone was waterboarded 183 times. My wondering of the frequency (the math in this case) was to show further evidence (depth of evidence) that this was not about “good” intel in any fashion (which many will argue is the point), but about sick actions of individuals and a failure of justice beyond words, beyond comprehension.

          Marcy found out what no one from the Bush admin would ever reveal. Marcy figuring this out, does not make her complicit. It is unfortunate that throughout the history of humanity, someone has to put atrocities into perspective, and that it often and tragically, includes numbers to clarify the depth of failure.

          So the “frequency” in this case begs a larger point. If the torture was “legal” why did the tapes need to be destroyed? The torture was never legal. The frequency Marcy has determined allows for no BS or hairsplitting on this point.

  18. cinnamonape says:

    KSM lasted the longest under waterboarding, about a minute and a half, but once he broke, it never had to be used again,” said a former CIA official familiar with KSM’s case.”

    Which would suggest that either the policy standards about a maximal 40 second application of water were developed after the last KSM waterboarding session. Or that they violated the 40 second rule by almost 50 seconds.

  19. alabama says:

    Here’s another take on AZ’s month of 183 waterboardings.

    Since he was mentally deranged, but quick to speak when waterboarded, the CIA would have been best served by using him as a guinea-pig–to train (and select) its waterboarders, and to train (and select) its psychological observers.

    Let’s suppose, then, that 15 trainees (nine waterboarders and six observers) were put through 12 waterboardings each–enough to make them or break them (setting aside the frequency and duration of the tests). Further, let’s allow that three of the nine waterboarders and two of six observers survived the entire process, and have gone on to perform their acquired skills in other places at other times.

    Those five survivors are the ones to find and expose. Why bother? My answer to this is very simple: the CIA has to learn–no, the “intelligence community” has to learn–that this is not a wise investment of money, men and time.

    This, I think, is what the CIA professes to worry about when it speaks of the possible damage done to its “morale” by revealing this information. If the whole operation fails 100%, common sense would suggest that no one will henceforth sign up, or be impressed into signing up, with any expectation of “success”. Trainees can only look forward to being destroyed by their training, or, if not destroyed, held up to the light of day by a diligent and hostile crowd (not large) of disgusted colleagues and eager, inquiring minds. Their training will not go well.

  20. Mary says:

    1 – I thought there was something in the 2002 one as well, with a 20 minute instead of a 12 minute period of consecutive sessions (but OSM personnel later cut it back to 12, bless their hearts).

    That doesn’t sound very effective to me.

    Well, keep in mind that they ended up getting “confessions” from KSM to quite a long lists of things, including things that other people have confessed to and been tried for. So if the criteria is the length of the confession list…

  21. cinnamonape says:

    Regarding Abu Zubaydeh

    “I said he was important,” Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. “You’re not going to let me lose face on this, are you?” “No sir, Mr. President,” Tenet replied. Bush “was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth,”

    In other words, Abu Zubaydah had not YET given any important or actionable intelligence. If he had Bush would not have “lost face”…only if the information obtained subsequently to his order to move to “extreme interrogation methods” were proving useless would this have been an issue.

    So to whom did Bush assert that Abu Zubatydah was a higher ranking al Qaida member and why? Was it to members of Congress? This seems likely to relate to some sort of notification authority made to key members of Congress who signed off after Bush falsely stated that torturing Zubaydah was critical because it was a “24 Scenario”. Yet there was nothing. He was about to “lose face”.

    • burqa says:

      Regarding Abu Zubaydeh

      “I said he was important,” Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. “You’re not going to let me lose face on this, are you?” “No sir, Mr. President,” Tenet replied. Bush “was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth,”

      In other words, Abu Zubaydah had not YET given any important or actionable intelligence. If he had Bush would not have “lost face”…only if the information obtained subsequently to his order to move to “extreme interrogation methods” were proving useless would this have been an issue.

      So to whom did Bush assert that Abu Zubatydah was a higher ranking al Qaida member and why? Was it to members of Congress? This seems likely to relate to some sort of notification authority made to key members of Congress who signed off after Bush falsely stated that torturing Zubaydah was critical because it was a “24 Scenario”. Yet there was nothing. He was about to “lose face”.

      The American people.
      On April 9, President Bush spoke at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich, Connecticut. He said, in reference to Zubaida:

      “The other day we hauled in a guy named Abu Zubaydah. He’s one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States. He’s not plotting and planning anymore. He’s where he belongs……
      …… History has called us into action, and this nation is responding. You’ve got to understand my mind-set and what we think. We’ve got to act on behalf of the little ones. We’ve got to secure the world and this civilization as we know it from these evil people. We just have to do this. And that includes making sure that some of the world’s worst leaders who desire to possess the world’s worst weapons don’t team up with faceless, al Qaeda-type killer organizations. We owe it to the future of this country to lead a coalition against nations that are so evil and, at the same time, desire incredibly evil weapons.”

      What may have caused Bush to lose face was finding out from Tenet that Zubaida was not the #3 al Qaeda honcho he was portrayed to be….

  22. Mary says:

    73 – despite all the invocations of state secrets for so many things, right after Zubaydah was captured Bush gave a speech and claimed credit for the fact that we had captured the No 3 or 4 guy in al-Qaeda.

    Zubaydah did give up intelligence while his wounds were being treated (Bush was upset to know that had happened, wounds being treated, without his ok) and he was being questioned by FBI. But what he gave up was tied to what he knew, which was nothing much on the operational end of al-Qaeda. He wasn’t even a member of al-Qaeda, much less not No 3 or 4.

    Bush wanted to be able to follow up his big announcement that we had captured the No 3 guy in al-Qaeda with a really BIG splashy piece of intel and it wasn’t happening.

  23. Mary says:

    38 – OSM as Office of Mengele Services I suppose.
    44 – Haynes has resurfaced eh? I guess Mukasey can personally attest to how we “know” about the Padilla dirty bomb plot, complete with bucket swinging and the shocking revelation of an online site that describes how to swing the buckets, all because of the torture.

    And Haynes can add in all the “mosaic” info they got from 14 yo boys and old men in walkers and crazy guys at GITMO, after he was advised that at least 1/3 and more likely 1/2 of them didn’t even have any ties to any mujahadeen groups, much less the Talibant or al-Qaeda. If lots of what we know we got from people who – didn’t know anything to tell us – that’s reassuring.

  24. Mary says:

    80 – hehe – I cross posted with you but we went on the same trip there. When someone has to give up “something” in order to not be tortured, that’s not exactly how you get good info, is it? It also undercuts the ticking time bomb scenario pretty thoroughly when the OLC memos spell out that the torture will start without any exigencies of any kind, so long as the detainee hasn’t given up something big and splashy.

  25. myshadow says:

    He was waterboarded because the could not make him suffer enough. Here they had, theoretically, the guy who masterminded the theft of three planes, the deaths of over 3000 people, the destruction of the World Trade Center. It was revenge pure and simple. I am sure there was video, I’m sure bush and dik saw it. Whatever they ‘extracted’ from his computers is the zygote of information they were seeking. He could have been convinced to be more expansive about that stuff. After a year or of slammertime I don’t think there is much for him to give up to be acted upon. I really don’t think it was dunk and talk. They were hurting him and not leaving marks. An added horror, there are probably MILLIONS of Americans would probably shrug and say he deserved it. I am totally gobsmacked at the fact he was never brought to trial, found guilty. Since bush let KSM’s boss go at Tora Bora, these last 8 years of bizarroworld/crumbledeconomy are just what Bin Laden wanted to accomplish. That’s why we were never ‘hit again’. 9/11 worked.

  26. labman57 says:

    1) The documents provide compelling evidence that the Bush Administration planned and approved interrogation techniques that are clearly torture.

    2) There is no credible evidence that the use of torture during the Bush Administration ever saved a single American life or prevented a single terrorist plot. Let’s not be naive. Cheney saying so does not make it true.

    Some of interrogators themselves have gone public stating that every confession made under the duress of torture proved to be bogus. People will say ANYTHING under these conditions; mostly they will just make stuff up.

    Of course, it’s entirely possible that the primary motivation for these abusive practices was vengeance against anyone who resembled or was loosely associated with those who committed the atrocities of 9-11, in which case the Bush regime accomplished its objective.

    3) The U.S. signed international agreements and has passed laws, affirmed by the Supreme Court, prohibiting the use of torture during interrogations of detainees. The agreements do not have an asterisk that says “except when it’s done by the U.S. against people that we suspect are bad guys”.

  27. redfish says:

    The fact that so many are even having a discussion about this is akin to living in a Fellini movie. I wonder why they attack America. No, on second thought, I don’t wonder.

  28. RedDonnaAnn says:

    Expect a blood bath response. Christ almighty what have we become in the name of fighting terrorism? Terrorists.

  29. RedDonnaAnn says:

    And let us not forget the Golden Rule of Torture: it doesn’t work; information gained through torture turns out to false, outdated or useless more often than not.

  30. Petrocelli says:

    2 Questions for Congress & POTUS:

    1. Was America’s survival so dire as to warrant this ?

    2. Will America survive if you fail to bring those who authorized this illegal act to justice ?

    To those reading this blog for the first time, please read all previous posts re. torture.

    I hope that it will make you call every member of Congress and demand that an independent Prosecutor be put in charge of investigating this outrage.

    America demands that you stand up for her Constitution !

  31. worldwidehappiness says:

    Most American’s don’t care about this issue, but if the video tapes were played on teevee, then they’d be shocked.

    But it’s hard to get past the “worst of the worst” rationalisation for people who aren’t skilled in critical thinking about short-term goals vs long-term good, etc. Hell, even politicians don’t get the importance of long-term thinking, so what chance has Joe the Plumber got?

    Nevertheless, someone like Obama should understand the importance of doing things for the long-term good.

  32. worldwidehappiness says:

    fully half of the government’s knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from those interrogations…

    A million jokes could be made of that.

    “Half of what we know…”

    Stuart and Colbert could have a field day.

    Someone should put it up as a competition on dailykos.

  33. 1dogs2 says:

    I believe all of the memos from the DoJ are ex post facto justifications, though I may be wrong about the Yoo memos.

    The most horrifying aspect of the last four memos is their cold, bureaucratic discussion of the rules for applying the torture techniques. It reminds me of nothing so much as the German memos detailing train schedules, statistics regarding how many people could be transported, how much gas was required to kill how many people, and the like. Once people have been so dehumanized, it is only one short step to equally cold and bureaucratic discussions of a “final solution.”

  34. kirkolsen says:

    next time do what he would have done, stand to the side of him and cut his dam head off ! Waterboarding is just so bad ? Think people.

    • dilbertgeg says:

      A couple things emerged out of this Khalid Sheik Mohammed thing.

      1. The guy confessed to EVERYTHING, including things he could not have done. This is one way prisoners under torture hint that they are under torture.

      2. KSM spoke using some broken pidgin English. The real KSM was a highly-educated British professional who spoke perfect English.

      This KSM scare is as fake and full of holes as the rest of the Sept 11 story, including the 2 or 3 “masterminds” besides KSM, and the Pakistani General from ISI who financed the alleged hijackers one DAY before flying to Washington DC for a week of meetings with *our* Intelligence experts. Ahmad was eating breakfast with Porter Goss watching 9-11 unfold on TV, but even after FBI confirmed the connection found by India’s Intell, Condi denied knowing about FBI’s statement on that and Goss did an infamous “not the time for finger-pointing” speech.

      In other words, smelly bullcrap, through and through.

      For more details on WHY the KSM story is crap, google Ralph Schoenman on KSM (he’s only pointing out what the media said), or look on You Tube for a 6-part discussion.

  35. jake1492 says:

    The memos may have come later, but the memos were supposedly a legal opinion about where the line was between interrogation and torture (supposedly) according to pre-existing law. They were opinion about law that existed at the time of these waterboardings.

    The implication of the legal opinion offered in 2005 was that these events in 2003 were torture. I suppose some other legal opinion was in force at the time of these events in 2003.

  36. Terrible says:

    And I’ll bet Cheney’s cut of Halliburtons no bid/cost plus contracts that they didn’t produce one shred of useful intel from that!

  37. klynn says:

    Thank you for all of your work. I was gone all day yesterday so I just caught up on all your posts for Saturday and Sunday. Although, I read this one last night. I could not post because reading this, sent me to the “smallest room in the house” where I proceeded to lose my dinner.

    The number on KSM, 183, has been haunting me since I read your post on Friday and came to that last sentence showing the number of times waterboarded.

    I asked myself all day yesterday while I was volunteering, “Over what period of time did they waterboard him that many times?” I was doing the math in my head but I knew I had some of the “math facts” missing. The math of torture was haunting my mind all day.

    You did the math and shed the light in the darkest of corners.

    You carry the lamp of freedom when you write EW.

    My thanks and appreciation seems quite small in comparison to your great efforts for the sake of justice.

  38. MadDog says:

    Just in case anyone would want to know, the NYT finally caught on to EW’s blockbuster:

    Memo Says Prisoner Was Waterboarded 183 Times

    Oh, and yeah, the NYT was decent enough to give EW (what, a fookin’ blogger?) credit:

    …The sentences in the 2005 memo including the number of times the two men were waterboarded appear to be redacted from some copies of the memo but are visible in others. Initial news reports about the memos in The New York Times and other publications did not include the numbers, but several bloggers, including Marcy Wheeler of the emptywheel blog, discovered the numbers over the weekend

    (My Bold)

    Ta Marcy for all you do!

    Next, I think we need to show the NYT how to include a link. You know, like to EW’s post here?

  39. blue299 says:

    Why dont anyone just see this torture for what it truly is…

    Bush Regime simply wanted someone to confess they were behind 9/11 by any means necessary.

    How is it possible in a world where crime can’t be stopped, we here in America have stopped terrorist attacks for 8 years?

    After terrorists “sucessfully” hijacked 4 planes and one plane hit the most SECURE building on the face of the planet these same terrorist can’t even step on a roach in america in the name of al qaeda?

    How is it in our nation, where 1 million ppl cross the border illegally every year we are able to stop terrorism that we were victimized in the past by?

    All these articles about water boarding and whether it was good or not for info are meaningless when the obvious motives behind them are to cover up the real murderers, the BushCheneyIsrael crew.

    May freedom ring!

  40. RichardKanePA says:

    Several bloggers mentioned “How is it possible that the US stopped a terrorist attack for eight years.

    Before 9/11 bin Laden threatened dire consequences for the US unless we stopped desecrating Mecca with the presence of US troops. In 2003 Bush withdraw US troops from Saudi Arabia. Any attack soon after 2003 might have led the US to become excited enough to return troops to Saudi Arabia. If there isn’t any other organized group that wants to attack the US, then the US only faces attacks by individuals.

    Bin Laden is happy about his plans to slowly bankrupt the US like he helped do the USSR. Especially since Bush dwelt of Iraq which is far less important to him then Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Ominously sleeper cells in the US could have huge fireworks planned for 5 pm the first Friday after a US invasion of Pakistan, with follow up attacks on the survivors at 5:13, and again at 6:05. However, if Obama slowly escalates in Pakistan through drone missiles, the terror cells wouldn’t know which Friday without asking, which would risk revealing their identity.

    Please see,
    http://capitolhillblue.com/node/15268
    http://capitolhillblue.com/blog/2419

    By the way I am also worried about Obama slipping into letting al Qaeda help bankrupt the US just as other countries like China are demanding that the dollar be replaced by another currency in international exchange.

    RichardKanePA

    • burqa says:

      Several bloggers mentioned “How is it possible that the US stopped a terrorist attack for eight years.

      Cliches like this get repeated because people have such short memories.
      Terrorist attacks in America since 9/11 include:

      1) An attack on the El Al ticket counter at LAX

      2) The anthrax attacks

      3) The D.C. area snipers

      4) The copycat of the D.C. area snipers who shot people on Ohio highways

      5) Maybe it’s a stretch, but there’s Richard Reid’s shoebomb attack that fizzled when he failed to ignite his shoe, not because of Bush administration torture or other policies.

      • blue299 says:

        burqa and which one of these attacks were committed by AL QAEDA?

        An attack on the El Al ticket counter at LAX

        2) The anthrax attacks

        3) The D.C. area snipers

        4) The copycat of the D.C. area snipers who shot people on Ohio highways

        And lets not forget anthrax attacks are still unsolved and the lead suspect died suspiciously without ever being found guilty.

        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25961053/

        Can you explain why our government was performing military exercises with remote control planes on 9/11/2001???

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W…..r_11,_2001

    • blue299 says:

      RichardKANE PA is a propogandist.

      What are your sources?
      “Bin Laden is happy about his plans to slowly bankrupt the US like he helped do the USSR. Especially since Bush dwelt of Iraq which is far less important to him then Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

      Why dont u check the FBI website and see what bin laden is wanted for. GUESS WHAT NOT 911!

      http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/terr…..nladen.htm

      This is a fact, THERE IS NOO EVIDENCE that bin laden was behind 911. In fact bin laden released at statement on 9/17/2001 that he had nothing to with it.

      http://archives.cnn.com/2001/U…..en.denial/

  41. nextstopchicago says:

    Sheesh. I fail to consult the blog for one weekend, and all hell breaks loose, the NYTimes links to Marcy, and the pathbreaking post that could change the torture debate isn’t even on the front page anymore because there’s been so much follow-up. Good stuff. I’ll try not to blink in the future.

  42. VJBinCT says:

    Does this comment go to Marcie’s site at FDL, or stay here at Digg? She isn’t getting any traffic from Digg! Kinda defeats the purpose, IMHO.

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