Al-Nashiri’s Swollen Nerves, the CIA’s Apology to Abu Zubaydah

As MadDog pointed out, the latest redactions of the CSRT transcripts are up at ACLU.

Transcript of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad’s CSRT (27 page PDF).

Transcript of Al Nashiri’s CSRT (39 page PDF).

Transcript of Abu Zubaydah’s CSRT (30 page PDF)

Transcript of Majid Khan’s CSRT (50 page PDF)

I say "latest redactions" because they really haven’t declassified that much–just single lines here and there.

The biggest piece of news, IMO, is Rahim al-Nashiri’s description of his swollen nerves.

Before I was arrested I used to be able to run about ten kilometers. Now, I cannot walk for more than ten minutes. My nerves are now swollen in my body. Swollen too.

We’ve been trying to understand why they only waterboarded al-Nashiri twice–and don’t claim it worked with him. These swollen nerves may be a clue. They don’t t rule out that he suffered other problems–such as a tracheotomy pursuant to some accident during waterboarding–but it does explain one effect his torture had on him.

Otherwise, the biggest news is that our government is now willing to admit they have admitted to being totally wrong about who Abu Zubaydah was.

They told me sorry we discover that you are not number three, not a partner even not a fighter.

Golly. If only they had read his diary or asked Noor al-Deen, they could have figured that out without waterboarding him 83 times.

If nothing else, though, the re-release of these may get more people to read them. They are fascinating and nauseating narratives, all four of them, so if you haven’t already read one or more of them, please take a look.

[Updated and changed time stamp]

80 replies
  1. MadDog says:

    …I say “latest redactions” because they really haven’t declassified that much–just single lines here and there…

    Too true!

    The value to Emptywheel readers may simply be reading the 4 detainees’ transcripts for the first time, and realizing just how little substantive “evidence” was necessary for the Bush/Cheney Administration to incarcerate these “brown, muslimy people” for years without any legal recourse to their torture and imprisonment.

    In reading the transcript of Majid Khan’s CSRT (50 page PDF), one can see that even the rules of logic were thrown out the window (page 19):

    …The paragraph states that I was re-entering the states to commit a terrorist act. The only reason they assumed I was going to commit a terrorist act is because they made me al Qaida in the first place. Their logic says I must be coming to commit a terrorist act. I am not al Qaida. I am not an Enemy Combatant, and there were not any terrorist acts…

    Alice in Wonderland meets the Marquis de Sade.

    • emptywheel says:

      Actually, thanks for saying that–if you haven’t read these, please do. I actually feel like I’m reading Faulkner in reading them.

      I find Nashiri’s most striking–as I’ve pointed out before, he describes his torturers laughing as he tells them the lies they want to hear.

      • Petrocelli says:

        EPU’d downstairs … were they laughing because they knew Al-N was bullshitting about AQ having Nukes ?

        • perris says:

          I can take a swing at this;

          they were laughing the same way I laughed the first time I sat behind the wheel of a car and put foot to pedal

          they realized the power in their hands and they could not refrain their depraved glee

          and more;

          they laughed becuase they could now deliver exacly what cheney demanded, a tortured confession and false information linking the unlinkable, linking sadam to al-qaeda, even though they knew with no doubt none such connection existed

          • Petrocelli says:

            They could also show that using new methods other than ‘normal torture’ worked on these hardened terrists, setting an ugly precedent …

            Thanks for your first point, I had only considered something close to your second point as their motivation.

      • MadDog says:

        You’re most welcome!

        I had read KSM’s and AZ’s before, but not Al Nashiri’s and Majid Khan’s.

        And as to Faulkner, I was originally thinking Kafka myself, but even he didn’t sink to the depths of deliberate ignorance and depravity that these transcripts document.

        These so remind me of the zealotry of “our” Pilgrim forefathers (and mothers) back in the 1600s.

        Someone who showed an interest in weeds for example, would find herself (and it was typically female) under suspicion for witchcraft, and that merest suspicion was all that was necessary for the zealous religious leaders of the community to burn the “convicted by suspicion” witch at the stake.

        Too many Americans simplistically worship at the altar of our forefathers and foremothers, without once coming to terms with the very real horrors these “storybook” founders performed on innocent human beings.

        I can’t speak for other nationalities (though I’d guess it’s the same worldwide), but Americans have forgetfulness and even aversion to recognizing our “Dark Side”.

        It is so very real, and it didn’t die out in the 1600s, but is alive and unwell here in the 21st century.

        • emptywheel says:

          Oh, the absurd evil of it is Kafka, but the way in which these transcripts capture sharply unique and deeply disturbed human psyches is Faulkner, IMO.

          • MadDog says:

            And you can add in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago for good measure.

            Might make a good book title for an American Solzhenitsyn: The Gulag Guantánamo.

            • Rayne says:

              Yes, definitely, Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s even something Harlan Ellison-ish about this whole mess, perhaps its rather nightmarish quality.

              Just finished Al Nashiri’s CSRT; I feel less sympathetic to his dumb-and-unlucky schmuck role than I thought I would. How does one become a millionaire at such an early age and not have a finely tuned BS detector? How does he take money from UBL without understanding there are strings attached? He’s working on fishing business, but conveniently bails out when business becomes quasi-military?

              Unfortunately, he’s been tortured, and anything he’s said under torture is suspect, and it’s hard to tell when he’s telling the truth or lying because of this, making his dumb schmuck schtick very fuzzy. What an effing mess.

              • emptywheel says:

                Not sure what it means, but almost everything in the 9/11 Report on him has corroboration. Part of me thinks it’s bc they felt they needed it. Partly I think it’s just bc there was so much FBI work on the Cole done.

                • Rayne says:

                  Which the questions from the members implied; it appeared they knew more about al Nashiri than he was letting on with his dumb schmuck routine. Would be fascinating to see what they have from Cole laid out against what he’s said so far.

                  And perhaps this explains the interrogators’ laughter (though I think there is no excuse for such inappropriate behavior). Perhaps they also knew exactly what had already been corroborated and were simply messing with him to see how far he’d deviate from what they knew.

              • MadDog says:

                …Just finished Al Nashiri’s CSRT; I feel less sympathetic to his dumb-and-unlucky schmuck role than I thought I would…

                I had a similar reaction to reading AZ’s stuff (including diary entries) a month or more ago.

                I’m not saying that AZ was actually playing the fool or trying to shuck his interrogators and CSRT judges, but the thought crossed my mind, and I’m guessing that very same question has arisen many times in the minds of these interrogators and CSRT judges.

                I’d guess the resident Legal Eagles have numerous similar experiences and have no magic formula to tell them who’s lying when.

                • Rayne says:

                  Just finished reading AZ and Majid Khan CSRTs back-to-back.

                  I could just barf. They could have nailed the right ones out of this lot if they simply did this by the book, if they simply used sound police work and the judicial system. But they had to taint anything the real criminals said with torture, and they had to torture innocents, creating truly bad information which calls everything else into question.

                  What the fuck was Cheney thinking? What the fuck were any of them thinking? There’s absolutely nothing sane about any of this, even though we can see there were criminal intent and acts sprinkled about in some of these four CSRTs. It’s absolute madness, and the readily provable criminality here is that the guys who approved and conducted torture are neatly excised away in these big black voids in these CSRTs. They not only committed heinous war crimes, but they’ve potentially aided and abetted the ultimate release of people who really are criminal, and they enabled the killing of others who may have been completely innocent.

                  And the missing, the desaparecidos, they’re tantalizingly here and yet not. Where is Wazir (Uazir) Paracha? Where are the children? Where is this woman who gave birth in detention?

                  Total and complete insanity, sickening madness.

                  • MadDog says:

                    …What the fuck was Cheney thinking?…

                    To many of the other worker-bee participants like Lynndie England, (yea, and even some of the interrogators), the “banality of evil” phrase fits perfectly. It was just their 8-4 job/shift, and who the fook cares if prisoner XYZ feels pain. Empathy is not in their job description.

                    And sad to say, because it too is a common human frailty, being empathetic is counterproductive for soldiers, prison guards, and the like.

                    Can’t do your job if you feel for your enemy or prisoner.

                    But with someone like Cheney, we’re talking about a whole ‘nother psyche. His pathology is that of revenge, hate, and willful retribution on “things” he considers less than human.

                    I’m not sure what drives him more: fear or hate. But Cheney is a leader in the pantheon of evildoers of recent memory.

                    I’ve often thought Cheney would have made a superb and highly-placed apparatchik in the Soviet Praesidium. Best buds with Josef Stalin had he been born in the former Soviet Union, and not at all out of the question, likely to be one of ol’ Joe’s successors.

                    • FromCt says:

                      I don’t disagree with any of your description of how flawed and criminal Cheney was, while he “served” as shadow president, and all the way back to Ford’s white house.

                      Now, about the current president….he isn’t acting within the law in response to the crimes Cheney committed, so shouldn’t the most productive discussion be on the topic of how to attempt to make Obama accountable, to halt the criminality that Cheney got rolling, and still continues, and to investigate Cheney, Bush, Rice, Yoo, Rumsfeld, Bradbury, and that other criminal DOD counsel who now works for Gen. Dynamics?

                    • hackworth1 says:

                      Let’s see if PBO can be pressured to do the right things before we go a tainting him with impeachment. Surely it was your boys who needed the impeachment and didn’t get it. As you are aware, impeachment would open the door for the R Party when that corrupt ensemble should be nearly out of business.

                    • FromCt says:

                      It isn’t lawful, and certainly not acceptable to a progressive like me to tolerate any president continuing in office who breaks the law and is complicit with republican initiated policy of torture, bogus states secrets arguments, unconstitutional seizing of “war time” powers by the executive, illegal surveillance, and an attempt to legitimize preemptive, indefinite detention, along with supporting the lawless indefinite detentions by US government personnel in Bagram prison, etc., etc., but…rather than react by demanding impeachment proceedings begin now to remove this president from office BECAUSE he is acting too similarly to his criminal republican predecessors, you tell me that demanding steps to remove him if he continues on this unlawful course, will enhance the prospects of republican candidates supporting this identical criminality….That’s your argument against attemptung impeachment?

                      Is there anyone with strong, left of center orientation, even after all we have been subjected to? Are all political strategies and responses to Obama’s maintaining the status quo coverup, based on conciliation to cover up of recent segments of unlawful, immoral right wing policies and practices, while advocationg for and continuing other portions of the same, even at the present time, when the extreme right is in it’s weakest and most discredited position since 1976?

                    • Rayne says:

                      So where have you been for the last eight years? we haven’t gotten 200 days into this presidency, haven’t yet seated all appointees, and you want us to start impeaching now? I expect this from conservative, frankly, not from a real progressive who should understand the ramifications of the first African-American president immediately going on a prosecutorial tear against the likes of Bush/Cheney let alone roll-up all the previous administration’s “machine” in a manner which could trigger the same forces.

                      WE have work to do yet, to provide both the political impetus and political cover for the appropriate action to take place; one of the real challenges obstructing progress is the left’s blindness about the necessity to build the road needed for prosecution. Whitehouse and others need more time and ammunition to get this done, building a case that is so solid it would be criminal not to prosecute or implement other remedies. We also need a Supreme Court and a solid Senate majority which will do the work required as the time comes; right now, we can’t trust either of them.

                      Cheese-on-rice, it’s nice to be all morally superior, and we do experience daily and hourly outrage here which you’ve apparently missed — but the numbers don’t lie. If we’re struggling to get uncompromised health care through Congress which has the support of a majority of the public, or stop the wars’ funding, how the hell do you think we are going to impeach a president whose approval rating is nearly twice that of the guy who left office? And at the 148th day of 1460 this term of office, what’s a more constructive use of a progressive’s time: work on doing some of the investigative work necessary to a prosecution, work on getting a more progressive Supreme Court, work on getting the head of the OLC seated, work on impeaching the president?

                      Knock yourself out.

                    • prostratedragon says:

                      And sad to say, because it too is a common human frailty, being empathetic is counterproductive for soldiers, prison guards, and the like.

                      Can’t do your job if you feel for your enemy or prisoner.

                      This is quite true, unfortunately. But two things about that I learned from an extensively decompressing spec-op-capable type are: 1) a firm indoctrination into rules, such as UCMJ and Geneva Conventions, and pride in following the rules, can provide a pretty good operational substitute for genuine empathy, and 2) ops in the field, especially, say, nco squad leaders, rely implicitly on their immediate brass, and ultimately on the political leadership, to establish parameters such that staying as close as humanly possible to those rules is not the most difficult part of the mission.**

                      That latter can start with the reasons soldiers or marines are sent on a mission and even the way in which they’re equipped and the kinds of support that’s made available to them, and in his (Vietnam-shaped) view extends to the political decision to go to war or use military.

                      What I took from those talks was that when things go wrong, especially when they persistently and it would seem systematically go wrong in a tightly-structured and really quite transparent body like a military service, one really should look up even more thoroughly than down the chain of command, as either the wrong things were conveyed regarding the rules, or the right ones poorly, or basic command oversight was not pursued.

                      That’s not the kind of thinking that the cya types one can find in the services would deem welcome, and it is not the kind of thinking that chicken hawk civilian leadership would even know exists; backwash implies a wall somewhere.

                      ** Back in the hotter days of Iraq War I read somewhere a story from one of the whistleblowing sgts that closely paralleled one of Al’s remarks, concerning the importance of having handoffs for captures set up. This Iraq vet complained that in his unit, the arrangement hadn’t been made, so there they were with some guys that everyone was mightily pissed off at, given the fresh engagement and maybe some injury or fatality from it among the U.S. I don’t recall the exact result, but it was definitely a step down in honor. It’s not a good idea for those involved to have to take pows very far before being able to turn them over to those less involved. My friend had, in passing, made a similar point once about how things should be set up and why, saying something like “You’d be surprised how plain angry you get.”

                    • Rayne says:

                      You just explained why the Bush administration opted for a civilian leadership which inserted contractors into the process. No indoctrination, no chain of command save the contracted deliverables.

                    • prostratedragon says:


                      When it’s at its best, there’s something to be said for certain military practices, which seem to have evolved from notions of surviving a hellish task as an individual with at least the memory of one’s soul intact, and of the importance of keeping control within a group to achieve this.

                      (And I admire how literarily everyone is waxing on this thread!;) I’d add the movie Brazil, in which the chain of authority gets right elusive beyond Deputy Minister Helpmann.)

                    • BayStateLibrul says:

                      Lewis Carroll
                      Marquis de Sade
                      Witch hunts Salem, MA
                      “The Things They Did” as stolen from Tim O’Brien

                      Cheney, “I’ll order a large ego with my fries”

                    • skdadl says:

                      The discussion that wavpeac and some others were having just a thread or two back about torturers and victims was very Dostoevsky, I thought, if you want to add to that list.

                    • BayStateLibrul says:

                      Indeed. Dostoevsky.

                      “These Karamazovs, all four of them, father and sons, are dubious, dangerous, unpredictable folk; they have stange moods, strange consciences, and a strange lack of conscience; one is a drunkard, another a woman chaser, one an imaginative escpist, one a secret composer of blasphemous poems.” Hesse

                      Pick you posion.

                • emptywheel says:

                  Oh, I actually don’t think AZ was lying.

                  He was a mujahadin who ascribed to the other strand of muj–the one that focused on military targets. And he was in competition with AQ when they orderd him to shut down Khaldan.

                  That’s all pretty well established.

                  He did know OBL, though, and many of the others. So he had useful intelligence. Just not the intelligence they wanted out of him.

                  • skdadl says:

                    AZ’s statement was most affecting to me, maybe because I was reading with background from [remind me? — TheraP?] about AZ’s possible hypergraphia. If you realize what he’s talking about in those wandering paragraphs about his diary, well, that becomes very … poignant and convincing? And then it’s so clear from the way the president talks to him that he really has some serious health problems.

                    • drational says:

                      I might get a diary out AZs potential health consequences as well (tomorrow).
                      Difficulty speaking- if he was hoarse, could reflect old laryngeal injury from tracheotomy or intubation. Could be due to brain injury, such as from trauma, hypoxia, or fluid shifts from water intoxication.

                      Something previously classified and now censored on P22 precedes a sentence in which he notes suffering recurrence of symptoms he had previously had with a 1992 head injury “including the complete loss of my memory and an inability to speak, read,or write.”

                      Old brain injuries could re-manifest with additional brain injuries, such as from new trauma, hypoxia, or fluid shifts from water intoxication. It is important to know what is in the blacked out sentence (walling versus waterboarding).

                      He also described seizures. These could be epileptic or behavioral, unclear. If epileptic, could be due to old brain injury, which he seems to relate what he was told by GTMO docs (P28). Could also be due to new brain injury.

                      Regardless, one thing is obvious. With an old brain injury including shrapnel in the head, he was at increased risk for new brain injury. The Bybee memo completely lied about his prior medical history. A person with post traumatic amnesia posesses a documentable “history of psychiatric pathology.” Either the CIA lied or the OLC chose to memorialize only the parts they needed.

                      and thanks at 56 and 58!

                    • skdadl says:

                      On 28/30, just after a newly restored passage:

                      When I came here I ask about it again and again. I do not whose take it; [redacted] I was only thinking — thinking I found myself I found myself fell down. They not believe in the beginning but the specialist doctor they tell me yes most of the seizure he have he bring it for himself by that think.

                      I read that to mean that the doctor believed that AZ’s emotional distress over the diary could bring a seizure on (and the doctor himself has had such experiences?), which I also believe — iow, that the lines between epileptic and behavioural seizures are not always that clear.

                      IANAD but I have been an observer, and that passage made me cry.

                    • drational says:

                      Your assessment is spot on. This sounds like he was seen by a neurologist who felt his seizures were triggered by anxiety over his diaries. While there are certainly such things as reflexive seizures and epilepsy that is exacerbated by anxiety, it is more common for seizures like this to be behavioral. They are also called non-epileptic seizures or pseudoseizures. Both epileptic seizures and behavioral seizures are treatable. I have read elsewhere that he is on the antipsychotic medication, Haldol, consistent with treatment for non-epileptic seizures. Whether he had an EEG is unclear, but that would be part of an appropriate evaluation. Indeed it would be malpractice (for US doctors) not to perform an EEG to exclude epileptic seizures before treating with Haldol for non-epileptic seizures.

                    • skdadl says:

                      I don’t mean to keep this up too long, but Haldol — there is one of my bêtes noires. To me, it is quite a primitive drug, used for sheer control (because it just knocks people out, or turns them into simpletons). Emergency departments, because they are not secure, will use it on dementia patients who are in danger of wandering, and while I understand the problem, I’ve also seen what it means to come out of one of those adventures. It just appals me to think that AZ is actually living on that drug? Isn’t it a pretty old-fashioned and brutal measure?

                    • drational says:

                      Oral Haldol is an effective antipsychotic. Sure it has some unpleasant side effects. But it’s 10 cents a pill versus 3 bucks a pill for the newer antipsychotics with fewer side effects. See what happens when the government makes health care decisions for you? (snark)

                    • skdadl says:

                      (I know I said I’d quit, but …)

                      I have to tell you that I wasn’t a fan of any of the antipsychotics I met, drational, not as given to a dementia patient. Two years after I saw Risperdal prescribed, eg (and I hated that stuff from the start — I think it causes psychosis), I discovered the ground-breaking study from the Netherlands that was published just about the time I was intuiting there was something wrong with it, at least as given to dementia patients.

                      I finally (after about six months) met a doctor who said, “Why don’t we just stop all the meds and see what happens?” And I said, “What a good idea.” And so it turned out to be.

                    • fatster says:

                      A lot depends, does it not, on whether the med is being prescribed to treat the patient or to control the patient. There is a tendency, particularly among patients such as you describe (dementia), to try and keep patients sedated so they are easier to manage. GIven reimbursement rates for long-term care, there may not be enough staff available to ensure such patients are safe and pose no threat to other patients without those meds. Very sad, and one more measure of what our society values–or doesn’t.

                    • perris says:

                      I just read your diary and it is excellant stuff

                      I can’t wait to see the updates as more info is disclosed

          • MadDog says:

            I’m unsure just how to “label” the “burning at the stake” folks, so I chose the more generic “Pilgrims”, but that term is probably overbroad too.

            In any event, my main point was that those “burning at the stake” folks were, and are, considered “foundational” to the formation of this nation, and that we Americans tend not to dwell on their horrors.

        • freepatriot says:

          And as to Faulkner, I was originally thinking Kafka myself,

          sounds like Dumas to me:

          Il Def lives

          I know you are innocent. That is why they sent you here. If you were guilty, there are 100 prisons you could be sent to. They only ones they send here, are the prisoners they are ashamed of …

  2. perris says:

    I can easily make the connection between al-nashiri’s “swolen nerves” and the adema doctors speak about during the torture process whence they insisted these subjects be tortured laying down rather then standing up

    I really really hope this case sees the light of day

  3. Mary says:

    Well, they did ask Noor al-Deen, didn’t they? It’s just that they didn’t like his answer so they sent him to Syria to be disappeared and tortured wasn’t it?

    Interesting that the secret info that Zubaydah isn’t a high value al-Qaeda operative or even a fighter never seems to have made it to DOJ’s OLC.

  4. Rayne says:

    Had not read these yet, just read KSM’s. Jeebus, what an effed up mess.

    One of the most fascinating components of KSM’s piece is his view of the U.S. Assuming he’s managed to remain lucid in spite of the abuse he suffered, it’s painful to “hear” what wretched warmongers we Americans are and how “flexible” our values, especially when limited by the water’s edge and citizenship. It’s equally terrifying to read the list of claimed roles laid out so dispassionately, in the same matter-of-fact fashion with which he says he was tortured and said whatever he did during the course of that torture.

    His closing statement is mesmerizing for its Joycean stream of consciousness quality; can’t help but wonder if this is how he was before he was tortured, or if this is the product of torture.

    I wish I could think of a single word to label this bundle of fascinating horror, but I can’t. Perhaps there’s a word in Arabic for it.

  5. stryder says:

    oooh the irony
    “The funny story they been Sunni government they sent some spies to
    assassinate UBL then we arrested them sent them to Afghanistan/Taliban.
    Taliban put them into prison. Americans they came and arrest them as enemy

  6. stryder says:

    after reading KSM’s statement I couldn’t help but think of a time in vietnam when I was with my 40year old scout who had fought with the French and we came up to an old rice farmer in the patties with his water buffalo.We sat next to him and my scout was talking to him about VC raids into the villages to commandeer rice and young males.For the first time I felt like I could really get the “feel” of these people and I ask the scout to ask the farmer what he thought about Americans and Democracy to which he said “they’re all the same to me.They all come and go and I will be here when you are gone”

    • MadDog says:

      …“they’re all the same to me.They all come and go and I will be here when you are gone”

      I’m guessing this same refrain will be heard in Afghanistan too.

  7. drational says:

    I think Nashiri is trying to say nerve injury from swelling, lost in translation.
    I am guessing that al Nashiri has bilateral foot drops from deep peroneal nerve palsies due to compartment syndrome.

    Over the weekend, in your prior threads, I explained that dependent edema (from standing, shackled crucifixion (sleep deprivation), in combination with waterboarding with distilled water rather than saline) could cause acute and severe swelling, entrapping the nerves of the lower legs within the fascial compartments. If true, this was no doubt tortuously painful and may explain why Zelikow was so fixed on “sleep deprivation” and prior memos were footnoted with edema issues.

    I am home now, so can’t cut and paste my old explanations or start a diary. We need to ask Carol Rosenberg whether Nashiri walked with an odd gait (slapping the feet) when he entered the CSRT room.

    I’ll try to Kos diary tomorrow.

    Importantly, the verbal dancing fuckers could have knocked out the nerves to his lower legs and written memos that he is no longer suffering because after the acute injury on the board and in the days to weeks following, he is numb and weak but no longer in pain.

    They stopped waterboarding him because compartment syndrome is as painful as it gets. Pure torture. They crucified him for twelve days to “loosen him up” filling his legs with saltwater edema. Then they poured Aquafina down his gullet, which swelled his legs so bad that the pressure infarcted the nerves.

    • emptywheel says:

      Thanks–I look forward to that, drational.

      When you do it can you also comment on the inability to walk very far? It makes sense to me–but it’s a detail I’d like to see.

  8. tryggth says:


    This graf from the LA Times:

    Monday’s disclosure, representing a rare allegation [my emphasis] by a detainee that he lied while subjected to harsh practices, also could raise new questions about whether the techniques worked.

    Where do you even start?

    • MadDog says:

      …Where do you even start?

      I’m expecting the NYT, when they finally get around to noticing these CSRT transcripts, will move the bar even lower, doncha think? *g*

      • tryggth says:

        You mean something like…

        Though on the surface this redaction is not only inexplicable, and possibly illegal, the concrete knowledge that you may have the opportunity to retract something you said under torture would provide the enemy with knowledge about how seriously we take such utterances.

    • Garrett says:

      This graf from the LA Times:

      Monday’s disclosure, representing a rare allegation [my emphasis] by a detainee that he lied while subjected to harsh practices, also could raise new questions about whether the techniques worked.

      Where do you even start?

      Orwell, Politics and the English Language?

      Vague semi-legalistic words strung together (a disclosure representing an allegation), to obscure awareness of the distinction between an allegation and an admission.

  9. FromCt says:

    Again, ACLU’s Ben Wizner made it clear in the video posted by EW that the Obama administration is engaged in the continuing coverup, the continuing obstruction of justice. Why not call for impeachment investigation of Obama to attempt to stop his criminal conduct?

    Are too many “progressives” being muzzled by the influence of the whining coming from the extreme right?

    You already know you will be calling for Obama’s impeachment, if the influence of your principles and knowledge of the law are the primary influences on forming your opinion.

    Why not come out for starting an impeachment investigation, now, when it might still help to wake Obama up to the fact that we won’t tolerate idly that he has become complicit in obstruction and in perpertuating the unconstitutional executive power grab of Bush/Cheney?

  10. whitewidow says:

    I had forgotten that everything Majid Khan knew about AQ he had learned from FOX news.

    Where are those guards ending up after their stint at GITMO? I hope nowhere near me. Those are the people that shouldn’t be released into the US.

  11. pdaly says:

    CIA admits it made a mistake about labelling someone a high ranking al Qaeda terrorist?
    Good thing for Abu Zubaydah that he wasn’t taken out by a hellfire missile from an armed Predator drone (”sudden justice” as Bush liked to call it).

    I wonder if American Kamal Derwish would like a review of his case?
    Too late. He’s a charcoal stain in the middle of a road in Yemen now.
    I wonder if the government holding someone’s life in its sites of an armed Predator is the same as having them in custody–any death a violation of their due process and 8th amendment rights.

    Nice posts emptywheel and bmaz.

  12. perris says:

    the very best point is on that youtube;

    “there is nothing in here that presents a national security threat, the only reason this is classified is to cover up”

    paraphrased of course

    now the case can be made that those national security threats are exactly what’s redacted however there really needs to be an indication where why they thought those redactions present national security implications

  13. perris says:

    now that we have the clear data demonstrating the clear fact that torture did not work acquiring information I am wondering if they will ever issue a report demonstrating the actual harm caused by these programs

    a new ingredient I had not considered has now been offered in these interviews;

    I have always said these programs create new issues and it wouldn’t even matter if we prevented an event through torture because we would create ten against every one

    I also said every relative and every friend of a victim of our programs become terrorists, thus creating far more issues, enemies and situations then we could possibly prevent

    but now we have something even I had not considered

    according to these interviews, not only did these victims send assets on wild goose chases but those assets were arrested to boot

    so the double whammy, first wasting assets that could have been investigating legitimate information, second the loss of those assets entirely due to incidents created by this false data

    man, this is so much worse then I thought;

    for instance, while i have always said “you get far more information with professional legal methodss” I also assumed at least some information was acquired, I simply tempered that with “but more would have been acquired if we didn’t”

    now we find out NO information was acquired, it doesn’t even have to be weighed against professional methods, NO information was obtained


  14. drational says:

    For anyone interested, I have put up a post over at dKos speculating (as a physician) on al-Nashiri’s injuries and how they might fit into the big picture. I don’t think it will get much attention owing to the ongoing healthcare and Iran issues, but I think it may shed some light on the medical issues we may be hearing about.

    • behindthefall says:

      I don’t know if you want to look over the wording here (the Kos post):

      Basically in the legs (and arms) there are muscles, arteries and veins and nerves that run for a section through a “compartment” that encloses the structures in a water impermeable fibrous sheath. If the compartment fills up with fluid

      You might want to state explicitly that the water entering the compartment is exuding through the walls of the vessels that pass through it and being trapped there. Something like “if water leaks through the walls of the vessels into the compartment, it cannot escape through the compartment’s impermeable walls …” It just made me stop for a while: “wait a second; how do you fill an impermeable compartment?” (Yeah, I know. The logic is obvious.)

  15. Petrocelli says:

    *sends comforting hugs to skdadl*

    Reading all of this has made me quite … um … un- meditative.

    We have to demand hearing and indictments, for this abuse of authority.

    • skdadl says:

      Hugs right back, Petro.

      We need to be thinking of how we hold our guys accountable for co-operating with these systems. And they still are — there’s no sign that they’re worried about complicity at all.

  16. fatster says:

    Somewhat O/T: Miers

    Miers Deposed By House Panel Looking Into Attorney Firings
    Former White House Counsel Harriet Miers testifies, behind closed doors, after months of wrangling between Congress and members of the Bush administration.…..y-firings/

  17. fatster says:

    Obama Admin Mimics Bush Again: White House Records Are Secret

    By Zachary Roth – June 16, 2009, 10:03AM

    . . .

    ” reports that the Secret Service has denied the news outlet’s request for the names of visitors to the White House since President Obama was sworn in. It also denied a narrower request by the good-government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington for records of visits by coal executives.

    . . .

    ”The Obama administration has also been accused of following in Bush’s footsteps on transparency issues relating to war on terror tactics. It has fought efforts to release photographs and other information relating to the treatment of detainees, and has several times tried to have lawsuits thrown out by invoking the state secrets privilege.”


  18. Basharov says:

    Someone who showed an interest in weeds for example, would find herself (and it was typically female) under suspicion for witchcraft, and that merest suspicion was all that was necessary for the zealous religious leaders of the community to burn the “convicted by suspicion” witch at the stake.

    In the interest of historical accuracy, it should be noted that the Puritans did not burn witches at the stake; instead, they hanged them (or, if the witch refused to plead guilty, he or she was pressed to death under a board on which heavy weights were placed).

    Burning at the stake in colonial America was reserved for black slaves who plotted crimes against their masters (as happened in New York City in 1741).

    • fatster says:

      Very readable summary (with link to a list of the dead–though the two dogs are omitted) is here:…..L_ACCT.HTM

      All but a handful of those accused of being witches were women.

      This occurred in Salem, MA, a Puritan community that went bonkers between June-Sep 1692.

      • skdadl says:

        The best book I know about Salem is not recent; it’s a meticulous social history called Salem Possessed (Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Harvard UP, 1974), and it has the virtue of putting the whole story in a context that is practically and humanly understandable, if no less tragic.

        I made a pilgrimage to Salem in the mid-eighties and picked the book up by chance at the museum. It’s still one of the most gripping pieces of writing I know, based heavily on demographic analyses of Salem and Salem Village (present-day Danvers), but finally so complex in its analysis of all those troubled people that I felt I knew them. It’s the kind of book you keep on a special shelf. Much as I love Arthur Miller, I wish he had read that book and written yet another play.

        I went to the Customs House where Hawthorne worked when Salem was still (but only just) a thriving port. If you’ve read The Scarlet Letter, you know the Customs House from the introduction. The building has been so beautifully kept — you can see, from the velvet chain at his office door, the high desk where Hawthorne worked, and they have one of his walking sticks leaning up against the wall in one corner. That was what just took my knees out from under me, to be close enough to reach out and touch that wonderful man.

        Salem is a funny modern town, but the old port is lovely. The House of the Seven Gables is just across the street from the Customs House, and the vault in the Customs House is a thing of terrifying beauty. If you ever need to hide Fort Knox somewhere, at least part of it could go to Salem.

        • fatster says:

          I’ll certainly be looking for that book, skdadl. To be where Hawthorne once stood and wrote–how wonderful! None of my Nawthun ancestors were in Salem. They stayed at Plymouth, until they started migrating around up to Maine and so forth. I do agree with your wish about Miller, too. Many thnx.

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