Remember that Nashiri’s Torture — “Real Torture” — Didn’t Work

Yesterday, the Telegraph reported that the “waterboarding” used with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was far worse than described before — more actual drowning to the point of death than “pours.”

The description of the torture meted out to at least two leading al-Qaeda suspects, including the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, far exceeds the conventional understanding of waterboarding, or “simulated drowning” so far admitted by the CIA.

“They weren’t just pouring water over their heads or over a cloth,” said the source who has first-hand knowledge of the period. “They were holding them under water until the point of death, with a doctor present to make sure they did not go too far. This was real torture.”

That CIA was drowning people rather than “pouring” water over them is not news. Details described by the Telegraph exactly match the WaPo’s description of CIA’s drowning of Ammar al-Baluchi just months after KSM’s worst torture.

If declassified, the report could reveal new information on the treatment of a high-value detainee named Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, the nephew of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. The Pakistanis captured Ali, known more commonly as Ammar al-Baluchi, on April, 30, 2003, in Karachi and turned him over to the CIA about a week later. He was taken to a CIA black site called “Salt Pit” near Kabul.

At the secret prison, Baluchi endured a regime that included being dunked in a tub filled with ice water. CIA interrogators forcibly kept his head under the water while he struggled to breathe and beat him repeatedly, hitting him with a truncheon-like object and smashing his head against a wall, officials said.

As with Zubaida and even Nashiri, officials said, CIA interrogators continued the harsh treatment even after it appeared that Baluchi was cooperating.

But I’m a little curious about this story.

It comes from a “security source” (which sounds like a contractor), single sourced. And it describes the treatment of two detainees whose torture has been most closely scrutinized, which makes it interesting this is only coming out now.

All that said, one question I hope we’ll answer once the summary of the SSCI torture report gets released later this year is what happened with Nashiri’s waterboarding.

Two things distinguish his treatment from Abu Zubaydah and KSM’s, after all: at least according to public reports, he was only waterboarded twice (by whatever twisted means you want to quantify torture). More interestingly, even Liz BabyDick Cheney doesn’t claim Nashiri gave up useful information after being waterboarded.

There’s a story about Nashiri’s “waterboarding” that’s overdue to be told. I wonder how close to death CIA brought him?

5 replies
  1. Ow! My ass! says:

    The upcoming CAT review puts a lot a lot of pressure on the USG to throw another hillbilly to the lions. Lindy England only held the world off for a while. For a formally-designated crime against humanity, more heads will need to roll.

    This pressure also explains the frantic lame attempts to throw ticking bombs at the wall and see if they stick. Wasn’t it our host who christened the undie bomber? This new one’s even hokier and it cries out for a derisive label.

    So it seems the mad phlebotomist of Lagos or maybe Kathy Bates from Misery has turned to bioterror. Of all the white guys they could have assailed, the hapless terrorist just happened to stick one of a team of unidentifiable air marshalls in mufti. Poor bastard. Of all the rotten luck. But having stuck the close-combat trained air marshall with a little needle, in a remarkable stroke of fate, the assailant got away! He didn’t get the shit beat out of him or anything. He dropped his needle of mass destruction though.

  2. P J Evans says:

    I wthink it’s time to rethink the official policy of not turning people over to the ICC. I’d start with the people who authorized this treatment, and work down.

  3. RUKidding says:

    When’s Sean Hannity going to have his turn with the drownings, er, “pours”?? I never loathed Keith Olbermann as much as others did, and I always enjoyed how Olbermann kept hassling Hannity for not sticking to his stated goal of getting waterboarded to prove how it really wasn’t torture. What a tool.

    Duly noted that Hannity still has a high paid gig on Fake Noise, while Olbermann got fired from MSNoiseBeConservative.

  4. lefty665 says:

    Hey, O has pronounced that “we tortured some folks” so that makes it all ok, and Bill Clinton is palling around with Duhbya.
    CIA destroyed the tapes, they did not publicly execute him. What more do you damned libruls want? It’s not like we’re the same as ISIL except that we destroy the evidence and they forward it to the media, or is it?

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