Update on Torture → Washingtons Blog
Update on Torture - Washingtons Blog

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Update on Torture

A second former high-level Bush administration official has confirmed that the neocons implemented a policy of torture. The chief lawyer for Guantanamo litigation - Vijay Padmanabhan - said that torture was widespread.

This confirms what Colin Powell's chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, has said.

In addition, the Spanish judge who investigated and charged Pinochet for war crimes has his eye on - and may prosecute - Bush Officials for torture (for background information, see this).

And as I - and many others - have written repeatedly, torture doesn't work. In other words, torture isn't the way to get any real information.

Now, even the Washington Post seems to be acknowledging this fact:

Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated [and were proven false], while most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida -- chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates -- was obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said....

"We spent millions of dollars chasing false alarms," one former intelligence official said.

Despite the poor results, Bush White House officials and CIA leaders continued to insist that the harsh measures applied against Abu Zubaida and others produced useful intelligence that disrupted terrorist plots and saved American lives....

Since 2006, Senate intelligence committee members have pressed the CIA, in classified briefings, to provide examples of specific leads that were obtained from Abu Zubaida through the use of waterboarding and other methods, according to officials familiar with the requests.

The agency provided none, the officials said.


  1. Don't forget all the prosecutors (Australian, American,ect) who walked off the job saying no way was what they were being asked to do legal.

  2. Fortunately, the US has an extradition treaty with Spain and should arrest warrants be issued, the government would be bound by law to apprehend the accused and transport them to Spain for trial. Hell, I would even make an exception and do another extraordinary rendition flight. Can you imagine a pompous a-hole like David Addington being stripped, cavity searched, drugged and hooded and flown away in the middle of the night?

  3. Let me get this straight, you want me to believe that the people who do the interogation, do it out of some sort of sick pleasure. Their job is to extract information, but they would prefer to use ineffective techniques rather than more productive techniques. No, I don't buy it.

  4. GW

    one of your weekly posts made my 4 BEST list (again).

    Please keep up the great work and if you have a blog roll and are willing to add my blog it would be greatly appreciated


  5. Reading the WaPo article, one might conclude that José Padilla may actually be innocent, seeing as he was only implicated by Abu Zubaida under torture, and

    "not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida's tortured confessions"


    "Abu Zubaida's revelations triggered a series of alerts and sent hundreds of CIA and FBI investigators scurrying in pursuit of phantoms. The interrogations led directly to the arrest of Jose Padilla, the man Abu Zubaida identified as heading an effort to explode a radiological "dirty bomb" in an American city."

    But if, as noted in the article "Abu Zubaida was not even an official member of al-Qaeda" and had "strained and limited relations with bin Laden" and "knew little detailed information about the group's operations." ... then how believable are those who insist that "[b]ased on what he shared during his interrogations, he was certainly aware of many of al-Qaeda's activities and operatives."?

    Being aware of the travel and housing logistics, in his capacity as a sort of travel agent is not the same thing as knowing about a plot involving José Padilla and a dirty bomb:

    ""He was the above-ground support," said one former Justice Department official closely involved in the early investigation of Abu Zubaida. "He was the guy keeping the safe house, and that's not someone who gets to know the details of the plans. To make him the mastermind of anything is ridiculous.""

    The dirty bomb plot now seems more likely to have been a fabrication, which Zubaida was tortured into 'acknowledging', in order to create a phony scenario to induce fear in the US populace, and create pretext and justification for the expanded terror war.

    Reading about Padilla's background, it's hard to believe Zubaida would even have had any inkling of Padilla’s activities or role. I'd wager that Padilla was selected to be a patsy, merely based on government knowledge of his travels.

    From Wikipedia:

    "None of the original allegations put forward by the U.S. government three years prior, the claims that held Padilla in the majority in solitary confinement throughout that period, were part of the indictment: "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced Padilla is being removed from military custody and charged with a series of crimes" and "There is no mention in the indictment of Padilla's alleged plot to use a dirty bomb in the United States. There is also no mention that Padilla ever planned to stage any attacks inside the country. And there is no direct mention of Al-Qaeda. Instead the indictment lays out a case involving five men who helped raise money and recruit volunteers in the 1990s to go overseas to countries including Chechnya, Bosnia, Somalia and Kosovo. Padilla, in fact, appears to play a minor role in the conspiracy. He is accused of going to a jihad training camp in Afghanistan but his lawyers said the indictment offers no evidence he ever engaged in terrorist activity.""

    Well, if there was no mention of the dirty bomb plot in Padilla's indictment, did Abu Zubaida actually reveal that José Padilla "[w]as heading an effort to explode a radiological "dirty bomb" in an American city."?

  6. Open your mind and analyze.

    The story itself is self-contradictory. On the one hand, the story claims that not a single attack was stopped, but the story also relates how the capture of Jose Padilla, the determined dirty bomber, was in fact prevented. The story, which is based entirely on unnamed sources, also quotes equally unnamed sources saying that the interrogation was a success and did result in critical information.

    When weighing unnamed sources with contradictory accounts, the Post chose to focus the article by crediting the critics. The story equally could have been titled “Detainee’s Harsh Treatment Foiled Plots,” and the unnamed critics of the interrogation could have been presented as the contrary viewpoint. Or how about this title, “We Are Unsure If Detainee’s Harsh Treatment Foiled Plots.” Or how about, “We Don’t Have A Clue, But We Still Hate Bush.”

  7. For TomT's benefit, here's the final paragraph of the WaPo article:

    "Since 2006, Senate intelligence committee members have pressed the CIA, in classified briefings, to provide examples of specific leads that were obtained from Abu Zubaida through the use of waterboarding and other methods, according to officials familiar with the requests. The agency provided none, the officials said."

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