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Torture of Zubaida foiled no plots

shira

Diamond Member
Jan 12, 2005
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For those who still insist that torturing captives is justified because - essentially - it is a lesser evil than the evil it prevents, you might want to read this new Wash Post story.

Wash Post

An excerpt:

When CIA officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, they were convinced that they had in their custody an al-Qaeda leader who knew details of operations yet to be unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the White House to get those secrets out of him.

The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads.

In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida's tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, 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.

Moreover, within weeks of his capture, U.S. officials had gained evidence that made clear they had misjudged Abu Zubaida. President George W. Bush had publicly described him as "al-Qaeda's chief of operations," and other top officials called him a "trusted associate" of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and a major figure in the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. None of that was accurate, the new evidence showed.
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Abu Zubaida was not even an official member of al-Qaeda, according to a portrait of the man that emerges from court documents and interviews with current and former intelligence, law enforcement and military sources. Rather, he was a "fixer" for radical Muslim ideologues, and he ended up working directly with al-Qaeda only after Sept. 11 -- and that was because the United States stood ready to invade Afghanistan.
That gets to one of the core issues of torture: even if torture is deemed acceptable only for extraordinary prisoners, and can be performed only at the direction of the President - how do you KNOW that the individual you're about to torture really knows anything or is the person you think he is? The Zubaida case clearly shows that you CANNOT know.

And the story also demonstrates that even when you've got the right buy, torture may be unnecessary. In Zubaida's case, according to the story, most of the useful info obtained from him was obtained BEFORE they tortured him.

Edit: Oops. And, of course, this story also demonstrates that what a individual says while tortured is often BS.

So, what do the torture-apologists have to say now?

 

shira

Diamond Member
Jan 12, 2005
9,567
5
81
Might as well add this quote from the bottom of the story:

Two weeks ago, Bush's vice president, Richard B. Cheney, renewed that assertion in an interview with CNN, saying that "the enhanced interrogation program" stopped "a great many" terrorist attacks on the level of Sept. 11.

"I've seen a report that was written, based upon the intelligence that we collected then, that itemizes the specific attacks that were stopped by virtue of what we learned through those programs," Cheney asserted, adding that the report is "still classified," and, "I can't give you the details of it without violating classification."

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.
We anxiously await even ONE example of how torture has provided information that stopped even ONE "terrorist attack on the level of Sept. 11."
 

RightIsWrong

Diamond Member
Apr 29, 2005
5,649
0
0
Jack Bauer uses it successfully so that is good enough for me! /sarcasm

Who in their right mind wouldn't confess to anything being asked of them to get torture to stop?
 

jackschmittusa

Diamond Member
Apr 16, 2003
5,972
1
0
The Salem Witch Trials are the classic example of the quality of information gained through torture. People admitting to supernatural powers and practices that were totally non-existent.

I'm sure Cheney would have claimed the prevention of many spells and curses though, had he been around then.
 

Atreus21

Lifer
Aug 21, 2007
12,007
571
126
Originally posted by: shira
For those who still insist that torturing captives is justified because - essentially - it is a lesser evil than the evil it prevents, you might want to read this new Wash Post story.

Wash Post

An excerpt:

When CIA officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, they were convinced that they had in their custody an al-Qaeda leader who knew details of operations yet to be unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the White House to get those secrets out of him.

The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads.

In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida's tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, 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.

Moreover, within weeks of his capture, U.S. officials had gained evidence that made clear they had misjudged Abu Zubaida. President George W. Bush had publicly described him as "al-Qaeda's chief of operations," and other top officials called him a "trusted associate" of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and a major figure in the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. None of that was accurate, the new evidence showed.
ad_icon

Abu Zubaida was not even an official member of al-Qaeda, according to a portrait of the man that emerges from court documents and interviews with current and former intelligence, law enforcement and military sources. Rather, he was a "fixer" for radical Muslim ideologues, and he ended up working directly with al-Qaeda only after Sept. 11 -- and that was because the United States stood ready to invade Afghanistan.
That gets to one of the core issues of torture: even if torture is deemed acceptable only for extraordinary prisoners, and can be performed only at the direction of the President - how do you KNOW that the individual you're about to torture really knows anything or is the person you think he is? The Zubaida case clearly shows that you CANNOT know.

And the story also demonstrates that even when you've got the right buy, torture may be unnecessary. In Zubaida's case, according to the story, most of the useful info obtained from him was obtained BEFORE they tortured him.

Edit: Oops. And, of course, this story also demonstrates that what a individual says while tortured is often BS.

So, what do the torture-apologists have to say now?
That torture is wrong, obviously. But I believe that liberals could reasonably label any harsh interrogation technique, such as mental exhaustion, as torturous. You could simply make the act of interrogation of any kind torture, on the premise that anything which causes the suspect discomfort is torture.
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,251
5
0
A writer for the National Review counters that the Post left a LOT of information out of their article.

Here is his full comments
The Left?s assault on the CIA program continues with today?s front-page story about the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah: ?Detainees Harsh Treatment Foiled No Plots.? The story, like so many on this program, is rife with errors and misinformation.

For example, the Post states:

?Abu Zubaida quickly told U.S. interrogators of [Khalid Sheikh] Mohammed and of others he knew to be in al-Qaeda, and he revealed the plans of the low-level operatives who fled Afghanistan with him. Some were intent on returning to target American forces with bombs; others wanted to strike on American soil again, according to military documents and law enforcement sources. Such intelligence was significant but not blockbuster material. Frustrated, the Bush administration ratcheted up the pressure ? for the first time approving the use of increasingly harsh interrogations, including waterboarding.?

This is either uninformed or intentionally misleading.

In fact, what Abu Zubaydah disclosed to the CIA during this period was that the fact that KSM was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks and that his code name was ?Muktar? ? something Zubaydah thought we already knew, but in fact we did not. Intelligence officials had been trying for months to figure out who ?Muktar? was. This information provided by Zubaydah was a critical piece of the puzzle that allowed them to pursue and eventually capture KSM. This fact, in and of itself, discredits the premise of the Post story ? to suggest that the capture of KSM was not information that ?foiled plots? to attack America is absurd on the face of it.

The Post also acknowledges that Zubaydah?s ?interrogations led directly to the arrest of Jose Padilla? but dismisses Padilla as the man behind a fanciful ?dirty bomb? plot and notes that Padilla was never charged in any such plot. In fact, Padilla was a hardened terrorist who had trained in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, and was a protégé of al Qaeda?s third in command, Mohammed Atef. And when he was captured, Padilla was being prepared for a much more sinister and realistic attack on America.

In June of 2001, Padilla met in Afghanistan with Atef, who asked him if he was willing to undertake a mission to blow up apartment buildings in the United States using natural gas. He agreed, and was sent to a training site near the Kandahar airport to prepare for the attack under close supervision of an al Qaeda explosives expert, who taught him about switches, circuits, and timers needed to carry it out. He was training in Afghanistan when Coalition forces launched Operation Enduring Freedom. Atef was killed by a Coalition airstrike, and Padilla joined the other al Qaeda operatives fleeing Afghanistan.

It was at this time that he met Abu Zubaydah, who helped arranged his passage across the Afghan-Pakistan border. At the time, Padilla told Zubaydah of his idea of a ?dirty bomb? plot. Zubaydah was skeptical but sent him to see KSM, and told KSM he was free to use Padilla for his planned follow on operations in the US. Instead of the dirty bomb plot, KSM directed Padilla and an accomplice to undertake the apartment buildings operation for which he had initially trained. KSM?s right-hand man, Ammar al Baluchi, gave Padilla $10,000 in cash, travel documents, a cell phone, and an email address to be used to notify al Baluchi once Padilla arrived in America. The night before his departure, KSM, al Baluchi, and KSM?s nephew and 9/11 plotter Ramzi bin al Shibh hosted a farewell dinner for him and his accomplice. Think about that for a moment: Padilla was feted at a dinner the night of his departure for America by the mastermind of 9/11, and two of his key accomplices.

Padilla left Pakistan on April 5, 2002 bound for the US by way of Zurich. En route, he spent a month in Egypt, and then arrived in Chicago?s O?Hare airport on May 8 where he was apprehended ? because, even the Post acknowledges, of the information provided by Abu Zubaydah. At the time of his apprehension, he was carrying the $10,000 given him by his al Qaeda handlers, the cell phone, and the email address for al Baluchi. (For a detailed account of Jose Padilla?s activities, see this speech by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey.

So again, the premise of the Post story, is wrong.

Since his capture, Abu Zubaydah had provided the CIA with the critical link that had identified KSM as ?Muktar? and the mastermind of 9/11, as well as information that led to the capture of Padilla and the disruption of a planned attack on the American homeland. The CIA knew he had more information that could save American lives, but now he had stopped talking. So the CIA used enhanced interrogation techniques to get him talking again -- and these techniques worked.

Zubaydah soon he began to provide information on key al Qaeda operatives, including information that helped us find and capture more of those responsible for the attacks on September the 11th, including Ramzi bin al Shibh. At the time of his capture, bin al Shibh had been working in Karachi on follow-on operations against the West ? including a plot to hijack passenger planes in Europe and fly them into Heathrow airport. Bin al Shibh had identified four operatives for the operation, when he was taken into custody.

Together Zubaydah and bin al Shibh provided information that helped in the planning and execution of the operation that captured KSM. KSM then provided information that led to the capture of a Southeast Asian terrorist named Zubair?an operative with the terrorist network Jemmah Islamiyah, or JI. Zubair then provided information that led to the capture of a JI terrorist leader named Hambali?KSM's partner in developing a plot to hijack passenger planes and fly them into the tallest building on the West Coast: the Library Tower in Los Angeles. Told of Hambali's capture, KSM identified Hambali's brother "Gun Gun" as his successor and provided information that led to his capture. Hambali's brother then gave us information that led us to a cell of JI operatives that were going to carry out the West Coast plot.

KSM also provided vital information that led to the disruption of an al Qaeda cell that was developing anthrax for attacks inside the United States. He gave us information that helped us capture Ammar al Baluchi. At the time of his capture, al Baluchi was working with bin al Shibh on the Heathrow plot, as well as a plot to carry out an attack against the US consulate in Karachi. According to his CIA biography, al Baluchi ?was within days of completing preparations for the Karachi plot when he was captured.?

In addition, KSM and other senior terrorists helped identify individuals that al Qaeda deemed suitable for Western operations, many of whom we had never heard about before. These included terrorists who were sent to case targets inside the United States, including financial buildings in major cities on the East Coast. They painted a picture of al Qaeda's structure and financing, and communications and logistics. They identified al Qaeda's travel routes and safe havens, and explained how al Qaeda's senior leadership communicates with its operatives in places like Iraq. They provided information that allowed the CIA to make sense of documents and computer records that we have seized in terrorist raids. They identified voices in recordings of intercepted calls, and helped us understand the meaning of potentially critical terrorist communications. It is the official assessment of our intelligence community that ?Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al Qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland.?

And the whole chain I have just described began with the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah.

The Left is desperate to discredit the efficacy of this program, and they have launched a desperate campaign to destroy it. Last week it was the leak of an ICRC document describing some of the techiques allegedly used in the program ? one of the most damaging leaks of classified information since the war on terror began because it allows al Qaeda to train against the techniques. And now we have this highly uninformed front-page story in the Washington Post. All of this is incredibly damaging to the security of the United States. And if America is attacked again, those responsible for the disclosure of this information will bear much of the blame.
 

theflyingpig

Banned
Mar 9, 2008
5,616
18
0
Like any tool, torture is effective on those certain individuals who are more susceptible to it. A good interrogator can identify these types and torture them accordingly. The information gained through torture is then confirmed or denied through other sources. Everyone knows this.
 

oogabooga

Diamond Member
Jan 14, 2003
7,806
3
81
Originally posted by: RightIsWrong
Jack Bauer uses it successfully so that is good enough for me! /sarcasm

Who in their right mind wouldn't confess to anything being asked of them to get torture to stop?
Indeed, I would think most individuals would even start to make stuff up they thought was good just to get it to stop.

Prof John : I may have read the article wrong : But is the writer for the national review stating specifically that the information about "Muktar" was obtained only after torture?
 

Bowfinger

Lifer
Nov 17, 2002
15,776
392
126
Originally posted by: oogabooga
[ ... ]
Prof John : I may have read the article wrong : But is the writer for the national review stating specifically that the information about "Muktar" was obtained only after torture?
On the contrary, if you read it closely, you will find this story essentially corroborates the Washington Post article, stating this information and the information about Padilla was provided before the torture began. From a little over half-way through the piece:
Since his capture, Abu Zubaydah had provided the CIA with the critical link that had identified KSM as ?Muktar? and the mastermind of 9/11, as well as information that led to the capture of Padilla and the disruption of a planned attack on the American homeland. The CIA knew he had more information that could save American lives, but now he had stopped talking. So the CIA used enhanced interrogation techniques to get him talking again -- and these techniques worked.
By the way, what ProJo neglects to mention -- he regularly fails to link sources when their credibility is questionable -- is that this story isn't part of the National Review's formal, presumably somewhat vetted content, but rather from their blog section. The writer is Marc Thiessen, Bush's former speechwriter. It's also noteworthy that Thiessen cites no proof to back his stories. We must simply take his word for it ... or not. A quick glance at some of Thiessen's other work suggests he is hardly impartial or objective.

 

GarfieldtheCat

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2005
3,708
1
0
Originally posted by: theflyingpig
Like any tool, torture is effective on those certain individuals who are more susceptible to it. A good interrogator can identify these types and torture them accordingly. The information gained through torture is then confirmed or denied through other sources. Everyone knows this.
Really? So you are an expert huh?
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,478
4,154
126
Originally posted by: Atreus21
Originally posted by: Moonbeam
Torture is advocated, supported, and defended only by inhuman scum.
What do you define as torture?
I think we can get some answers if you will volunteer for some tests.
 

shira

Diamond Member
Jan 12, 2005
9,567
5
81
Originally posted by: Atreus21
Originally posted by: Moonbeam
Torture is advocated, supported, and defended only by inhuman scum.
What do you define as torture?
Waterboarding is clearly torture. And lots of the other things we did to these detainees constitute torture by any reasonable definition of the term.

I refuse to use the term "enhanced interrogation techniques" because that's just a BS euphemism for torture.

The U.S. tortured Zubaida and lots of others. Stop trying to deny it.

I hate to bring this up, but Atreus, you exhibit an amazing arrogance. You're cocksure of yourself and your opinions. I remember a few months ago how you were crowing about how you were going to be happy the "rest of your life" with that "hot asian chick." Now it's a few months later and you're fed up with that relationship.

Maybe you should examine your "certainty" and learn to back off and see reality.

Edit: By the way, I'm sincerely sorry it didn't work out for you.
 

Fingolfin269

Lifer
Feb 28, 2003
17,948
31
91
Originally posted by: shira
Originally posted by: Atreus21
Originally posted by: Moonbeam
Torture is advocated, supported, and defended only by inhuman scum.
What do you define as torture?
Waterboarding is clearly torture. And lots of the other things we did to these detainees constitute torture by any reasonable definition of the term.

I refuse to use the term "enhanced interrogation techniques" because that's just a BS euphemism for torture.

The U.S. tortured Zubaida and lots of others. Stop trying to deny it.

I hate to bring this up, but Atreus, you exhibit an amazing arrogance. You're cocksure of yourself and your opinions. I remember a few months ago how you were crowing about how you were going to be happy the "rest of your life" with that "hot asian chick." Now it's a few months later and you're fed up with that relationship.

Maybe you should examine your "certainty" and learn to back off and see reality.

Edit: By the way, I'm sincerely sorry it didn't work out for you.
However, there is a point to the question here that is constantly danced around. No one who is against torture will answer it because it is just an IDEA. Where is the line that defines the difference between what is okay and what is considered torture?
 

ohnoes

Senior member
Oct 11, 2007
269
0
0
Thats a good point. I've always wondered if we somehow had a Virtual Reality device, and hooked up someone to it so that they feel like they're being physically tortured (e.g. pulling fingernails, chopping hands off, etc.), but there was actually 0 physical harm, would most people consider that to be torture?

I'd guess that ppl who think waterboarding is torture would say yes, those who don't would say no.
 

GarfieldtheCat

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2005
3,708
1
0
Originally posted by: ohnoes
Thats a good point. I've always wondered if we somehow had a Virtual Reality device, and hooked up someone to it so that they feel like they're being physically tortured (e.g. pulling fingernails, chopping hands off, etc.), but there was actually 0 physical harm, would most people consider that to be torture?

I'd guess that ppl who think waterboarding is torture would say yes, those who don't would say no.
Are you a person or human?
 

theflyingpig

Banned
Mar 9, 2008
5,616
18
0
Originally posted by: GarfieldtheCat
Originally posted by: theflyingpig
Like any tool, torture is effective on those certain individuals who are more susceptible to it. A good interrogator can identify these types and torture them accordingly. The information gained through torture is then confirmed or denied through other sources. Everyone knows this.
Really? So you are an expert huh?
Pretty much.
 

GarfieldtheCat

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2005
3,708
1
0
Originally posted by: theflyingpig
Originally posted by: GarfieldtheCat
Originally posted by: theflyingpig
Like any tool, torture is effective on those certain individuals who are more susceptible to it. A good interrogator can identify these types and torture them accordingly. The information gained through torture is then confirmed or denied through other sources. Everyone knows this.
Really? So you are an expert huh?
Pretty much.
Did you learn it from watching 24? ;)
 

rudder

Lifer
Nov 9, 2000
19,434
84
91
Originally posted by: shira
Originally posted by: Atreus21
Originally posted by: Moonbeam
Torture is advocated, supported, and defended only by inhuman scum.
What do you define as torture?
Waterboarding is clearly torture. And lots of the other things we did to these detainees constitute torture by any reasonable definition of the term.

I refuse to use the term "enhanced interrogation techniques" because that's just a BS euphemism for torture.

The U.S. tortured Zubaida and lots of others. Stop trying to deny it.

I hate to bring this up, but Atreus, you exhibit an amazing arrogance. You're cocksure of yourself and your opinions.
I think it is a valid question. Take jamming bamboo shoots up underneath your fingernails. Certainly that is much less painful then having celine dione blared into your brightly lit cell for 24 hours straight.
 

GarfieldtheCat

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2005
3,708
1
0
Originally posted by: rudder
Originally posted by: shira
Originally posted by: Atreus21
Originally posted by: Moonbeam
Torture is advocated, supported, and defended only by inhuman scum.
What do you define as torture?
Waterboarding is clearly torture. And lots of the other things we did to these detainees constitute torture by any reasonable definition of the term.

I refuse to use the term "enhanced interrogation techniques" because that's just a BS euphemism for torture.

The U.S. tortured Zubaida and lots of others. Stop trying to deny it.

I hate to bring this up, but Atreus, you exhibit an amazing arrogance. You're cocksure of yourself and your opinions.
I think it is a valid question. Take jamming bamboo shoots up underneath your fingernails. Certainly that is much less painful then having celine dione blared into your brightly lit cell for 24 hours straight.
Rape is less painful then murder, should we allow rape?

You do realize that forced sleep deprivation can kill you, right?

 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,478
4,154
126
Originally posted by: rudder
Originally posted by: shira
Originally posted by: Atreus21
Originally posted by: Moonbeam
Torture is advocated, supported, and defended only by inhuman scum.
What do you define as torture?
Waterboarding is clearly torture. And lots of the other things we did to these detainees constitute torture by any reasonable definition of the term.

I refuse to use the term "enhanced interrogation techniques" because that's just a BS euphemism for torture.

The U.S. tortured Zubaida and lots of others. Stop trying to deny it.

I hate to bring this up, but Atreus, you exhibit an amazing arrogance. You're cocksure of yourself and your opinions.
I think it is a valid question. Take jamming bamboo shoots up underneath your fingernails. Certainly that is much less painful then having celine dione blared into your brightly lit cell for 24 hours straight.
I answered the question. If you don't know what torture is we can find out together. I'll make a list of techniques, tie you up and we will begin. All you have to do is scream and we'll mark that one a yes. I believe it is the tortured who know what torture is. The fat pompous assholes that theorize in these threads don't know shit.
 

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