Saturday, March 22, 2008


This article makes out the insanity plea to be a matter of legal maneuvering. It's quite likely, however, that if he wasn't insane before, after his ongoing torture the mind of Abu Zubaydah is indeed mush. This is the only stated instance I know of in which US torture has led to actionable information (that is, other than generic statements from the administration about winning the war on terror through torture).
The president said that Abu Zubaydah's interrogations led agents to two other men now held with him at Guantánamo as senior al Qaeda captives -- reputed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and his alleged deputy, Ramzi bin al Shibh.
That is, torture led to the capture of another terrorist. Is that the time bomb? Does that rise to the level of justifying an institution of torture?

And, by the way, recall this below (as well as an interview with Ron Suskind here: "We Tortured an Insane Man"):
..."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," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?" Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety -- against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target." And so, Suskind writes, "the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."

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