Senator Ted Kennedy: "So let me ask you this. Would waterboarding be torture if it was done to you?"
Attorney General Michael Mukasey: "I would feel that it was."
January 31, 2008
Yesterday, CIA Director Michael Hayden admitted that the agency used waterboarding on three people: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al Rahim al Nashiri. Right off the bat, let's all realize that if Hayden said they did it three times, they probably did it fifteen times. It's like you caught your teenage son taking out the car without asking you. He knows he did it about twenty times, but saying that would mean way too much trouble. So he throws you a bone, hoping you'll be placated. "Um...yeah, I did. But only like three times! And two of those were to go to band practice!"
Let's not kid ourselves about another thing. Mohammad, Zubaydah and al Nashiri are terrorists. They are horrible people. In fact, they would probably waterboard somebody and not bat an eye! If they thought one of their operatives was a spy, they would certainly torture him until he confessed. Until he told them what they wanted to hear. At that point, they would kill him.
So...we know it happened to at least these three people. Hayden claims that if the Congress bars the CIA from continuing to use this illegal and brutal technique that was developed during the Spanish Inquisition, America will be in danger. There is information out there that we don't know! There is also information out there that we think we know that we would like to have confirmed! Let's look at exactly what valuable insider information these three terrorists coughed out of their watery lungs.
In writing The One Percent Doctrine, Ron Suskind talked with sources about the Zubaydah case. In his words, every single lead Zubaydah gave his interrogators turned out to be a dead end. Zubaydah was blurting out any name he could think of, naming every suspect target he could think of, and none panned out with arrests. Dan Coleman, an FBI agent who worked on the Zubaydah case, said himself that, "I don't have confidence in anything he says, because once you go down that road, everything you say is tainted...He was talking before they did that to him, but they didn't believe him. The problem is they didn't realize he didn't know all that much."
al Nashiri admitted that he was involved in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. Later, in his military hearing, he said he only confessed to make his torture stop. He also confessed to planning to lease a plane and crash it into a ship. This made his interrogators very happy, though al Nashiri later said they didn't know he was lying about that. If you can figure out the usefulness of this confession, congratulations. As near as I can tell, something never happened and al Nashiri was maybe going to do it or maybe he wasn't.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammad. He must've really hated being waterboarded, because he confessed to nearly every crime mentioned in a newspaper since 1992. The man who likely was the actual mastermind and linchpin of the 9/11 attacks also admitted to beheading Daniel Pearl, planned to assassinate several U.S. Presidents, planned to destroy the Sears Tower, Panama Canal and Big Ben, was behind Richard Reid's attempted shoebombing, was behind the Bali nightclub bombings, was behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and was partially responsible for an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in the Philippines. He also drank the last of the milk and put the carton back in the fridge. In all, he admitted to 30 operations. Thankfully, somebody was able to clearly transcribe them all in between Mohammad's glugging and gasping.
In a CNN.com article from March 15, 2007, Mohammad is reported to have claimed that he was tortured when testifying in his military tribunal. Asked about that charge, a U.S. intelligence official responded, "the CIA neither engages in or condones torture," and added that "within the terrorism training manuals, jihadists are told to claim torture if caught."
Let's step back for a second. Let's take a deep breath. Let's all calm down. Because we're about to realize that...A TERRORIST MASTERMIND IS MORE CREDIBLE THAN A U.S. INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL!
Great. That's just fucking great.
Except...well, hold on. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, Mohammad is known to have a tendency to exaggerate the truth. Assumedly, this tendency expands when he is being drowned.
Okay, so here's where we stand. The CIA denied torturing people until yesterday when they admitted it. They said three, which means it was certainly more than that. Since, remember, they like to lie. And nearly every piece of intelligence extracted from these torture sessions turned out to be worthless lies. Because, as most military minds have known for centuries, people being tortured will tell you exactly what you want to hear in order to make the pain stop.
This is a fine, fine situation the Bush administration has created. It's going to be a real shame when the next President cracks down on torture and all of our false information about al-Qaeda dries up. What will we do then?!