Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tainted by torture

I don't know whether Abu Zubaida is guilty of anything or not. Chances are he's probably not a nice man who wished to do the US harm, but we'll never know for sure because any evidence against him was negated by torture. Worse yet, our government wasted millions chasing down false 'leads' he furnished under duress.
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.
Not only that, "within weeks of his capture, U.S. officials had gained evidence that made clear they had misjudged Abu Zubaida." They knew he wasn't a mastermind so they basically tortured him to get to confess to anything. Interestingly he was the one who fingered Jose Padilla, whom I remind you was not convicted of any terrorism charges in the end. Suddenly the "lost CIA tapes" in that trial make more sense. One suspects they were connected to the torture of Zubaida.

I'd note in passing, that the article is based almost solely on unnamed sources and unidentified court documents. In four pages, there are two attributed quotes. One to his lawyer and one to a former CIA agent. And a quote from a Cheney TV interview where he claimed the tortured confessions had led to dismantling "credible" threats. If that were true, don't you think they would have leaked the thwarted plots to the media at the time?

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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