Sunday, March 29, 2009

Oops, our bad. - updated

The Washington Post has a little update on the torture story for us, written by Peter Finn and Joby Warrick:
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.
[Emphasis mine]

Imagine that.

"Detainee's Harsh Treatment Foiled No Plots" is the actual headline of the Washington Post article. The subheader is: "Waterboarding, Rough Interrogation of Abu Zubaida Produced False Leads, Officials Say"

Those motherfuckers watched way too much Jack Bauer on "24."

Digby, who tipped me to the WaPo story, writes:
Dick Cheney is going to hell. But we knew that. And so are Bush and Rice and all the rest who insisted on torturing Abu Zubaida, a brain damaged man who was so desperate that he made up fantastical terrorist plots just to make the torture stop. They not only committed a war crime, they made us all less safe by sending investigators all over the world on wild goose chases.

This story was always pooh-poohed by administration officials, who insisted that the information this man with serious memory problems gave under torture was vital in stopping many terrorist attacks. But they lied.

Forget hell. International courts and conviction for war crimes!

There are lots of other articles related to this today. bmaz concludes one at Emptywheel, in which motive for destroying the torture tapes is discussed, thus:
Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, Tenet and Ashcroft. Means, motive and opportunity. Who could have imagined?

This certainly explains why it was that top White House lawyers including Gonzales, Addington, Bellinger and Miers, with "vigorous sentiment", assisted the CIA in the decision and process to destroy the torture tapes of abu-Zubaydah and others. There are definable offenses in their conduct: obstruction of justice, contempt of court, conspiracy, false statement/perjury, mishandling of classified material, and willful destruction of material evidence in federal investigations.

There exist patently clear crimes; where is the criminal justice system? We should not have to be humiliated by having to rely on other first world countries such as Spain, or international communities such as the Red Cross, to show us functioning justice and the rule of law.

I don't want the Obama Administration to be partisan and spiteful, I want them to do their damn job. Is that too much to ask?
[Emphasis mine]

Bmaz argues that if the tapes showed that torture works, they most certainly would have preserved them. But if the tapes show that it was pointless, then crimes have been committed to no purpose, Rather damning.

--the BB

1 comment:

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

"I don't want the Obama Administration to be partisan and spiteful, I want them to do their damn job. Is that too much to ask?"

No, it isn't.