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Shocker: Gitmo Interrogations Worked

From, of all place, the Washington Post:

How a Detainee Became An Asset

Sept. 11 Plotter Cooperated After Waterboarding

By Peter Finn, Joby Warrick and Julie Tate
Saturday, August 29, 2009

After enduring the CIA’s harshest interrogation methods and spending more than a year in the agency’s secret prisons, Khalid Sheik Mohammed stood before U.S. intelligence officers in a makeshift lecture hall, leading what they called "terrorist tutorials."

In 2005 and 2006, the bearded, pudgy man who calls himself the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks discussed a wide variety of subjects, including Greek philosophy and al-Qaeda dogma. In one instance, he scolded a listener for poor note-taking and his inability to recall details of an earlier lecture.

Speaking in English, Mohammed "seemed to relish the opportunity, sometimes for hours on end, to discuss the inner workings of al-Qaeda and the group’s plans, ideology and operatives," said one of two sources who described the sessions, speaking on the condition of anonymity because much information about detainee confinement remains classified. "He’d even use a chalkboard at times."

These scenes provide previously unpublicized details about the transformation of the man known to U.S. officials as KSM from an avowed and truculent enemy of the United States into what the CIA called its "preeminent source" on al-Qaeda. This reversal occurred after Mohammed was subjected to simulated drowning and prolonged sleep deprivation, among other harsh interrogation techniques.

"KSM, an accomplished resistor, provided only a few intelligence reports prior to the use of the waterboard, and analysis of that information revealed that much of it was outdated, inaccurate or incomplete," according to newly unclassified portions of a 2004 report by the CIA’s then-inspector general released Monday by the Justice Department.

The debate over the effectiveness of subjecting detainees to psychological and physical pressure is in some ways irresolvable, because it is impossible to know whether less coercive methods would have achieved the same result. But for defenders of waterboarding, the evidence is clear: Mohammed cooperated, and to an extraordinary extent, only when his spirit was broken in the month after his capture March 1, 2003, as the inspector general’s report and other documents released this week indicate.

Over a few weeks, he was subjected to an escalating series of coercive methods, culminating in 7 1/2 days of sleep deprivation, while diapered and shackled, and 183 instances of waterboarding. After the month-long torment, he was never waterboarded again…

After his capture, Mohammed first told his captors what he calculated they already knew.

"KSM almost immediately following his capture in March 2003 elaborated on his plan to crash commercial airlines into Heathrow airport," according to a document released by the CIA on Monday that summarizes the intelligence provided by Mohammed. The agency thinks he assumed that Ramzi Binalshibh, a Sept. 11 conspirator captured in September 2002, had already divulged the plan.

One former U.S. official with detailed knowledge of how the interrogations were carried out said Mohammed, like several other detainees, seemed to have decided that it was okay to stop resisting after he had endured a certain amount of pressure.

"Once the harsher techniques were used on [detainees], they could be viewed as having done their duty to Islam or their cause, and their religious principles would ask no more of them," said the former official, who requested anonymity because the events are still classified. "After that point, they became compliant. Obviously, there was also an interest in being able to later say, ‘I was tortured into cooperating.’ "

Mohammed provided the CIA with an autobiographical statement, describing a rebellious childhood, his decision to join the Muslim Brotherhood as a teenager, and his time in the United States as a student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, from where he graduated in 1986 with a degree in mechanical engineering.

"KSM’s limited and negative experience in the United States — which included a brief jail stay because of unpaid bills — almost certainly helped propel him on his path to becoming a terrorist," according to the intelligence summary. "He stated that his contact with Americans, while minimal, confirmed his view that the United States was a debauched and racist country."

Mohammed provided $1,000 to Ramzi Yousef, a nephew, to help him carry out the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. In 1994, he worked in the Philippines with Yousef, now serving a life sentence at the federal "supermax" prison in Colorado, on a failed plot to down 12 U.S. commercial aircraft over the Pacific.

Mohammed told interrogators it was in the Philippines that he first considered using planes as missiles to strike the United States. He took the idea to Osama bin Laden, who "at first demurred but changed his mind in late 1999," according to the summary.

Mohammed described plans to strike targets in Saudi Arabia, East Asia and the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks, including using a network of Pakistanis "to target gas stations, railroad tracks, and the Brooklyn bridge in New York." Cross-referencing material from different detainees, and leveraging information from one to extract more detail from another, the CIA and FBI went on to round up operatives both in the United States and abroad.

"Detainees in mid-2003 helped us build a list of 70 individuals — many of who we had never heard of before — that al-Qaeda deemed suitable for Western operations," according to the CIA summary.

Mohammed told interrogators that after the Sept. 11 attacks, his "overriding priority" was to strike the United States, but that he "realized that a follow-on attack would be difficult because of security measures." Most of the plots, as a result, were "opportunistic and limited," according to the summary.

One former agency official recalled that Mohammed was once asked to write a summary of his knowledge about al-Qaeda’s efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction. The terrorist group had explored buying either an intact nuclear weapon or key components such as enriched uranium, although there is no evidence of significant progress on that front.

"He wrote us an essay" on al-Qaeda’s nuclear ambitions, the official said. "Not all of it was accurate, but it was quite extensive."

Mohammed was an unparalleled source in deciphering al-Qaeda’s strategic doctrine, key operatives and likely targets, the summary said, including describing in "considerable detail the traits and profiles" that al-Qaeda sought in Western operatives and how the terrorist organization might conduct surveillance in the United States…

Once again we are reminded that the interrogations of the terrorists at Guantanamo and elsewhere saved American lives and treasure.

But of  course that is the very reason why the ACLU and their fellow travelers have been so bent out of shape about them.

Eventually a day of reckoning will come. As Tolstoy once observed, “God sees, but waits.”

But let’s hope that we won’t have to lose too much to finally be awakened to the domestic terrorists we have nurtured for so long.

Do notice, however, that the Washington Post still couldn’t resist posting this preposterous nonsense again:

Over a few weeks, he was subjected to an escalating series of coercive methods, culminating in 7 1/2 days of sleep deprivation, while diapered and shackled, and 183 instances of waterboarding.

For some reason all of a sudden the Washington Post seems willing to believe everything else from Mr. Mohammed.

Why not take his word when he told the his lawyers and the Red Cross that he was waterboarded five times?

Why would he lie?

But we guess we can’t expect too much truth from the Washington Post at one time.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, August 30th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “Shocker: Gitmo Interrogations Worked”

  1. MinnesotaRush says:

    WOW!!!

    Dick Cheney is a great American and a classy guy .. polished and experienced.

    Take another glance at the picture on this posting. The dislike and disgust that Mr Cheney has for o-blah-blah is visible. And this American would agree wholeheartedly.

    It’s unpleasant to look in the face of the man who is out to destroy America.

    • Melly says:

      I know – that photo is priceless……luv the look Cheney gave to Barry. He told Wallace this morning on FOX that he wasn’t a fan of Barry’s before the election and he still isn’t a fan of his.

    • proreason says:

      It really is an extraordinary expression on Mr Cheney’s face as he looks at the greatest traitor this country has ever known. You don’t see a lip curl in people of that stature very often.

      I’d love to see a video clip of what followed.

  2. ThreeBus says:

    ick. he touched GWB. makes ME want to shower. (shivers)

  3. catie says:

    If I have seen that photo I forgot about it. Wow, it is classic. I’ll have to catch the repeat of his interview. I was on the phone with the Aged P’s at the time it was on. I just can’t get over this picture.

  4. jrmcdonald says:

    Since people’s lives were saved in violation of the law, should we now kill off folks to make things right? Lets start with some of the Huffpo bloggers! Darwin would approve!

  5. TexasAlien says:

    How about Chris Wallace’s comment on Fox News Sunday 8/30/09?: “It’s purely coincidental that America has not been attacked since 9/11”. This was after Juan Williams lame diatribe on torture performed by the USA. It is torture to have to listen to Juan Williams lately. He is so in the tank for BHO. What would the brother have to do to get a negative comment from Juan?

    • Howard Roark says:

      Funny. A month ago, Juan Williams and Larry Elder were the only two African American media people to go against the grain and actually say that Professor Gates over reacted and officer Crowley didn’t racially profile in his arrest case. I didn’t watch any of Juan’s latest remarks re torture. But given what a rough ride he’s gone through recently, the fact that he had to come back home to the plantation isn’t surprising.

      He’s back with his own kind now, where it’s more comfortable, and everyone thinks the same way because their slavemasters told them what to think…

  6. wirenut says:

    Clearly, the domestic threat, is embedded in this administration. The “sixties” mindset now prevails in high office as well as education. Only took fifty years of patience and constant striving. Socialism never sleeps, and when I do, one eye is always open.

  7. Reality Bytes says:

    Lest we forget, Cheney’s first 2 initials are “RB”. Cool Hat/Cold Stare = Perfect Together


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