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WP Insists ‘Waterboarding’ Didn’t Work

From the usual ‘anonymous officials’ of the Washington Post:

An interrogation room used by US military officials at the closed Camp X-Ray, at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo, Cuba.

Detainee’s Harsh Treatment Foiled No Plots

Waterboarding, Rough Interrogation of Abu Zubaida Produced False Leads, Officials Say

By Peter Finn and Joby Warrick
Sunday, March 29, 2009; A01

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.

Abu Zubaida was not even an official member of al-Qaeda, according to a portrait of the man that emerges from court documents and interviews with current and former intelligence, law enforcement and military sources. Rather, he was a "fixer" for radical Muslim ideologues, and he ended up working directly with al-Qaeda only after Sept. 11 — and that was because the United States stood ready to invade Afghanistan.

Abu Zubaida’s case presents the Obama administration with one of its most difficult decisions as it reviews the files of the 241 detainees still held in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Abu Zubaida — a nom de guerre for the man born Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein — was never charged in a military commission in Guantanamo Bay, but some U.S. officials are pushing to have him charged now with conspiracy.

The Palestinian, 38 and now in captivity for more than seven years, had alleged links with Ahmed Ressam, an al-Qaeda member dubbed the "Millennium Bomber" for his plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on New Year’s Eve 1999. Jordanian officials tied him to terrorist plots to attack a hotel and Christian holy sites in their country. And he was involved in discussions, after the Taliban government fell in Afghanistan, to strike back at the United States, including with attacks on American soil, according to law enforcement and military sources.

Others in the U.S. government, including CIA officials, fear the consequences of taking a man into court who was waterboarded on largely false assumptions, because of the prospect of interrogation methods being revealed in detail and because of the chance of an acquittal that might set a legal precedent. Instead, they would prefer to send him to Jordan.

Some U.S. officials remain steadfast in their conclusion that Abu Zubaida possessed, and gave up, plenty of useful information about al-Qaeda.

"It’s simply wrong to suggest that Abu Zubaida wasn’t intimately involved with al-Qaeda," said a U.S. counterterrorism official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because much about Abu Zubaida remains classified. "He was one of the terrorist organization’s key facilitators, offered new insights into how the organization operated, provided critical information on senior al-Qaeda figures . . . and identified hundreds of al-Qaeda members. How anyone can minimize that information — some of the best we had at the time on al-Qaeda — is beyond me."

His lawyers want the U.S. government to arrange for Abu Zubaida’s transfer to a country besides Jordan — possibly Saudi Arabia, where he has relatives

Abu Zubaida was born in 1971 in Saudi Arabia to a Palestinian father and a Jordanian mother, according to court papers. In 1991, he moved to Afghanistan and joined mujaheddin fighting Afghan communists, part of the civil war that raged after the 1989 withdrawal of the Soviet Union. He was seriously wounded by shrapnel from a mortar blast in 1992, sustaining head injuries that left him with severe memory problems, which still linger.

In 1994, he became the Pakistan-based coordinator for the Khalden training camp, outside the Afghan city of Khowst. He directed recruits to the camp and raised money for it, according to testimony he gave at a March 2007 hearing in Guantanamo Bay.

The Khalden camp, which provided basic training in small arms, had been in existence since the war against the Soviets. According to the 9/11 Commission’s report, Khalden and another camp called Derunta "were not al Qaeda facilities," but "Abu Zubaydah had an agreement with Bin Laden to conduct reciprocal recruiting efforts whereby promising trainees at the camps could be invited to join al Qaeda."

Abu Zubaida disputes this, saying he admitted to such a connection with bin Laden only as the result of torture

Despite the poor results, Bush White House officials and CIA leaders continued to insist that the harsh measures applied against Abu Zubaida and others produced useful intelligence that disrupted terrorist plots and saved American lives…

Once again we have a string of wild assertions made by the Washington Post via some “anonymous officials” and unrevealed “documents.”

Of course we are supposed to believe these anonymous sources over Mr. Zubaida’s own claims. (The Post helpfully notes that he has memory problems, due to a head wound.)

We are even supposed to believe these claims over the anonymous assertions by other government officials.

But obviously this is just the Post once again beating the drum for show trials about the (entirely legal and ethical) interrogation of terrorists.

It really is too bad that the terrorists Flight 77 hit the Pentagon instead of, say, 15th Street.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, March 29th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

14 Responses to “WP Insists ‘Waterboarding’ Didn’t Work”

  1. proreason says:

    This is just more shameless propaganda.

    WP knows that a lie repeated 1000 times convinces anybody who doesn’t hear the opposite side of an issue.

    If you were to summarize in the least possible words the entire commiecrat strategy, that is it…..”a lie repeated 1000 times will be believed.”

  2. Enthalpy says:

    As I’ve suggested, waterboarding should only be used until the bubbles stop. If we continue to heed the warnings of these wimps in government, the NGOs, and in the press, it will be all over for us. Those who will not accept the fact that there is evil in this world, and that it’s not necessarily us, have far too much influence on our country. The Left have done irreparable damage to many of our institutions, and now the press insist on fighting windmills. Just for the hell of it, why not go after something with some substance for a change? For example, do a report on Howard Zinn’s world view and how it promotes hatred for the United States among our own citizens. Why has NOW remained silent on the subject of Muslim women, or Clinton’s women? Why did the Civil Rights Act require Republican votes for its passage? Where were the Democrats? What is the real truth in crime statistics? How safe are we, really? What is the true impact on our culture due to illegal immigration? Can a nation survive if it hates itself? Is Hillary as dumb as she seems to be? Is President Obama …?

  3. MinnesotaRush says:

    That waterboarding thing seems to work better than cutting heads and/or limbs off. Or maybe dragging their bodies around town maybe on fire even. Where’s the reporting and studies on this, on these, BARBARIC behaviors?

    Never mind .. dumb question. They wouldn’t want to make their team look or sound bad.

  4. Weasel says:

    “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.”

    So we not only have to take the Post’s word for it, but they are using a “former senior government official” as a source. That could be the former head of the CIA or more likely some Code Pinko rube who emptied trash cans in the State Dept for several years making him the “senior” trash can emptier and who read about the water boarding on a lefty blog to “closely follow” them.

    Also what is their definition of “a significant plot” and “foiled”???
    And even if this one scumbag’s info didn’t amount to much, what about the other scumbags that we interrogated???
    What passes for journalism in the MSM is sadly lacking and this is just another example of it.

    Bottom line, you may or may not like or agree with the former administration, but after 9/11, they kept us reasonably safe. So ether they were doing the right things in terms of national security or they were lucky or both.

  5. AmericanIPA says:

    Making excuses for, and pitying America-hating muslim terrorists while insinuating that professional interrogators are barbarians which do no good. This is completely unpatriotic and insulting to people who love this great nation. In other words, it will soon be a screenplay. I’m thinking Sean Penn for the lead.

  6. catie says:

    There is a reason I only get the Post on weekend and it’s because the coupons come in on Saturday so I can ditch the paper when it comes on Sunday. It raises my blood pressure to early in the morning. However, after seeing this post I did go and dig it out of the recycling (it was still in it’s plastic wrapper) and read this article. It was quite sickening to be honest. I remember along time ago a teacher telling me if someone has to be “anonymous”, what they have to tell probably is only half true if that much. It saddens me that this once fine paper has resorted to the old Chinese telephone way of reporting.

  7. Liberals Demise says:

    Well then…..maybe we should go back to tossing bodies out of perfectly good helicopters at 3,000 ft.!! Will the WP think that we will be able to shut the observers up after the 1st one goes out the door?

  8. Helena says:

    Funny how we never see the “documents” in these kind of articles.

    It’s not like the Washington Post has any problems publishing classified material.

  9. jrmcdonald says:

    When the Brits stopped the ‘Second Wave’ of attacks- the planning and workup to an 11 plane attack against the U.S., where did that lead come from?

  10. Howard Roark says:

    Abu Zubaida was not even an official member of al-Qaeda

    Apparently, to the college-educated writers and editors at the WP and most of our Pravda “news” outlets, the members of al-Qaeda all carry around membership cards verifying their “official membership”.

    • Weasel says:

      LOL! Just like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” with his Little Orphan Annie membership and decoder ring!

  11. canary says:

    Abu Zubaida was not even an official member of al-Qaeda, according to a portrait of the man that emerges from court documents and interviews with current and former intelligence, law enforcement and military sources. Rather, he was a “fixer” for radical Muslim ideologues, and he ended up working directly with al-Qaeda only after Sept. 11 — and that was because the United States stood ready to invade Afghanistan.

    In other words he believed that the Muslims should take over the world and slay anyone that doesn’t convert, or anyone that strays from Mohammad.

  12. The Redneck says:

    It really is too bad that the terrorists Flight 77 hit the Pentagon instead of, say, 15th Street.

    Not bloody likely.

    The terrorists don’t have any enemies at the New York Times.


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