December 11, 2007

"The next day, he told his interrogator that Allah had visited him in his cell during the night and told him to cooperate."

ABC reports:
In the first public comment by any CIA officer involved in handling high-value al Qaeda targets, John Kiriakou, now retired, said the technique broke [Abu] Zubaydah in less than 35 seconds....

"From that day on, he answered every question," Kiriakou said. "The threat information he provided disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks."

Kiriakou said the feeling in the months after the 9/11 attacks was that interrogators did not have the time to delve into the agency's bag of other interrogation tricks.

"Those tricks of the trade require a great deal of time -- much of the time -- and we didn't have that luxury. We were afraid that there was another major attack coming," he said.

110 comments:

Hoosier Daddy said...

This guy is obviously lying as we all know torture doesn't work.

If Zubdayah thinks Allah came to visit him I wonder if DTL thinks he is 'insane'? Or is insanity and quarantine only reserved for Christians?

MadisonMan said...

The retired spy looks so young! Or am I old?

Freder Frederson said...

So Ann, from your tone the last few posts it seems you think that waterboarding is safe, effective, and legal. Seems like you have had enough time to ponder it. Have you finally come to a conclusion about whether it is legal or not?

Or are you still afraid to state an opinion on anything more consequential than Survivor?

And "screw you" is not an adequate response to my query.

George said...

What the man really needs is a visit from a cowboy.

Slim chance.

Freder Frederson said...

If Zubdayah thinks Allah came to visit him I wonder if DTL thinks he is 'insane'? Or is insanity and quarantine only reserved for Christians?

There were numerous reports that Zubdayah was unstable to begin with and I'm sure our torture of him didn't help his mental state one bit. There is no doubt that he also gave us a lot of bad information that sent us on many wild goose chases.

Roger said...

In a perfect world, waterboarding would not be my first choice--but the world isnt perfect, and sometimes nations have to engage in unsavory and even things that might be illegal. I would, as a matter of policy, not be willing to forego anything that might work. And yes, this is an ends justifying the means formulation and reflects my personal opinion only. "And "screw you" is not an adequate response to my opinion."

christopher said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Freder Frederson said...

So in other words Roger, the president is above the law. If he determines it is necessary, he can break the law with no repurcussions.

Nice to know that you do not believe in the rule of law. It is scary how quickly people are willing to sacrifice democracy and the constitution for security. I won't say screw you, I'll just remind you that this is exactly the attitude that brought the Nazis to power in the 1930's.

Freder Frederson said...

Okay, waterboarding isn't torture, as several of the regulars here have stated, because it does no damage and doesn't kill you.

Either does apply an electrical shock to the scrotum. We should do that too.

Hoosier Daddy said...

There were numerous reports that Zubdayah was unstable to begin with

Well I never considered Islamic terrorists as being sane for starters but then again I set the bar a little higher than some do.

There is no doubt that he also gave us a lot of bad information that sent us on many wild goose chases.

You have any credible source for that or you just tossing it out there as fact?

Roger said...

Freder: I gave you my opinion about waterboarding--neither you nor I have any knowledge about presidential (or congressional) involvement in sanctioning it. You might think our government is going down the nazi path--I don't.

Hoosier Daddy said...

So in other words Roger, the president is above the law. If he determines it is necessary, he can break the law with no repurcussions.

You mean like issuing a presidential directive authorizing the seizure of personal property and imprisonment of American citizens based upon their ethnicity? Cause that is exactly what FDR did.

I'll just remind you that this is exactly the attitude that brought the Nazis to power in the 1930's.

I’ll remind you it has been done repeatedly by numerous presidents in a time of war and our Republic has survived.

Ann Althouse said...

"So Ann, from your tone the last few posts it seems you think that waterboarding is safe, effective, and legal."

You're interpreting "tone"? How about thinking for yourself instead of assuming you know what I think from some invisible aura of your own preoccupations? I will roll out my opinions, if any, in my own good time.

In any case, as I've said, I think there are degrees of waterboarding, there are different situations justifying different techniques, and there are things that are legal that we should nevertheless refrain from doing and things that are illegal that we sometimes accept. (Think: jury nullification and presidential pardons.)

The line between legal and illegal is neither easy to draw nor all-important. And discerning that line is often not accomplished by spending more time thinking. I don't say this because I'm "afraid to state an opinion," but because I think many complex issues are not subject to resolution through reading and cogitating. And I don't trust people who do.

Roger said...

I think Freder interpreted my post as placing the president "above the law." Just for the record I do not think the president (nor any other branch of government including the civil service or military" should be "above the law." That remains, however, a general principle and a good one to be sure. There are, however, situations that arise that may not permit the due process of law to operate in a timely enough fashion to deal with the exigency at hand. And there, I expect--and even demand--that the goverment use its judgment to react to the emergency and face accountability questions later--for to be sure: whatever it does, it will be second guessed. Comes with the territory.

Freder Frederson said...

And discerning that line is often not accomplished by spending more time thinking.

How is it accomplished, by going with your gut? Colbert would call that truthiness.

Doyle said...

Shorter Ann: I'm okay with torture but too much of a coward to admit it, so I pretend I'm just way deep in the complexity of it.

christopher said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Roger said...

Professor Althouse can certainly defend her views, however, seems to me those denigrating her comments about the "legality" of torture techniques really fail to understand why the law is not always capable of dealing with exigencies. Again, that is the major reason why I feel that the rule of law--while a great overarching concept, falls short in the face of real emergencies.

Richard Fagin said...

"[W]aterboarding is safe, effective, and legal" [sarcasm omitted].

Let's stop arguing about whether waterborading is effective. The evidence is prety clear that it is. "Torture doesn't work" is a shibboleth of the morally condescending. Of course it works.


Safety would have to be measured by any permanent injury of death inflicted by the procedure. No one has yet been reported to have been maimed or killed. Death or maiming may not have been reported or recorded. We don't really know if it's safe yet.

"We don't torture prisoners [people, enemy combatants, etc.]" is not an answer to the legality question. Affording Geneva Convention protection to really bad actors who flout the rules of war and hide among women and children, and even use them as targets is hardly what the framers of the Convention had in mind.

I have not yet read that the President continued to use whatever device he wanted notwithstanding an order of the Supreme Court or other authority outlawing the device. I keep hearing that this President thinks he's above the law. Sure, the law as some define it who have no authority over the President. I can't find any evidence, none at all, that he's acted contrary to a holding or ruling of a duly constituted entity of the United States dealing with the specific facts at issue.

Enough already. Lots of people may die so some can stroke their moral vanity. I don't want to be one of the dead ones.

Doyle said...

Professor Althouse can certainly defend her views

What views? She's too much of a chickens--- to even own up to them.

christopher said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tim said...

"Those tricks of the trade require a great deal of time -- much of the time -- and we didn't have that luxury. We were afraid that there was another major attack coming," he said."

It is obvious from the never-ending commentary the Left believes waterboarding (which is very clearly not illegal) worse than 9/11; and that thousands of
Americans should die so that one suspected terrorist never suffer the (non)torture of waterboarding.

Roger said...

With respect to the effectiveness of torture, I have absolutely no idea; however, for those who would like to have chapter and verse on every terrorist operation that was stopped, I submit it is very poor operational security to advertise your successes and techniques to the enemy. Has the US stopped some attacks? probably so, but they would be foolish indeed to advertise those because by doing so, they tip off a whole bunch of other bad guys.

christopher said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
PatCA said...

I think the wimps of the left and of the media should leave national defense to the grownups.

Invisible Man said...

"It is obvious from the never-ending commentary the Left believes waterboarding (which is very clearly not illegal) worse than 9/11; and that thousands of
Americans should die so that one suspected terrorist never suffer the (non)torture of waterboarding."

No, what's obvious is that you watch to much 24. The idea that waterboarding isn't torture goes against almost all of US history where its been routinely considered torture. As well, the torture of the ONE suspected terrorist has left the train station. We have been torturing the many and finding that the key word is still "suspected".

Doyle said...

It's obvious that wingnuts like Tim and Ann believe that 9/11 means that it's OK to torture people. Not just in a "ticking time bomb" scenario, but as a means of extracting (unreliable) information from any Muslim in our custody.

They believe that the systematic use of torture, while abhorrent when other governments have done it throughout history, is okay in this case because we're America, and it's in fact absolutely necessary because we lost 3,000 people in a terrorist attack.

In other words, they want our government to do unspeakable things to whoever they can get their hands on, and think the prohibition against torture is effectively a suicide pact.

They are all utter cowards and should frankly be thrown to the wolves.

Roger said...

Doesnt being thrown to the wolves violate the rule of law and constitution torture in your formulation Doyle? The rule of law should be applied should it not? Or are you a means/end guy as well? I LOVE the logical (in)consistency of the moonbat mind.. Oh wait..you were being hyperbolic?

Freder Frederson said...

It is obvious from the never-ending commentary the Left believes waterboarding (which is very clearly not illegal) worse than 9/11

Cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of anyone in U.S. custody and under color of U.S. law is banned by U.S. law and under international treaties to which we are a party. How, by any definition does waterboarding not fit that definition?

How is it by any stretch of the imagination "clearly not illegal"

paul a'barge said...

MadisonMan: The retired spy looks so young! Or am I old?

To me, he looks like an American hero.

Were it left up to me, the captured terrorists would have begged to be waterboarded.

Doyle said...

I think the wimps of the left and of the media should leave national defense to the grownups.

The vast majority of the country now realizes (as a lot of us did from the beginning) that your "grownups" are in fact liars, incompetents, and generally immoral.

Tim said...

"No, what's obvious is that you watch to much 24. The idea that waterboarding isn't torture goes against almost all of US history where its been routinely considered torture. As well, the torture of the ONE suspected terrorist has left the train station. We have been torturing the many and finding that the key word is still "suspected"."

In order:

1) I've never watched even one minute of "24," outside of commercials broadcast during NFL games.

2) Your statutory citation for "almost all of US history where its been routinely considered torture" please? And by reference to international treaties does not count.

3) Your citation for "We have been torturing the many and finding that the key word is still "suspected," please? The degree of knowledge of planned operations undoubtedly varies amongst terrorists; as they do not wear the uniform of an organized army I'm sure our ability to sort high-value targets from low-value targets is imperfect; regardless, I'm confident we do not have, nor will we ever have, a "waterboarding mill" in which we run untold numbers of "suspected but innocent" terrorists through, 24/7.

My point still stands: It is obvious from the never-ending commentary the Left believes waterboarding (which is very clearly not illegal) worse than 9/11; and that thousands of Americans should die so that one suspected terrorist never suffer the (non)torture of waterboarding.

Doyle said...

Oh wait..you were being hyperbolic?

Yes. There aren't enough wolves to eat all of you, sadly.

garage mahal said...

Let's stop arguing about whether waterborading is effective. The evidence is prety clear that it is. "Torture doesn't work" is a shibboleth of the morally condescending. Of course it works.

Yes, clearly it worked great with Zubdayah -- hundreds of ill-informed agents running to "targets" from bullshit intel gleaned from a low level retarded man they tortured. I know times are pretty lean for the Right, but this can't be called a victory, can it?

Tim said...

How is it by any stretch of the imagination "clearly not illegal"

Congress had the opportunity, and still does, to specify "waterboarding" illegal. It's failure to do so, and the complete absence of any indictments, trials, convictions or sentencing of any U.S. personnel for the "crime" of waterboarding informs me that waterboarding is very clearly NOT illegal.

Doyle said...

Congress had the opportunity, and still does, to specify "waterboarding" illegal. It's failure to do so...

Timmay!

There's something called the "Geneva Conventions" to which the United States is a party. We're not supposed to torture people.

As for whether or not waterboarding qualifies as torture..

A) Are you f--ing kidding me?
B) The Army field manual expressly forbids it. and
C) The fact that it was developed by the Spanish Inquisition should give you a hint as to it's character and to the fact that it was used to extract confessions not to provide actionable intelligence.

Freder Frederson said...

Congress had the opportunity, and still does, to specify "waterboarding" illegal. It's failure to do so, and the complete absence of any indictments, trials, convictions or sentencing of any U.S. personnel for the "crime" of waterboarding informs me that waterboarding is very clearly NOT illegal.

And what brilliant school of legal reasoning does this come from. The war crimes act, the enabling legislation for the International Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, Degrading Treatment or Punishment and other laws makes it illegal. All the definitions of torture do not specify any particular acts.

It doesn't say it's illegal to hook anyone's balls up to a car battery either, does that mean that is "clearly not illegal" in your world too?

Hoosier Daddy said...

There's something called the "Geneva Conventions" to which the United States is a party.

Very good Doyle. We are a party and Islamic terrorists, by definition of that sacred treaty are not. Essentially the GC dictates how treatment is to be accorded prisoners of war, a status which I am sure to your chagrin, is not afforded Islamic terrorists. Just like saboteurs and spies, can be simply shot out of hand which we did on numerous occassions in other conflicts.

the fact that it was used to extract confessions not to provide actionable intelligence.

Well the retired agent from whom the article is referring to begs to differ.

El Presidente said...

They held his head underwater for 35 seconds? Clearly you people don't understand the definition of the word torture. Ask Armando Valladares.

I'm surprised that Freder thinks Zubdayah was unstable. Aside from the muslim fanaticism I see no philosophical difference between Freder and Zub.

Freder Frederson said...

I'm surprised that Freder thinks Zubdayah was unstable. Aside from the muslim fanaticism I see no philosophical difference between Freder and Zub.

Hey Roger, El Presidente is calling me names. Do something about it!

Hoosier Daddy said...

It's obvious that wingnuts like Tim and Ann believe that 9/11 means that it's OK to torture people.

They believe that the systematic use of torture, ..... is okay in this case because we're America, and it's in fact absolutely necessary because we lost 3,000 people in a terrorist attack.

They are all utter cowards and should frankly be thrown to the wolves.


So while Doyle feels that 'torturing' terrorists in order to prevent attacks which may kill hundreds or thousands of Americans is evil, he nevertheless advocates having fellow Americans eaten by animals because of disagreements over policy.

But don't ever let me question your patriotism Doyle.

And I thought christopher was pathetic.

Fen said...

There's something called the "Geneva Conventions" to which the United States is a party. We're not supposed to torture people.

[snicker]

An old relic that should be updated. Even the Maginot Line was overhauled to meet the new challenges of ever-evolving warfighting tactics. Geneva Version 4.0 should hold all signatories accountable to the same rules intended to apply to the United States.

As for whether or not waterboarding qualifies as torture..

Simulated drowning. Water actually enters the lungs. Torture in my book.

Hey Lefties*: Can I waterboard a known terrorist to save your life? Or just shrug and let you die while I bask in the glow of moral righteousness?

[* with the exception of Freder, the only Leftist with enough principle to declare that torture should be illegal in ALL circumstances, without exception, even if its his own family and city at risk]

Crimso said...

"hundreds of ill-informed agents running to "targets" from bullshit intel gleaned from a low level retarded man they tortured."

Source?

Freder Frederson said...

Hey Lefties*: Can I waterboard a known terrorist to save your life? Or just shrug and let you die while I bask in the glow of moral righteousness?

Why do you keep insisting that it is just us lefties that reject waterboarding terrorists when you know full well that the military also prohibits it? In fact I have repeatedly stated I have no problem with adopting the Army Field Manual on Interrogation as the legal standard for interrogation for the United States.

Why is it that all of you think that the military are such a bunch of spineless, incompetent, PC pansy-assed terrorist loving pussies like me and Doyle?

Joe said...

A few points:

First; The most common explanation of waterboarding I have heard only simulates the sensation of drowning, but no water actually enters the lungs and the person is never in actual physical danger.

Second; Congress has always had the right to declare waterboarding illegal. But like many controversies about national security, both present and past, have abdicated their responsibilities. (To my knowledge, such a law has never even been debated, let alone introduced.)

Third; The Geneva Conventions clearly state that it covers only combatants wearing the uniform of, and acting in behalf of, a signatory state. It quite explicitly does not cover the vast majority of the enemy combatants our forces have faced after defeating the official militaries of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Fourth; As with the second point, if we with to have terrorists and non-uniformed combatants covered by the Geneva conventions, then we can and should change those conventions. Congress also retains the full right to unilaterally make such a change a matter of US law. (Again, to my knowledge, such a law has never even been debated, let alone introduced.)

christopher said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Freder Frederson said...

Third; The Geneva Conventions clearly state that it covers only combatants wearing the uniform of, and acting in behalf of, a signatory state. It quite explicitly does not cover the vast majority of the enemy combatants our forces have faced after defeating the official militaries of Afghanistan and Iraq.

This of course is a misreading of the GC and the SC has said the detainees from Afghanistan are covered by Geneva and the President himself declared from day one Iraq was subject to GC.

Fourth; As with the second point, if we with to have terrorists and non-uniformed combatants covered by the Geneva conventions, then we can and should change those conventions

Regardless of Geneva, the detainees are covered by other U.S. laws and ratified treaties (e.g. the anti-torture act and the International Convention Against Torture). And as it has been pointed out above, these laws have not been changed yet. If the President wants to torture people, have him come to congress and ask for permission.

George said...

How many briefings on interrogations did the CIA hold for members of Congress?

30.

When?

2002.

Was Pelosi briefed?

Yes.

Did her briefing include some mention of waterboarding?

Yes.

Did she protest?

No.

How many al-Qaeda terrorists have been waterboarded?

Three.

"Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who planned the airliner attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon; Abu Zebaydah, an Osama bin Laden confidante captured in Pakistan 2002 and described as a director of al-Qaeda operations; and a third unidentified person"

Have Zebaydah or Mohammed been tried and executed yet?

No. That's the outrage.

Roger said...

Freder: Re El Presidente--No harm no foul---he just suggested you were unstable and there is plenty of empirical evidence to support that belief. Had he called you an unstable idiot or moron, I would most assuredly jumped to your defense.

Joe said...

Freder, I read the Geneva Conventions and my reading is very clear. Whatever anyone else claims is for political expediency, not because the conventions to cover these people from a legal perspective.

My other point is also very clear; Congress has abdicated its responsibilities. It could have taken and still can take clear and decisive action to clarify the many ambiguous and contradictory laws.

If Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and other members of congress really believe waterboarding should be illegal, they can submit a simple law in both houses of congress stating just that. To rely instead on the minutia and contradictions of the myriad of existing laws is cowardice.

joe said...

I am probably disqualified from this thread, since not only do I approve of waterboarding Zubayda, but think they should have put a bullet in his fucking head when they were done with him.

Hoosier Daddy said...

This of course is a misreading of the GC

Actually the misreading of the GC is according POW status to terrorists.

Freder, maybe you could point out which one of the following from Article IV applies to Osama and his ilk.

Article 4 defines prisoners of war to include:
4.1.1 Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict and members of militias of such armed forces
4.1.2 Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, provided that they fulfill all of the following conditions:
that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance (there are limited exceptions to this among countries who observe the 1977 Protocol I);
that of carrying arms openly;
that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
4.1.3 Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.
4.1.4 Civilians who have non-combat support roles with the military and who carry a valid identity card issued by the military they support.
4.1.5 Merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.
4.1.6 Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.
4.3 makes explicit that Article 33 takes precedence for the treatment of medical personnel of the enemy and chaplains of the enemy.

Fred said...

The GC clearly does not apply to terrorist insurgents who disregard its provisions. Just as clearly, the US may choose to abide by the GC if we think there is some advantage to be gained thereby, but this in no way obligates us to extend GC protections in similar cases.

The Exalted said...

Crimso said...
"hundreds of ill-informed agents running to "targets" from bullshit intel gleaned from a low level retarded man they tortured."

Source?


i believe it was in the much lauded "Fiasco" by thomas ricks, though i could be wrong. might also have come from "The One Percent Doctrine" by suskind.

The Exalted said...

after minor digging, i confirmed it came from "the one percent doctrine."

SGT Ted said...

You're interpreting "tone"? How about thinking for yourself instead of assuming you know what I think from some invisible aura of your own preoccupations?

Ann wins her own thread!

Roger said...

Jeez--we have one heck of a lot of international lawyers interpreting law on this blog--Ok sports fans--please identify (1) the law review articles you have written (2) the Bar you practice; or (2) the chairs of international law you hold (or if that doesnt work, the law school you flunked out of or the bar you didnt pass also is some marginal cred)

Roger said...

Jeez--we have one heck of a lot of international lawyers interpreting law on this blog--Ok sports fans--please identify (1) the law review articles you have written (2) the Bar you practice; or (2) the chairs of international law you hold (or if that doesnt work, the law school you flunked out of or the bar you didnt pass also is some marginal cred)

jeff said...

Roger, your position is that law is not to be understood by anyone that is not a lawyer? Perhaps it would be easier for you to describe which posts you disagree with in their interpretation and why.

Joe, why must you insist in bringing facts to the table?

Bob said...

Its good to see someone has actually pointed out that to be protected by the Geneva Convention one must meet certain requirements. The Left seems to forget that the GC was intended to provide protections to lawful combatants and the civilian populace. And that those protections worked in tandem. That is why one must be in uniform to be a lawful combatant. So that a soldier could not reasonably shoot a civilian because civilians were unarmed and no belligerent was dressed in civilian attire.
Now AQ expressly dresses as civilians and expressly ambushes US forces in midst of civilians. Until the international conventions deal with battlefield reality rather than history the US should deal with captured AQ the way we use to deal with spies - a fast military tribunal & hanging.

Roger said...

Jeff: I have no idea which posts are valid or not--I do not have a law background, and know enough about the law that even highly qualified lawyers may disagree on what the law is. Now, if the commenters wished to cite some legal opinions on what the law is, I will pay attention to those--and not the commenters as much as the authorities they cite. I think I understand my limitations enough to at least I have some idea about knowing what I dont know.

Roger said...

Jeff: I guess the bottom line question is this: would you rely on a lay persons opinion about the law or, say, medicine, or any other field that requires some considerable amount of education? You impress me as a bit more intelligent than that.

Ann Althouse said...

Christopher, you are a banned commenter since last night. Do not post again. All your posts are deleted unread. No one should respond to christopher.

christopher said...

Ann Althouse said...

Christopher, you are a banned commenter since last night. Do not post again. All your posts are deleted unread. No one should respond to christopher.


Because I compared waterboarding to anal rape?

Wow...you're really losing it, lady.

jeff said...

"Jeff: I guess the bottom line question is this: would you rely on a lay persons opinion about the law or, say, medicine, or any other field that requires some considerable amount of education?"

It depends. Is the solution in English and readily obtainable? The law quoted re Geneva convention is fairly straightforward. Would I have my appendix removed by using a book with pictures? Nope. Would I check out symptoms in a book and decide I had poison ivy and treat myself accordingly? Yes. All a matter of degrees.

George said...

Imagine a hypoethical 2004 Presidential Debate...

Moderator: Mr. President, do you approve of waterboarding?

Bush: Well, mumble, ahem, you know, blah, blah, yes, and we've only used it on three people, one of whom is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who, according to the 9/11 Commission, was the "principal architect of the 9/11 attacks."

Moderator: Sen. Kerry, your response?

Kerry: Shortly after 9/11, I met Joey Smith. He's a 14-year-old boy from Ipswitch, Mass. He's an orphan. His dad worked on the 87th floor of the World Trade Center. And Joey said to me [dramatic pause, wiping of tear from eye], Joey said, "I want who killed my father punished." I want to tell Joey that the first thing I'll do as President, the first thing, will be to tell the military to try Khalid Mohammad. He was captured on March 1, 2003. We've interrogated him. For more than a year! As President, I'll see that he's tried. If found guilty, he will be executed for the deaths of 3,000 Americans. President Bush lets him sit in prison and eat cornflakes. I'll see him hang.

Result: We'd have a different president today.

Crimso said...

"after minor digging, i confirmed it came from "the one percent doctrine.""

Thank you. I'll believe Kiriakou over Suskind (and whoever he cites) based on the simple fact that he was directly involved in Zubaydah's interrogation. He appears to side with the no waterboarding group, but readily admits it works quite well (and maintains that it did in fact save lives).

Roger said...

Jeff: I am reminded of the old saw about the person who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer. Merely because the language appears to be straightforward, eg the Constitution of the US, doesnt mean that its interpretation is straighforward. And I feel compelled to caution you that diagnosing yourself, as well as representing yourself in court, might lead to some bad outcomes in terms of both medical and legal outcomes--YMMV. We are going to have to disagree on this issue.

MadisonMan said...

Can I waterboard a known terrorist to save your life?

I'd rather you didn't. If I'm killed, I won't care. If I'm not killed, well, was the torture worth it? If I'm only horribly maimed and crippled for life, well I'm still not gonna sit around and think Damn! If only fen could've REALLY tortured that guy!. That's just me though.

I guess I'd be curious to know how you know pre-torture that the known terrorist has information that can save my life?

Smilin' Jack said...

...the technique broke [Abu] Zubaydah in less than 35 seconds....

These AQ guys must be real pussies--even I can hold my breath longer than 35 seconds, and I'm not on a mission from God.

Also, it seems to me that the only reason to use waterboarding is to avoid real torture, so at least the guys doing it must not think it is torture. If you really intended to torture someone, you would resort to the traditional tried-and-true methods involving red-hot needles, acid, electricity, etc.

LarsPorsena said...

"I guess I'd be curious to know how you know pre-torture that the known terrorist has information that can save my life?"

I think their job title or rank would be a dead give-away. Just like the "Deck of Cards" early in the war the intel guys have line and block charts
regarding who does what and is privy to what info.

SGT Ted said...

Because I compared waterboarding to anal rape?

Wow...you're really losing it, lady.


Probably has more to do with you being an asshole, generally, rather than one specific instance.

Keep up the good work!

Revenant said...

Roger,

The Geneva Conventions are a treaty. Treaties are interpreted not just by lawyers, but by politicians and government officials -- ordinary people, sometimes educated, sometimes not. You don't need to be an expert in international law to decipher most treaties, and certainly don't need to be one to decipher something as simple as the Geneva Conventions.

Revenant said...

Can I waterboard a known terrorist to save your life?

Feel free to let Doyle die. But as for me, feel free to torture a known terrorist to save my life. Or to save me from injury. Or to prevent me from getting a headache, for that matter.

When you're done, feel free to toss him in the wood chipper.

jeff said...

"I feel compelled to caution you that diagnosing yourself, as well as representing yourself in court, might lead to some bad outcomes in terms of both medical and legal outcomes--YMMV."

Yep. It might. However, I guess I am just one of those people who dont feel I need to run to a degreed person for everything in life. Call me crazy. Not sure where I said I would represent myself in court though.

Fred said...

I thought CIA was a designation that was for life. Is there such a thing as a retired CIA agent?

I'm glad that the excuses are rolling in, given the recent media exposure. I'm also very glad that an agent came out to support poor ole' Dubya. Good thing it wasn't a shady agent like Valerie Plame Wilson.

Before you ask how we know.... WE JUST DO, it supports our position, duh!

Smilin' Jack said...

MadisonMan said...
Can I waterboard a known terrorist to save your life?

I'd rather you didn't. If I'm killed, I won't care. If I'm not killed, well, was the torture worth it? If I'm only horribly maimed and crippled for life, well I'm still not gonna sit around and think Damn! If only fen could've REALLY tortured that guy!. That's just me though.


CIA agent: If we don't get information from this guy, you will be maimed or killed. Do you think we should torture him to get the info?

Me: I happen to have a soldering iron in my car. Can I help?

But that's just me...

Roger said...

Jeff: we do agree about not needing to run to a degreed person for everything in life, and other than medicine and law, I can't think of whose counsel I would pay for.

As to the substantive issue, you asked me a bit earlier about what posts I agreed with re the GC: my interpretation of the GC is that terrorists are not covered by it for quite obvious reasons: they do not fight in uniform, they hide among civilians, and I suspect they also have poor personal hygiene. They have no GC protections whatsoever, and their summary execution, as long as it was ordered by competent military authority, would be appropriate and consistent with the GC. Full disclosure: I am an unfeeling, wingnut barbarian.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Merely because the language appears to be straightforward, eg the Constitution of the US, doesnt mean that its interpretation is straighforward.

Please. The Geneva excerpt is clear as day. In fact, it was SO clear lefty internationalists in the '80s wanted the GCs "updated" to include their precious Che clones and other terrorists. Reagan shot that idea down. So, now the tactic to expand coverage to non-covered persons is condescension: "You uneducated simpletons just don't see the nuances."

The whole POINT of the GCs is to protect those who play by the rules, and NOT to protect those that do not. The incentive to play by the rules (fight openly, no hiding with civilians, etc.) is that, if you don't, you can be legally shot (or worse) upon capture quite summarily.

Some lefties are trying to take that incentive away, and thereby legitimizing the form of combat al-Qaeda uses (maximizing civilian exposure as much as possible, blending in, etc.). It's either immensely naive or willfully acting to assist them in accomplishing their propaganda and other goals. I prefer to believe "naive"; I think they just won't let themselves think of the threat logically.

Methadras said...

And LOS is nowhere to be found. Shocking.

Synova said...

"These AQ guys must be real pussies--even I can hold my breath longer than 35 seconds, and I'm not on a mission from God."

I may be wrong, but apparently of the many many thousands of US military tough guys and special forces super-humans who are water boarded as part of SERE training, every last one folds like a baby in about the same time frame.

That may be an exaggeration, maybe someone who knows better could say. Technically SERE training is classified so maybe those who know better *couldn't* say, but there you go.

"Also, it seems to me that the only reason to use waterboarding is to avoid real torture, so at least the guys doing it must not think it is torture."

Maybe it's just me but "other methods that take longer" sort of makes my skin crawl. But then I've always been a "get it over quick" sort of person.

"The whole POINT of the GCs is to protect those who play by the rules, and NOT to protect those that do not."

It's a promise of reciprocal behavior. You don't starve or torture the farm kid drafted from Nebraska and we won't starve or torture the son of the Beer House owner from Hamburg. We'll do our best not to kill civilians so long as you promise to help us distinguish combatants from civilians by putting them in uniforms. We will agree not to deliberately fire on churches, hospitals or clearly marked medical vehicles if you enforce a rule to never use any of those for military purposes.

So we're fighting someone who deliberately blends in with civilian populations, deliberately uses civilians as shields, brings their own families and children into the war zone, and deliberately targets what would be considered their "own" civilians with car bombs and suicide attacks because it plays well in the international press. Anyone captured by them can expect to be tortured to death and their body desecrated. Mosques are used as fire bases or handy places to assemble IED's.

I think our moral high ground is secure.

Bob said...

Synova - first you are correct that US military personnel give up info eventually but most make it far more than 35 seconds. That's pretty quick, actually very very quick. So assume Zub was extensively prepped prior to his waterboarding. Second, there appears to be large segments of US and global populations which feels our moral supremacy has been surrendered. Sad but true. Of course I could speculate that its always so much neater and cleaner up in the stands than out in the field...

JohnAnnArbor said...

Second, there appears to be large segments of US and global populations which feels our moral supremacy has been surrendered.

They'll say that no matter WHAT we do.

jeff said...

"I may be wrong, but apparently of the many many thousands of US military tough guys and special forces super-humans who are water boarded as part of SERE training, every last one folds like a baby in about the same time frame."

I read the same thing about the special forces going thru that. I dont know at what period the average break at, but assuming what they go thru is physically the same thing as what we are talking about, I can not call it torture.

Synova said...

That anyone would say we aren't holding the moral high ground on this simply means they prefer to give everyone else a pass.

It's their *culture* don't you know. And they're *oppressed* don't you know. And it's not at all the same if their idea of a good plan is disemboweling a British aid worker lady. Maybe it *is* a good plan and they'd have never done it if it weren't for the US *anyhow*.

What sort of person *lets* other people bring such moronic judgments without denouncing them as bogus?

paul a'barge said...

Revenant: Feel free to let Doyle die. But as for me, feel free to torture a known terrorist to save my life. Or to save me from injury. Or to prevent me from getting a headache, for that matter.

When you're done, feel free to toss him in the wood chipper.


+1 for me too.

Feel free to borrow my Senco framing nail gun.

Synova said...

Bob, I don't know about Zub but 35 seconds does seem really quick. I had thought that I'd heard 3 minutes or something for the one guy which I'm guessing wasn't Zub.

It would be interesting to hear from someone who knows about SERE and if there are any legends of people who could beat it. All I've ever heard is that everyone folds and everyone folds *fast*.

PD said...

"The vast majority of the country now realizes (as a lot of us did from the beginning) that your "grownups" are in fact liars, incompetents, and generally immoral.


Sure, Doyle, let's go back with a Democrat to the halcyon days of honest, competent, moral Clinton, when we all felt so honorable and warm and fuzzy when we put our mad WTC bombers in jail for really long sentences. We sure showed them!

The Drill SGT said...

Synova said...
Bob, I don't know about Zub but 35 seconds does seem really quick. I had thought that I'd heard 3 minutes or something for the one guy which I'm guessing wasn't Zub.

It would be interesting to hear from someone who knows about SERE and if there are any legends of people who could beat it. All I've ever heard is that everyone folds and everyone folds *fast*.


I folded fast. it was 20-30 secs. the fairly mild, plastic water boarding. (no water in lungs)

but you need to understand that it's not really a "withstanding pain" thing. its a gagging reflex event. you have no control to withstand it for long.

oh, and the dirty secret of SERE training is that "everybody talks under stressful methods"

our training and I assume AQ's focuses on teaching you to avoid giving "operationally useful information up while its still useful. hence the need to break people quickly.

The Exalted said...

Crimso said...
"after minor digging, i confirmed it came from "the one percent doctrine.""

Thank you. I'll believe Kiriakou over Suskind (and whoever he cites) based on the simple fact that he was directly involved in Zubaydah's interrogation. He appears to side with the no waterboarding group, but readily admits it works quite well (and maintains that it did in fact save lives).

suskind clearly got a lot of his information from tenet, aka, kiriakou's boss.

Revenant said...

there appears to be large segments of US and global populations which feels our moral supremacy has been surrendered

I hear that a lot.

What I've never heard is an example of a person who thinks that, who thought America was morally supreme BEFORE Bush entered office. The people bleating about how America has "sacrificed its moral supremacy" are the same people -- left-wingers, European citizens and government officials, "human rights" organizations, you name it -- who have been accusing America of being the root of all evil since about five minutes after Hitler offed himself.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Fen asked: Can I waterboard a known terrorist to save your life?

madisonman answered:I'd rather you didn't. If I'm killed, I won't care.

Fen, for the record, even if I'm in the same room, city or be-heading queue, with MM, feel free to waterboard. I mean, go crazy. If you don't and I die because you were basking in moral self righteousness, I'll come haunt you and it will take more than a couple of priests and some holy water to get rid of me.

If I'm not killed, well, was the torture worth it?

Not sure if that's a trick question or not. I've had 2 martinis and still can't tell.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Because I compared waterboarding to anal rape?

Captain Oveur: christopher, do you like movies about gladiators?

Captain Oveur : You ever been in a cockpit before?
christopher: No sir, I've never been up in a plane before.
Captain Oveur: You ever seen a grown man naked?

Captain Oveur: christopher, have you ever been to a Turkish prison?

(Airplane, 1980)

Since Trooper is AWOL, I felt it incumbent to step in and fill the void.

Trooper York said...

Not AWOL Hoosier Daddy, just working on my Gentle Ben series on another thread. Plus waterboarding bores me. I didn't like that HBO show about the surfers. They canceled Deadwood for that crap. Jeessh.

Trooper York said...

By the way, when you are really working it with Mrs. Hoosier, do you yell out: "Whose Youre Hoosier Daddy. Say it, you know who it is!" All the best.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The fact that it was developed by the Spanish Inquisition should give you a hint as to it's character and to the fact that it was used to extract confessions not to provide actionable intelligence.

I wasn't expecting a Spanish Inquisition!

Trooper York said...

I once had my cousins future in-laws from Galicia stay as houseguests for a week before his wedding. Then they stayed for another week on top of that. I have to tell you, no expects the Spanish Imposition.

Revenant said...

developed by the Spanish Inquisition should give you a hint as to it's character

"Bad people did X, ergo X is bad to do" is a logical fallacy known as guilt by association.

Hoosier Daddy said...

By the way, when you are really working it with Mrs. Hoosier, do you yell out: "Whose Youre Hoosier Daddy. Say it, you know who it is!" All the best.

Well just between the two of us, there was this once I did do that but when I opened my eyes I saw she was just painting her toenails, so to this day, I just keep quiet and go with the flow.

There comes a day when you think you're all that, some broad puts your in your place and you end up married to her.

And yes I paid my feminist off-set to say 'broad'.

Trooper York said...

Trust Hoosier Daddy I been there. You know what is the most useless thing on a womens body? A drunken Irishman.

Tim said...

"Fen asked: Can I waterboard a known terrorist to save your life?

madisonman answered:I'd rather you didn't. If I'm killed, I won't care.'


As for me, it's less about saving my life as it is stopping those *ssholes from getting over on me. As for saving my wife and/or daughters - yes, by all means - and I'm perfectly fine if waterboarding is just the opening act.

I am officially of the school of thought that you beat the terrorists by terrorizing them. The give us no quarter - so no quarter for them, in spades.

Tim said...

Trooper, I stopped drinking in hopes she wouldn't find this Irishman so useless - it didn't help much...

Trooper York said...

Tim, the only thing I can tell you is that if you aren’t doing so good with the long form of the essay’s you can make up the points on the oral part of the exam. That’s why life is not like the SAT’s.

Tim said...

Trooper, that's excellent advice - to which all I can say is while former girlfriends always appreciated the oral test, my wife has a decided preference for the math exam. The larger problem is the lack of time for test-taking. Daily life exacts it's toll, and methinks it wears more heavily upon her than I. But when the tests do come around, they are very much worth the wait.

To which I think I'll have another Scotch. Cheers.

Trooper York said...

Good luck Tim. Just remember to find time for romance. Sometimes when she's especially harried, just plan a date night, unexpectedly. A night out for a quiet dinner away from the kids. Where you don't talk about them or your everyday problems. Talk about the stuff you did when you were dating. Then a pop quiz under the right conditions is a great way to go. All the best. Remember God invented alcohol so the Irish wouldn't rule the world

Sloanasaurus said...

Waterboarding is not torture.

However, there are situations where torture is morally justified.

If you have good reason to suspect that an individual knows of an impending attack that will take lives, torture is justified to save those lives.

Torture is not justified for any other purpose (such as to obtain a confession).

Tim said...

"Remember God invented alcohol so the Irish wouldn't rule the world."

Indeed. But that cuts both ways - I'm not thinking the world is worth the mystic passion of the Irish, either.

Steven said...

The Clinton Legacy:

[Zubaydah's] view was that 9/11 was supposed to be a wake up call to the United States. It wasn't supposed to be something that so shook the United States that it lead the US to attack al-Qaeda's bases in Afghanistan. In previous attacks (the USS Cole, the US Embassy bombing in East Africa) the US Government responded with missile strikes against alleged al-Qaeda sites and they truly believed that is how we were going to respond to September 11th. They didn't think their would be an all out attack.


http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=3979763

Cedarford said...

The fact that it was developed by the Spanish Inquisition should give you a hint as to it's character

I say the same thing to people who use Roman things like the arch after all their bad behavior, willingly buy the "People's Car" Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche came up with, or think prisons have a place in any decent society after the Gulags.

If "X" is bad, then all things "X" did must be bad.

(See Nixon for more clarification)

Revenent - The people bleating about how America has "sacrificed its moral supremacy" are the same people -- left-wingers, European citizens and government officials, "human rights" organizations, you name it -- who have been accusing America of being the root of all evil since about five minutes after Hitler offed himself.

Pretty much so. Until the Soviets acted up in Europ and nests of Jewish spies were uncovered in America that were communists loyal to Stalin.
The Left then "took a vacation" until about the mid-60s, when the Leftists discovered use of law and lawyers to bypass democracy and used their ownership or staffing control of mass media to manipulate the prole mind, to push "progressive causes". It was all new and trendy and was all supposed to "perfect" Europe, then the States.
It's been going in fits and starts ever since. Even surviving Europe's prosperity and the fall of the Soviets to a new "transnationalist, post-modern, post-communist, post Western Civ" era that, like the Leftists of 1945-50, saw the US as the main problem.

sonicfrog said...

Maybe I missed it; has anyone commented on the fact that we now know, in short order, the identity of at least one person who was involved in the torture of Zubdayah? Because it's so easy to track down ones associates in the information age, knowing the identity of one person puts all persons involved in danger (this line of reasoning was used effectively in the Plame case). Wasn't the reason for destroying the tapes to protect the identities of those who participated in the torture? That worked out well.