A Terrorist’s Children, Leverage For Information

June 9, 2007 at 10:49 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, Cheney, corruption, family values, George W Bush, Gitmo, Middle East, neo-conservatives, Pakistan, Religion, Republicans, secret combinations, Torture, violence, War, War on Terror | 23 Comments

This is the newest low of the Bush administration, and obviously one big reason why they’ve wanted to keep the black sites in Europe as secret as they could. Because one of the things that the Bush administration authorized was the capture and interrogation of children of terrorists (such as Khalik Sheikh Mohammed), to be used as a leverage against the terrorists, because hey, who likes to see their children suffer? This is the level to which our country has fallen, where we now torture children.

Andrew Sullivan quotes the CIA about KSM’s sons:

“His sons are important to him. The promise of their release and their return to Pakistan may be the psychological lever we need to break him.”

Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings has the details.

Today, six human rights groups released a report (pdf) on 39 people who they think the US government might be holding in undisclosed locations, and whose location is presently unknown. (Thus, they are not counting anyone known to be at Guantanamo or Bagram; just people who are missing.) That we have disappeared anyone is shocking, and a violation of treaties we have signed and ratified.

This report has gotten a fair amount of play, but in all the coverage I’ve read, only the Philadelphia Inquirer has mentioned what is, to me, the most awful allegation: that we disappeared young children. The report (pp. 24-26) lists five groups of family members; those who are discussed at greatest length are the sons of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

She then quotes the article from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“In September 2002, Yusuf al-Khalid (then nine years old) and Abed al-Khalid (then seven years old) were reportedly apprehended by Pakistani security forces during an attempted capture of their father, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was successfully apprehended several months later, and the U.S. government has acknowledged that he was in the U.S. Secret Detention Program. He is presently held at Guantánamo Bay.

In an April 16, 2007 statement, Ali Khan (father of Majid Khan, a detainee who the U.S. government has acknowledged was in the U.S. Secret Detention Program and is presently held at Guantánamo Bay) indicated that Yusef and Abed al-Khalid had been held in the same location in which Majid Khan and Majid’s brother Mohammed were detained in March/April 2003. Mohammed was detained by Pakistani officials for approximately one month after his apprehension on March 5, 2003 (see below). Ali Khan’s statement indicates that:

Also according to Mohammed, he and Majid were detained in the same place where two of Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s young children, ages about 6 and 8, were held. The Pakistani guards told my son that the boys were kept in a separate area upstairs, and were denied food and water by other guards. They were also mentally tortured by having ants or other creatures put on their legs to scare them and get them to say where their father was hiding.

After Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s arrest in March 2003, Yusuf and Abed Al Khalid were reportedly transferred out of Pakistan in U.S. custody. The children were allegedly being sent for questioning about their father’s activities and to be used by the United States as leverage to force their father to co-operate with the United States. A press report on March 10, 2003 confirmed that CIA interrogators had detained the children and that one official explained that:

“We are handling them with kid gloves. After all, they are only little children…but we need to know as much about their father’s recent activities as possible. We have child psychologists on hand at all times and they are given the best of care.”

In the transcript of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s Combatant Status Review Tribunal, he indicates knowledge that his children were apprehended and abused:

“They arrested my kids intentionally. They are kids. They been arrested for four months they had been abused.””

Hilzoy states this correctly. This is something two-bit dictators would do. Is this something a supposed “Christian” democratic country does? Apparently. She asks at the end:

And note this: the only people who were included in the report are people whose whereabouts are presently unknown. These kids were captured over four years ago. They would be thirteen and eleven now. Does anyone know where they are? Does anyone care?

Not Americans. We’re too concerned about Paris Hilton’s latest sob story about prison. Andrew Sullivan adds:

One of the eeriest aspects of the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terror has been the inversion of previously held assumptions about the meaning of the West. We fought a war to end torture; we then occupied Saddam’s own torture prison and tortured people there. We fought a war to bring democracy to the Middle East and to show Arabs and Muslims how superior it is as a system; we then spawned chaos, civil war and genocide to brand democracy as a nightmare for an entire generation of Muslims and Arabs. But I recall one moment when I felt most secure about our rationale for the war: we liberated a prison full of children who had been targeted by the monster, Saddam. If ending a regime that jailed children was not right, what was?

Except now we know that the U.S. has itself detained, imprisoned and interrogated children.

He then quotes John Yoo, the mastermind behind the torture regime:

“Cassel: If the president deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?

Yoo: No treaty

Cassel: Also no law by Congress — that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo…

Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that…”

Weren’t we supposed to be fighting AGAINST people like Mr. Yoo? Additionally Michael P.F. Van Der Galien is trying to find out what has happened to those children. To this point, he has not found any information.

What kind of nation makes children disappear?


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  1. When we talk about those who violate human rights, liberals conveniently gloss over Hugo Chavez. His strong arm suppression of human rights in his country is to be forgotten as long as you can make accusations against the Bush administration. Unfortunately for your assertions, the story of the U.S. torturing children is based more in urban myth than fact. Just like so many accusations against the Bush administration that credit an ‘un-named source.’

    As I recently wrote about, the Democratic Party is rife with corruption. Maybe you should be looking within instead of concocting more rumors about the President.

  2. Truthteller,

    I’m not going to comment on Hugo Chavez. That is a red herring.

    As far as the rest, the CIA actually publicly admitted that they had in custody KSM’s children. That is no rumor.

    Finally, what “unnamed source” did I link to?

  3. I love it Daniel. The souces you use to make your case are other blogs. (Very reliable). 😉

    Keep fighting hard for the rights of those who are trying to kill you!

    “As far as the rest, the CIA actually publicly admitted that they had in custody KSM’s children.”

    Ok, lets assume this statement is true. How does this proove they were abused? Is there something wrong with just holding them?

    If blogs are your primary source, then here is a good example of the people we are dealing with, the people you are defending so feverishly…



    I just don’t understand why you would devote so much time to undermind your Country while it trys to protect you from these people…

    It’s mind boggling.

  4. um, hospitaller, it would probably be good for you to read what those other bloggers wrote, seeing as they quote official sources and all. I could link to the official sources if I wanted to, but I chose not to.

    Keep fighting hard for the rights of those who are trying to kill you!

    That right there is the very core of freedom, hospitaller. Thank you for pointing out that you are on the side of fascism and totalitarianism. Freedom is not just freedom for my kind, but freedom for ALL. At least that’s what we used to be fighting for. But we’re turning fascist these days and only really care about ourselves. How sad.

  5. Did you read the links I gave you? These guys are nutty.

    I can see where you are coming from though. But you do have to draw the line somewhere…

  6. oh knight knight knight!

    I feel pitty on you really

    so you are spreading your blindness in other americans right??

    why can’t you just digest others accepting the facts.

    why do you want that all other sane Americans become insane and ignorant like you

    the world know the crimes of Bush administration and know that we have all the right to fight back.

    and the links you gave that proove the extreme of your ignorance.

    because the link you gave for my blog is only telling our devotion with our cause.

    and the other link you gave tells how an arab feel when the bloody zionist terrosists captured their lands illegally and now slaughtering their children infront of their eyes.

    there is nothing wrong in both of them for the sane people

    but alas.

    who am talking to???

    the most ignorant person on the surface of the earth??

    oh excuse me that is not true because i consider that position is reserved for Bush and you come way below that position 😉

  7. hospitaller,

    Who cares if they’re nutty. They’re free to believe whatever the hell they want. That’s the point of America. That’s what we are supposedly fighting for.

  8. Daniel,

    I do agree, to a cirtain extent. You are free to believe whatever you want, right up to the point where that believe starts to endanger others. Where does one draw that line?

  9. The line should always be at action and never at words. Klu Klux Klan members are free to voice their hatred towards blacks. Their beliefs may endanger blacks at some point, but until action is taken, their beliefs are lawful.

  10. Daniel, this is an interesting topic. I did not know who Khalik Sheikh Mohammed was, maybe you already know this, but he was according to your source, “the suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks”. His apprehension gave us immediate hope that we would have more information in trying to find Osama Bin Ladin. His children were taken into custody when a raid was conducted to try and capture KSM. “He fled just hours before the raid but his two young sons, along with another senior al-Qa’eda member, were found cowering behind a wardrobe in the apartment.” Hardly a good dad, who leaves his kids behind. Anyways, the children were taken care of “We are handling them with kid gloves. After all, they are only little children,” said one official, “but we need to know as much about their father’s recent activities as possible. We have child psychologists on hand at all times and they are given the best of care” The U.S kept them, because once they did apprehend KSM, they were used as leverage to try and get KSM to talk. Mind you, this guy was one of the masterminds of the 911 attack. Using his children to try and get him to talk is hardly evil in my mind. The other option was for the U.S to leave the children where they were, cowering behind a wardrobe, while thier father abondoned them. If children of a criminal that helped murder over 2000 people were found abondoned here in the US, I presume they would be taken into custody and questioned about their father. You make this out to be an evil act?

  11. templar,

    as always you paint the kindest light on the Bush administration. I like how you selectively cherry-picked the quotes that put your Dear Leader in the best light.

    Do you even ask yourself where KSM’s children are today? They appear to be missing, i.e. to never have left American custody. Why would Americans hold them, now going on FIVE YEARS?

    and I guess you pretended this little tidbit never existed:

    The Pakistani guards told my son that the boys were kept in a separate area upstairs, and were denied food and water by other guards. They were also mentally tortured by having ants or other creatures put on their legs to scare them and get them to say where their father was hiding.

    Scaring little children? Denying them food and water? Is this really what America stands for?

  12. Daniel, you said, “as always you paint the kindest light on the Bush administration…”

    In that sense, Templar is a good counter-balance to you… You tend to paint Bush in a very dark light. Maybe somewhere in-between lays the truth.

  13. “Scaring little children? Denying them food and water? Is this really what America stands for?”

    No, but I hardly believe America stands for believing what a father says his son said he heard from Pakistani guards who saw other guards commit what you describe. Try getting a more credible source and we can have this discussion again.

  14. Templar,

    I wonder if you even hold your own Dear Leader to the same standard you hold me. After all, most of the “intelligence” he used for his war on Iraq came from a drunken informant named “Curveball,” who didn’t know much at all actually, and who the Germans considered loony.

  15. So let me get this straight, when you do not use credible sources, I should believe you because Bush does not use credible sources???

    I had not heard of what you claim before, but if it is true, and the war was approved by both Democrats and Republicans based on the intelligence from a “drunken” source, then that is a sad thing indeed.

  16. Templar,

    I dare you to challenge the credibility of my sources. Please. Have at it.

    As far as the drunken source, yeah, read the following:

    The CIA claimed that it did not have “direct access” to Curveball, and that the mysterious informant instead communicated to Germany’s intelligence service, which relayed the information to the United States Defense Intelligence Agency. He was described by German intelligence as an individual not living in Iraq and as an “out of control” and mentally unstable alcoholic.

    Although there were wide doubts and questions about the claimed informant’s reliability and background, assertions attributed to Curveball claiming that Iraq was creating biological agents in mobile weapons laboratories to elude inspectors appeared in more than 100 United States government reports between January 2000 and September 2001. His assertions also shaped United States Secretary of State Colin Powell’s February 2003 address to the United Nations detailing Iraq’s weapons programs.

    The LA Times reported that Curveball was actually the brother of one of Ahmed Chalabi’s top aides. This raised additional questions about his reliability, as Chalabi was asked if he knew anything about mobile weapons labs a short time before Curveball emerged.

    In November 2002, UN weapons inspectors investigated Curveball’s claims, and found that details and information given by Curveball could not be verified.

    On June 26 2006, the Washington Post reported that “the CIA acknowledged that Curveball was a con artist who drove a taxi in Iraq and spun his engineering knowledge into a fantastic but plausible tale about secret bioweapons factories on wheels.”

    from Wikipedia:

  17. If you want to read all of the real intel, here you go…


  18. hospitaller,

    I’m mighty disappointed in you. That NIE was already discredited by even those within the CIA because the Bush administration removed key words from that NIE, words that hedged the actual intelligence analysis. So that instead of saying what the CIA actually thought, say, “We ‘believe’ Saddam has reconstituted his programs, but are not sure,” the Bush administration would remove key words so in that NIE it actually comes out like this: “We ‘know’ Saddam has reconstituted his programs.” Note which words were taken out. The words that hedged the actual analysis. Why would the CIA not actually know for sure? The answer is simple. They no longer had operatives in the country who could verify claims coming from drunken crazies named “Curveball.”

  19. So, George Washington University is in on the conspiracy now too!?
    What am I to do, when Universities become illegitimate sources?

  20. hospitaller,

    You must not be learning well at the university you are attending. Did you even read the article you linked to? Or did you simply google a particular search, and because it comes from a university you seem to think it will best make your point? Why don’t you read the document? Let me share with you the most important aspects of the particular document that you linked to from George Washington University.

    The material presented in this electronic briefing book includes both essential pre-war documentation and documents produced or released subsequent to the start of military action in March 2003. Pre-war documentation includes the major unclassified U.S. and British assessments of Iraq’s WMD programs; the IAEA and UNSCOM reports covering the final period prior to their 1998 departure, and between November 27, 2002, and February 2003; the transcript of a key speech by President Bush; a statement of U.S. policy toward combating WMD; the transcript of and slides for Secretary Powell’s presentation to the U.N. on February 5, 2003; and documents from the 1980s and 1990’s concerning various aspects of Iraqi WMD activities.

    Much that is of interest concerning intelligence and Iraqi weapons of mass destruction has appeared in articles, monographs, and studies published by magazines or research groups. A list of key publications is provided immediately after the notes section. Other important materials have been posted temporarily on government web sites. The documentation provided in this briefing book collects many of the most significant of these records in one place, allowing readers to substantially augment their understanding of the issues by directly comparing the different sources and conclusions, and ensuring that these materials will be accessible for the long term.

    And another particularly important section is this:

    The quality of the intelligence analysis has also come under scrutiny. The failure to find weapons stocks or active production lines, undermining claims by the October 2002 NIE and both President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell (Document 16, Document 27), has been one particular cause for criticism. Controversy has also centered around specific judgments – in the United States with regard to assessments of Iraq’s motives for seeking high-strength aluminum tubes, and in the United Kingdom with respect to the government’s claim that Iraq sought to acquire uranium from Africa. Post-war evaluation of captured material, particularly two mobile facilities that the CIA and DIA judged to be biological weapons laboratories, has also been the subject of dispute. (Note 5)

    In addition, members of Congress and Parliament, as well as potential political opponents and outside observers have criticized the use of intelligence by the Bush and Blair administrations. Charges have included outright distortion, selective use of intelligence, and exertion of political pressure to influence the content of intelligence estimates in order to provide support to the decision to go to war with Iraq. (Note 6)

    This particular article that you linked to, hospitaller, is called research. It is a great source for someone wishing to study how things came to be, how the Bush administration misled Americans, for example. They offer the original documents, unaltered. So you link to the original October 2002 NIE which happened to be one of the very examples of the Bush administration misleading America. George Washington University is providing the world the originals for study.

    This is called higher education.

  21. now, since we’re quoting from George Washington University, let’s take a look at this:

    CIA Whites Out Controversial Estimate on Iraq Weapons

    The CIA has decided to keep almost entirely secret the controversial October 2002 CIA intelligence estimate about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction that is the subject of today’s Senate Intelligence Committee report, according to the CIA’s June 1, 2004 response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the National Security Archive.

    The CIA’s response included a copy of the estimate, NIE 2002-16HC, October 2002, Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, consisting almost entirely of whited-out pages. Only 14 of the 93 pages provided actually contained text, and all of the text except for the two title pages and the two pages listing National Intelligence Council members had previously been released in July 2003. At that time, CIA responded to the first round of controversy over the Niger yellowcake story by declassifying the “Key Findings” section of the estimate and a few additional paragraphs.

    The CIA’s censorship of the estimate mirrors its apparent treatment of the Senate’s own report. The Senate Intelligence Committee had previously noted, in a 17 June 2004 press release, that “The Committee is extremely disappointed by the CIA’s excessive redactions to the report.” News accounts quoting Senate sources estimate that this excessive redaction amounted to 50% of the entire text. After a month of back-and-forth, not only did a number of Senators gain an education in the subjectivity of classification, but also the CIA retreated, to a final censorship level (by word-count) of 16%. Perhaps the most egregious example of the CIA’s knee-jerk secrecy occurs on pages 49-50, when only one sentence survives censorship in the Committee’s discussion of the British White Paper – and that sentence reports that the British had actually published the Paper. Large sections of blacked-out discussion following the Committee’s Conclusions – such as the CIA’s misleading of Secretary of State Colin Powell for his February 2003 United Nations speech (pages 253-257) and the CIA’s misleading the public in its October 2002 white paper that left out the caveats, hedged language, and dissents in the underlying intelligence (pages 295-297) – are currently under declassification review by CIA. The Committee itself withheld these sections from the CIA’s review until release of the report so as not to be scooped or spun.

    The estimate has been the subject of multiple public speeches, statements and testimony by CIA and other intelligence community officials – even more of which is published in today’s Senate report. These include public statements by CIA director George Tenet on 11 July 2003 and 11 August 2003, Tenet’s Georgetown speech of 5 February 2004, and NIC vice-chairman Stuart Cohen’s statement of 28 November 2003.

    The Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) today summed up the committee’s 511-page report as follows: “[T]oday we know these assessments were wrong. And, as our inquiry will show, they were also unreasonable and largely unsupported by the available evidence.” National Security Archive director Thomas Blanton commented, “The CIA’s continued secrecy claims on a document that has been widely and publicly discussed by top CIA officials, and now by the Senate, is wrong, unreasonable, and largely unsupported by the available evidence.”

    Note this particular passage:

    the CIA’s misleading the public in its October 2002 white paper that left out the caveats, hedged language, and dissents in the underlying intelligence

    In other words, the Bush administration removed the “caveats, hedged language, and dissents” from the public NIE. Because after all, if the public knew that the CIA was not 100% sure, or even 50% sure of the accusations against Saddam and his WMD programs, would they consider going to war?

  22. Daniel, you said,

    “That NIE was already discredited by even those within the CIA…”

    By saying that, you discredited it as a legitimate source. Then when you actually took the time to read the documents, you found info that supported your biased views and commenced butchering it to make your point…

    If this is not a accurate source, why are you using it to prove me wrong?

    I guess sources are inaccurate, so long as they do not support Daniels views… 😀

  23. dude, you need to read better.

    I don’t discredit the George Washington University link. Your response shows me that you didn’t even read what I wrote. Read it again. More carefully. Slowly.

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