CIA Denies Waterboarding Used To Get False Confession on Iraq

May 15, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

We’re starting to get closer to the truth. The CIA, lying in the past, has to constantly correct itself as new information comes out, now basically confirms that both Zubaydah and KSM were questioned about connections to Iraq.

Senior intelligence officials yesterday acknowledged that two al-Qaeda operatives, Abu Zubaida and Khalid Sheik Mohammed, had been questioned about alleged links between al-Qaeda and Iraq when the two men underwent CIA interrogation in 2002 and 2003. But the officials denied that the questioning on Iraq had included waterboarding.

“The two top priorities driving so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were information on the locations of al-Qaeda leadership and plots against the United States,” one intelligence official said yesterday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the subject publicly. “Questions were asked about Iraq, but the notion that waterboarding was used to extract from either an admission that Iraq and al-Qaeda had a relationship is false, period,” he added.

Recent media accounts have reported allegations that the waterboardings of Mohammed and Abu Zubaida, the nom de guerre of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, were ordered by Bush administration officials seeking to find evidence of ties between al-Qaeda and Iraq, which the officials sought as a justification for military action against Iraq.

The notion of such a link had emerged in a report from Czech intelligence, repeated publicly by then-Vice President Richard B. Cheney, that prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the leader of the plot had met with an Iraqi intelligence officer. CIA officials later decided the Czech report was not supported by evidence.

The Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo Web sites yesterday focused new attention on portions of a 2004 Senate report that said Abu Zubaida and Mohammed had been questioned about Iraq.

The CIA told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2004 that Abu Zubaida said he was “not aware of a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda,” but that he had heard some network members had good contacts with Iraqis. He named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who became leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, as having relationships with Iraqi intelligence. But Abu Zubaida added that he believed it was “extremely unlikely” that Osama bin Laden would ally himself with Iraq.

The Senate committee’s report said the CIA had noted that “questions regarding al-Qaeda’s ties to the Iraqi regime were among the first presented” to Mohammed, and that Mohammed, the planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, said he was “unaware of any collaborative relationship” between al-Qaeda and Hussein’s government.

Mr. Pincus is not doing us a favor here, by not showing the context. KSM was waterboarded in March 2003. That’s the month we invaded Iraq. KSM, according to OLC memos, was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out. Why would the CIA need to waterboard KSM 6 times a day in the month of March? And I bet you one pretty penny that 90% of those 183 times came before March 20, 2003. That would be the day we invaded Iraq. And I bet you another pretty penny that once the war was started, the CIA was ordered to stop waterboarding KSM. I bet you that in April 2003, KSM was not waterboarded at all. Nor in May 2003.

So Jay Bybee gave a legal stamp of approval to waterboarding an Al-Qaeda operative to try and get a false confession on the ties between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.

America’s Political Discourse is Utterly Stupid

May 15, 2009 at 7:20 am | Posted in American politics | 5 Comments

Just watched a few snippets from some of the morning shows on TV about Nancy Pelosi, whether she’s lying or whether the CIA is lying. What is absolutely stunning in the rhetoric of all those commentators is that they actually believe the CIA. It apparently doesn’t compute for them that a spy agency would EVER lie! Particularly to cover its own ass when they know they took actions that are illegal!

I think it is time to abolish the CIA. They’ve messed up so many things for the United States, they are simply not worth the money. Frankly, the United States would probably do better in this world blind than they would serviced by the eyes of the CIA.

It’s Time To Bring An End to The Abuse of the Label “Anti-Semitist”

May 13, 2009 at 10:34 pm | Posted in American politics | 4 Comments

That’s all I have to say about that. You should be able to question the veracity and credibility of an American Jew saying America should kill more Muslims.

Obama Won’t Release Abuse Photos

May 13, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Posted in American politics | 2 Comments

Wrong choice, Mr. Obama. The argument is that releasing these photos will put a big red mark on Americans for Iraqis to kill. Please. It’s too late for that! What it will do, the release of these pictures, is prove that torture was not kept just within the bounds of the CIA, or even the more strict bounds the OLC provided for the CIA. What these photos will prove is that torture was highly prevalent in both Afghanistan and Iraq. (Hell, we probably still torture in Afghanistan).

Release the photos Mr. Obama.

We Badly Fucked Up Iraq

May 11, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Posted in American politics | 4 Comments

Just watched No End in Sight, a documentary about how badly we fucked up Iraq. What the hell happened to us that we allowed ourselves to have such idiots lead us, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and to actually believe a single word that came out of their mouths.

George Bush thinks his legacy will be saved in time. No, it won’t. Even controlling for the idea that removing Saddam was the right thing to do, the fact that Bush oversaw the utterly awful transition period will shame any historian from saying much nice about Bush.

The sad part of the documentary is that Charles Ferguson made it before the revelations that Bush used torture to gain the false leads between Iraq and Al-Qaeda, particularly trying to gain that golden nugget from KSM in March 2003, by waterboarding him 183 times. Bush badly wanted for KSM to reveal the connection that never existed.

Truly awful. I still believe he is the worst president the United States has ever had. And that does account for some truly stinky presidents back in the 1800s.

Time to Get Ruthless in Pakistan?

May 11, 2009 at 2:51 am | Posted in American politics | 9 Comments

That’s the argument of Dov S. Zakheim (sounds like a Jewish neo-conservative—like Charles Krauthammer) and indeed, he’s worked for none but the failed Republican administrations of the past. He’s one of those guys the Defense Department used to use for “message multipliers” to convince the public of their propaganda.

And now he says, hey, the time for lovey doveyness is over!

Now is not the time for squeamishness or political correctness. Do-gooders no doubt will howl at the sight of the collateral damage that would inevitably result if American units enable Pakistani forces to pulverize Taliban strongholds. The Zardari government may howl that America has sidestepped it by going directly to the military.

Let them all howl. A nuclear armed Pakistan, or even worse, a fragmented country whose nuclear weapons are up for grabs, would result in far more cries of anguish by far more people than anything that might result from the elimination of the Taliban threat. Time is running out. The United States must act now.

Yeah, go, fight, kill! … cuz that’s worked out for us so well… Apparently for these neo-conservatives, we haven’t killed enough Muslims yet in the Middle East. It should be noted, Mr. Zakheim, sounds like a very Jewish name. I don’t care what religion he follows, but given how Israel’s views on the Muslim world are, shall we say, compromised, does it make sense for America to listen to someone like Mr. Zakheim on the proper way to defend our nation?

Poor Pakistanis. Lots of them are going to be killed just for being born in the wrong place.

Even Under Obama, The Americans Don’t Get It – Airstrikes Are Countereffective

May 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

It’s really sad to see. We’ll eventually count Afghanistan as another loss. And it will stem from the amount of times we kill civilians in airstrikes.

Why We Don’t Win in Iraq

May 9, 2009 at 7:27 pm | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

Our soldiers shoot 12 year old Iraqi boys.

U.S. and Iraqi forces came under grenade attack Thursday in the western part of Mosul, the northern city seen as a final stronghold of al Qaeda and other insurgents, said Major Derrick Cheng, a U.S. spokesman in northern Iraq.

U.S. forces responded by firing at several people, killing the boy. He was found with 10,000 Iraqi dinars, or around $8.50, in his hand.

“We have every reason to believe that insurgents are paying children to conduct these attacks or assist the attackers in some capacity, but undoubtedly placing the children in harm’s way,” Cheng said.

Iraqi police in Mosul said the boy, who had sold sweets in the street, was shot more than once in the head. His 8-year-old brother ran away when Omar was shot, police said.

Who gives a damn what the insurgents do! DON’T SHOOT CHILDREN! Don’t riddle a 12 year old boy’s head with bullets! It makes the American soldiers look like uncaring monsters, which they really are if they do this.

Here is Why We Have Not Yet Won Afghanistan

May 6, 2009 at 9:31 pm | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

we keep killing civilians!

When the hell is the military gonna realize this?!?!

Bush Torture Supporters Continue to Squirm

May 6, 2009 at 9:23 pm | Posted in American politics | 2 Comments

now it is John Bolton.

Good. Let them squirm. They know they are in deep trouble. They know the actions were illegal and that they will eventually, inexorably be held accountable. Squirm away fellas.

We Don’t Have An Edge

May 5, 2009 at 7:03 am | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

This article in the New York Times is instructive. It is based on six months of interviewing someone close to the leadership of the Taliban in Pakistan. Along with many other articles recently on the troubles Pakistan is facing from Taliban guerrillas, this one tells a lot. America is in a stopped position. The Taliban are making the moves right now. Because we just simply do not have enough troops in Afghanistan (same situation as Iraq), we cannot make the moves required. The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is highly porous because there is no one on the Afghan side to seal it up. It doesn’t matter whether the Pakistani soldiers seal up their side. It’s not their problem to deal with. If we, the Americans, don’t want Taliban fighters moving through the border, we would do all in our power to close the border on the Afghan side!

The current American military continues to think that spending gazillions of dollars on high tech weaponry will somehow compensate for boots on the ground. The drones we use in Pakistan may be effective at hitting their targets, but they fail to convince the people on the ground to reject the Taliban. Note that this particular informant says that Taliban fighters go into Afghan villages for months on end in hiding. Surely they do this because they can trust those Afghani villagers not to turn him over to the Americans. That’s probably because those Afghan villages don’t have an American presence in them.

We have too few troops in Afghanistan. We have too many troops in Iraq. Shift the troops out of Iraq back to Afghanistan and we can solve Afghanistan. Either that, or get the hell out. This half hearted crap just doesn’t work. We don’t have an edge in Afghanistan. We never had one in Iraq.

This CIA Report Must Be Declassified

May 3, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

This well written post about many decisions impacting the decision to torture. One paragraph in particular stands out:

The real trouble began on May 7, 2004, the day the C.I.A. inspector general, John L. Helgerson, completed a devastating report. In thousands of pages, it challenged the legality of some interrogation methods, found that interrogators were exceeding the rules imposed by the Justice Department and questioned the effectiveness of the entire program.

Please declassify this report.

On Pakistan, One Piece Missing

May 2, 2009 at 5:37 am | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

This piece describing the dangers facing Pakistan right now is pretty good. It focuses on solely the lack of power and influence of the current Pakistani administration. They really have very very little power, and the civilian government will most likely collapse.

One big important piece is missing from this analysis of Pakistani politics. This is a very huge piece. There is a reason for Taliban insurgency in Pakistan, that grows almost every day. And it has to do with how many Pakistanis we, the Americans, kill with our Predator drones. I’m surprised military analysts haven’t really drawn the connections yet. The more we attack inside Pakistan, the more we reduce the influence and power of the Pakistani civilian leadership, and the more we increase the power and influence of the Taliban insurgency.

See, nationalists tend to not like very much when a foreign power strikes on its soil. The Taliban, while mostly foreign, is a next door neighbor and shares much in terms of religion and culture. America does not. It’s really not hard to see the connection. But Americans, it seems, are so blinded by the belief that their reliance on military might will win the day, they just can’t see how badly it is destroying Pakistan.

And maybe we’ve gone past the point of no return where Pakistan will fall to Taliban influence. What do we do then? Do we realize how easily we can get into a greater regional conflict? Hell, a World War might start over Pakistan. Lots of countries have a vested interest in Pakistan. Say, India, China, and Russia.

We ought to tread very carefully with how many Pakistanis we kill with our Predator drones.

Torture For Propaganda Purposes

May 1, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Posted in American politics | Leave a comment

well said, Dan Froomkin.

Torture detainees to get false connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein makes the Iraq War credible, and legal.

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