Sunday, October 29, 2006

"We [the CIA] threatened grievous injury to his children"

From the former news-magazine Der Spiegel (affectionately known as "the house journal of the CIA in Germany") comes the following pseudo-critical interview, in which we learn that:

- "The President likes to talk to operators" [i.e. torturers].

- There is such a thing as "hot waterboarding".

- When the CIA's secret prisoners refuse to talk even under torture, then "the operators" threaten to torture the prisoners' kidnapped children.

- The CIA has considered using misinformation. (Don't laugh.)

- All of this torture has brought as good as no information at all from Ramzi Binalshibh and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

- These two men are alleged to have been the two head honchoes in the September 11th attacks, yet they will never be brought to trial.


"The President Knows more than He Lets on"

One hundred suspected terrorists from all over the world are still being held in secret American prisons. In an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE, CIA expert [sic] Ron Suskind accuses Washington of "running like a headless chicken" in its war against al-Qaida. He reserves special criticism for the CIA's torture methods, which he argues are unproductive [sic].

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Suskind, the Red Cross recently visited all of the prisoners at Guantanamo who had been transferred from secret CIA prisons, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh. Do we know more about these CIA prisons, or "Black Sites" as a result of this visit?

Suskind: We know that almost everything from the tool kit was tried: extraordinary techniques that included hot and cold water-boarding and threats of various kinds. We tried virtually everything with Binalshibh. But he was resistant, and my understanding of that interrogation is that we got very, very little from it. At one point, there was some thinking that we should put out misinformation that Binalshihb had been cooperative, he had received money and he was living in luxury. So that would mean that his friends and family, who obviously are known to al-Qaida, might face retribuition, and we ended up not doing that.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: And what happened to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed?

Suskind: He was really the prize. He is the 9/11 operational planner [in the same way that SpongeBob is the Pope - Q.], a kind of general in the al-Qaida firmament. He was water-boarded, hot and cold, all matter of deprivations, beatings, threats. He told us some things, but frankly things that professional interrogators say could have been gotten otherwise.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: With waterboarding, the prisoner is made to feel as though he is drowing, even if he isn't really at risk of dying. There are reports that Mohammed was a kind of unoffical record-holder when it came to waterboarding.

Suskind: With extraordinary minutes passing he earned a sort of grudging respect from interrogators. The thing they did with Mohammed is that we had captured his children, a boy and a girl, age 7 and 9. And at the darkest moment we threatened grievous injury to his children if he did not cooperate. His response was quite clear: "That's fine. You can do what you want to my children, and they will find a better place with Allah." ...


The interview continues at this bloody site. Caveat lector.

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