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US's best witness against al Qaeda is wined and dined, not tortured [View All]

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-21-06 10:55 AM
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US's best witness against al Qaeda is wined and dined, not tortured
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This is by Sidney Blumenthal at

After Hamdan, Bush could have simply allowed the Geneva Conventions to stand. Rather, he sought legislation to reinstate his commissions, permitting hearsay -- that is, uncorroborated information gathered by torture -- and denying the accused the right to know the charges brought against them, or even that they are being tried or being held for life without trial.

On Sept. 6 he made his case for torture, offering as justification the interrogation under what he called an "alternative set of procedures" of an al-Qaida operator named Abu Zubaydah. Bush claimed he was a "senior terrorist leader" who "ran a terrorist camp," had identified a member of the Hamburg cell, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and provided accurate information about planned terrorist attacks. In fact, Zubaydah was an al-Qaida travel agent (literally, a travel agent), who did not finger al-Shibh (already known), and under torture spun wild scenarios of terrorism to gratify interrogators that proved bogus. Zubaydah, it turns out, is a psychotic with multiple personalities and the intelligence of a child. "This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality," said Dan Coleman, an FBI agent assigned to the bureau's al-Qaida task force.

Bush's argument for torture is partly based on the unstated premise that the more sadism, the more intelligence. While he referenced Zubaydah, he did not mention Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl, described by the FBI, according to the New Yorker, as "arguably the United States' most valuable informant on al Qaeda," and who is wined, dined and housed by the Federal Witness Protection Program.
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