The Justification of Torture Gets Obliterated Part Two – Abu Zabaydah

Continued from part one...

Now comes the most laughable defense of torture I could ever imagine:

Rodriguez argued that deceptiveness proved the usefulness of the technique.

He is stating that lies told by suspects that sent the CIA on costly wild goose chases to nowhere are useful.  This is almost childish in nature by trying to say “we knew you were fooling us all along but just played it out anyway so jokes on you!”  I guess what we take away from this is we have to torture people so we can get the lies out of them because that does us a lot of good.  (Not really as will be shown later).

Then comes the section on Abu Zubaydah’s interrogation.  He was arrested in May 2002 and waterboarding was approved four months later in August.  This window is important to keep in mind as pointed out by the FBI agent who interrogated Zubaydah:

Soufan (FBI) said in an interview that the information Abu Zubaydah revealed during the early period of his interrogation was not restricted to KSM’s alias and Padilla: “[I]t’s not only Padilla, it’s basically everything. Everything that we know about Abu Zubaydah came from when we arrested him until May.”

But Zubaydah was a hardened Islamist who was reported to be the Al Qaeda number 3 man at the time behind OBL and al-Zawahiri, right?  Surely with enough torture he would give valuable info, right?  Not so much.  He apparently would give info interrogators wanted to believe and showed he was not all that hardcore on the religion.

Abu Zubaydah seemed less religiously motivated than many other detainees. At times, Soufan said, “I felt that [I was] talking to a Che Guevara…He received long lectures from Abu Zubaydah about “how corporations are actually running the world, running America.”…“Abu Zubaydah is not an al-Qaeda member. We knew that at the time, but the moment we arrested Abu Zubaydah, the President was saying he’s the number three guy in al-Qaeda.”…But CIA analysts “convinced themselves he’s number three” and that “[i]f he’s not admitting he’s number three, then he’s not cooperating. Well, 83 sessions [of waterboarding] and he admitted he’s number three.”

Yet another example of the torturers believing a lie.  This time it was one they actually conjured and not the detainee.  Jokes on…someone.  Not sure who.

Then comes the issue of Rodriguez destroying the tapes that contained the torture and interrogation of Zubaydah.  (I addressed this in the review of the 60 Minutes interview, here).  The study notes Rodriguez took it upon himself to do this and went over the head of his superiors when he destroyed them.  His reasoning was to protect the identities of those in the video and not give more fodder for hatred of the U.S. like the Abu Ghraib photos.  Seems to be more the latter since it is stated the interrogators were all wearing ski masks during the torture.  And, seriously, you couldn’t just give the audio of Zubaydah telling you all that good info?  Or is it that he gave you a bunch of garbage and you didn’t want to be embarrassed by that?  Judge for yourselves.

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