27 Jan

Left Gleeful Over Absurd Article Claiming Waterboarding Didn’t Work

                                       

“CIA Man Retracts Claim on Waterboarding”

Yup, thats the headline the lefties are jumping all over today from Foreign Policy. The article purports:

Well, it’s official now: John Kiriakou, the former CIA operative who affirmed claims that waterboarding quickly unloosed the tongues of hard-core terrorists, says he didn’t know what he was talking about.

Of course there is more than meets the eye on this story. The fact of the matter is that Kiriakou says he “didn’t know what he was talking about” because he wasn’t in the room when the waterboarding took place. The whole piece uses over 900 words to assert that the success of waterboarding is in question because Kiriakou used second hand information to come to the conclusion that waterboarding doesn’t work, but completely ignores the fact that the interrogators themselves confirmed KSM broke because of waterboarding and the declassified documents prove that attacks were prevented because of the information that was extracted.

Marc Thiessen, author of Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack, explains further:

I have spoken to the people who — unlike Kirakou — were in the room for the interrogations of Zubaydah, KSM and other terrorists held by the CIA. And in Courting Disaster, I meticulously document the evidence for the efficacy of the CIA interrogation program — based not on Kirakou’s claims, but on the testimony of the actual interrogators, interviews with top CIA and other intelligence officials, the evidence presented in the CIA inspector general’s report, and other top-secret documents declassified by the Obama administration. I urge you to read it and judge for yourself. The evidence is overwhelming.

Before these documents were released, there was room for debate on the efficacy of CIA interrogations — because the facts had not been declassified. No longer. Yet the critics will continue to attempt to muddy the waters and use Kirakopu as “proof” of their claim the interrogations did not work. They will do so because if they admit that the interrogations worked, that means that the consequence of their position would have been another 9/11. They have to argue that a) enhanced interrogation is wrong and b) it did not work, because if the latter is not true then the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women, and children would have been the price of their approach.

The left can squeal all they want on this matter. KSM broke because of this interrogation method and if this method was not in place at the time we would have suffered more attacks. Now that we read Miranda rights to enemy combatants we should not be surprised when the next attack attempt is successful. Why? Because we will have no idea its coming.

About Curt

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 20 years.
This entry was posted in American Intelligence, Barack Obama, CIA interrogation program, Fanatical Islam, War On Terror. Bookmark the permalink. Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 at 3:26 pm
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37 Responses to Left Gleeful Over Absurd Article Claiming Waterboarding Didn’t Work

  1. i forgot to send my previous message check MESSARA at afghanistan war blo onlast hour first blog

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  2. George says: 2

    From Thiessen’s interview with CNN’s Amanpour (paraphrased): These techniques as applied by the CIA produced intelligence that stopped a terrorist attacks to blow up our consulate in Karachi, to blow up our marine camp in Djibouti, an Al Quaed attempt to hijack an airplane to Heathrow and fly it into
    buildings in downtown London and a plan to fly an airplane into Library Tower in Los Angeles.

    Video at:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jR9KmtD5jw

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  3. Wordsmith says: 3

    I’m 100 pages into “Courting Disaster”. It is excellent! It’s on my highly recommend list.

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  4. Missy says: 4

    if they admit that the interrogations worked, that means that the consequence of their position would have been another 9/11.

    I wouldn’t give them credit for thinking that far ahead. What doesn’t allow them to admit it worked is Bush/Cheney.

    Without enhanced interrogation, Padilla would have been out on the steets left to murder men, women and children. As they innocently lived their normal lives their apartment building or a hotel they were staying in…crushed them to death.

    Because of the left’s mental illness regarding our former Pres. and VP, they can’t find it in their hearts to be greatful that many people’s lives were spared because someone did what he had to do.

    @Wordsmith:

    Mine’s on the way, ordered it from that link you left the other day. Can’t wait, have read lots of positive comments on the book.

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  5. Pingback: Kiriakou Changes His Story « Around The Sphere

  6. Wordsmith says: 5

    Missy,

    There’s so much in there, I have to force myself to put it down and prioritize my day’s tasks. Remember all the liberal counter-points when the OLC memos were released and Cheney started coming out about releasing all the info? Thiessen picks those apart, including Ali Soufan’s statements. Apparently Soufan’s own FBI partner disagrees with Soufan, too.

    And the amount of intell and captures leading to more intell, leading to more captures as well as plots foiled….can’t be stressed enough! It’s so easy to grow complacent and to be dismissive when nothing happens. The reason nothing’s happened is directly because of the CIA interrogations!

    Waterboarding was the key to freeing the jihadis’ willingness to talk! After Zubaydah was waterboarded, he actually thanked his interrogator and said, “You must do this to all the brothers!”. That’s because it lifted a burden from him and he was able to talk freely. Apparently, his religious beliefs required him to resist up to a breaking point. Waterboarding was that breaking point and it freed him of his sense of religious moral obligation to not speak. His particular Islamic teachings allows him to speak from that point forward.

    And waterboarding wasn’t used by the CIA (on only 3 terrorists) to extract confessions or get information. It was to obtain cooperation, after which de-briefing can then commence to gather information. So all the talk about “they’ll tell you anything and say anything you want them to say when tortured” is a misunderstanding of the purpose of enhanced interrogations.

    But now that the OLC memos have been released and the details of the techniques used, the arguments about whether to use waterboarding or not is moot. Its effectiveness is permanently damaged because not only does al Qaeda know that actual drowning will not take place, but they also know specifically what to train against (guys like KSM have had intensive counter-interrogation training). They now know the limits of just how far we are willing and able to go morally and legally. Before the release, before the press leaks, there was the fear of the unknown and the mystique surrounding the CIA black sites and interrogations. Abd al-Hadi, when captured, didn’t have to undergo enhanced interrogations because he was scared to death by all the rumors and propaganda exaggerating CIA “torture”. Now the power of that mystique is gone; but the CIA reputation and the Bush administration’s reputation on this is still damaged in the court of public opinion belief. And al Qaeda can breathe a sigh of relief and laughter that President Obama has banned “torture”, i.e. enhanced interrogations.

    This leaves us blind to developments such as the growth of al Qaeda in Yemen and the underwear bomber. We got lucky.

    American lives are at stake and we have hamstrung our CIA due to misguided notions regarding “enhanced interrogations”.

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  7. Missy says: 6

    It was to obtain cooperation, after which de-briefing can then commence to gather information

    This was completely ignored for years. There was never any discussion of the different stages involved, perhaps because it may have been still classified yet, the exaggerated water drip step managed to get plenty of ink. Your postings are the first I’ve read about moving onto the de-briefing phase is in here and I see a lot of stuff in my travels through the web.

    Even though the majority approve of waterboarding terrorists, this information would help more of the public understand that our agents and the Bush administration weren’t the ghouls the press and left made them out to be. We’ve been left with the impression of agents standing around a half drowned terrorist with agents screaming questions at them.

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  8. Wordsmith says: 7

    Part of the problem is, the CIA agents themselves can’t discuss to defend themselves in the public arena, and set the record straight.

    Your postings are the first I’ve read about moving onto the de-briefing phase is in here and I see a lot of stuff in my travels through the web.

    Reposting this link and excerpt for the benefit of those who missed it in the other thread:

    While 24 depicts violent scenes where interrogators inflict severe pain to get time-sensitive intelligence on terrorist dangers, in the real world, they told me, this is not how interrogations take place.

    They explained, for example, that there is a difference between “interrogation” and “de-briefing.” Interrogation is not how we got information from the terrorists; it is the process by which we overcome the terrorists’ resistance and secure their cooperation — sometimes with the help of enhanced interrogation techniques.

    Once the terrorist agreed to cooperate, I was told, the interrogation stopped and “de-briefing” began, as the terrorists were questioned by CIA analysts, using non-aggressive techniques to extract information that could help disrupt attacks.

    “Non-aggressive”, being the traditional interrogation approach, building trust and buddy-reliance relationship, favored by Soufan and agreed about by most everyone as effective and desirable.

    The interrogation process was usually brief, they said. According to declassified documents, on average “the actual use of interrogation techniques covers a period of three to seven days, but can vary upwards to 15 days based on the resilience” of the terrorist in custody.

    Most detainees, they told me, did not undergo it at all. Two-thirds of those brought into the CIA program did not require the use of any enhanced interrogation techniques. Just the experience of being brought into CIA custody — the “capture shock,” arrival at a sterile location, the isolation, the fact that they did not know where they were, and that no one else knew they were there — was enough to convince most of them to cooperate.

    Others, like KSM, demonstrated extraordinary resistance. But even KSM’s interrogation did not take long before he moved into debriefing. He had been captured in early March, they said, and before the end of the month he had already provided information on a plot to fly airplanes into London’s Heathrow airport.

    That article is adapted from some of what appears in “Courting Disaster”.

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  9. Missy says: 8

    Well, the information is declassified now yet we have John Kiriakou, mentioned in Curt’s post, still trying to discredit the truth, the lies about what was done that saved lives will never go away.

    I wondered what Kiriakou’s motives were, why would he change his story, stab his colleagues in the back, then found he went to work for Kerry on the Foreign Relations Committee. He’s following in the footsteps of his boss.

    He claimed that when he found out Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times, not just once, he changed his opinion. In the first place shouldn’t he have doubted that it took one drip to crack Zubaydah?

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  10. like you said Wordsmith if they are in the open they are no more able to to used their expertises and tactics to get the terrorist to open they must be supported and because they realy are the protecters of millions americans and others countrys appreciate their support on intelligence whe are talking about thoses who wont rest until they gain the power of the whole world by outnumbering our population and terrorising our owns and killing as many brutaly,thoses Cia where kill doing their job with courage not being known by the public those hidden Heros thank you.

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  11. Pingback: FA Book Recommendation: “Courting Disaster”, by Marc Thiessman

  12. Pingback: Torture doesn’t work…ok, so where’s the disagreement? | Flopping Aces

  13. Wordsmith says: 10

    Haven’t found time to blog on this or the Zelikow memo….

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  14. Greg says: 11

    More on the Zelikow memo, From The Guardian, April 5, 2012:

    Former senior Bush official on torture: “I think what they did was wrong.”

    Zelikow, whose official position was counsellor to Rice, said he had her support on the issue. As the state department’s representative on the National Security Council committee considering legal issues around violent interrogations, he expressed his concerns at the time in a top secret 2006 memorandum.

    The memo, to other members of the committee who represented the justice and defence departments and intelligence services, warned that the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other abuses were almost certainly in breach of US and international law. But the memo so alarmed the administration that it was immediately rejected and all copies were ordered destroyed.

    Apparently they missed one.

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  15. MataHarley says: 12

    Greg, would be so nice if you would actually rely on sources instead of media interpretations.

    Zelikow’s memo of Feb 15th, 2006 was never a definitive “it’s illegal”, but a statement that it could be called into question. He fully asserts that SCOTUS has had mixed rulings in other instances.

    There’s a 14 pg Zelikow statement, testifying before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, that mentions the rumors of the original destruction. As Zelikow states in the testimonial statement, the request to do so was informal, and he ignored that request. So it seems that your link apparently mischaracterized their hyperbole, as Zelikow, himself, admits it was an informal request left up to him. Were it a firm and punishable order, I doubt he could get away with retaining a copy.

    Also released in 2009 were two other documents, Document 4, Elements of Possible Initiative, and Document 5, Detainees – The Need for a Stronger Legal Framework.

    The point? You will always find dissenting opinions in a POTUS collection of legal advisors. And you should, since an echo chamber is virtually useless if you don’t get the opposing perspectives. As Zelikow notes, his legal peers are under no obligation to agree with him.

    However, were there such a cover up mounted… as you allude to erroneously… there would have been no release of the 2009 documents, and attempts to thwart Zelikow’s testimony would have ensued.

    In the end, it’s one man’s opinion about the legalities. But the headline about waterboarding not working is debunked by Kelikow himself, in his Senate testimony.

    The point is not whether the CIA program produced useful intelligence. Of course it did. Quite a lot. The CIA had exclusive custody of a number of the most important al Qaeda captives in the world, for years. Any good interrogation effort would produce an important flow of information from these captives.

    …snip…

    So the issue is not whether the CIA program of extreme physical coercion produced useful intelligence; it is about its net value when compared to the alternatives. And, even though the program may have
    some value against some prisoners, it has serious drawbacks just in the intelligence calculus, such as:

    [snip... continue reading the testimony]

    In fact, it was at that time that, despite the unquestionable usefulness of the HUMINT gained, both Bush and Condi were seeking alternatives…. which Kelikow clearly states in the ensuing statement. However without the ability to see parallel worlds – and as Zelikow acknowledges that some treatment works on some detainees, but not on others – it’s impossible to determine whether the same intel gleaned from KSM and others could have been obtained via other methods. That’s pure speculation.. just as those that say the economy would have crashed if Obama didn’t do “fill in the blank here…”

    Therefore, the headlines are wrong. The conclusions are wrong. And there was no massive cover up (you’ll have to look to Obama and Holder for that in Fast and Furious instead…).

    And you’ve again demonstrated you laziness in allowing media side speculation to form your opinions, instead of going back and reading the original source materia.

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  16. Greg says: 13

    @MataHarley, #12:

    Greg, would be so nice if you would actually rely on sources instead of media interpretations.

    Zelikow’s memo of Feb 15th, 2006 was never a definitive “it’s illegal”, but a statement that it could be called into question. He fully asserts that SCOTUS has had mixed rulings in other instances.

    I provided a link to the memo itself. That gives us four links to the same document in this particular thread, I think. That’s not a source? People can read it and draw their own conclusion.

    But the headline about waterboarding not working is debunked by Kelikow himself, in his Senate testimony.

    I don’t approve of an agency of the U.S. government torturing prisoners in an effort to obtain information, whether anyone thinks the method works or not. The C.I.A. is not the Gestapo. Our moral stature as a nation was diminished when we officially adopted a Gestapo interrogation method. Waterboarding was part of their repertoire.

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  17. MataHarley says: 14

    You’re not telling us anything new about you, Greg. The difference between you and I is I see waterboarding as an EIT, and you see it as torture. So you are magically right? Dang… that’s interesting. While some may like to portray our US special forces training as a form of “torture” (in the sense of it being a Herculean effort to get thru it and become a special op), we do not “torture” our soldiers. Therefore we treat our enemies with the same treatment we give our own. Limited time of exposure, and under medically monitored conditions.

    I find your observation that we are akin to a “gestapo” extremely offensive and naive.

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  18. Greg says: 15

    American soldiers go through such grueling training voluntarily. Prisoners don’t have the option of dropping out of the program.

    What was said about waterboarding as part of Gestapo interrogation techniques was factual. It was a favorite method during the Spanish Inquisition. It was used by the Japanese during WW2, by the Pinochet regime, and by the Khmer Rouge. What I find offensive is that the U.S. government would officially join such an exclusive club.

    They obviously suspected something was seriously wrong with this, or they wouldn’t have felt a need to have favorable legal opinions carefully worked up, to eliminate records of dissenting views, and to have video and audio records of important interrogations destroyed.

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  19. MataHarley says: 16

    The methods used by the US, with medical personnel present and limited exposure, bears no resemblence to the Japanese or the Khmer Rouge. Again you espouse your disdain and hatred of this country in a very offensive way.

    Volunteering has no bearing on the act itself. Using your demented school of thought, it’s not torture to dismember a person simply because they say, “sure, go ahead”. duh

    The only “factual” is your mindset, being naive.

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  20. Greg says: 17

    It’s not my country that I’m criticizing. It’s the people who ordered such things to be done.

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  21. MataHarley says: 18

    It’s not “my country” you’re criticizing? Really? Let’s try again, shall we?

    Our moral stature as a nation was diminished when we officially adopted a Gestapo interrogation method.

    …snip…

    What I find offensive is that the U.S. government would officially join such an exclusive club.

    Our leaders are duly elected, and their appointees are a reflection of that elected individual. And they are representative of our nation at large.

    So now you try to excuse your offensive behavior by saying that you just don’t like the leadership and their decisions in waging war, but you love the country… just not the people that elected the leaders?

    Try again. The way I see it, you’ve compared the US and our policies, decided by our elected and appointed leaders, plus military/intel agents, to the gestapo, to WWII Japanese and the Khmer Rouge.

    spit…

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  22. Greg says: 19

    Oddly, very few people around here seem to have any trouble distinguishing between comments concerning the current President and criticism of their country.

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  23. MataHarley says: 20

    Maybe that’s because they specifically state their criticism is of Obama. Not “our stature as a nation”, or “the US government” officially joining the ranks of the Gestapo, WWII Japan and the Khmer Rouge.

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  24. Greg says: 21

    Perhaps I should have been more specific in #13, then. Allow me to rephrase my statement:

    I don’t approve of an agency of the U.S. government torturing prisoners in an effort to obtain information, whether morally challenged people like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney think the method works or not. The C.I.A. is not the Gestapo. Our moral stature as a nation was diminished when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney officially adopted a Gestapo interrogation method. Waterboarding was part of their repertoire.

    I trust that will now meet all local standards requiring specificity.

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  25. GREG
    DON’T TAKE THEM FOR FOOL, they are outsmarting you and those who think likewise,
    and that’s how he should be, and that’s how it should stay, as long as there are enemies in the USA
    AND ABROAD WHO WANT TO HURT AMERICA,
    NO ONE SHOULD PRETEND TO KNOW THEIR SECRETS TO MAKE PEOPLE SPILL THE BEANS,
    WHICH SAVE LIVES OF CITIZENS INCLUDING YOUR LIFE, HOW ABOUT 3000 LIVES AND STILL COUNTING BECAUSE OF THEM
    BYE

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  26. Wordsmith says: 23

    @MataHarley #12:

    The point? You will always find dissenting opinions in a POTUS collection of legal advisors. And you should, since an echo chamber is virtually useless if you don’t get the opposing perspectives.

    It seems like it’s long been the case that Bush critics will seize upon some obscure dissenter, memo, or contrary/minority opinion; fixate on a single phrase; and with perfect 20/20 hindsight give that voice more weight than it actually warranted, based upon a media-driven narrative (doubts and dissent opinion in an NIE, intell report, a CIA analyst or state department official who disagreed on some point with the White House, someone who doubted Iraq on accuracy of beliefs that most of the world- including countries opposed to invasion- held in regards to wmd- chemical, biological, nuclear- and on and on).

    As Zelikow notes, his legal peers are under no obligation to agree with him.

    Something Zelikow wrote and notes in 2009:

    At the time, in 2005, I circulated an opposing view of the legal reasoning. My bureaucratic position, as counselor to the secretary of state, didn’t entitle me to offer a legal opinion. But I felt obliged to put an alternative view in front of my colleagues at other agencies, warning them that other lawyers (and judges) might find the OLC views unsustainable.

    @Greg #15:

    What was said about waterboarding as part of Gestapo interrogation techniques was factual. It was a favorite method during the Spanish Inquisition. It was used by the Japanese during WW2, by the Pinochet regime, and by the Khmer Rouge. What I find offensive is that the U.S. government would officially join such an exclusive club.

    As Mata points out, the waterboarding method that the CIA used (on only 3 HVTs, to remind anyone reading) is not the same thing as the water torture employed by the Spanish Inquisition, Japanese in WWII, etc. (Why don’t you know this?! Did you miss those countless threads where this was hashed out by Aye, Mata, and others?). The comparison, frankly, is hyperbolic and offensive. It is also slanderous, imo, toward those involved in the EIT program who, in good faith and conscience, set out to protect our country from the next terror attack. And they did so under legal and moral restrictions and constraints.

    I’m not going to look up all the past debates regarding specifics on the Spanish Inquisition, Asano, and other favorites of the critics; but you really should know the counter-arguments so that these hysteria-driven hyperbolic comparisons to our CIA are made to die.

    I will link you to some of my past posts, however:

    http://floppingaces.net/2010/02/15/zubaydah-thanked-his-interrogators-for-waterboarding-him/

    http://floppingaces.net/2011/05/12/torture-doesnt-work-ok-so-wheres-the-disagreement/

    http://floppingaces.net/2011/05/16/mccains-wapo-op-ed-on-the-tortured-debate-over-eit/

    http://floppingaces.net/2011/06/02/finally-an-intellectually-honest-critic-of-eits/

    http://floppingaces.net/2011/06/24/will-the-new-cia-director-to-be-revive-an-eit-program/

    http://floppingaces.net/2011/07/07/cia-eit-program-exonerated-again/

    http://floppingaces.net/2011/11/14/the-waterboarding-issue-is-moot/

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  27. Greg says: 24

    @Wordsmith, #23:

    As Mata points out, the waterboarding method that the CIA used (on only 3 HVTs, to remind anyone reading) is not the same thing as the water torture employed by the Spanish Inquisition, Japanese in WWII, etc.

    In what way not the same? Because it’s only used on special occasions, when specially designated people see fit to use it? Because we’re able to stop short of actual death by drowning with greater reliably? Because we’ve got better resuscitation techniques on hand if we screw up? It’s not torture if you don’t end up with a corpse, and there are no marks left on the body?

    I honestly don’t know how we ever came to the point where half of the country would seem to believe that this was all perfectly OK, and that it’s somehow unpatriotic to argue otherwise.

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  28. Wordsmith says: 25

    @Greg:

    I honestly don’t know how we ever came to the point where half of the country would seem to believe that this was all perfectly OK, and that it’s somehow unpatriotic to argue otherwise.

    Greg,

    It’s not unpatriotic to disagree on this issue at all. I even believe that there are good arguments to be made (and made by good people) that a line had been crossed and that waterboarding- even in the medically-controlled environment and limited psychological use of it on circumstances that surrounded 3 HVTs dedicated to killing innocent American civilians en masse and trained to resist standard interrogation techniques- may amount to some degree and definition of “torture” that is unacceptable and unpalatable to “who we are” as a nation. I just don’t happen to be one of those patriots. Imo, we still treated HVTs with kid gloves. And as Zelikow writes,

    1. The focus on water-boarding misses the main point of the program.

    Waterboarding was the most extreme of the EITs and only 3 HVTs ever arose to the occasion of its usage. Of course, arguments can and have been made regarding the “degrading, abusive” nature of the other EITs in the CIA arsenal. But I believe the consensus amongst everyone who criticizes or defends is that waterboarding was the most “severe” and “extreme”.

    Greg asked:

    In what way not the same?

    If you’ve missed previous arguments regarding the comparison and why it’s apples and oranges (as opposed to apples and steak, which would mean having nothing at all to do with one another), I’ll give one to you when I have a bit more time on my hands, to do it right. Thanks, Greg.

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  29. Aye says: 26

    @Greg:

    In what way not the same?

    Really Greg? Really?

    Surely you’re not so stoopid as to really believe that the EIT’s practiced by our people are the same as what others have done. Surely not.

    You should do some research into the specific behaviors engaged in by those you wish to compare our side to. Just because they both involved water doesn’t make them comparable.

    It’s painfully obvious that you’re arguing from a position of ignorance.

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  30. MataHarley says: 27

    Greg: In what way not the same? Because it’s only used on special occasions, when specially designated people see fit to use it? Because we’re able to stop short of actual death by drowning with greater reliably?

    Ya know, Greg… if you’d do a bit more reading (most especially Word’s stellar posts with their source links), and a lot less knee-jerk emotional keyboard jawing, you wouldn’t have to ask (yet another) stupid question.

    Moral of of the story? You can lead prog/socialist to the trough of knowledge, but you can’t force them to drink.

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  31. Aye says: 28

    @MataHarley:

    You can lead prog/socialist to the trough of knowledge, but you can’t force them to drink.

    Could we strap him to a board and pour it in his nose?

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  32. Hard Right says: 29

    @Aye:

    Aye, as I have argued, greg does it deliberately. He plays dumb to cover for what he knows to be a lie. He is a propgandist who can find no wrong with the left, and nothing right with the right.

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  33. Greg says: 30

    @Aye, #26:

    It’s painfully obvious that you’re arguing from a position of ignorance.

    Consider the possibility that some degree of ignorance exists on both sides of the argument. Does anyone really believe that the information the public has been given about “enhanced interrogation” practices hasn’t been strongly sanitized? That euphemism itself should provide the initial clue. The methodical destruction of all interrogation video tapes should be another. Does anyone honestly believe that video tapes don’t provide more details for intelligence analysts to study than written transcripts? Or that the tapes were destroyed to protect the interrogators, who were only following someone else’s direct orders?

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times. I suspect there’s been resistance to a civil trial because people don’t want the details of the interrogations to come out. After 183 sessions, the guy probably doesn’t have a mind left.

    The only thing worse than ignorance is willful ignorance. Some people don’t want to know the truth about “enhanced interrogation”, any more than they want to know the full details of the Iraq air war, or the untold billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars that simply vanished in Iraq without a trace. They especially don’t want to think about the question concerning what the hell we were trying to accomplish there in the first place. It’s far easier to believe that Bush accomplished that mission–whatever it was–and then Obama somehow screwed that accomplishment up.

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  34. Wordsmith says: 31

    @Greg:

    Does anyone really believe that the information the public has been given about “enhanced interrogation” practices hasn’t been strongly sanitized? That euphemism itself should provide the initial clue.

    What euphemism would be more apropo in your estimation? Were the released OLC memos not descriptive enough of the techniques? I can imagine that the EIT sessions were frightening and not at all pleasant. EITs were meant to be tough and stressful. What am I missing?! As I wrote here:

    Much of the power of waterboarding and the other approved enhanced interrogation techniques was psychological. Such as the belief that drowning was taking place, as was the case of waterboarding; or that one was getting shoved hard (“walling”) by hitting a flexible, false wall that made a loud sound to give the illusion that what was happening was worse than it actually was. As Thiessen puts it in an interview he did on the Dennis Prager Show, “Most of the techniques are psychological tricks, for the most part. They didn’t depend upon physical pain to get the people to cooperate.” They were like mentalist/magic tricks whose effectiveness, once revealed, loses their power.

    Witnessing the interrogation session I’m sure would be tough for the average bleeding heart, let alone experiencing it. They are purposefully creating an uncomfortable environment.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times. I suspect there’s been resistance to a civil trial because people don’t want the details of the interrogations to come out. After 183 sessions, the guy probably doesn’t have a mind left.

    What makes you assume he doesn’t have a mind left after being waterboarded?!

    Before being waterboarded, when asked about future attack plans, his response was “Soon, you will know.” After being waterboarded and achieving his threshold, KSM became cooperative and conducted classrooms for CIA officials to educate them on al Qaeda, complete with chalkboard. A wealth of intell flowed from him.

    And by KSM’s own reckoning, he was given 5 waterboarding sessions. The 183 number cited is the number of pours/drips/applications that he received cumulative to those 5 sessions. More:

    KSM, especially, was described by one official as “superhuman” in his resistance to traditional interrogation. It was clear that he had received extensive training in counter-interrogation. And he was smart: He figured out exactly how long his interrogators were allowed to pour the water shortly after only being waterboarded a few times, and would count off on his hand the number of seconds that would elapse, “1…2….3…”

    Also read:

    after multiple applications of the waterboard, it may become apparent to the detainee that, however frightening the experience may be, it will not result in death.

    In footnote 52, the CIA’s Office of Medical Services claims that

    some subjects unquestionably can withstand a large number of applications.

    Until the CIA program got temporarily suspended in 2006 (before ultimately being shutdown), intelligence officials claim that well over half of what we knew about al Qaeda- how it operates, transfers money, its courier system, how it recruits, how it communicates, how it plans and carries out attacks- came directly from the interrogation of HVTs in CIA custody.

    ReplyReply
  35. Wordsmith says: 32

    @Greg:

    The methodical destruction of all interrogation video tapes should be another. Does anyone honestly believe that video tapes don’t provide more details for intelligence analysts to study than written transcripts? Or that the tapes were destroyed to protect the interrogators, who were only following someone else’s direct orders?

    In light of how there have been talks about prosecuting those who, in good faith, carried out their duties, with the CIA extremely careful in seeking legal counsel (as well as the White House)before proceeding forth with the Enhanced Interrogation program, why do you find it so hard to believe that these tapes were destroyed to avoid a potential witch hunt? In 2008, Holder himself promised the American people a “reckoning” after claiming “our government authorized the use of torture”.

    Jose A. Rodriguez Jr’s book comes out in May (He’s the one purported to have ordered the destruction of these 92 video tapes of Zubaydah and Nashiri’s interrogation sessions). So maybe it will shed some light.

    ReplyReply
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