Tag: Abu Zubaydah

The Torture Planners: “Why are we talking about this in the White House?”

[I know buhdy already wrote on this — see cite for him below — but I figured an extra commentary wouldn’t hurt, providing also a bit more information on the legalities involved. — V.]

In a very interesting follow-up to the unfolding story on the 2003 John Yoo memorandum that justified the use of torture, ABC news is reporting how the CIA came to the White House after the spring 2002 capture of al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan and asked for permission to use more “aggressive” interrogation techniques. Citing anonymous sources, ABC says that beginning with the Zubaydah case, “the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency.” These discussions evidently included the use of waterboarding, as the CIA has admitted using this torture technique on Zubaydah.

The “Principals” — high-level Bush administration officials — present included National Security Adviser Condolezza Rice, who chaired the meetings, “Vice President Cheney… Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.”

While Ashcroft is said to have signed off on the legality of the interrogations, he got squeamish about how it was being approved. Perhaps he was afraid of future legal and political consequences. Perhaps he remembered how the secrets of the Wannsee Conference were ultimately leaked. Per the ABC story (also reported over at Reuters):

The Ballad Of Abu Zubaydah

(cross-posted from kos at buhdy’s request; thanks for all the recs, dd people!)

We know that one of the two destroyed CIA interrogation tapes documented the torture of Abu Zubaydah.

We know that Zubaydah was no “high-value” Al Qaeda operative, but an “insane, certifiable” gofer. We know that when this truth was conveyed to George II, his response was to personally press the CIA to pursue further “information extraction.” We know that Zubaydah provided no actionable intelligence, but that his desperate attempts to placate his torturers may have resulted in US-directed “dark side” operations that killed innocent people. And we know that George II, aware of all this, has nonetheless persisted in attributing an increasingly important role to Zubaydah as both Al Qaeda fiend, and key to “cracking” the 9/11 plot.

We can assume, then, that the tape documenting Zubaydah’s interrogation was destroyed not only because of the monstrous nature of the torture techniques inflicted upon him. It likewise represented a dangerous lever, one that could have toppled the tower of lies that BushCo has erected upon the tormented mind and tortured body of Abu Zubaydah.

It could have exposed the truth. That what has been done to this man may be the filthiest, most outrageous act committed by an administration that has redefined, in our name, filth and outrage.    

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