April 20, 2009

CIA tortured 2 men 266 times

POLITICS - CIA interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning torture technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al-Qaida, far more than had been previously reported, according to a series of legal memos released in the United States last Thursday.

The CIA officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum. Zubaydah is believed to be an Al-Qaida operative.

Former CIA officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC News and other news media organizations in 2007 that Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew. But apparently Kiriakou lied.

The 2005 legal memo also says that the CIA used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the September 11th 2001, terrorist attacks.

No info was gained from Shaikh Mohammed, but rather the torture was simply punishment.

The New York Times reported in 2007 that Mohammed had been barraged more than 100 times with harsh interrogation methods, causing CIA officers to worry that they might have crossed legal limits and to halt his questioning. But the precise number and the exact nature of the interrogation method were not previously known.

The release of the numbers has become part of the debate about the lack of morality by the Justice Department under the Bush administration, which George W. Bush had flip-flopped over whether torture should be condoned or not.

CIA officials had opposed the release of the interrogation memo, dated May 30th 2005, which was one of four secret legal memos on interrogation that were ordered to be released last Thursday.

Congress has now made several proposals for a "truth commission" to examine the Bush administration's 'War on Terrorism' programs, including torture, wiretapping and illegal eavesdropping on Americans.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has begun a year-long, closed-door investigation of the CIA interrogation program, in part to assess claims of Bush administration officials that brutal treatment, including slamming prisoners into walls, shackling them in standing positions for days and confining them in small boxes, was necessary to get information.

Or whether they did it just for fun.

Remember Abu Ghraib prison? I don't think it would surprise Americans to learn the prisoners in Guantanamo were being tortured just to pass the time.

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