Torture and Interrogators

Written by Benjamin G. Davis

At the same time that the torture apologists are all over the news (Rumsfeld, Cheney (pere et fille), Rep. King, Yoo, Hayden, Panetta (slipperily), O’Reilly and his club, Hannity and his club, KeepAmericaSafe.com and their club), there are former military and CIA interrogators and officers and Chief SERE trainer Nance who are flat out rejecting the narrative that 1) KSM and Al-Libi’s torture procured the key information that led to Osama Bin Laden 2) that the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques worked at all.

In a segment entitled “Dick Cheney defends torture methods” about 8 minutes in on the Ed Show, Ed Schultz asks Matthew Alexander, a former senior military interrogator who tracked down senior Al Qaida leaders in Iraq, about the Cheney defense. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/42967008#42967008

Alexander points out that the “torture is great” folks never discuss the long term consequences of the torture.  In addition, he points out that there was at least one report out of Afghanistan from an interrogator there that the mere renewal of the torture apology was having an impact on the aggressiveness of the Taliban reaction to American troops (I am paraphrasing).  On previous occasions Alexander has emphasized that the problems with using torture in interrogation.

There is also an effort by the torture crowd to try to get Obama/Holder to block the investigation of 6 CIA types that is going on right now with regard to a criminal prosecution.  I do not know if the former head of CIA Counterterrorism, Jose Rodriguez (the guy who ordered the destruction of the waterboarding tapes in contravention of Judge Hellerstein’s blanket block on destruction of evidence) is one of them but I have noted that he is the “go to” cite by the politicos for saying the waterboarding etc provided the key evidence leading to OBL.

In response to the “stop the investigation” argument a former CIA officer who was also a former prosecutor named Jack Rice pointed out on the Ed Show last night (starting at 1:58 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/42967008#42967061 ) the whole “torture is legal” charade and talked about convicting these CIA types and then going up the chain through the lawyers to the top or – as I call it – REFLUAT STERCUS!

Today’s Washington Post Editorial (The tracking of bin Laden is no vindication of torture)  starts to address the problem of this effort of vindicating torture but, like Panetta, they slide over the torture works/not work part, do not speak to the long term effect on our soldiers, and certainly do not even mention that torture is a crime.

Now, it would be nice if someone would just mention that there are court-martialed soldiers from Abu-Ghraib and one CIA contractor I believe serving time for doing the bidding of the high-level types.  So, as I have said before, it is not a question of whether to prosecute but only how high up we go.

On Osama Bin Laden, at a couple of different places this is what I am hearing/seeing

1) a couple of 2002-2003 early detainees independently mentioned a nom de guerre of a courier;

2) KSM and Libi when questioned said they did not know that nom de guerre;

(For the torture apologists, these denials of the nom de guerre were the key information.  The torture apologists are attempting to make it look like the denial was under torture while I am coming to understand that the denial did not come under torture but much (a year) later.  The torture apologists keep revising their argument; going from the torture was “key” to “it played a role” depending on the audience.  I feel they are backtracking and want us to avoid coming to the conclusion that all the torture stuff was an elaborate failure.)

3) real name instead of nom de guerre found in the post 2005 period a year after the waterboarding happened;

4) located the real person and followed him from 2007 or so on;

5) compound link in August 2010 until the attack.

If anyone has a good/better/best timeline on this would love to see it.”