Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Suskind: W personally ordered Mentally Ill Terrorist be Tortured

Ron Suskind's new Book is currently garnering media attention for its story of  the Subway attack that wasn't,   but there are FAR bigger Revelations in his book.  

For example:

  Bush personally ordered the torture of a suspected terrorist mastermind who turned out to be nothing more than a mentally ill Al-Qaeda flunky, just to save face.

This amazing bit of news is courtesy of the WaPo's review of Suskind's book

When  Abu Zubaydah. Was captured he.. [was] described as al-Qaeda's chief of operations [however] ..Zubaydah,  his captors discovered, turned out to be mentally ill and nothing like [who]they supposed him to be... [he] also appeared to know nothing about terrorist operations; rather, he was the go-to guy for ...minor logistics [like} travel for wives and children"

That judgment was ... briefed to the President ...yet somehow, in a speech delivered two weeks later, President Bush portrayed Zubaydah as "one of the top operatives ..planning death and destruction on the US"

And when Zubadayah  Couldn't deliver any info on terrorist plots:?

Well, Bush had already said it, and in the spirit of his adminstration's habit of "creating their own reality"  it was now officially true, so when Zubaydah wasn't forthcoming with the details of plots he knew nothing about:

under White House and Justice Department direction, the CIA would make him its first test subject for harsh interrogation techniques.

And here's the Stunner.  Bush Personally Ordered his torture, because he was worried about losing face:

"I said he was important," Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. "You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" "No sir, Mr. President," Tenet replied. Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?"

This question  ranks only slightly below "Will no One rid me of this Meddlesome Priest?" as an obvious indirect command. Not Surprisingly, just like Henry Plantagenet's goons, the CIA took the hint and ran with it:

Interrogators did .. strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep

Now let's keep firmly in Mind all of this Torture (best to call things what they really are, I find) , was going on MONTHS after the CIA and the FBI had conclusive proof this guy was not merely insane, but actively suffering from multiple personality disorder:

CIA and FBI analysts, poring over a diary he kept for more than a decade, found entries "in the voice of three people: Hani 1, Hani 2, and Hani 3" -- a boy, a young man and a middle-aged alter ego. All three recorded in numbing detail "what people ate, or wore, or trifling things they said." Dan Coleman, then the FBI's top al-Qaeda analyst, told a senior bureau official, "This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality."

and it Bears repeating again

Abu Zubaydah also appeared to know nothing about terrorist operations; rather, he was al-Qaeda's go-to guy for minor logistics -- travel for wives and children and the like. That judgment was "echoed at the top of CIA and was, of course, briefed to the President and Vice President,"  {long BEFORE the torture was ordered-ED}

Amazingly, after being tortured for weeks and months,  the crazy Al-qaeda flunky suddenly remembered anything his interrogators wanted him to remember.   Zubaydah, gave up details of All KINDS of terrorist plots.  Too bad they were, technically speaking, completely made up fantasies:

Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety -- against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty

And of Course

 With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target."

Wasting, of course,  thousands of  man hours, Millions of dollars, and letting who knows how many  REAL  plots go undetected because our law enforcement apparatus was occupied chasing fantasies?

This is normally the part where I throw in a concluding paragraph  telling you what I think  It all means, but frankly I can't do better than this sentence from Suskind's book:

"the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."


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