Sunday, April 19, 2009

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Broke "after 2 Minutes" in 183 Waterboarding Sessions?

Emptywheel reported "according to the May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 and Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002. On page 37 of the OLC memo, in a passage discussing the differences between SERE techniques and the torture used with detainees, the memo explains:"

The CIA used the waterboard "at least 83 times during August 2002" in the interrogation of Zubaydah. IG Report at 90, and 183 times during March 2003 in the interrogation of KSM, see id. at 91.

Contrast the 183 waterboarding sessions with the fiction perpetuated by the Bush administration in 2007. ABC News reported:

When Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was strapped down to the water-board, he felt humiliated -- not by the treatment but by the fact that a woman, a red-headed CIA supervisor, was allowed to witness the spectacle, a former intelligence officer told ABC News.

The al Qaeda mastermind, known as KSM, stubbornly held out for about two minutes -- far longer than any of the other "high-value" terror targets who were subjected to the technique, the harshest from a list of six techniques approved for use by the CIA and Bush administration lawyers, sources said.

Then KSM started talking, in idiomatic English he learned as a high school foreign exchange student and polished at a North Carolina college in the 1980s, sources said.

"It was an extraordinary amount of time for him to hold out," one former CIA officer told "A red-headed female supervisor was in the room when he was being water-boarded. It was humiliating to him. So he held out."

"Then he started talking, and he never stopped," this former officer said. KSM was never water-boarded again, and in hours and hours of conversation with his interrogators, often over a cup of tea, he poured out his soul and the murderous
deeds he committed.

Using the CIA's directives on waterboarding, how many sessions equal "two minutes"?

"where authorized, it may be used for two "sessions" per day of up to two hours. During a session, water may be applied up to six times for ten seconds or longer (but never more than 40 seconds). In a 24-hour period, a detainee may be subjected to up to twelve minutes of water appliaction. See id. at 42. Additionally, the waterboard may be used on as many as five days during a 30-day approval period."

Water may be applied for 10 to 40 seconds. That equals 5 to 18 sessions. If Khalid Sheik Mohammed broke in two minutes, why did he undergo 165 to 178 more sessions? Someone's not communicating in "good faith".

The Bush administration was famous for poor communication. The Obama team granted CIA agents a free pass. Surely, highly trained agents questioned the Bush legal rationale. How many interrogators in the 183 sessions had misgivings about the legal basis for their torture tactics? They should speak out.

"If in fact it's true that they water-boarded him once and then he started talking and provided reliable information, then he falls under the category of the small minority of people on whom it works. But torture seldom works. Most people start get the pain to stop,"said Brad Garrett, an ABC News consultant and former FBI agent. Garrett has 30 years of experience interrogating terrorists.

But in many cases, the harsh intelligence techniques led to questionable confessions and downright lies, say officers with firsthand knowledge of the program.

When did America become an oppressive state that holds no one accountable?