April 20, 2009

So it wasn't torture, they just liked doing it? This is really sickening:

Waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, was used by C.I.A. interrogators far more frequently on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda than has been previously reported.

A 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum says that C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times during August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, who has been described as a Qaeda operative.

A former C.I.A. officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC News and other news media organizations in 2007 that Abu Zubaydah had undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything he knew.

The May 30, 2005, memo, quoting a 2004 investigation by the C.I.A. inspector general, says that in March 2003, waterboarding was used 183 times against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The New York Times reported in 2007 that Mr. Mohammed had been barraged more than 100 times with harsh interrogation methods, causing C.I.A. 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 used so many times was not previously known.

Charles Lemos over at MyDD notes his close friendship with WSJ reporter Danny Pearl, who was brutally murdered by al Qaeda, and responds to the torture memos:

Those of us who knew Danny are very protective of Danny and his legacy because Danny Pearl was an exceptional human being. It is hard to talk about Danny and not wax eloquent. It is beyond belief to us that when Al Qaeda killed Danny, they killed someone who actually was interested in having their grievances heard. Not that Danny or I sympathized with Islamic terrorism, but there are many who think it important to understand its causes so that we might be able to better mitigate its spread.

In thinking about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the fact that he was waterboarded 183 times in the month of March of 2003, I cannot but express how this denigrates everything that Danny stood for. In waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, we have descended to the level of that butcher. We have proved that we are no better than them and I refuse to believe that. The West has a moral obligation to live up to the ideals that Danny Pearl embodied.

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