Monday, June 08, 2009

Torture news

Another torture news update from TBA!

(1) The NYT breathlessly reports on three e-mails by Jim Comey (he of the famous hospital-bed showdown with Andy Card and Alberto Gonzales), which the NYT takes to show that Comey agreed with the 2005 torture memos by Steven Bradbury. As Emptywheel and Glenn Greenwald demonstrate, the NYT's line is not compatible with a reading of the actual e-mails, which are fascinating in recounting how torture issues were actually addressed, or left unaddressed. Read all three.

(2) Jake Tapper interviews Lakhdar Boumediene, whom we held at Gitmo for 7+ years without enough evidence to shake a stick at.
In 2001, Boumediene, his wife and two young daughters lived in Sarajevo, Bosnia. He worked for the Red Crescent Society, having done stints for the organization in Pakistan and Albania.

He was arrested by Bosnian police in October 2001 and charged with conspiring to blow up the U.S. and British Embassies. He called the charges false and ludicrous.

"They search my car, my office, nothing. Cell phone, nothing. Nothing. Nothing," he said.

The charges were dropped, and the Bosnian courts ordered him and five others freed. But under pressure from the Bush administration, the Bosnian government handed him over to the U.S. military. * * *

Boumediene said the interrogations began within one week of his arrival at the facility in Cuba. But he thought that his cooperation, and trust in the United States, would serve him well and quicken his release.

"I thought America, the big country, they have CIA, FBI. Maybe one week, two weeks, they know I am innocent. I can go back to my home, to my home," he said.

But instead, Boumediene said he endured harsh treatment for more than seven years. He said he was kept awake for 16 days straight, and physically abused repeatedly. * * *

Oddly, Boumediene said no one at Gitmo ever asked him about the alleged plot to blow up the embassies in Sarajevo. They wanted to know what he knew about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, he recounted, which was nothing.

Boumediene said it was in his interest to lie to the interrogators, who would reward the detainees if they admitted guilt.

"If I tell my interrogator, I am from Al Qaeda, I saw Osama bin Laden, he was my boss, I help him, they will tell me, 'Oh you are a good man,'" he said. "But if I refuse? I tell them I'm innocent, never was I terrorist, never never, they tell me. 'You are, you are not cooperating, I have to punch you.'"
Well, that's certainly the way to get valid intel.

... Dan Froomkin has a nice writeup on (1) above.

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