The New York Times Thursday quoted unnamed current and former government sources say one of those reasons may be that it was unwilling to allow the testimony of the two Al Qaeda members who linked Mr. Padilla to the above plot because the two men may have been ‘subjected to harsh questioning.’
The Qaeda members were Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, believed to be the mastermind of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and Abu Zubaydah, a top recruiter, who gave their accounts to American questioners in 2002 and 2003. The two continue to be held in secret prisons by the CIA, whose internal reviews have raised questions about their treatment and credibility, the officials said.
One review, completed in the spring of 2004 by the CIA inspector general, found that Mohammed had been subjected to excessive use of a technique involving near-drowning [known as waterboarding] in the first months after his capture, according to US intelligence officials.
The anonymous sources quoted by the Times say that the Bush administration decided not to include the more serious charges because the two top Al Qaeda men could “never be used as witnesses,” and their testimony was the only thing linking Padilla to the bombing plots. Officials were concerned that “it could open up charges from defense lawyers that their earlier statements resulted from torture.”
You get bad information linking people to things they may or may not have ben involved in, and even if they were, you can;t use the only witnesses linking them to the plot because you tortured the bastards to get the information.
Yeah. That is helpful. At this point, I don’t even know if the plot ever existed. Anyone have the background on that?
He don’t tell me.
Tell Dick “Torture is my middle name” Cheney.
Someday, we’ll have a government in this country that can actually think through the consequences of its actions. If we survive this government, that is.
>At this point, I don;t even know if the plot ever existed.
And of course any liberal who might suggest these people have rights and that the so-called ticking bomb scenario used to justify this disgrace plays out mostly on TV shows like ’24’.
Bush and his band of incompetents have ruined our reputation, flushed billions down the toilet and the bad guys are out there in greater numbers than ever.
America is less safe John and George Bush is responsible. But I doubt he’ll ever be held accountable because it’s just too painful.
If pretty reasonable people like yourself cannot bring themselves to abandon this fool of a president what hope is there for the next three years?
I teach a high-school world history class and the Padilla case has been a boon for the English civil war. Teen-agers have never really cared about the argument over a writ of habeaus corpus from the 17th century – until the last few years when I could pull out the latest move by our government to re-introduce us to the concept of absolute government. I don’t know if Mr. Padilla is guilty or innocent (actually I’m now confused about the charges since they are changed every couple of years)but he has certainly brought new relevance to our revolution (or should I be giving Bush credit for that?).
Actually, he has. It’s just that beating up on the left is still too much fun. And after TP-Dkos (still at it today, last time I looked) …. who can blame him? Just because the Bush administration is a clusterhump doesn’t mean that foolish liberals are going to turn into geniuses overnight.
Right now the idiot right and the idiot left pretty much deserve each other, IYAM.
I doubt that the plot ever actually existed outside of John “Atdrownie General” Ashcroft’s fertile imagination. The claims that have been made against Padilla follow a classic pattern of scapegoating in the United States, both in the Wen-Ho Lee case and in various cases since 9/11 (e.g. the “enemy chaplain” at Guantanamo): ludricrous initial charges are made, and progressively retreated from. Eventually, the person agrees to a minor charge so that he can just leave and go on with life.
Do I think that Padilla was a terrorist? Yeah, I suspect he was. Do I think that there was a dirty bomb plot? No.
Jesus, couple this story with Rice’s announcment about the “readiness” of the Iraqi troops makes me really wonder how these people ever got elected. It just seems like they have no problem with turning on a dime, all for politics, even if what they say contradicts or otherwise doesn’t mesh with what they were saying just days prior. They spit doubious reasoning and contradictory statements like my grandpa spit tobbacco.
The secret is that we have always been at war with Oceania.
It’s H-A-B-E-A-S. From the second person singular present active subjunctive of the Latin “habere.” It translates into “Have the body,” or “You may have the body.”
Waterboarding? Why, it’s nothing more than a harmless fraternity prank. Sheesh.
/end channeling Stormy
If torture doesn’t work, then why do we train our soliders to deal with is? You can be agains torture, that’s fine, but let’s not pretend it doesn’t work. Let’s not pretend there’s a trade-off: the comfort of terrorists verus the safety of civilians.
Don’t conflate skill at campaigning with skill at governing. I have no doubt that this administration will be recognized as one of the greatest campaigning teams, and one of the worst governing teams, in history.
Versus “habeass” which means “You may have the booty.”
You gave me the best laugh I’ve had all day.
This entire post and comments presupposes that the objective is to gather evidence to be used in court, as opposed to providing targets for SEAL Team 6 in a war, which is what we are supposed to be fighting.
Hello? I never said that, but go on repeating it, since you are self-identifying as an illiterate moron.
Of course, I do disagree with the harshest terrorists receiving Cordon BLeu and gaining an average of ten pounds at Gitmo. Call me crazy, but I don’t think terrorists should be coddled and kept away from harsh language.
I have yet to see you define actual torture, yet you believe out military is involved in it across the board. I could type more slowly if it would help with the reading comprehension. I have said plenty on this issue, but I have never mentioned waterboarding. But I do sleep better at night knowing that those those two terrorists had to undergo some harsh questioning, I really do. I just think of the innocent people having to jump out of a burning skyscraper, and harsh questioning gets put into perspective right, effing quick.
You may get bad information, I agree. But it seems a number of experienced military and CIA personnel see certain forms of what is generally considered to be torture of illegal combatents, as effective means of obtaining valid intel which can save lives. I believe it’s John’s position that torture under no circumstance (Al Queda officers found hiding among civilians, never). Fair enough, as this could be a very slippery slope. I’m more alarmed by the lack of checks on the use of torture giving the CIA an unqualified exemption. If (a BIG if) there is a valid case to be made for certain kinds of torture for terrorists, those cases should be rare, and the circumstances should be spelled out clearly. Kind of like an extreme version of a search warrant, in which the police cannot do as they please without first convincing a judge.
Witnesses in a civilian court of law in the extraordinary case of a US citizen accused of terrorists acts, sure, testimony against those citizens which was extracted under torture would be inadmissable. But that’s a rare circumstance when dealing with terrorists. If they had to convince a military tribunal under a pre-defined set of rules, perhaps that would be good enough
Torture isn’t always used on prisoners to eleicit information. In fact usually it isn’t because its unreliable. Usually it’s used to modify behavior and make prisoners compliant.
Isn’t that reason enough to use it?
No. There is no excuse, no circumstance that will justify, the use of torture.
Only problem I can see is that as things stand, we are all free to decide for ourselves what is and is not “torture.”
There are plenty of ways to make prisoners compliant that don’t resort to (anyone’s idea of) torture. Making the conditions they are held in as humane as possible usually does it. Things like access to entertainment, religious services, good food in reasonable quantites, opportunities to exercise….
There are good and bad reasons why certain interrogation techniques should or shouldn’t be used but testimony derived from high valued targets like KSM isn’t one of them.
It isn’t like the CIA or whoever is holding him was going to bring him out the hole he is in, put him in a suit and put him on the stand.
I am shocked that 4 years after 9/11 and almost 3 years in Iraq we are still debating whether terrorism is a legal or military matter.
Let’s be honest, the legal approach didn’t work, did it? We convicted lots of people connected to the first WTC bombing and that only got us the African embassy bombings, the Cole and 9/11.
Something else to consider in the debate about whether GWOT detainees have Habeas actions…these folks weren’t arrested they were captured. Do you expect the military or the CIA to Mirandize everyone they grab on the battlefield or in a 3rd country?
Terrorists don’t have the legal protections of the US Constitution outside of the US.
Personally, I feel better knowing KSM is in a black hole somewhere from which he will never emerge. I couldn’t care less what happens to him or that he isn’t available to testify in open court.
I think we have two issues to iron out. First of all, how do we define torture? Of course actual physical beating is torture. But is playing loud, repetitive music torture? Or is serving someone bland food over and over torture? Where do you draw the line? Second, I agree with Darrell, IF we use any sort of physical pressure, we have to specifically work out in what circumstances it can be used and who can use it and who can give permission for it. We need to have records available to be accessed by the Senate Intelligence Committee. This would cut down on any free-lancing torturers such as Charles Graner.
Let’s be honest here, torture can work on occasion. For instance, water boarding seemed to work with Khalid Sheik Mohammed. However, I don’t think torture should be used, but ‘pressure’ can be. Pressure to me means a low grade type of torture. It’s like asking a friend a question over and over again that they don’t want to answer. Finally, they will just blurt it out just to get it over with. Pressure and constant interrogation seems to work with criminal suspects, it should work with terrorists as well.
Heck, let’s just bring back Trial by Ordeal, that had a fine history as well.
My feeling is: keep torture illegal. If the situation is so desperate that you bloody well need it (ticking bomb situation) then there must be one person who is willing to go to gaol for it. If no one is willing to make a sacrifice of his career/life, then the situation wasn’t all that desperate, was it?
Maybe I’ve studied too much history, but there is a nasty habit of gov’ts when it comes to “state security” to continually expand the net. Accusations of treason for use against political opposition is not uncommon. I’d rather not give the legitimacy of torture into the hands of someone like Ann Coulter.
I agree in general. However, as for the ticking bomb scenario, I’ve got a problem; it won’t be a matter of one person deciding to sacrifice their life or career. This is government and what will inevitably happen is that the action will be covered up. If you are willing (and I am not) to make an exception in practice for the ticking bomb, then you must make that exception in law as well–a very well defined exception.
RTO trainer: There is an exception in law: that’s what the necessity defense is for. One never wants to use it, but it’s there for “ticking bomb” situations.
Where do I find the necessity defense? Its not part of our briefings and it’s counter to what we are taught.
I think that the President’s power to pardon might be what we’re looking for here.
Pardoning torturers? Sounds like a political non-starter to me…every time.