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U.S. Official Claims At Least One Gitmo Detainee Was Tortured

Bob Woodward has an interview in the Washington Post with the top U.S. official responsible for overseeing military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay. Susan J. Crawford confirms to Woodward that 20th hijacker Mohammed al-Qahtani wasn't put on trial because he was tortured.

She says after reviewing the classified reports and interrogation logs she concluded that he was definitely tortured. As a result, war crimes charges against al-Qahtani were dropped, although he remains in U.S. custody pending a decision by the incoming Obama administration on what to do with him.

Crawford, 61, said the combination of the interrogation techniques, their duration and the impact on Qahtani's health led to her conclusion. "The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent. … You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him.

She goes on to list some of the specific techniques used against al-Qahtani:

"For 160 days his only contact was with the interrogators," said Crawford, who personally reviewed Qahtani's interrogation records and other military documents. "Forty-eight of 54 consecutive days of 18-to-20-hour interrogations. Standing naked in front of a female agent. Subject to strip searches. And insults to his mother and sister."

I actually downloaded the interrogation logs from Wikileaks and read them word for word. They were no doubt tough, but totally justified and not torture in my view. Even if it was torture, it doesn't matter because we had to get information out of him. We did in fact get the information out of him using these techniques, but Crawford decided she wouldn't allow it in court.Crawford herself says even though he can't be tried in court because of the torture he's still a very dangerous man who no doubt intended to be a hijacker on 9/11.

"There's no doubt in my mind he would've been on one of those planes had he gained access to the country in August 2001," Crawford said of Qahtani, who remains detained at Guantanamo. "He's a muscle hijacker. … He's a very dangerous man. What do you do with him now if you don't charge him and try him? I would be hesitant to say, 'Let him go.' "

I applaud the Bush administration for trying to do things the legal way and bring al-Qahtani back to Gitmo for a military tribunal, but in hindsight they should have done it differently. All high value detainees should have been taken to secret CIA facilities far from U.S. soil, interrogated vigorously, then simply shot. We could have said they died on the battlefield and no one would have been the wiser.

Although, these days it seems like no one is capable of keeping their mouth shut anymore so it probably would have leaked out sooner or later. But it was foolish to leave open the possibility that left-wingers could end up setting these guys free. Had we killed them after interrogation there would be no loose ends like this and the situation would have been "adjudicated" on the spot.

As I've said before, I don't care what happens to these guys. I don't buy into all the crap about "America losing its moral standing in the world" because we're the only country that has any moral standing to begin with. Since the rest of the world leaves it to America to take out the trash and do all the heavy lifting, they have no right to complain or pass judgments.

Secondly, you have to appreciate the irony of Europeans complaining about how we fight radical Islam when they've all but surrendered to it. All I care about is our intel guys getting the information they need. How they go about getting it is irrelevant and inconsequential.

The people who spend their time worrying about how we treat the people who want to kill us are at best misguided and at worst bad Americans. Like the Code Pinkos of the world who've never met a dictator they didn't love or a U.S. soldier they didn't loathe.

About Chris Jones

  • Cindy D

    Dan(Miller),

    The second statute was offered to demonstrate what level of property damage is considered criminal, and therefore a felony. …to “further terrorism” if the crime is a felony…. It’s $1000, unless you’ve been previously convicted, blah blah, then it’s $500.

    The terrorism statute requires the commission of a felony. That’s why I needed the damage statute. Yes?

    Thanks, Dan(Miller). They are doing some pretty weird things to protesters these days. Dancing was considered a felony to incite a riot (where no riot occurred). I hope you are right!

  • Fresh Meat

    As a former soldier I have only one comment. Would you be happy with these acts being commited against our soldiers when they become POW’s? If you are not then you need to re-check your hypocrisy, as you are provinding the enemey with justifications they already don’t need to also ignore the Geneva Conventions.

    These conventions are largely ignored today, but by ignoring them you begin to cutoff support from one’s allies and isolate yourself. Whilst currently the US is in a position to not care about alliances, will that be the case in 50 years?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Cindy D, some property damage is a felony and some is not. Section 609.595, DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, illuminates what property damage is a felony and what is not. Some property damage is a felony, and some is not.

    Far fewer than all felonies constitute terrorism under the other statute you cited.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Cindy D

    Dan(Miller),

    Yes, but you have to have a felony to begin the terrorism act from a property damage angle, right?

    So, you have to have $1K damage to property to have the initial felony.

    For instance, if you have $375 damage to property you can not be charged under the terrorism statute based on damage to property.

    Just from the property damage angle I’m talking about.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Cindy D,

    Yes, but even if you have ten million dollars in property damage and multiple felonies, the Minnesota terrorism statute to which you provided a link still comes into play only under the stated circumstances. There are lots and lots of felonies — bank robbery, murder, burglary, rape etc., and unless they meet the statutory definition of terrorism they still do not fall under the terrorism statute. The felony has to be intended to:

    (1) terrorize, intimidate, or coerce a considerable number of members of the public in addition to the direct victims of the act; and

    (2) significantly disrupt or interfere with the lawful exercise, operation, or conduct of government, lawful commerce, or the right of lawful assembly.(emphasis added)

    Few bank robberies, murders, burglaries, rapes, malicious property damage or other felonies are intended to, or do, “terrorize, intimidate, or coerce a considerable number of members of the public in addition to the direct victims of the act.” Those committed without the specified intent to do so do not come under the Minnesota terrorism statute — even if they are so heinous as to be condemned universally* as warranting life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or death, even by being staked out over a gigantic mound of fire ants.

    Dan(Miller)

    *including but not by way of limitation all member states of the United Nations and his Holiness the Pope.

  • Cindy D

    Dan(Miller),

    The LAW says. $1000 in property damage is a criminal act (a felony).

    The LAW says, “As used in this section, a crime is committed to ‘further terrorism’ if the crime is a felony [my note $1000 of property damage] and is a premeditated act involving violence to persons or property that is intended to: significantly disrupt or interfere with the lawful exercise, operation, or conduct of government, lawful commerce, or the right of lawful assembly.”

    What that tells me is this: If you write a message that can be interpreted in any way as interfering with the above stated…you can be arrested as a terrorist! And further, let the court decide.

    How about:

    GO AWAY YOU FUCKING CAPITALIST PIGS!

    …when written outside a place that is designed for the gathering of people for a political function.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    I don’t see how graffiti alone can disrupt the function of something.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Dan/Cindy,

    # 55 & 56:

    Well, one of the consequences of broadening the definition of “terrorism” – whatever the legal reasoning or justification – apart from trivializing it, is self-defeating. It only adds fuel to the fire, making a “terrorist” an honorific term. I would have thought it would be in the best interest of Federal, State, and Local governmental agencies to keep “terrorism” a dirty word. But it looks as though the State is prepared to wage an all-out war against any and all acts of civil disobedience – serious or trivial. That’s the makings of a police state, don’t you think? Is that what we’ve got to look forward to?

    I would think that under the circumstances, it would be more prudent to suspend legal reasoning (and recourse to legal reasoning) for a while in the interest of the future.

    Roger

  • Cindy D

    TY Dan(Miller) for looking that over.

    Let me say, people have been arrested for less. People have been arrested for much less. On felony charges.

    So, if you want to protest, do what I tell my nephew to do (when he wants to protest), hang up a poster, instead of graffiti.

    Put a sticker with an idea on something. Whatever you think. Don’t stop. Don’t get arrested.

    Keep going. But don’t get arrested.

  • pablo

    post50

    This is the quintessential Nallism. When corrrected by me of his historical inaccuracy, that being that it was fact that Thoreau’s Aunt bailed him out of jail, instead of a widely held assumption, Nalle comes back with sarcasm and smear. Instead of admitting that he was incorrect in his assertion, like a man would do, he hides behind ridicule. This is why it is so typical of Nalle’s style, and why I am bringing it again to the attention of readers. And of course along comes his hand holding sidekick Clavy baby to back him up, as he invariably does.

    google search on Throreau Aunt AND tax

    Such is the life of the esteemed Dave Nalle political editor of this site, who’s main tools of choice in debate are historical revisionism, smear, and condescension. You quite a character Nalle, it is no wonder that your political acumen is so lame, as well as your opinions on politics buddy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Pablo,

    I’m not going to get into this conversation, because I just promised Dave to be more tactful and respectful in my comments; so I’ll let you to do the dirty work for a while. But I DO like your writing style.

  • pablo

    Well thank you Roger, it is indeed my pleasure to bring to everyone’s attention Nalle’s basic debating style, and historical inaccuracies. One of the latest ones that I did was Nalle’s assertion the Ollie North did time in prison for his Iran-Contra shenanigans, which was completely untrue, and if he did not know it, he is even more politically inept than I give him credit for.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    So do you think we can turn him around? Is there even a remote possibility?

  • pablo

    Roger,

    I highly doubt it. My experience with people such as Dave (right wing narrow minded folks) is that minds only function properly when open. Nalle is so busy defending the status quo and the people that are busy looting the American Citizenry of not only their Constitutional guarantees, but now their money, property, and jobs, that he will never change. I also suspect being the coinspracist that I am that Nalle is employed as a shill more than likely by the CIA, which he freely admits has been his family’s employer for decades.

    I do however enjoy immensely exposing Nalle for what he is, and will continue doing so for the indefinite future. Any moment his sidekick Clavy will come along and offer one of his smarmy remarks, I often wonder about the true nature of their relationship, and suspect is it far more intimate than most realize.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com/rod/ Dave Nalle

    Roger, you haven’t been here long enough to know what you’re dealing with, but Pablo is a narcissistic, delusional, conspiracy nut.

    His so-called disproof of my off-hand comment about Thoreau was an assertion that there was no proof that it was his aunt who paid his poll tax to get him out of jail. Never mind that the aunt theory has been a common and accepted part of the Thoreau folklore for more than a century, he declares it invalid purely on his own assertion. The fact is that the tax was paid anonymously, but that everyone who has studied the case who is at all knowledgeable on Thoreau believes Maria Thoreau paid it. She never denied having done so, and no one else ever came forward as having paid it. So unless Pablo has some secret knowledge – perhaps having been Thoreau in a past life – I’m sticking with the accepted belief that she paid his poll tax. Pablo certainly can’t prove otherwise.

    I will admit that I made a misstatement about Ollie North a while back, mistakenly assuming that his conviction had yielded some jail time – but that time was taken up by appeals which kept him out of prison. Pablo corrected me and I acknowledged the mistake. Big deal. Pablo focuses on trivia because he’s unable to debate any issue based on substance.

    I also suspect being the coinspracist that I am that Nalle is employed as a shill more than likely by the CIA, which he freely admits has been his family’s employer for decades.

    And this shit Pablo just made up out of the paranoia which shapes his twisted view of reality. I’ve only ever said that one of my relatives worked for the CIA and that only for relatively brief period. The rest, down the decades, have been journalists, industrialists, military officers, diplomats and other very un-covert and easily documented things.

    Dave

  • pablo

    A big yawn for Davey.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Cindy D, you say

    The LAW says, “As used in this section, a crime is committed to ‘further terrorism’ if the crime is a felony [my note $1000 of property damage] and is a premeditated act involving violence to persons or property that is intended to: significantly disrupt or interfere with the lawful exercise, operation, or conduct of government, lawful commerce, or the right of lawful assembly.”

    What that tells me is this: If you write a message that can be interpreted in any way as interfering with the above stated…you can be arrested as a terrorist! And further, let the court decide.

    The LAW does not say that. If you will read the cited sections of the Minnesota law, you will find that you referred only to part (2) and neglected to refer to part (1), which states

    The felony has to be intended to:

    (1) terrorize, intimidate, or coerce a considerable number of members of the public in addition to the direct victims of the act; and (emphasis added)

    also to do what you said. Parts (1) and (2) are expressively in the conjunctive, not in the disjunctive. “And” is used, not “or.” Gotta do both. I doubt very seriously that the statement GO AWAY YOU FUCKING CAPITALIST PIGS!

    …when written outside a place that is designed for the gathering of people for a political function. . . . could be construed as intended to “terrorize, intimidate, or coerce a considerable number of members of the public in addition to the direct victims of the act . . . .” Even if written in plain sight of attendees at a meeting of the Minnesota Paranoid Conspiracy Society convened to discuss the evils of Communism, it probably wouldn’t have that effect.

    The world has enough problems, legal and otherwise, without creating new ones by omitting half of the essential definition of a specific crime to find a new crime.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Dave,

    Re # 65: I’m not taking any sides here, except to say that his expression of his view is (as I see it) just as internally-consistent as is yours; and that’s good. I also think that a lot of people subscribe to Pablo’s views, although not in such an eloquent and articulated manner. By hope is that some day we might bridge at least some of the gap separating the extreme Right and Left, find a common ground on which to build; otherwise, these are just voices in the wind. And I’m certain that Pablo is a patriot, just as you are. You just have entirely different visions of (and for) America.

    Roger

  • Cindy D

    TY you Dan(Miller) for both the feedback on the law and the great grafitto idea!

    Seriously though, that was helpful.

  • Patriot

    Torture is not American, in any way, shape, or form! Read the constitution, for goodness sake. But lets put the moral evil of torture aside for a moment.
    Those tortured men were not tried and found guilty in a court of law; therefore they are only “suspected” terrorists. Can you live with your conscience if even just ONE innocent man was tortured? What if it was your wife or child? Didn’t think so.