Condoleeza Rice Appproved Waterboarding Torture 23

It emerges that Condoleeza Rice gave the go-ahead for waterboarding as National Security Adviser.

This blog brought you information on the torture of Khalid Sheik Mohammed over two years ago.

CIA Torture and Khalid Sheik Mohammed

The man was waterboarded – which causes excruciating pain and suffocation – over 180 times. That is about once every three days over the period in question. There are few examples in history of anybody ever being tortured so severely over such an extended period. Can you imagine the permanent mental anguish, of waiting for the next physical anguish to begin?

Plainly the “Ticking bomb” argument used by Cheney and the pro-torture lobby is a myth, when torture extends over years.

As a result of this extreme and prolonged torture, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to pretty well every terrorist atrocity you can name or planned terrorist atrocity you can imagine. In the UK alone, under torture he “confessed” to plans to blow up Heathrow, Canary Wharf, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. There are similar lists for pretty well every other Western country.

When I wrote the following back in 2007 this blog got 500 visitors a day: now it gets 5,000 let me repeat it:

Secret Confessions and Torture

Mohammed Sheikh Khalid has now, voluntarily and of his own free will, admitted he masterminded every significant event from the Norman Invasion through the bubonic plague, fall of Constantinople, and Great Fire of London, to the Battle of Little Big Horn, assassination of JFK and the Oklahoma bombing.

Or he might as well have. The extraordinarily comprehensive list of terrorist outrages for which he claims responsibility would be beyond the capacity of any but the most brilliant and inspired mortal; Khalid, I fear, is a more run of the mill thug.

But in truth, we have absolutely no idea what, if anything, he has confessed at all. The BBC brazenly reported all of yesterday that while Khalid did allege he had been tortured during his four years of secret detention by the CIA in various locations around the globe, he is now freely confessing under no duress and does not retract any of his confession.

Who says? The proceedings being held in Guantanamo Bay, and which the BBC report so uncritically, are held behind barbed wire, machine guns, gun emplacements, reinforced steel and concrete and combination locks, before an exclusively military panel. Khalid does not even have a lawyer present. For all we know, his confession could be an entire fabrication. The blandness of the BBC reporting in these circumstances is one of the worst examples of the appalling desertion of the principles of that once worthwhile institution.

The readiness of the rest of the media to push the “instil fear” button on behalf of the Orwellian government is predictable. They report as fact that Khalid also planned to blow up Heathrow, Canary Wharf, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and any other British building the Pentagon had heard of.

If Khalid really is freely and openly confessing all of this stuff, then what possible reason can there be to deny him a lawyer, and not allow public and media access to his trial? The atrocities he allegedly confesses – the Twin Towers, Madrid, Bali – left thousands of bereaved families. They have a right to see justice done, rather than this elaborate propaganda set-up, with its total lack of proper legal process or intellectual credibility.

Did Khalid really do all of this? Two facts must be considered. He has been through years of vicious torture and of solitary confinement. If the experience of others who survived extraordinary rendition is typical, he has been kept in total isolation, in darkness, beaten, cut, suffocated and drowned, suffered white noise and sensory deprivation. He will have been moved around, often not even knowing which country he is in. One good contact has told me that the CIA gave the Uzbek torturers their turn with him. I do not know that for certain, but who can contradict me?

After years of this, a person can be so psychologically damaged that they believe the narrative of their torturers to be the truth. It is perfectly possible that he now in fact believes he did all that stuff on the list, when he did not.

Alternatively, he may have decided to exaggerate his own role and achievements for the personal glory it brings. We can get the appalling situation where both the sides which benefit from and wish to promote the War on Terror – Al Qaida and the CIA – indulge in what becomes a grim mutual cooperation in exaggeration as each seeks to glorify their role. Thus do those on both sides who actually desire a “Clash of Civilisations”, promote one.

What is happening now in Guanatanamo Bay is a disgrace. We cannot in present circumstances accept anything that comes out of it as other than a completely unsubstantiated claim by the Pentagon. Some of it is quite possibly true. But this is no way to make the case.

Secret Confessions and Torture

The UK is complicit in this torture. Every bit of “intelligence” from the CIA torture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the thousands of other victims of torture by the CIA or their foreign liason intelligence agencies, has been shared with MI6 by the CIA. Jack Straw took the positive decision that the UK should accept intelligence from torture. That is the main point of the evidence I shall give to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights on Tuesday 28 April.

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23 thoughts on “Condoleeza Rice Appproved Waterboarding Torture

  • Me

    Nobody has yet to challenge anyone on how many individuals have lost their lives during torturing?

    And it would surprise me if some people have disappeared into state run mental hospitals…now the UK wouldn’t do that would they?

  • anticant

    Obviously if anyone has to be waterboarded more than half a dozen times at the most the ‘treatment’ is ineffective as a means of extracting reliable information.

    To do it to one individual almost 200 times is sheer sadism. The perpetrators obviously enjoyed it.

    As for Condoleezza the “Rice Maiden”, I wouldn’t put anything past her.

    The sad fact is that the so-called democratic world is being run by moral degenerates.

  • Mentalogirl

    Good luck on Tuesday,Craig.I have read your first book and have been a reader of your blog since,thank you for your contribution to justice and humanity.

    Whenever I used to read books about the Inquisition I always thought the cruelty towards each other was a reflection of the times.There’s simply no excuse for it in 2009.

  • Richard T

    In light of the Dear Leader’s willingness to sack the British Foreign Secretary at the request of the US Government and his status as a de facto representative of the Americans, it will be interesting to learn what did he know about torture and when did he know it. As he, and the gentry in the Bush admnistration he was associating himself with, are all ardent Christians, what does it say about their faith?

    Blair’s line throughout all the Iraq war has been ends justify means so, to answer my questions, I guess he would say getting rid of Saddam – well you know the rest.

  • Jon

    I am coming to the evidence session on Tuesday, Craig, so you should keep in mind that there will be some friendly and supportive faces in the public gallery. Best of luck.

    I understand the proceedings are to be held in the Thatcher room. You should be much cheered to think that the Iron Lady herself would seriously disapprove of your testimony 😉

  • anticant

    I don’t think that’s fair, Jon. Thatcher was a tribalist – you had to be “one of us” – but she wouldn’t have approved of torture. And – unlike Poodle Blair – she did stand up to her friend Reagan when she thought British interests were at stake.

  • JimmyGiro

    Con dolcezza, which means “with sweetness”.

    I wonder what her parents would have called her if they knew her future; Conmalizia?

  • Jon

    @anticant – I feel that, as a cheeky young whippersnapper, I should defer to your wisdom. But what you say is entirely incompatible with her stated distaste for the institutions of international law, upon which the illegality of torture depends. She praised Bush for not signing up to the ICC in her memoirs, and – let us not forget – had tea with Pinochet before he snuffed it.

    I did some research on Pinochet a while ago, and found that a British priest was tortured to death under his regime. I don’t have references to hand, but could probably find them again if you were interested. I can’t imagine that she wouldn’t have known about that, and regard with hindsight that giving support to the old bastard demonstrates that for her, “realpolitik” trumped human rights abuses, as long as the media didn’t cause too much of a fuss about it.

  • anticant

    Yes, Jon, you’re right about Pinochet, and realpolitik always plays a role – as it should do – in foreign policy. It’s when the country’s best interests are misjudged [as they so often are] that it causes trouble, as with Eden over the Suez crisis. Blair and Iraq is more questionable: I myself don’t believe he had any option but to follow America as they have such a stranglehold over us in intelligence sharing, bases etc.

    I don’t claim superior wisdom to anyone posting here, though I have probably been alive longer than most of you. What I do deplore is the rather mindless demonisation of politicians one disagrees with who, whatever their faults, did have some virtues as well. Even the ghastly Blair did a few good things [such as civil partnerships].

    Btw you and others here may be interested in my latest post on anticant’s arena.

  • Jon

    @anticant: I put “realpolitik” in quotes as I tend to view it as a mechanism that excuses the discarding of morality when convenient. But even if the concept has some use, it does not disguise the fact that Thatcher was taking tea with a torturer, and yet you’ve said that she wouldn’t have approved of it [recent torture conducted or approved by the CIA]. I took that to mean you thought that she would defend victims of such a practise, and stand against it, which is plainly not the case in her support for Pinochet. Some contradiction?

    On another note, I am intrigued how you believe Blair had no option but to follow America to Iraq: surely you would have less moral grounds for regarding him as ghastly if that were truly so? I regard him as ghastly precisely +because+ I think he had a choice, and he squandered what could have been in the eyes of the US a reputation of the UK as a moderating, balancing influence.

  • anticant

    Yes, of course there’a a contradiction as I’ve already conceded. But I somehow don’t think she would have gone along with all the Bush crowd’s antics quite as blithely as Blair did.

    As for American control, you have only to study the history of their brhaviour since the CIA was founded soon after WW2 to see that they have precious little good will for anybody except themselves. The “special relationship” may have had some substance in the days of Roosevelt and Churchill, but now it is just hocus pocus. British prime ministers may like to preen themselves that they are big noises in the White House, but it is crap. When America tells us to jump, we jump. And when America is run by the political equivalents of Al Capone [i.e.Bush’Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz et al] we still jump. Don’t kid yoruself that Obama will be much better. He’s sweeter tongued but the same old mixture as before. Most Americans are moral cretins, deluded by their own myth of ‘exceptionalism’ which ia rapidly bringing about their downfall [Taliban within 70 miles of Islamabad…..]

  • Jives

    I’m just surprised the guy tortured didnt “confess” to Shergar,JFK,Lord Lucan,faking the moon landings,murdering Princess Diana,owning Area 51 etc etc…

    Dont ya just love Freedom,Democracy and Civilisation NeoCon style eh?

    Condi?…just another smart enough to follow orders stooge war criminal…

    The thing about torturers is this> They dont actually care if those tortured are guilty or innocent they just sadistically break down whoever is in fornt of them..they dont care about guilt or their twisted barbaric world we are ALL guilty.So torturers arent interested whatsoever in exculpating the tortured…just destroying them.

    All these NuLabour/NeoCon war criminals should be locked up for a very very long time.

    Thanks again for your decency,humanity and bravery here Craig.

  • Jon

    I pretty much agree with all of that. As I probably pointed out on Obama’s thread, I have always been cynical about his supposed progressiveness – it will be the same as Clinton’s, and that was a sham too. I am no conspiracy theorist but tend to side with the view that, given the infinite lobbying potential wielded by capitalism in general, if Obama was going to substantially rock the boat, he would not have been elected.

    The American ideology of exceptionalism is worrying, to be sure, but as Jason points out on the Sky comments thread, we’ve plenty of moral cretins ourselves. I don’t take issue with what you say, but won’t lob too many rocks at the Americans for containing a lot of stupid people – since we have more than enough here in the UK. (And mass ignorance is the reason for our perpetual dire straights in the first place, IMO!)

  • abalshawareb

    One thing about Khaled Sheikh Muhammad that I couldn’t understand is the link between him and the murder of Daniel Perl.

    Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, (who was described as MI6 agent by Musharraf and Times..etc), was convicted of Perl’s murder and sentenced to death by Pakistani court.

    He claimed he had surrendered to the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency a week earlier, before Perl murder took place

    Then, Khaled Sheikh Muhammad admitted killing Perl!!

    One thing is clear, One murder, Two different killers blamed for this one crime, and both cases linked to MI6, CIA dirty work…

    I blame the media who reported Khaled sheikh confessing Perl’s killing, without mentioning that it was already a solved case!!

  • David McKelvie

    I suppose Condi gets to play Lindie England on this one – what’s her pay off for protecting the real principals, I wonder?

  • Abualshawareb

    Here is s video of Bush himself admitting authorizing kahled Sheilh Muhammad torture, he also think it’s still necessary

    Pentagon analyst told Vantiy Fair that ( Khalid Sheikh Mohammed produced no actionable intelligence.” None).

    The problem, Cheney and Bush are the only people who still repeating that torture works.. even when the Pentagon said it didn’t !!

  • Sam

    Quoting Jives: “…in their twisted barbaric world we are ALL guilty.So torturers arent interested whatsoever in exculpating the tortured…just destroying them.

    All these NuLabour/NeoCon war criminals should be locked up for a very very long time.

    Thanks again for your decency,humanity and bravery here Craig.”

    >>>too upset and teary reading this post to say much. But Jesus, how the hell did we get into this obscenely debauched state? How the hell…

  • Sam

    Quoting Jives: “…in their twisted barbaric world we are ALL guilty.So torturers arent interested whatsoever in exculpating the tortured…just destroying them.

    All these NuLabour/NeoCon war criminals should be locked up for a very very long time.

    Thanks again for your decency,humanity and bravery here Craig.”

    >>>too upset and teary reading this post to say much. But Jesus, how the hell did we get into this obscenely debauched state? How the hell…

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Myself a lawyer, I find the absence of a special prosecutor, on the issue of torture, in one sense tragic and in another sense comic, when one considers the overall US justice system. I will explain in two steps:-

    1. A US President drops his pants in the “oral” ( sorry – Oval Office) and a young aid gives him some assistance. Shock and horror – the nation appoints a special prosecutor to investigate the matter.

    2. There is the most serious matter of abuse of executive power. This time it is not merely an “abuse” that bears on the power of one man over one woman to give him some sexual pleasure. This relates to massive corruption and compromises of executive authority at the highest levels of the governmental system, bearing on issues of extreme human rights abuses, violations of international law, compromises of the US Constitution. Now, guess what – a special prosecutor for the misdemeanor in the “oral office” ( sorry – there I go again) Oval Office did find justification by reference to the act committed; but – no special prosecutor is justified when issues of torture arise.

    Amen! – or was that an Ahhh! – I just heard as Bill expressed his great satisfaction to Monica?

    Are we serious? Personally, when I consider the broader implications, ultimately I accept that this is no laughing matter ?” but when one takes a serious look at how these most serious matters are weighed in the processes of the US governmental system, then either the special prosecutor is appointed in a timely way, or I suggest as a practical alternative an act of collective protest. My suggestion – a group of exactly one hundred protesters should stand outside the White House. There should be a count of 1, 2 and 3, then on the count of three, with their backs turned to the White House, in unison they drop their pants, or raise their dresses, and “moon” the highest executive office as they raise their collective voice and shout the word “torture!”. The choices of inscriptions on their placards will be left to individual tastes. One sign might read “Bill got his ?” we want ours ( special prosecutor)” Maybe this will gain the attention of the international media, and thereafter the actual seriousness of the issue will begin to sink in, and the correct legal steps will begin to be taken ?” I hope ( as Obama would say).

    Thanks for letting me comment ?” my website ?”

  • Jon

    @Courtenay – there have been several organised moonings, including “Bums For Bush” in Sydney in 2007, featuring a “21 Bum Salute”. It was an effective protest in its own way, but didn’t significantly “gain the attention of the international media” in the way you hope it would.

    This is for two reasons, to my mind. Firstly, it implies that the media exist primarily to correct wrongs, and to shed light in dark corners – when in fact the primary purpose of the corporate media is to turn a profit. In fact, if +not+ reporting a story is in the interests of a newspaper, then that may well happen, and there are many instances of exactly that happening.

    Secondly, if the media do report well on a protest, you need a morally alive citizenry to ‘answer the call’. Since we don’t have one of those either, by and large, there is little effect even when a protest is covered well by the press.

    I am not saying that peaceful protest is a waste of time. However, I +am+ saying that one needs to be careful what to expect from protest, and to understand that the nature and the culture of the Western world as it is does not lend itself to widespread sympathy for the oppressed or substantial public action against injustice.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Jon, I note what you have said ?” and well said it has been.

    My “difficulty” , if I may term it that, is that I do human rights cases, and I am just shy of thirty years of being in the courts as an advocate. I have seen cases where the abuse is blatant and the system covers up. Also, there have been cases where I have, against the odds, been able to pierce the veil of corruption and official secrecy to obtain some justice. Saying this not to be a musician, as in blowing one’s trumpet ( never got past middle c on the piano and thus am actually hopeless at music ?” but a good dancer to boot!). Anyway, staying on topic.

    My point really is, against the background I just set, that while I accept as given facts the corruption, hypocrisy, apathy etc. and corporate self-serving interests of the main stream media, the processes are not static. If nothing were done ?” then what? Wouldn’t we be as complicit, passive, apathetic and ultimately passively supportive of the shit which is happening? Thus, of the two options:-

    1. Do nothing because the powers that be are too evil, strong, and omnipotent ;or

    2. Do something because human existence in the socio-political firmament is a dynamic existence, with a dynamism that we ( the human actors) can determine, can make purposeful and can make effective.

    I think of King in the US and a political science professor of mine at London University in the seventies when I was at college. First, the professor assured us that it was a given that we would not see majority rule in South Africa in the Twentieth Century. Was he correct? As regards Martin Luther King, he literally gave up his life, when he turned his attention from civil rights advocacy to a challenge to the evils of militarism during the Vietnam war era. Recall his speech when he said:-

    “… I knew that I could not ever again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greater purveyor of violence in the world: my own government.” Martin Luther King in his “Beyond Vietnam” April 4, 1967 speech

    A year later the government gave him the bullet that ended his life. I met the man who was the ghost writer for James Earl Ray’s book and I got the inside story on King’s death.

    I am saying all this, to assure that there is indeed a struggle, there are challenges, there are obstacles along the way, even “corporate media boulders in the road” ?” but if you have bothered to blog here, troubled to reply to me ?” I believe that you believe that some change, even incremental ones, can be brought about.

    On Monday the 27th April, I am starting a trial where I know the police shot a sixteen year old youngster and someone should be on trial for murder ?” but the cover up continues. Details I need not go into here. This is the kind of case that represents precisely the types of obstacles to which you refer, Jon. But, I either fight it, or I hang up my wig and turn my back on the injustice. I am going to court. You won’t be coming with me ?” but mentally, maybe, just maybe, you might believe, within the confines of your own existence, your own mind, that a good struggle for a just cause is not wasted energy.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Aluta continua!

  • Gerard Mulholland

    In the interests of tidying up the history books and relieving all sorts of people of the very nasty rumours and suspicions concerning them, there’s a few other things he could be asked to confess to:

    Shooting Abe Lincoln.

    Poisoning Napoleon.

    Personally crucifying Jesus Christ.

    Knocking down the Walls of Jericho.

    Destroying the Tower of Babel.

    Causing the Great Flood.

    Getting Eve to eat that apple.

    The state he must be in now, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

    It’d be SO helpful.

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