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Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

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  • Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

    The NYTimes ran what I found to be a pretty serious article over the weekend. Did anyone else catch this? Some serious detail in here - I'm sure many will cry national security, but when you really look at the content it's nothing more than a little more focus on a blurry picture that we've had for well over a year. Some of the information in here is old, but some of it is very new:

    ...whether it was a result of a fear of waterboarding, the patient trust-building mastered by Mr. Martinez or the demoralizing effects of isolation, Mr. Mohammed and some other prisoners had become quite compliant. In fact, according to several officials, they had become a sort of terrorist focus group, advising their captors on their fellow extremists’ goals, ideology and tradecraft.
    Full Article

    I think this story as well as other accounts of the CIA's rendition program for high-value suspects (like Mohammed and Zubaydeh) illustrates positive and negative aspects of it. While the agency deserves credit for the capture and successful interrogation of these criminals, the overall planning and management of the program by the Bush administration seems all too familiar at this point - poorly planned and without a clear endgame, resulting in a sort of degenerative mess that costs far more money and time than it should. Also, far too wide a net was cast, which resulted in hundreds of innocent men being sent to Guantanamo, where according to the UN they were subjected to torture and other forms of abuse. The truth is, Guantanamo and Iraq weren't needed to break Al Qaeda.

    This picture is going to get clearer as the years pass, but the damage has been done. It's fairly obvious to me that Guantanamo did (and is still doing) more harm than good in that the vast majority of information gained through interrogation was gained prior to the facility being opened. Since being in place, Guantamo has most likely bred more hatred rather than removing it from Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. Take it from Israel (in day five of a Gaza cease-fire) - sloppy bullying is not the way to fight terrorism.
    Last edited by Mosely; 06-23-2008, 12:39 PM. Reason: link

  • #2
    Re: Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

    The NY Times, though a well respected newspaper is very bias/extremely liberal. When Lt. Michael Murphy was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor they refused to run an article about it or even acknowledge it on the first page let alone anywhere else in the paper. There were also some issues with a reporter telling CIA materials/political things recently, IMHO I think the paper has gone way down hill, The Wall Street Journal is a paper that has gained a lot of interest lately, though Thomas Friedman weekly writes an amazing column in the times.

    I will read the article and not jump to any conclusions, I hope that whoever did write it doesn't just harp on interrogation techniques, because as well all know our enemies in the middle east when american servicemen or news reporters are taken captive like to show their interrogation techniques on live video, and the result is a head being cut off.
    Randy = Ace ! - Warlab
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    • #3
      Re: Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

      Yes, the Times is a liberal paper, but it's not a rag as some claim it to be. I didn't find this particular article to be very biased, but the fact that they ran the story at all and decided to use the CIA interrogator's full name could be considered biased and/or controversial. The Times is an institution for good reason. Read the article.

      If you're looking for mostly unbiased analysis of fact, I suggest the Economist. That said, anything written by a human being is going to be biased in one way or another. This has been debated in this forum many times.

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      • #4
        Re: Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

        Tangent: Thomas Friedman is an idiot.

        Continuing: I wouldn't be surprised if this story's sources (and possibly their superiors) are eager to get the stigma of torture specifically off the hands of the CIA and show (favorably) the context in which these decisions were made. We already know of the top-down pressure to put the screws to these people from the leading lights of the administration, so it would make sense for the rank-and-file to want to push back at the "knuckledraggers."

        This also caught my eye:
        Poland was picked because there were no local cultural and religious ties to Al Qaeda, making infiltration or attack by sympathizers unlikely, one C.I.A. officer said. Most important, Polish intelligence officials were eager to cooperate.

        “Poland is the 51st state,” one former C.I.A. official recalls James L. Pavitt, then director of the agency’s clandestine service, declaring. “Americans have no idea.”
        The SCOTUS's recent ruling that prisoners held in facilities of de facto US sovereignty are entitled to, at the bare minimum, the same right to habeus corpus as prisoners held in the US itself. How far does that de facto sovereignty extend, I wonder? How compliant do foreign intelligence "black sites" (already murky legal and ethical concepts) have to be to qualify as American sovereignty?
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        • #5
          Re: Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

          I don't want to go off topic but Thomas Friedman is far from an idiot, i recommend you read his book the world is flat, and From Beirut to Jerusalem, both excellent reads.

          Good article, well written, and I think we can also see how interrogation can be used in many different ways, the "waterboarding" techinique(sp?) i think its safe to say is used to get as much info asap, using terror as a vice, while the way Mr. Martinez (i bet that isn't his real name, i like though how his name is Duece) opened up a dialogue and in a sense became friendly with the terrorist, conversing several times and was more polite, and was able to extract information easier.

          Thanks for the link.
          Randy = Ace ! - Warlab
          Level II Volunteer FireFighter
          Level I HazMat Technician
          NYS EMT-B
          Town of Mamaroneck Fire Dept.

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          Bring On Project Reality 1.0!!!
          RSS Feeds:Bamboo | | 9/11 - Never Forget |
          Apophis - "TG was created to cater to a VERY specific type of gamer rather than trying to appeal to the greater gaming population.
          Tactical Gamer is not mainstream.
          We are not trying to attract mainstream gamers."

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          • #6
            Re: Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

            Originally posted by Delta*RandyShugart* View Post
            Good article, well written, and I think we can also see how interrogation can be used in many different ways, the "waterboarding" techinique(sp?) i think its safe to say is used to get as much info asap, using terror as a vice, while the way Mr. Martinez (i bet that isn't his real name, i like though how his name is Duece) opened up a dialogue and in a sense became friendly with the terrorist, conversing several times and was more polite, and was able to extract information easier.
            That is his real name, you can be sure of it, Duece and all.

            Friendliness (or colloquialism) with an interrogator is what works. Time and time again we see this as being the sole requirement of good interrogation. What got me about this story is that it's clear that torture isn't necessary as an interrogation tool. It's not even needed in most cases, and in the cases where it 'opened' someone up, there's nothing to say they would have come around anyway in time. Look at Mohammed - citing separation from his family and his cell conditions as reasons for cooperation. I also found the concept of a 'focus group' of informants to be a critical piece of the puzzle. Lies and false testimony are quickly exposed that way, again, without the need of torture.

            What happens with torture is that only the torturers think it works. They start wrongly applying it to people who have nothing to admit to. At that point you're not fighting terrorism, you're creating it.

            On the tangent, I don't think Friedman's an idiot, I just think he often fails to realize that wider he believes his views to be, the narrower they actually are.

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            • #7
              Re: Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

              Originally posted by AMosely View Post
              Take it from Israel (in day five of a Gaza cease-fire) - sloppy bullying is not the way to fight terrorism.
              Hamas began firing missiles on Israeli civilians today. What was it that you wanted us to learn as "the way to fight terrorism?"
              ---
              Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

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              • #8
                Re: Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

                Originally posted by Switchcraft View Post
                Hamas began firing missiles on Israeli civilians today. What was it that you wanted us to learn as "the way to fight terrorism?"
                That after 50+ years of literally fighting terrorism, Israel has gained very little and lost much.

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                • #9
                  Re: Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

                  Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                  That after 50+ years of literally fighting terrorism, Israel has gained very little and lost much.
                  I will only disagree by stating that Hamas and other terrorist groups in that area along with many palestinians (sp?), want to kill every single Israeli citizen, living in Israel (and most likely in the rest of the world) not just the military soldiers, the entire country, they dislike the Israeli's and the Jews.
                  Randy = Ace ! - Warlab
                  Level II Volunteer FireFighter
                  Level I HazMat Technician
                  NYS EMT-B
                  Town of Mamaroneck Fire Dept.

                  sigpic




                  Bring On Project Reality 1.0!!!
                  RSS Feeds:Bamboo | | 9/11 - Never Forget |
                  Apophis - "TG was created to cater to a VERY specific type of gamer rather than trying to appeal to the greater gaming population.
                  Tactical Gamer is not mainstream.
                  We are not trying to attract mainstream gamers."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

                    There are a lot of Israeli citizens who feel the same way about the Palestinians.
                    In game handle: Steel Scion
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                    • #11
                      Re: Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

                      Originally posted by Delta*RandyShugart* View Post
                      I will only disagree by stating that Hamas and other terrorist groups in that area along with many palestinians (sp?), want to kill every single Israeli citizen, living in Israel (and most likely in the rest of the world) not just the military soldiers, the entire country, they dislike the Israeli's and the Jews.
                      That's true, but Israel's violent response has only perpetuated this. Furthermore, Israel's historically reluctant stance on a two-state solution has left Palestinians with no alternatives. As atrocious as it is, their security wall has actually done the most to decrease the amount of suicide bombers crossing the border, but their progress on two-state negotiations is what is really turning the tide in a way that even ten years ago never seemed possible. Hamas is the only holdout at this point, and of course their violence is being met with more violence - mostly in Gaza, but Hamas still has plenty of support in the West Bank as well. If Hamas can be brought to the negotiating table, a two-state solution may actually begin to form. I don't think many people realize how critical this step would be to peace in the middle east - even Al Qaeda cites Israel's treatment of Palestinians as a primary reason for jihad. If Palestine can be settled, it would have a tremendous impact on Islamic extremism worldwide. This is the kind of thing I am talking about when I say that America's war on terror is misguided - focus on the roots of the problem, not the fighters. You will convince no one by imprisoning, torturing, bombing and killing - and in fact only create more terrorism as a result.

                      It's a sad situation, but sadder is the fact that few ever seem to learn that violence begets violence. If a different outcome is desired, one must be willing to truly sacrifice.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

                        Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                        That's true, but Israel's violent response has only perpetuated this. Furthermore, Israel's historically reluctant stance on a two-state solution has left Palestinians with no alternatives. As atrocious as it is, their security wall has actually done the most to decrease the amount of suicide bombers crossing the border, but their progress on two-state negotiations is what is really turning the tide in a way that even ten years ago never seemed possible. Hamas is the only holdout at this point, and of course their violence is being met with more violence - mostly in Gaza, but Hamas still has plenty of support in the West Bank as well. If Hamas can be brought to the negotiating table, a two-state solution may actually begin to form. I don't think many people realize how critical this step would be to peace in the middle east - even Al Qaeda cites Israel's treatment of Palestinians as a primary reason for jihad. If Palestine can be settled, it would have a tremendous impact on Islamic extremism worldwide. This is the kind of thing I am talking about when I say that America's war on terror is misguided - focus on the roots of the problem, not the fighters. You will convince no one by imprisoning, torturing, bombing and killing - and in fact only create more terrorism as a result.

                        It's a sad situation, but sadder is the fact that few ever seem to learn that violence begets violence. If a different outcome is desired, one must be willing to truly sacrifice.
                        Mosely the thing that seperates you from the rest or should i say the majority of the participants in many of these political/global affair debates/threads, is that you really take the time and come up with excellent statements using facts, not just your personal opinion. I enjoy it, and it makes the reader actually smarter, because now when i respond, i won't just run my mouth off (because i have done that before) but i will also use my opinion which is backed up by facts, and or internet footnotes so to speak.

                        Thank you, you know you have a interesting topic if AMosely participates in it. (now if only i could make you see the light and become a yankees fan, the circle would be complete.)
                        Randy = Ace ! - Warlab
                        Level II Volunteer FireFighter
                        Level I HazMat Technician
                        NYS EMT-B
                        Town of Mamaroneck Fire Dept.

                        sigpic




                        Bring On Project Reality 1.0!!!
                        RSS Feeds:Bamboo | | 9/11 - Never Forget |
                        Apophis - "TG was created to cater to a VERY specific type of gamer rather than trying to appeal to the greater gaming population.
                        Tactical Gamer is not mainstream.
                        We are not trying to attract mainstream gamers."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

                          Yes, it is a shame the Palestinians have never learned that violence just begets violence.
                          ---
                          Sources say the Dow Jones' decline is directly related to Dethklok front-man Nathan Explosion's constant deleting of potential new albums.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

                            Originally posted by Switchcraft View Post
                            Yes, it is a shame the Palestinians have never learned that violence just begets violence.
                            And rock's when thrown, cannot penetrate tank armor.
                            Randy = Ace ! - Warlab
                            Level II Volunteer FireFighter
                            Level I HazMat Technician
                            NYS EMT-B
                            Town of Mamaroneck Fire Dept.

                            sigpic




                            Bring On Project Reality 1.0!!!
                            RSS Feeds:Bamboo | | 9/11 - Never Forget |
                            Apophis - "TG was created to cater to a VERY specific type of gamer rather than trying to appeal to the greater gaming population.
                            Tactical Gamer is not mainstream.
                            We are not trying to attract mainstream gamers."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Inside CIA's Al Qaeda Interrogation

                              Originally posted by Delta*RandyShugart* View Post
                              Mosely the thing that seperates you from the rest or should i say the majority of the participants in many of these political/global affair debates/threads, is that you really take the time and come up with excellent statements using facts, not just your personal opinion. I enjoy it, and it makes the reader actually smarter, because now when i respond, i won't just run my mouth off (because i have done that before) but i will also use my opinion which is backed up by facts, and or internet footnotes so to speak.

                              Thank you, you know you have a interesting topic if AMosely participates in it. (now if only i could make you see the light and become a yankees fan, the circle would be complete.)
                              Well, thank you for that, but it should be pointed out that it's all a matter of opinion, and as hard as I try to stick with the logic and the facts, no one is perfect. Plenty of folks have called me on misstatements or errors in these forums by calling up facts of their own.

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