< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: More on the Torture Debate

Friday, November 25, 2005

More on the Torture Debate

In the Los Angeles Times, Rosa Brooks writes about how the practice of torture hurts the U.S. in the end. Brooks writes a response to critics of her past arguments against torture ss she writes:

Here's my answer: You're right, torture can make even hardened terrorists talk. But before you decide that it's a worthy interrogation tool, study the case of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi. Libi was an alleged high-ranking Al Qaeda official who was captured in late 2001 in Pakistan. Initially, the FBI was in charge of interrogating him, and it did so by the book, reportedly even reading Libi his rights before questioning him. FBI interrogators soon felt they were establishing a good rapport with him, but he wasn't giving up the information that administration hawks wanted, so CIA officials proposed that interrogators up the ante by threatening to kill Libi and his family. When the FBI refused, CIA Director George Tenet got White House permission for the CIA to take over Libi's interrogation. Libi subsequently disappeared, becoming one of the "ghost detainees" whose whereabouts and status U.S. officials refuse to discuss. Most likely, he was "rendered" to Egypt: A former FBI official told Newsweek that CIA agents cuffed Libi's wrists and ankles, covered his mouth with duct tape and hustled him toward a waiting plane. "At the airport, the CIA case officer goes up to [Libi] and says, 'You're going to Cairo, you know. Before you get there, I'm going to find your mother and I'm going to [rape] her.' " We don't know exactly where Libi was sent, or exactly who interrogated him when he got there. According to ABC News, CIA sources said Libi was subjected to progressively harsher interrogation techniques, but still refused to give his interrogators the information they wanted. Finally, he was "waterboarded" (a technique designed to make a detainee think he's being suffocated or drowned) then forced to remain standing overnight in a cold cell, where he was repeatedly soaked with icy water. After that, well, there's good news and there's bad news. The good news? Under torture, Libi finally broke and started to talk. The bad news? What he told his interrogators wasn't true.

Click here to read the article.

--Tom Hayes


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