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Interrogation tactics, warranted or not?
September 10, 2006 3:11 PM   Subscribe

Abu Zubaydah's secret interrogation in Thailand. In Thailand, the new C.I.A. team concluded that under standard questioning Mr. Zubaydah was revealing only a small fraction of what he knew, and decided that more aggressive techniques were warranted... The group included an agency consultant schooled in the harsher interrogation procedures to which American special forces are subjected in their training. At one point he told his questioners that (American citizen charged with terrorism-crimes) Jose Padilla was ignorant on the subject of nuclear physics and believed he could separate plutonium from nuclear material by rapidly swinging over his head a bucket filled with fissionable material. Meanwhile, in "other" news, theBin Laden trail is still cold.
posted by punkbitch (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I'm disappointed to find that this is the only FPP using the "bucketswinging" tag.
posted by Bugbread at 3:22 PM on September 10, 2006

But my disappointment has vanished now that I notice this was marked as favorite by user EarBucket.
posted by Bugbread at 3:22 PM on September 10, 2006

From the last article:

That was December 2001. Only two months later, Bush decided to pull out most of the special operations troops and their CIA counterparts in the paramilitary division that were leading the hunt for bin Laden in Afghanistan to prepare for war in Iraq, said Flynt L. Leverett, then an expert on the Middle East at the National Security Council.

"I was appalled when I learned about it," said Leverett, who has become an outspoken critic of the administration's counterterrorism policy. "I don't know of anyone who thought it was a good idea. It's very likely that bin Laden would be dead or in American custody if we hadn't done that."

Several officers confirmed that the number of special operations troops was reduced in March 2002. . . .

Today, however, no one person is in charge of the overall hunt for bin Laden with the authority to direct covert CIA operations to collect intelligence and to dispatch JSOC units. Some counterterrorism officials find this absurd. "There's nobody in the United States government whose job it is to find Osama bin Laden!" one frustrated counterterrorism official shouted. "Nobody!"

This seems like kind of a bombshell to me, that the President apparently pretty much gave up on finding bin Laden six months after 9/11. I doubt it'll get any traction, but it's shocking anyway.
posted by EarBucket at 3:42 PM on September 10, 2006

The bucket swinging comes from an old Progressive article that dealt with how to create a nuclear weapon in your home. I can't find it online anymore, for obvious reasons.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 3:57 PM on September 10, 2006

None of this matters, the official history is being broadcast tonight and tomorrow on ABC, interrupted by the president's address, of course.
posted by delmoi at 4:16 PM on September 10, 2006

The bucket swinging comes from an old Progressive article that dealt with how to create a nuclear weapon in your home. I can't find it online anymore, for obvious reasons.

That bucket swinging thing sounds like a counter-intelligence joke!

I'm no nuclear physicist, but I'm betting that it would take a BIT more than bucket swinging to separate the fissionable material in plutonium - like a $200,000 centrifuge or a dangerous chemical reaction.

The 'admission' of Padilla's complicity seems to me just evidence of a confession delivered under torture duress.

Peel enough fingernails off and you'll get people turning in their own mothers.
posted by vhsiv at 5:35 PM on September 10, 2006

For the millionth time: there are better tactics than torture to obtain information. Surprise, trust, unusual psychological tricks, promises of release and/or relief, etc. etc. This is just another one of many opinions promulgated by the Why Torture argument, to which the counterargument is stupidly easy to make.
posted by kozad at 5:50 PM on September 10, 2006

Six months, eh?

Not so much a war on terror as a passing fancy on terror.

posted by five fresh fish at 6:34 PM on September 10, 2006

Thanks for the link to the NYT article.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:53 PM on September 10, 2006

like a $200,000 centrifuge

I think you're missing a couple of 0's.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:08 AM on September 11, 2006

Pervasive surveillance and torture yield plenty of intelligence -- bad intelligence, that is. And way too much of it.
posted by homunculus at 12:36 PM on September 12, 2006

The President's getting scarier.
posted by EarBucket at 2:43 AM on September 14, 2006

And creepier.
posted by homunculus at 9:58 AM on September 14, 2006

And the elections creep ever closer.

You fuckers gonna throw a civil uprising if they steal the election again?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:23 PM on September 14, 2006

Related: ... the U.S. military has created a global network of overseas prisons, its islands of high security keeping 14,000 detainees beyond the reach of established law. ...
posted by amberglow at 2:37 PM on September 17, 2006

Daddy, why do they hate America?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:30 PM on September 17, 2006

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