Tag: Abu Zubaydah

Oct 23

US Wants MORE CIA in Pakistan, $ for Weapons, Using Wikileaks as Excuse

Like clockwork in being timed with the latest wikileaks release:

After increasing the number of drone attacks in September, now the US is pressuring Pakistan to let in more covert paramilitary and CIA forces to increase the unknown, classified number that are already there – to support the death by drones program that is killing an unknown number of militants and civilians.  The story in the WSJ also says that Pakistan’s Inter – Services Intelligence agency, ISI, is currently doing most of the intelligence gathering and that CIA chief Leon Panetta has called them “very cooperative.”


Wall Street Journal:

http://online.wsj.com/article/…

The Obama administration has been ramping up pressure on Islamabad in recent weeks to attack militants after months of publicly praising Pakistani efforts. The CIA has intensified drone strikes in Pakistan, and the military in Afghanistan has carried out cross-border helicopter raids, underlining U.S. doubts Islamabad can be relied upon to be more aggressive. Officials have even said they were going to stop asking for Pakistani help with the U.S.’s most difficult adversary in the region, the North Waziristan-based Haqqani network, because it was unproductive.

Pakistani officials believe the CIA is better able to keep details of its operations largely out of the public eye, although the agency’s drone program has received widespread attention and is enormously unpopular with the Pakistani public.

U.S. military forces on the ground remain a red line for Islamabad. A senior Pakistani official said if the Pakistan public became aware of U.S. military forces conducting combat operations on Pakistani territory, it would wipe out popular support for fighting the militants in the tribal areas. Whether covert CIA forces would cross that line however, remains an open question.

Back in July, the public relationship wasn’t so cozy.


HuffPo, 7/6/10

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…

…. but the US – Pakistan relationship is at the heart of Washington’s counterterrorism efforts.

But the CIA became so concerned by a rash of cases involving suspected double agents in 2009, it re-examined the spies it had on the payroll in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The internal investigation revealed about a dozen double agents, stretching back several years. Most of them were being run by Pakistan. Other cases were deemed suspicious. The CIA determined the efforts were part of an official offensive counterintelligence program being run by Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI’s spy chief.

Recruiting agents to track down and kill terrorists and militants is a top priority for the CIA, and one of the clandestine service’s greatest challenges. The drones can’t hit their targets without help finding them. Such efforts would be impossible without Pakistan’s blessing, and the U.S. pays about $3 billion a year in military and economic aid to keep the country stable and cooperative.

Pakistan has its own worries about the Americans. During the first term of the Bush administration, Pakistan became enraged after it shared intelligence with the U.S., only to learn the CIA station chief passed that information to the British. The incident caused a serious row, one that threatened the CIA’s relationship with the ISI and deepened the levels of distrust between the two sides. Pakistan almost threw the CIA station chief out of the country.

July 2010 – HuffPo says 8 years after the war in Afghanistan, a very poor and not very large country, was not going so well, the Obama administration finally became “concerned” about their intelligence partners in the region.   Three months after the first batch of wikileaks were released,  April 5, 2010.    

Apr 04

4/3/10 The Day after Good Friday: Zubaydah

From the ACLU’s A Ponzi Scheme of Torture

Chapter 4, Part 3  3/20/2010

http://www.thetorturereport.or…

(this same link in a form which does not jump all over the page when the mouse attempts to scroll over it here:  http://www.thetorturereport.or…  )

Timeline Summary of Binyam Mohamed and Abu Zubaydah:

April 2002.  Binyam Mohamed arrested in Pakistan.  Interrogated by the British Secret Service MI6. Tortured in Moroccan secret prisons.

Sept 2004 Binyam Mohamed sent to Guantanamo, from Bagram, Afghanistan. Although declared an

“enemy combatant”  Nov 2004, Binyam Mohamed decides not to participate in the military Tribunal created by President Bush in Oct 2001.

2005  Binyam Mohamed charged with conspiring against the U.S., with “Usama Bin Laden (a/k/a Abu Abdullah), Saif al Adel, Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri (a/k/a “the Doctor”), Mohammad Atef (a/k/a Abu Hafs al Masri), Abd al Hadi al Iraq, Zayn al Abidin Muammad Husayn (a/k/a Abu Zubayda hereinafter “Abu Zubayda”), Jose Padilla, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad” to commit acts of terrorism.

Zubaydah, the vanishing man-



(Binyam)Mohamed was formally recharged with conspiracy on May 28, 2008. The charge sheet is virtually identical to the one issued on November 4, 2005, except that Richard Reid’s name has been removed from paragraph (e) and every reference to Abu Zubaydah has been purged from the document. Where before “Binyam Mohammad then traveled to Birmel, Afghanistan and was introduced to Abu Zubayda” and “Abu Zubayda promised him training in Pakistan building remote control devices for explosives,” for example, now “Binyam Mohamed then traveled to Birmel Afghanistan, and trained on building remote control devices.” “After arriving in Lahore, Binyam Mohammad and Jose Padilla met with Abu Zubayda in private and discussed plans for attacks against the United States” and “Abu Zubayda stated he preferred Binyam Mohamed conduct an ‘overseas’ operation instead of going back to Afghanistan” became “After arriving in Lahore, Binyam Mohamed and Jose Padilla plotted attacks against the United States. After these discussions, Mohamed and Padilla agreed to be sent to the United States to conduct these operations rather than returning to Afghanistan.”23 [23]

Sept 22, 2008. Lt Col Darrel Vandeveld, US military Tribunal prosecutor, requests to resign his military commission, stating he had ethical qualms about continuing to prosecute Guantanamo detainees without evidence being made available for the defense.

Oct 20, 2008.  Pentagon dropped all charges against Binyam Mohamed and four other detainees whose original charge sheets had linked them to Abu Zubaydah.

Oct 21, 2008. The United Kingdom notifies the Foreign Office they are about to hand down notice on releasing CIA documents for Binyam Mohamed’s attorneys.

Oct 22, 2008.   The British courts rule.  A British – US diplomatic tug of war over who goes first, releasing what classified documents, trying to hide the torture evidence, results. This year, a few paragraphs were released, showing that the British govt. secret services did know of Binyam Mohamed’s incarceration.

Jan 22, 2009.  President Obama orders Guantanamo closed, bans torture, forms task force to review all cases.

Feb 23, 2010.  Binyam Mohamed finally freed and returned to the UK.


from Binyam Mohamed’s Statement the day he was released:

….For myself, the very worst moment came when I realised in Morocco that the people who were torturing me were receiving questions and materials from British intelligence. I had met with British intelligence in Pakistan. I had been open with them. Yet the very people who I hoped would come to my rescue, I later realised, had allied themselves with my abusers.

I am not asking for vengeance; only that the truth should be made known, so that nobody in the future should have to endure what I have endured.

Apr 01

Not al Qaeda, Collapse of the bush Administration!!!

Looks like much more of the cheney/bush years are continuing to collapse, and All Done In Our Names. This may explain the widespread push, especially from republicans? in Congress, they’re figureheads around the Country and those connected to that administration but not in Government have so forcefully been pushing the fox nation types to rail against closing Gitmo and having No Trials of so called terrorist inside this Country and in our Courts. Courts of a supposedly Lawful Nation!

Truthout has updated an earlier report of what’s coming down.

Mar 31

Obama Continues Bush/Cheney’s Persecution of Abu Zubaydah

On March 28, 2002, Abu Zubaydah was captured in Faisalabad, Pakistan by the FBI, “identified” as a high-ranking operative of al Qaeda, and subsequently tortured by American agents at Guantanamo and elsewhere.

Abu Zubaydah’s treatment at the hands of the CIA has been called torture by Ali Soufan, the FBI interrogator who witnessed part of Abu Zubaydah’s CIA interrogation, multiple U.S. officials including President Obama, and by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Media and DOJ reports about torturing Mr. Zubaydah were always careful to mention his connection to al Qaeda.

The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum. Abu Zubaydah has been described as a Qaeda operative.

Mar 30

Tortured Detainee Zubaydah, Used As Lab Rat by Our Govt

There isn’t much I can add to this.  Just go read it.

Abu Zubaydah’s Drawings by emptywheel, aka Marcy Wheeler,  Monday, March 29, 2010

Marcy Wheeler at FDL, who has established that the Bush administration had the Yoo/Bybee “permission” memos were written after the fact to legitimize the use of torture, quotes a new Jason Leopold story at Truthout.org about Guantanamo detainee Abu Zubaydah.  

Torture Diaries, Drawings, and the Special Prosecutor 3/29/2010

While the CIA claims to have destroyed the tapes of the torture experiments conducted on Abu Zubaydah,  his attorney, Brent Mickum, says

“…. he learned that the special prosecutor had obtained drawings during the course of his probe that Mickum believed were Zubaydah’s. In addition to the diaries, Mickum had previously sought from the Justice Department drawings Zubaydah made while in CIA custody. But the Justice Department told Mickum they could not locate the drawings.

“When I met with John Durham (note: the US Attorney and Special Prosecutor from Connecticut, who is investigating the CIA’s destruction of the tapes)   I discovered he had drawings, which, based on my review I believed were my client’s,” Mickum said. “The drawings were ultimately produced to us in late 2009.”

The Justice Department would not discuss the drawings, diaries, or other issues related to Zubaydah’s case.

Mickum said in lieu of the torture tapes, the drawings Zubaydah made contain the best description of the torture techniques CIA interrogators used against Zubaydah while he was being held at the agency’s black site prison facilities “

According to Jason Leopold, his sources at the CIA, FBI, DOD, NSA, State Dept, DOJ, and former govt. officials, are only speaking on the condition of anonymity, but claiming that the CIA made the tapes to study Zubaydah’s reactions to the “techniques” used on him.  When a particular type of torture made him break down completely, anything less severe was considered “legal” and therefore was okayed to be classified as legal interrogation techniques in the Yoo/Bybee memos.  The tapes were subsequently destroyed.

One of Leopold’s sources referred to him (A.Z.) as an experiment and a “guinea pig.”  

The tapes were destroyed. The personal diaries untranslated. The self portraits….  conveniently misplaced.

Jul 21

Spinning Torture: More Details on Mitchell-Jessen-CIA-FBI Torture Imbroglio

Joby Warrick and Peter Finn have a new article in Sunday's Washington Post. The story summarizes some of the competing narratives offered by different participants in the interrogation of alleged Al Qaeda terrorist, Abu Zubaida. (AZ was later admitted to not be an Al Qaeda member by various intelligence agency spokesmen.)

The entire article deserves close reading, the kind reserved for tea leaves, for through the varying narrative threads one can discern attempts by the differing agencies and actors involved to present their actions in the best possible light. In the end, no one comes out looking very good. The article reads like a summary of an internal dispute among gangsters.

May 21

Not keeping us safe from terrorists!

The Republicans and Harry “honorary Republican for the week” Reid have been arguing that it’s terrible, awful for terrorists to be allowed into the country in order to go straight to maximum security prison. Ignoring for a second that terrorists are allowed free rein over the country as long as they’re Christian and white and therefore can’t be racially profiled, I have other problems with this.

First of all: 9/11. Terrorists didn’t just come here. They came here and hijacked planes from American airports. After this happened, Republicans panicked about immigration. Most of the 9/11 hijackers got here legally.

Then: the anthrax attacks. Not only were terrorists here but they were never even discovered. They’re probably still somewhere around. awesome.

Third: remember the freaking FLIGHT SCHOOLS?

There were al Qaeda flight schools in the United States for years, and the FBI and others had been investigating them for years. And the Republicans, who I guess care a lot about American safety, openly mocked President Bill Clinton for saying Osama bin Laden was a threat and tried to say it was a case of “Wag the Dog.” So while the president was trying to fend off terrorists from attacking us, Republicans were denying that such a threat existed.

And now we’re letting them control the message and Harry Reid is saying that we will never, ever allow terrorists on American soil. Because the Republicans are so tough and manly and THEY never did.

Last week, the F.B.I. acknowledged the existence of a memorandum written last summer in which an agent in its Phoenix office urged his superiors to investigate Middle Eastern men who had enrolled at American flight schools and who might be connected to Mr. bin Laden.

This article is really interesting for a lot of reasons. The FBI knew of this, which isn’t surprising. The government, who’s saying now that they kept us safe all this time, wasn’t prepared to keep us safe.

The Phoenix memorandum, along with the disclosure this week that President Bush was warned in August of the possibility that Al Qaeda might be planning hijackings, have been seized on by lawmakers as evidence that the government missed signals of the coming attacks.

The disclosure they’re referring to of course is the PDB titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike US” and talked about using planes. I feel so safe! And if you think that, hey, well, at least they started torturing after 9/11 which kept us safe, you should read this:

Mr. Murad, who was captured in the Philippines in 1995 and convicted in New York[…]Murad’s confession formed a basis for an analysis prepared for United States intelligence agencies in 1999. The analysis warned that bin Laden terrorists could hijack a jet and fly it into government buildings like the Pentagon.

So they found out about the threat of bin Laden not from torture but from actual investigative work and interrogations.

The article goes on to note that his confession is on video.

These flight schools were in the US as well as other countries, here’s one that trained terrorists in Florida:

Officials at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach confirmed Thursday that the FBI has sought information on Waleed Al Sheri, 25, who graduated in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical science — the four-year school’s commercial pilot training degree.

The FBI is also investigating Mohamed Atta, 33, and Marwan Al Sheri, 23. Law enforcement sources said they were looking at a possible family link between Marwan and Waleed Al Sheri.

So think about that next time Republicans talk about never allowing terrorists here.

In another case, they outright admit that they suck:

(CBS)  Law enforcement officials say the government kept hijacking ringleader Mohammed Atta’s roommate from entering the United States on at least four occasions but didn’t track his money transfers that led directly to the eventual hijackers.

[…]

But they added the CIA had no information before Sept. 11 linking him to terrorism.

Nonetheless, experts said Bin al-Shibh’s actions highlight the challenges in stopping future terror attacks.

His repeated failed efforts to enter the country did not trigger an investigation. And there was no effort to track his finances.

When Bin al-Shibh failed to enter, Moussaoui was sent in his place and made it into the country with $35,000 in cash and a plan to train to fly jetliners, officials say.

They found all of this out, by the way, using legal means. It was just after the fact. They used FISA warrants and monitored foreign conversations. They tracked money and wire transfers. They even found videos made by these people discussing these events.

It gets worse:

A State Department official said Wednesday there is still no mechanism, even in the aftermath of Sept. 11, to flag a foreigner who is turned down repeatedly for visas for suspicions like those that surrounded Bin al-Shibh.

Also this guy was planning on heading to a Minnesota flight school. That’s where his replacement, Moussaoui, was picked up.

This is also quite terrifying, these are the people named by intelligence officials in 2002 who were giving information to stop terrorist attacks:

Officials identified the three others as Abu Zubair, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, and a man known by his nom de guerre, Riyadh the Facilitator. Abu Zubaydah has been extensively interrogated since his capture and has provided important information, American officials say. Interrogation of others in custody have provided new insights into Al Qaeda’s structure and operations, they add.

Well with what those people are saying, I’m SURE we can prevent attacks. Or something. And nothing they’re saying is a lie and nothing our administration is saying is a lie.

Remember Cheney’s “pretty well confirmed” statement that has been mentioned over the years and was most recently reiterated during Rachel Maddow’s takedown of Cheney?

Dick Cheney: ‘Well, what we now have that’s developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that — it’s been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack. Now, what the purpose of that was, what transpired between them, we simply don’t know at this point, but that’s clearly an avenue that we want to pursue.’

(Meet the Press, 2001)

Well, um:

They add that they have not received any corroborating evidence to support an initial report from Czech intelligence that Mohamed Atta, one of the Sept. 11 hijackers, met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in April 2001. Many intelligence and law enforcement officials now say they do not believe the meeting took place.

Oh. So, didn’t happen. And remember, though most of the information that was given to the 9/11 Commission was extracted through torture – that was done specifically to GET a link – they found no link:

The Sept. 11 commission reported yesterday that it has found no “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda, challenging one of the Bush administration’s main justifications for the war in Iraq.

[…]

But the report of the commission’s staff, based on its access to all relevant classified information, said that there had been contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda but no cooperation. In yesterday’s hearing of the panel, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, a senior FBI official and a senior CIA analyst concurred with the finding.

Despite trying really hard to manufacture a link it did not even fool the 9/11 Commission, the CIA or FBI. And this was under the guise of keeping us safe. SAFE. Really.

And they blatantly lied:

As recently as Monday, Cheney said in a speech that Hussein “had long-established ties with al Qaeda.” Bush, asked on Tuesday to verify or qualify that claim, defended it by pointing to Abu Musab Zarqawi, who has taken credit for a wave of attacks in Iraq.

Feel safer yet?

Back to the New York Times:

American officials believe the disruption has helped prevent about half a dozen — and possibly many more — Qaeda plots in the last year. Officials say that when Abu Zubaydah, Al Qaeda’s operations chief, was captured in Pakistan in March he had several plots in the works, including at least one that was imminent.

IMMINENT! Wow. We almost all died from an imminent plot. Except that it didn’t happen.

Speaking of imminent, their ineptness is apparent here:

The FBI sent the intelligence to its terrorism experts in Washington and New York for analysis and had begun discussing conducting a nationwide canvass of flight schools when the Sept. 11 tragedies occurred, officials told AP.

Right okay.

Here’s more:

Law enforcement officials said in retrospect the FBI believes it should have accelerated the suggested check of U.S. flight schools after Moussaoui’s arrest but does not believe it would have led to the hijackers.

Maybe so.

This is how bad the problem was, even though it was being ignored:

At least one hijacker on each of the four planes was trained at a U.S. flight school, Tucker said. The Times said authorities believe 27 suspected terrorists received pilot training.

Seems like a small number, I guess, but these are people who never want ANY TERRORISTS on US soil. Because that’s bad. If they’re jailed anyway. If they’re free to do whatever, we’ll just be idiots.

And then, this:

Ashcroft said numerous promising leads were being followed up. “The Department of Justice has undertaken perhaps the most massive and intensive investigation ever conducted in this country,” he said. Ashcroft said all possible federal personnel and resources have been committed to the investigation, including thousands of agents and support personnel.

Ooh! And I guess now we’ve seen the results of this investigation by the DoJ. Tortured false confessions, expansion of federal powers even when information was obtained through legal means, ineptness at almost every level, allowing some plots to go unsolved and some terrorists to go without trials – which could lead to more discovery of more information, torture and homicide and all that stuff, and whatever else we don’t know about yet.

All of that happened but none of it made anyone safer and it conclusively made it more difficult to keep America safe. And they’re worried about prisoners.

May 02

Condoleezza Rice avows; President is above law



Condi Rice Pulls a Nixon: If the President Orders Torture, It Must be Legal

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Students at Stanford stood still as they listened to former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice speak.  As the scholars pondered the words of the prominent woman who presented her case for waterboarding, many mused; “Is it Richard Nixon, or Condoleezza Rice?  Which person thinks a President is above the law?” One might wonder.  Those who viewed a video taped classroom conversation with Secretary Rice, today express astonishment as well.  In her defense for actions she took to advocate for this extreme interrogation techniques Condoleezza Rice both blamed her former boss, George W. Bush and justified his decision.

“The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations under the Convention Against Torture.”

May 01

Released FBI Memo Documents Bush Ordering Torture (updated)

For the Soldier who fights for Truth, calls his enemy his brother. — William Blake

Jason Leopold had an amazing find when perusing a new released FBI document the ACLU posted on their site earlier this week. [Update: Leopold informs me that the document was released in Dec. 2004, but he caught the info while perusing the ACLU collection over these past months.]

Senior FBI agents stationed in Iraq in 2004 claimed in an e-mail that President George W. Bush signed an executive order approving the use of military dogs, sleep deprivation and other harsh tactics to intimidate Iraqi detainees.

The FBI e-mail — dated May 22, 2004 — followed disclosures about abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and sought guidance on whether FBI agents in Iraq were obligated to report the U.S. military’s harsh interrogation of inmates when that treatment violated FBI standards but fit within the guidelines of a presidential executive order.

Apr 17

Sick Torture Memos Also Lie: A Closer Look at the Bybee Memo

Also posted at AlterNet and Invictus


Reading the just released August 1, 2002 memo by John Yoo (reportedly ghosting for Jay Bybee, then Assistant Attorney General of the United States, and now an Appeals Court Judge for the Ninth Circuit), to John Rizzo, then Acting General Counsel for the CIA, on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, is a surreal experience. There is so much that is strange and awful in it, it's hard to know where to begin.

But one thing that struck me right off the bat was the similarity of the statistics presented in the early part of the memo with the statement of Dr. Jerald Ogrisseg, a psychologist with Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, United States Joint Forces Command, before the Senate Committee on Armed Services on June 17, 2008.

Let's review some of the relevant text.

Mar 31

No Prosecutions, No Accountability: Another Day in Torture USA

Sometimes I am truly overwhelmed with both gratitude and awe at the amount of important work being done on the ongoing torture scandal by journalists, bloggers, attorneys, psychologists, doctors, and just plain decent people.

I wanted to highlight a few that seem specially extraordinary, or of current interest. At the close, we’ll look more closely at where the fight for prosecutions stands today. In this diary, we’ll look at a number of articles, including one that highlights the role of psychologists in planning torture, and one that compares the role of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons with the practice at Guanatanamo.

Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse is a Daily Kos regular blogger, who just finished a second installment of the DK Sunday Torture News Roundup (first installment is here). PDNC highlighted the ongoing case of Aafia Siddiqui. Siddiqui was likely a U.S. “ghost prisoner” of the CIA, and is now being held in a Texas prison, where her sanity and competency to stand trial is being determined. You must read the entire piece, for its cumulative impact, which is powerful.

Apr 11

The Torture Planners: “Why are we talking about this in the White House?”

[I know buhdy already wrote on this — see cite for him below — but I figured an extra commentary wouldn’t hurt, providing also a bit more information on the legalities involved. — V.]

In a very interesting follow-up to the unfolding story on the 2003 John Yoo memorandum that justified the use of torture, ABC news is reporting how the CIA came to the White House after the spring 2002 capture of al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan and asked for permission to use more “aggressive” interrogation techniques. Citing anonymous sources, ABC says that beginning with the Zubaydah case, “the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency.” These discussions evidently included the use of waterboarding, as the CIA has admitted using this torture technique on Zubaydah.

The “Principals” — high-level Bush administration officials — present included National Security Adviser Condolezza Rice, who chaired the meetings, “Vice President Cheney… Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.”

While Ashcroft is said to have signed off on the legality of the interrogations, he got squeamish about how it was being approved. Perhaps he was afraid of future legal and political consequences. Perhaps he remembered how the secrets of the Wannsee Conference were ultimately leaked. Per the ABC story (also reported over at Reuters):

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