Monday, April 20, 2009


Marcy Wheeler tells us that the CIA used waterboarding at least 83 times against Abu Zubaydah in August of 2002 and 183 times against KSM in March 2003. As she notes,

"Note, the information comes from the CIA IG report which, in the case of Abu Zubaydah, is based on having viewed the torture tapes as well as other materials. So this is presumably a number that was once backed up by video evidence."

This brings us back again into the pressing need to pursue the CIA for the destruction of these tapes. The torture mess is colossal. The tape destruction at least is digestible.

I went back again and read the WSJ article on the tapes in light of the revelation that Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times.

"Just a fraction of the tapes showed the two men being questioned, the person
added. 'Most of the tapes were of Abu Zubaydah. A few were of Nashiri,' the
official said. 'Only about a dozen showed actual interrogations. The rest were
basically just them sitting around.'"

The ACLU's Amrit Singh makes a good point in the article - "the number of tapes destroyed indicate[s] a coverup."

Considering how utterly untrustworthy the CIA has been on every factual aspect of waterboarding, it is hard to doubt her logic. How many of those tapes really were just them "sitting around?" We now know enough to be sure that was on the interrogation tapes was chilling. While the appointment of a special prosecutor is still an open question, we do at least have a special prosecutor, John Durham, on this aspect. Dahlia Lithwick profiles him here. I hope he does not share Rahmbo's fear of pressing charges.

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