Alleged 9/11 Mastermind: ‘I Gave A Lot Of False Information…’


May 11, 2009

The Red Cross is the organization charged with deciding what is torture and
what isn’t.

The International Committee of the Red Cross interviewed Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
– the alleged 9/11 mastermind – at Guantánamo Bay.

Here’s what KSM
told the Red Cross
(see below for more from a review of this report):

During the harshest period of my interrogation I gave a lot of false information
in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear in order
to make the ill-treatment stop. I later told the interrogators that their
methods were stupid and counterproductive. I’m sure that the false information
I was forced to invent in order to make the ill-treatment stop wasted a lot
of their time and led to several false red-alerts being placed in the U.S.

Straight from the horse’s mouth:

* Torture doesn’t work; and

* The 9/11 Commission report was based on worthless
confessions extracted by torture
(and, as I’ve previously discussed, the
witness who fingered Khalid Shaikh Mohammed as the mastermind of 9/11 was himself

US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites
April 9, 2009
By Mark Danner
ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen “High Value Detainees”
in CIA Custody by the International Committee of the Red Cross

rom The New
York Review of Books
, a very extensive article with much more important
information about the ICRC Report:

…There is a reverse side, of course, to the “ticking bomb” and
torture: pain and ill-treatment, by creating an unbearable pressure on the detainee
to say something, anything, to make the pain stop, increase the likelihood that
he will fabricate stories, and waste time, or worse. At least some of the intelligence
that came of the “alternative set of procedures,” like Zubaydah’s
supposed “information” about attacks on shopping malls and banks,
seems to have led the US government to issue what turned out to be baseless
warnings to Americans. Khaled Shaik Mohammed asserted this directly in his interviews
with the ICRC. “During the harshest period of my interrogation,” he

I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the
interrogators wished to hear in order to make the ill-treatment stop…. I’m
sure that the false information I was forced to invent…wasted a lot of their
time and led to several false red-alerts being placed in the US.

For all the talk of ticking bombs, very rarely, if ever, have officials been
able to point to information gained by interrogating prisoners with “enhanced
techniques” that enabled them to prevent an attack that had reached its
“operational stage” (that is, had gone beyond reconnoitering and planning).
Still, widespread perception that such techniques have prevented attacks, actively
encouraged by the President and other officials, has been politically essential
in letting the administration carry on with these policies after they had largely
become public. Polls tend to show that a majority of Americans are willing to
support torture only when they are assured that it will “thwart a terrorist
attack.” Because of the political persuasiveness of such scenarios it is
vital that a future inquiry truly investigate claims that attacks have been

Nonetheless, Cheney continues his media appearances, insisting “Obama
endangers the nation
” because torture is necessary, and has produced useful
information, especially from KSM. A Sunday WashingtonTimes
piece quotes Cheney:

“…the country is more vulnerable to a potential terrorist attack since
the Obama administration took power.

Mr. Cheney said that administration’s dismantling of many of the policies
and protections instituted by President George W. Bush after the September
11, 2001 terrorist attacks — including the planned closing of the Guantánamo
Bay detention camp in Cuba and halting controversial prisoner interrogation
techniques — have made the country more vulnerable to future attacks.

“That’s my belief,” Mr. Cheney said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“I think to the extent that those [Bush-era] policies were responsible
for saving lives, that the administration is now trying to cancel those policies
… means in the future we’re not going to have the same safeguards we’ve
had for the last eight years.”

The former vice president defended controversial interrogation techniques
such as waterboarding, saying that it had been an effective tool in extracting
useful information from suspected terrorists such as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed,
who is accused of helping carry out the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks Washington
and New York.

“He did not cooperate fully in terms of interrogations until after waterboarding,”
Mr. Cheney said. “Once we went through that process, he produced vast
quantities of invaluable information about al Qaida.”

And in a related story, posted separately, we learn that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi
has died, allegedly of suicide, in a Libyan prison, following 7.5 years in captivity,
during which he was also tortured (at a black site in Egypt). Al-Libi
was the source of the story that “Saddam Hussein had been involved in training
al-Qaeda operatives in the use of chemical and biological weapons was
used to justify the invasion of Iraq

In Egypt, he came up with the false allegation about connections between
al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein that was used by President Bush in a speech in
Cincinnati on October 7, 2002, just days before Congress voted on a resolution
authorizing the President to go to war against Iraq…

Al-Libi recanted his story in February 2004, when he was returned to the
CIA”s custody, and explained, as Newsweek described it, that he told
his debriefers that “he initially told his interrogators that he “knew
nothing” about ties between Baghdad and Osama bin Laden and he “had difficulty
even coming up with a story” about a relationship between the two.” The Newsweek
report explained that “his answers displeased his interrogators —
who then apparently subjected him to the mock burial. As al-Libi recounted,
he was stuffed into a box less than 20 inches high. When the box was opened
17 hours later, al-Libi said he was given one final opportunity to “tell the
truth.” He was knocked to the floor and “punched for 15 minutes.”
It was only then that, al-Libi said, he made up the story about Iraqi weapons

Torture doesn’t work, Mr. Cheney . . . no matter what you say.

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