Tag Archives: sheikh mohammed

The August 6 Presidential Daily Briefing

I wrote this a couple of years ago about the importance of the August 6th PDB. I still like it. 

Bush working on his crawford mansion

No other document, in my opinion, reveals how clueless the Bush administration truly was prior to 9/11. This document is little over a page long, yet it holds some alarming information. First, read the memo. Now, re-read the memo and imagine that you are the President of the United States in August 2001. You are responsible for the well being of over 275 million people. Secondly, focus on the title – Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US. Now, in August of 2001, this was not common knowledge. In 1993, the World Trade Center was bombed, but it is not clear to me that the Bush White House (well, I’m really talking about Bush, Cheney and Rice) clearly understood the connection between Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Osama bin Laden. US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya are bombed in 1998. Hundreds of Africans were killed. A third Embassy was targeted but the attack was thwarted by the Ugandan police. October 12, 2000, the USS Cole was bombed. 17 sailors were killed. We cannot forget the Millennium Day Bomber who intended to bomb the LA airport. Just because he was caught does not mean that he isn’t part of the picture. As a matter fact, the Millennium Day Bomber is probably the most vivid example of Al Qaeda (he trained with Al Qaeda) trying to come into the United States. It was due to nothing but a lot of luck and some skill that this plot was thwarted. The US Customs agent said that the Millennium Day Bomber was acting hinky.

This should be the most superficial knowledge that the president should have as he was reading the August 6th daily brief.

The seventh paragraph of the PDB should have sent chills up and down the spine of any American who read it.

Al Qaeda members – including some who are US citizens – have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks. Two Al Qaeda members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our embassies in East Africa were US citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-’90s. Continue reading The August 6 Presidential Daily Briefing

The Genius of Palin

Those who read my blog know that I like intelligent people. Well, Sarah Palin isn’t that. I also like movies like Hopscotch with Walter Matthau.  He outsmarts everybody in the movie. Sarah Palin may be similar. She appeals to raw emotion. Americans have proven over and over again that they (we) elect politicians who appeal to our emotions. We don’t make logical decisions at the ballot box. Palin’s response to Eric Holder’s decision to try KSM in civilian court in NYC was an excellent example of her appeal to raw emotion. There was no thought, no data analysis… just knee-jerk emotion.

From TP:

Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the five individuals accused of conspiring to commit the 9/11 attacks — including alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — will be prosecuted in U.S. federal court. “I am confident in the ability of our courts to provide these defendants a fair trial, just as they have for over 200 years,” said Holder. “The alleged 9/11 conspirators will stand trial in our justice system before an impartial jury under long-established rules and procedures.”

But the U.S. justice system apparently isn’t good enough for former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (who believes that the White House has a “Department of Law“). Last night she went on Facebook and posted a message calling the Obama administration’s decision “atrocious”:

Horrible decision, absolutely horrible. It is devastating for so many of us to hear that the Obama Administration decided that the 9/11 terrorist mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will be given a criminal trial in New York. This is an atrocious decision. […]

Criminal defense attorneys will now enter into delaying tactics and other methods in the hope of securing some kind of win for their “clients.” The trial will afford Mohammed the opportunity to grandstand and make use of his time in front of the world media to rally his disgusting terrorist cohorts. It will also be an insult to the victims of 9/11, as Mohammed will no doubt use the opportunity to spew his hateful rhetoric in the same neighborhood in which he ruthlessly cut down the lives of so many Americans. […]

If we are stuck with this terrible Obama Administration decision, I, like most Americans, hope that Mohammed and his co-conspirators are convicted. Hang ‘em high.

Palin further insulted the U.S. legal system by lamenting that a “hung jury” or “court room technicalities” may allow the defendants to walk away from this trial without receiving just punishment.” But the decision to make terrorists face the U.S. court system isn’t just an idea dreamed up by the Obama administration; there’s a strong precedent for it in this country. The U.S. has already successfully prosecuted 145 terrorism cases in federal court, including shoe bomber Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui.

(for more)

Cheney and the torture memo

Now, this is getting very interesting. Back in December then-Vice President Dick Cheney went on ABC News and told them that he and others approved waterboarding. He thought that the tactic was effective. He wouldn’t change a thing.

Watch the Video:

When we read the Bradybury memo, it is clear that waterboarding was not effective.

EmptyWheel has more:

I’ve put this detail in a series of posts, but it really deserves a full post. According to the May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 and Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002.

On page 37 of the OLC memo, in a passage discussing the differences between SERE techniques and the torture used with detainees, the memo explains:

The CIA used the waterboard “at least 83 times during August 2002” in the interrogation of Zubaydah. IG Report at 90, and 183 times during March 2003 in the interrogation of KSM, see id. at 91.

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.

The same OLC memo passage explains how the CIA might manage to waterboard these men so many times in one month each (though even with these chilling numbers, the CIA’s math doesn’t add up).

…where authorized, it may be used for two “sessions” per day of up to two hours. During a session, water may be applied up to six times for ten seconds or longer (but never more than 40 seconds). In a 24-hour period, a detainee may be subjected to up to twelve minutes of water appliaction. See id. at 42.  Additionally, the waterboard may be used on as many as five days during a 30-day approval period.

So: two two-hour sessions a day, with six applications of the waterboard each = 12 applications in a day. Though to get up to the permitted 12 minutes of waterboarding in a day (with each use of the waterboard limited to 40 seconds), you’d need 18 applications in a day.  Assuming you use the larger 18 applications in one 24-hour period, and do 18 applications on five days within a month, you’ve waterboarded 90 times–still just half of what they did to KSM.

The CIA wants you to believe waterboarding is effective. Yet somehow, it took them 183 applications of the waterboard in a one month period to get what they claimed was cooperation out of KSM.

That doesn’t sound very effective to me. (more… )

FireDogLake is helping with a petition to ask Attorney General Eric Holder to assign a special prosecutor.