The very real consequences of Yoo's torture policy, part 1

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Attorney General Holder: What Happened to KSM's Children? Release All of Paragraph 95                       

By: JimWhite Monday August 24, 2009 5:49 pm

Fire Dog Lake


On page 51 of the CIA Office of Inspector General report on torture released today, we have this paragraph:

From the unredacted portion we can see that someone, in the course of interrogating Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, said "We're going to kill your children" if anything else happens in the US. Lest anyone think this was an idle threat, it should be noted that KSM was captured and interrogated in March, 2003. In that same month, this report appeared in The Telegraph:

"Two young sons of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks, are being used by the CIA to force their father to talk.

Yousef al-Khalid, nine, and his brother, Abed al-Khalid, seven, were taken into custody in Pakistan last September when intelligence officers raided a flat in Karachi where their father had been hiding.

Since his children were captured about six months before he was, KSM would have known that the US had access to them.

The article continues:

"Last night CIA interrogators confirmed that the boys were staying at a secret address where they were being encouraged to talk about their father's activities.

"We are handling them with kid gloves. After all, they are only little children," said one official, "but we need to know as much about their father's recent activities as possible. We have child psychologists on hand at all times and they are given the best of care."

Their father, Mohammed, 37, is being interrogated at the Bagram US military base in Afghanistan. He is being held in solitary confinement and subjected to "stress and duress"-style interrogation techniques."

We now know, of course, that KSM's "stress and duress" consisted of, among other things, being waterboarded 183 times.


But we can add even more context to the thought processes of those who orchestrated the torture of suspected terrorists. In 2005, John Yoo had this to say in a debate:

Doug Cassel: If the president deems that he's got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person's child, there is no law that can stop him?
John Yoo: No treaty.
Doug Cassel: Also no law by Congress -- that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo...
John Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

Since Yoo authored some of the legal "justifications" for the interrogation processes and likely was aware of what was done with and to KSM's children, this statement becomes even more chilling. What is in the rest of the paragraph? Were the children hurt in any way? Was KSM forced to watch real or falsified mistreatment of them?


With so much of the relevant paragraph in the OIG report redacted, there is no way to know what else was discovered in the OIG investigation. It appears that the paragraph is based on a report from "an experienced Agency interrogator" who presumably was upset by what the other interrogators said. Note that each of the three times the other investigators are mentioned, there is a fairly long word in front of "investigators" that is redacted. The words "contractor" and "Blackwater" both seem about the right length and would fit the context of the paragraph. It appears that the large redaction in the paragraph begins with an additional statement attributed to one of the rogue interrogators. Was the interrogator telling KSM that the children were in US custody? If so, why was that redacted if that fact was already reported in the British press in 2003?


There will be no way to put this awful episode of torture behind us until we know where the children of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed are and if they have been mistreated while in US custody. As I pointed out this diary, two children of Aafia Siddiqui also are missing.


I call on Attorney General Holder to release the remainder of paragraph 95 of the OIG report and to provide a public report on the location and well being of all four children discussed here. No matter the crimes of their parents, innocent children should never be used as pawns by our government. The behavior disclosed so far is shocking and abhorrent. Unfortunately, the extensive redaction of this section and the continued silence from the government regarding these children raise the possibility that information that is significantly more shocking has been concealed.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry published on August 28, 2009 10:04 AM.

International Tribunal Takes Up Case of Innocent Victim of CIA Extraordinary Rendition Program was the previous entry in this blog.

fit to be tortured is the next entry in this blog.

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