Osama bin Laden’s Death, and the Unjustifiable Defense of Torture and Guantánamo


With the reported assassination of Osama bin Laden, one of the most alarming responses has been a kind of casual and widespread acceptance that the death of America’s number one bogeyman would not have been achieved without the use of torture, and without the existence of Guantánamo.

This is wrong on both fronts, as Jane Mayer of the New Yorker explained in response to an early manifestation of the story, put out by torture apologists Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol:

It may have taken nearly a decade to find and kill Osama bin Laden, but it took less than twenty-four hours for torture apologists to claim credit for his downfall.

Keep America Safe, an organization run by former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol, released a victory statement today that entirely failed to mention President Obama, but lavishly credited “the men and women of America’s intelligence services who, through their interrogation of high-value detainees, developed the information that apparently led us to bin Laden.”

Funny. You would think that if the CIA’s interrogation of high-value detainees was all it took, the US government would have succeeded in locating bin Laden before 2006, which is when the CIA’s custody of so-called “high-value detainees” ended. Instead, after the Supreme Court ruled that year that prisoners needed to be treated humanely in compliance with the Geneva Conventions, the CIA was forced to turn its special detainees over to the military for detention and interrogation using more lawful tactics in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It took five more years before all the dots could be adequately connected.

Although it was suggested that the key to bin Laden’s killing — tracking down one of his most trusted couriers — began with the interrogation of the “high-value detainee” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed during his long detention in secret CIA prisons, from March 2003 to September 2006, involved the interrogation in 2004 of a “ghost prisoner,” Hassan Ghul, who was never held at Guantánamo, and was followed up during the interrogation of another “high-value detainee,” Abu Faraj al-Libi, seized in Marwan, Pakistan, in May 2005 and also held in secret CIA prisons until September 2006, when he, KSM and 12 others were transfered to Guantánamo, the only parts of the story that involved detention in secret prisons were the disclosure by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed of the kunyas (nicknames) used by various couriers, and it has not been suggested that torture was used in extracting this information, and the interrogation of Hassan Ghul, seized in Iraq, and held in unknown locations.

As the Associated Press reported, “four former US intelligence officials” told them that KSM had yielded the names of “several of bin Laden’s couriers” while being held in “a secret prison in Eastern Europe” — in other words, in Poland or Romania, where he was held in 2003 and 2004. In relation to Hassan Ghul, the New York Times reported that, “according to current and former officials briefed on the interrogations,” Ghul “provided a crucial description of the courier” after “some tough treatment.” It would be useful, of course, if Ghul could one day be asked about what happened, but that seems unlikely as, although he is now being referred to widely in the mainstream media, and also turns up regularly in the classified military documents released last week by WikiLeaks, his whereabouts are completely unknown, as he is one of dozens of “ghost prisoners” held by the Bush administration in its shadowy network of secret CIA prisons, who never ended up in Guantánamo. As such, it would be appropriate if those mentioning him in the media were to ask what happened to him, but now, it seems, “ghost prisoners” can be summoned up without context in news stories, as though their actual existence — their life or death — is completely irrelevant.

A clear sign of the distortions seeping into media reports was to be found elsewhere in the AP report, when the authors, Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, claimed that “The revelation that intelligence gleaned from the CIA’s so-called black sites helped kill bin Laden was seen as vindication for many intelligence officials who have been repeatedly investigated and criticized for their involvement in a program that involved the harshest interrogation methods in US history.” That shameful defense of torture in secret CIA prisons — in which torture itself was coyly and dishonestly referred to as “the harshest interrogation methods in US history” — was followed up by a bullish, triumphalist quote from Marty Martin, described as “a retired CIA officer who for years led the hunt for bin Laden,” who said, “We got beat up for it, but those efforts led to this great day.”

Only in the next paragraph did the AP deign to acknowledge that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed “did not reveal the names while being subjected to … waterboarding,” which was described, as is usual in the mainstream media, as a “simulated drowning technique,” even though it is a torture technique, recognized as such for centuries, and does not involve anything simulated at all.

After finally explaining that KSM “identified them [the couriers] many months later under standard interrogation,” the AP concluded that these revelations left it “once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool or an unnecessarily violent tactic.”

Readers will, I hope, realize how everything in these passages from the AP confirms what I described at the start of this article as the “casual and widespread acceptance” that bin Laden’s death “would not have been achieved without the use of torture, and without the existence of Guantánamo,” as the KSM element of the story, which, the AP eventually conceded, did not involve torture, and the main part of the story actually involved the name of a key courier being disclosed in 2007, at Guantánamo, by Abu Faraj al-Libi (as revealed in his Detainee Assessment Brief, released by Wikileaks last week). Even then, it took another two years until US officials were able to identify where this particular courier operated, and they didn’t manage to locate the actual compound in which bin Laden was found and killed until August last year.

As a defense of torture, the bin Laden trail is therefore useless, as Jane Mayer explained. “This timeline doesn’t seem to provide a lot of support for the pro-torture narrative,” she wrote, adding, “One would think that if so-called ‘enhanced interrogations’ provided the magic silver bullet, and if the courier was a protégé of KSM’s, then the CIA might have wrapped this up back in 2003, while they were waterboarding the 9/11 mastermind a hundred and eighty-three times.”

Moreover, as a defense of Guantánamo — also implied in the general tenor of the reporting suggesting that there should be a  renewed “debate” about torture — it also fails. “High-value detainees” like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Faraj al-Libi should never have been tortured, but had they been interrogated lawfully they would still have been recognized as particularly significant prisoners, and therefore the extraction of information from them has absolutely nothing to do with Guantánamo.

Rather than being a prison focused on securing intelligence from a handful of significant prisoners, Guantánamo was — and still is, fundamentally — an abomination and an aberration, an experimental facility in which prisoners seized in a largely random manner were held neither as prisoners of war, protected by the Geneva Conventions, nor as criminal suspects to be put forward for trials, but as “unlawful enemy combatants,” a category of prisoner invented by the Bush administration, who were supposed to be held without any rights whatsoever for as long as George W. Bush wished, and interrogated for “actionable intelligence” in whatever way the Commander in Chief saw fit.

Alarmingly, Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution, an advocate of indefinite detention without charge or trial for “War on Terror” prisoners, has tried to claim that what the news about the information that led to bin Laden’s death demonstrates is the opposite: that it justifies the limitless dragnet conceived by the Bush administration in the early years of its “War on Terror,” in which as many people as possible should be rounded up and interrogated for years — or decades — to produce pieces of a larger “mosaic” of intelligence.

In Wittes’ words, the account of how the information was obtained “strongly supports what intelligence community folks have long argued about the way good operational intelligence comes about.” He continued by claiming that “Information has a very long life,” that it “gets put together piece by piece in a kind of mosaic over many years,” and, moreover, that “one doesn’t necessarily know what the significant pieces will be when one is collecting the information.”

Not only is this not backed up by the evidence about the “high-value detainees,” rather than the general population of Guantánamo, but anything that tries to revisit the worst years of the Bush administration, and to justify holding hundreds, or thousands of prisoners for what they may be able to conribute to some sort of limitless “mosaic” of intelligence, still fills me with chills, as do attempts to defend the use of torture.

On that front, the most significant comments I have read over the last few days have come from former FBI agent Jack Cloonan. I have regularly quoted from Cloonan and his colleague Dan Coleman, discussing their abhorrence of torture and their defense of rapport-building and psychological, torture-free interrogations with Jane Mayer of the New Yorker back in 2006, so I was delighted to see that David Danzig of Human Rights First also drew on an interview with Cloonan in an article on Tuesday, “Five Reasons Why Torture Did Not Help U.S. Forces Find Bin Laden.”

Danzig wrote:

Some will argue that it was only thanks to the waterboarding that KSM and al-Libi were willing to talk at all. This notion is rejected by the more than 75 interrogators, questioners and debriefers with the military, the FBI and the CIA who I have spoken to in depth about this subject since the revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib. I have yet to speak to a professional interrogator who believes that torture is an effective means of questioning suspected terrorists.

Jack Cloonan who served on the FBI’s Osama Bin Laden unit for 6 years told me that during an interrogation (or what the FBI calls an interview) the goal was to, “work towards the objective of getting this person to cross the threshold and become, in effect, a traitor to their own cause.”

According to Cloonan, “the Al-Qaeda people that I dealt with were all very sophisticated in terms of their language skills and understanding of what was at stake.” Cloonan said that it essentially became a question of whether he could offer the detainee enough of what he wanted (protection for his family, more lenient sentencing/incarceration etc.) to convince him to talk. “They struggled,” he said, “with whether or not I was being truthful and I was going to honor everything I said.”

If you gave the detainee any reason not to trust you, there is no negotiation, Cloonan explained. The detainee won’t be willing to bargain with giving up his knowledge in exchange for something the interrogator can provide. He simply won’t trust you. Torture, Cloonan says, shatters any possibility for trust. “It changes the dynamic,” Cloonan said. “And once you have gone down that path, in my experience there is no going back.”

My conclusion, then? Without torture, Osama bin Laden might have been found many years ago. Torture remains illegal, as well as counter-productive, and attempts to revive it as a topic for “debate” are as vile and unprincipled as attempts to claim that the death of Osama bin Laden somehow justifies the ongoing existence of Guantánamo.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, on tour in the UK throughout 2011, and available on DVD here — or here for the US), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

As published exclusively on Cageprisoners.

89 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Halldor Carlsson wrote:

    so it serves one more purpose besides being a distraction from events in Libya and boosting Obama´s poll rates …

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Steve Cooke wrote:

    So nine years of torture lands them their man. Very unlikely.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Muhammad Dilshad wrote:

    US media always lie to US people and its controlled by lobby and making Public opinion in favor of Israel and whatever US Israeli slave Government want to do US media make public opinion only.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Christopher Calkins wrote:

    I find disussion of the ‘efficacy’ of torture to be useless blather. The practice is illegal, immoral and un-American, period.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Michael Bentley wrote:

    Sharing, Andy. This is a very important article – thanks.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Jacqueline Prives Golburgh wrote:

    TY andy..XOXOXO

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Gabriele Müller wrote:

    Thanks, shared.

  8. Peace Activist says...

    Whilst torture and criminality is certainly not new to the US Admin, this whole fiasco related to the so called “war on terror” presents a real danger, of so called ‘mission creep’ and filter down. Soon a new crisis will emerge and we may see much more torture and general wrong doing. I believe there to be many serious and unknown issues at this present time. Many other problems — capital energy crisis, food prices, land grab and so on — will no doubt integrate with all this and exasperate the problem.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Chris Dorsey wrote:

    The government is, as usual putting impossible stories in the media with no proof at all for their claims. The different CIA Bin Laden Actors perpitrated a hoax on the American people. On top of that the government story keeps changing. Who buys any of ths? Just like with the attacks of 9/11 the government can not prove one of their claims

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Christopher Calkins wrote:

    It’s the HAARP, Illuminatti, Bilderburg Chem-Trails on the Grassy-Knoll next to the NWO FEMA-Camps! Run!

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Chris Dorsey wrote:

    You must be one of the dim witts that thinks whatever baseless claim the government makes is true Calkins.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Christopher Calkins ‎wrote:

    Chis D. (chuckle) You misspell ‘dimwits’ and question my intelligence?
    Uh-huh. You’re right, it’s all a ‘nefarious plot-plan’ by the ‘cabal of puppet-masters’. They’re all out to get you, dude.
    (it’s best to humor paranoid-delusionals)

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Chris Dorsey wrote:

    Where is any proof for Bin Laden or KSM masterminding 9/11? There is plenty of proof that government officials ordered NORAD to stand down, lied to the commission investigating the attacks redacted information. This is not to mention the scientific proof of a controlled demolition,and a money trail that is documented by many bankers and investigators including William Bergman of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank. He and others documented massive shortselling and war time hoarding.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Christopher Calkins wrote:

    It would be a fools errand to offer ‘proof’ of anything to such as you. ‘Truthers’ and ‘Birthers’ and ‘Area-51ers’….
    Conspiracy-theorist are sophomoric wastes of semi-cogent thought.
    (be afraid! be very afraid…!)

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Chris Dorsey wrote:

    I guess the answer is you have no proof.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Christopher Calkins wrote:

    Um, no. The point is, you’re not worth the effort.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Chris Dorsey wrote:

    Nice cop out.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Susan Hall wrote:

    Chris I’m not sure of all the things you are saying, so I feel compelled to explain what I “like.” First I Absolutely “Like” Andy Worthington & his work. His main purpose and his accomplishment of the purpose has been since the formation of Guantanamo to tell the TRUTH & the stories of those victims effected by the injustice this place & those responsible for it committed. He has labored harder and with more integrity than anyone I have observed. I do not believe there is any proof of bin Laden being behind all the fantastic stories of 9-11, which seems to even change in the press, as well as know that for the most part the U.S. media is owned & controlled not by a Free Press with their first priority being honest information for the benefit of the public in the U.S.. However as I have said before I do believe that there are a few like Mr. Wothington who desire to present the truth with a more cautious and more detailed interpretation and for that I will only tell him, thank you.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Josh Langford wrote:

    What an absolute joke, I’m not surprised they’re trying to spin this but I think most people can see straight through it. The only reason they finally got him is down to the ISI or the Pakistani military (or both) betraying him.

    I’m not sure where I stand with the whole conspiracy about who was responsible for 9/11 and whether Bin Laden was even the guy in those videos. I do think a bit of healthy skepticism is probably a good thing when dealing with what we’re being told to believe.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Willy Bach wrote:

    Alert! Wingnut takeover alert! Andy Worthington is one of the best people to help stamp out bullshit. Bin Laden’s assassination was not assisted by dedicated water-boarders. This is a pernicious lie put around by people who should be awaiting trial at The Hague. Re-posted. Please re-post.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Chris Dorsey wrote:

    My brother was hired as a lawyer for the DoD to help give trials to the Gitmo detainees. The TRUTH is they never intended these patsies to be anything but a political football. The victims are in gitmo because of an elaborate and obvious hoax, which was the false flag attacks of 9/11. The 9/11 attacks are also the false pretext for the illegal wars and occupations we are paying for that benefit the owners of the worlds private central banks. This is clear.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Susan Hall wrote:

    Chris Dorsey, if you truly believe these men were patsies, I call them Innocent propaganda tools of the U.S. corporations & their representatives, are You supporting those who are trying to free them and support others like Andy Worthington who has put in so much labor for them. I didn’t believe for a minute that most -if any were guilty & it was being done in my name & wanted to do something instead of looking like those women in Germany all dressed nicely & going about leisure life while innocent children and people were being tortured in my name, so I try to do a few things.

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Chris Dorsey wrote:

    I support those in control of the government be borught to trial for treason that they have committed and then punished to the fullest extent of the law. Those who uphold the constitution must get in control of the guns and the jails.
    All else is controlled opposition.

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    Another lively discussion! Thanks for the comments, and thanks also to everyone who has shared it.
    I’m particularly grateful to Christopher (at 4), Michael, Jacqueline, Susan and Willy for your supportive comments.

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    And also thanks to Peace Activist, at 8.
    You’re right, I think, to worry about the emergence of a new crisis that could start the whole torture program all over again. Just when we should be thinking about some sort of closure, some very dark forces are saber-rattling all over again …

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Eleanor Boyd wrote:

    Thanks for your article, Andy. You are spot on as usual. How chilling all this is.

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Sharing and Digging now, Andy.

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Eleanor and George. I do find it disturbing. It’s as though people in the media keep trying to establish that torture was good — robust, necessary — to overcome two distressing facts: firstly, that it’s illegal, and that there are no circumstances under which it is not illegal; and secondly, that there is nothing extracted through torture (on those occasions when the tortured party tells the truth rather than what he or she thinks the torturer wants to hear) that could not have been obtained without the use of torture.

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    It is also disturbing that ancient Roman lawyers and Stoic philosophers argued in similar ways against this horror. I mentioned here once that Frederik the Great abolished judicial torture in his 18th century Prussia.

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes indeed, George. More recently, though, the Bush administration’s actions deliberately rolled back the revulsion felt after the Second World War, and the long journey from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 to the UN Convention Against Torture in 1984, and I find it absolutely unforgivable that anyone in a position of authority in the US — whether in politics or the media — should be doing anything to keep torture alive, or to revive it in the US.

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    Eleanor Boyd wrote:

    How vile must anyone be to approve of torture? Even were it effective, as it is not, it would still be totally abhorrent. I am glad for someone like Jane Mayer — not all of the press has capitulated to the Bush/Obama line. A voice in the wilderness, maybe, like yours, but I thank the heavens for people like the both of you.

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    Oh, and thank you also for your comments, Eleanor, and for your understanding of how, once unleashed, the dark dog of torture will eat away at the morality of any country that allows it to thrive unchecked.

  33. Andy Worthington says...

    Eleanor Boyd wrote:

    Just signed the Human Rights First petition to stand with the US former interrogators who maintain that torture hinders not helps!

  34. Andy Worthington says...

    Joshua Jacobo wrote:

    I’ve been waiting for someone to write this. Thank you, Andy.

  35. Andy Worthington says...

    Eleanor Boyd wrote:

    Stand with U.S. interrogators and debunk the myth that torture “works”. I don’t know what good petitions do (speaking from experience) but at least we make a point.

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    Willy Bach wrote:

    Andy, while reading the article, it struck me that all these Bill Kristol, Liz Cheney, John Yoo types go on with this vile line of argument, so far I only recall a stony silence from Barack Obama. It says to me that he is not unhappy to have people make this case, as long as he can claim it wasn’t him that said it. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I am still listening for his rebuttal.

  37. Andy Worthington says...

    Deborah Woods Singletary wrote:

    NO TORTURE no enhanced interrogation methods.

  38. Andy Worthington says...

    Eleanor Boyd wrote:

    Andy, I don’t think the US has ever had any morality. Not comparing them to the UK who have been complicit in all of this and have never had any themselves, but I just hate to think of them getting any worse than they are!

  39. Andy Worthington says...

    David Wayne wrote:

    excellent points, Andy.

  40. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Joshua and David, for those very supportive comments, and thanks also, Eleanor and Willy, for your continuing comments. I recommend the Human Rights First petition, and as for Obama’s point of view, I’m not sure, Willy. I thought his deliberately muted appearance at Ground Zero was important today in defusing much of the hysteria, although I do, of course, think that he should thoroughly repudiate the use of torture — as well as pursuing those who ordered and authorized its use under the Bush administration!

  41. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger ‎wrote:

    Willy I had the same thought. His silence is uncalled-for and revolting. My guess is that Obama did not wish to comment on the original reports of the supposed efficacy of harsh methods. That could easily have gotten him involved in arguments that could have dented his enhanced status. Imho, if this is so, he lacks the moral sense to put humane behaviour before reasons of state. And those reasons (to make it worse) might include an increased acceptance of barbaric actions. A precursor is Obama’s mild remarks on Manning’s torture.

  42. Andy Worthington says...

    Jennie Berkman-Boatman wrote:

    ok Osama is dead and Obama isn’t showing the pictures (rt. choice) – now let’s close Guantanamo and END the war in Afghanistan…it’s time.

  43. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jennie. Excellent points made! Troops home now, and close Guantanamo now!

  44. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote (in response to 40):

    I see, Andy. I did not listen to the news today.

  45. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, George. I may not be right, of course, but it was a refreshing antidote to the macho triumphalism that greeted the news of bin Laden’s death.

  46. Andy Worthington says...

    Palesks Méga wrote:

    Soutenir que la torture est immorale et la pratiquer quelle contradiction !

  47. Andy Worthington says...

    David Spero Rn wrote:

    It’s not torture. It’s “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.” Oh wait a minute…it’s now “EIT”s. How Orwellian is that! I’m afraid some of us on this list may wind up victims of “EIT”s.

  48. Andy Worthington says...

    Merci beaucoup, Palesks, and yes, David, Orwellian analogies — and the ghost of Franz Kafka — have been stalking the US, and the lands of America’s close allies, since 9/11, that’s for sure.

  49. The Unjustifiable Defense of Torture and Gitmo by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] Andy Worthington Featured Writer Dandelion Salad http://www.andyworthington.co.uk 5 May, […]

  50. Andy Worthington says...

    Jeremy R. Hammond wrote:

    Thanks, Andy, for challenging that narrative. I knew you would! And I knew nobody else could do it better! I was looking forward to this piece!

  51. Andy Worthington says...

    Excellent! Thank you, Jeremy. Great to hear from you, and hope all is well with you.

  52. Andy Worthington says...

    Jeremy R. Hammond wrote:

    Yes, indeed!

  53. Andy Worthington says...

    Allison Lee-Clay wrote:

    yeah, saw that in the US & Canadian papers, horrifying, isn’t it?

  54. Andy Worthington says...

    Leyal Aksu wrote:

    If you are an imperialist anything is justifiable sadly…

  55. Andy Worthington says...

    Boris Novák wrote:

    for me US is not an example of respectful democracy — tortures, capital punishment, indiscriminate and brute force in the wars of interest — but who can make it better is not outside critique but Americans self. as long there is no real pacifist, humanist or any other movement based on empathy, forget it. And btw who gives the damn about Osama, first when twin towers were hit part of the Arab population was celebrating and now we see drunk American youth cheering ….are we all not same

  56. Andy Worthington says...

    Excellent comments, Allison, Leyal and Boris. Thank you.

  57. Andy Worthington says...

    Mohammad Sultan wrote:

    hi Fellas, i am from Pakistan, this is a really fake game to Expose that he has been killed only, as USA killed him 3rd time, now finally as they really want clearly expose, as they might stepping forward to another One……. people living abbotabad are surprised coz that is Army Colony & any body enter has to show his ID, or it might a cordination b/w Pakistan & Usa…. God Knows…

  58. Andy Worthington says...

    Ciudadano Kane Kane wrote:

    I couldn´t agree more!, thanks very much, Andy!

  59. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Mohammad and Ciudadano. Great to hear from you.

  60. Andy Worthington says...

    Ciudadano Kane Kane wrote:

    I am really glad you have recovered so well and you are back at hard work!

  61. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you, my friend!

  62. Andy Worthington says...

    Jorge Guillermo Gajardo Rojas wrote:

    USA has not more credibility and ethics to talk to the rest of the world about freedom, justice and human rights. Is not very different from other kinds of totalitarisms of the past – fascism, communism, dictatorships. USA could not impose its political philosophy which is very inconsequential and hypocritical in the facts.The point to resolve for americans is if they believe that USA non end in his bounderies and all the world is an american colony as Rome.

  63. Andy Worthington says...

    Tashi Farmilo-Marouf wrote:

    This seems very hypocritical — to excuse their use of torture based on the ‘positive’ results they supposedly obtained by killing the most wanted terrorist. Trading terror for terror. It is hard to judge between true justice when all parties involved are using dirty tactics. Who has clean hands here? Who can stand as the righteous one? There is much arrogance — but not a lot of righteousness going around — in my humble opinion.

  64. Andy Worthington says...

    Malcolm Bush wrote:

    I really do think it to be most unlikely that torture helped find Usama bin Laden. These people were locked up for a long time, and things change. I would presume the US Admin are just trying to justify the use of these methods to some degree. I think we will see many more problems in the future related to this line of thinking. We are slowly being psychologically conditioned to accept this sort of thing. Many ordinary people are ready to accept anything without question. We see the glorification and glamorization of violence all the time on our TV screens. I often watch Thomas the Tank Engine; whilst this program is primarily for children, you get a good story, lots of fun, and no violence.

    Looking at this Andy Worthington Facebook Site shows that there are still many who are concerned about these issues. This site and some others like it are running at full speed. We should all be concerned about these issues.

  65. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jorge, Tashi and Malcolm. Very good to hear from you all.

  66. Andy Worthington says...

    Barbara Mullin wrote:

    Only outrageous liars defend torture. Have they no shame?

  67. Andy Worthington says...

    Malcolm Bush wrote:

    I’m sure there were many political advantages in killing Osama bin Laden when they did. There was so much going on in the Middle East and many questions being asked. With elections coming up, people like Congressman Ron Paul were becoming very popular and gaining vast amounts of support. The assassination of Bin Laden has overshadowed all other news, at a time when this is immensely advantageous to the status quo.

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  69. Andy Worthington says...

    On The Public Record, EnoughWithTheLies wrote:

    All these pro-water-boarding basterds need a personal water-boarding get-together so they can see personally how this feels.

  70. Andy Worthington says...

    OsamaKilledWithoutTorture wrote:

    Oh god, the more I read this stuff the angrier I get. I agree, let em get waterboarded themselves before supporting it, at least the chickenhawks officials.

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    […] With the death of Osama bin Laden, there is a perfect opportunity for the Obama administration to bring to an end the decade-long “War on Terror” by withdrawing from Afghanistan and closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. […]

  73. FFF – Commentaries – No End to the “War on Terror,” No End to Guantánamo « Translations says...

    […] death, which, in defiance of expert testimony by numerous interrogators over the last two weeks, relies on a false belief that detention in CIA “black sites,” the use of torture, and the existence of Guantánamo all […]

  74. WikiLeaks and the 22 Children of Guantánamo by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] Andy Worthington Featured Writer Dandelion Salad http://www.andyworthington.co.uk 11 June, 2011 Image by 4WardEver UK via […]

  75. WikiLeaks and the Guantánamo Prisoners Released from 2002 to 2004 … » WeNewsIt says...

    […] — and their vociferous supporters in Congress, in newspaper columns and on the airwaves — were allowed to suggest that the use of torture had led to locating bin Laden (it hadn’t, although some information had […]

  76. John Walker Lindh, Torture Victim And 9/11 Scapegoat, Profiled By Father - OpEd says...

    […] = {"data_track_clickback":true};Back in May, after the assassination of Osama bin Laden should have brought an end to the “War on Terror,” Frank Lindh, the father of John Walker Lindh, the first convicted prisoner in the Bush […]

  77. Time Is Right For Americans To Pay Attention To Human Rights Watch’s New Torture Report - OpEd says...

    […] that this was a good time for the report, primarily because of the renewed defense of torture that cynically and inappropriately followed the assassination of Osama bin […]

  78. Congress And The Dangerous Drive Towards Creating A Military State says...

    […] defense authorisation bill, lawmakers in the House of Representatives responded to the news of the assassination of Osama bin Laden not by declaring an end to the “War on Terror,” but by insisting that the basis for that war […]

  79. After Ten Years Of “War on Terror,” It’s Time To Scrap Authorization For Use Of Military Force - OpEd says...

    […] was significant, and the scale of the President’s ambitions were glimpsed when, after the death of Osama bin Laden in May, some Republican lawmakers, led by Rep. Buck McKeon (R – Calif.), wanted to revive the […]

  80. 'Ten Hours For Ten Years': Demonstration For Shaker Aamer, Last British Prisoner In Guantánamo - OpEd says...

    […] The war was launched to capture Osama bin Laden — “wanted dead or alive.” He is now dead but the war […]

  81. Obama Vs. Congress: The Struggle To Close Guantánamo - OpEd says...

    […] a sign of how skewed America is today that assassinating the world’s most wanted terrorist (Osama bin Laden), assassinating an American citizen working in Yemen as an anti-American propagandist (Anwar […]

  82. 'Waterboarding is torture,' says Obama - Page 23 says...

    […] […]

  83. Deranged Senate Votes for Military Detention of All Terror Suspects and a Permanent Guantánamo | Amauta says...

    […] of course, is no great defender of due process, as he had Osama bin Laden killed in a Wild West style and also approved the execution without any kind of charge or trial of Anwar […]

  84. Deranged Senate Votes for Military Detention of All Terror Suspects and a Permanent Guantánamo by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] of course, is no great defender of due process, as he had Osama bin Laden killed in a Wild West style and also approved the execution without any kind of charge or trial of Anwar […]

  85. Congress and the Dangerous Drive Towards Creating a Military State by Andy Worthington | Dandelion Salad says...

    […] defense authorisation bill, lawmakers in the House of Representatives responded to the news of the assassination of Osama bin Laden not by declaring an end to the “War on Terror,” but by insisting that the basis for that war […]

  86. Special Feature: Shaker Aamer and the Lies of Guantanamo Bay | The Age of Not Believing says...

    […] of Guantanamo Bay continue to rage, particularly in America. After the death of Osama Bin Laden, senior American officials claimed that he had been found on the basis of information from Guantanamo…, effectively trying to justify the profligate use of past and future torture sessions on the men […]

  87. Sam Stacey says...

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using any means possible to gain intelligence that help prevent future mass casualty events, and to wipe these scumb of the earth camel jockies of the face of the earth. You poor little indoctrinated socialist fools who believe we can all get along with focus groups getting to the key to understanding their reason for hating us, need a lesson in world history. Wars between tribes, sects and nations have been on going since the beginning of civilization, and you damn fools are not going to end them with a protest, a sit-in, a think tank or a conference in DC.

  88. Julius Gordon says...

    Sam: Sorry I’m a few months late catching up to your comments in this thread. Let me state a proposition that I think may clarify the arguments you raise.
    The invasion of Iraq by G. W. Bush, R. Cheney, et al. clearly constituted a “mass casualty event,” an event that was justified by a series of outright lies to the US Congress, the American people, and the UN. (Let me know, Sam, if you feel I need to enumerate the lies for you.) That invasion eventuated in up to a million deaths and several millions more in refugee status. Mass casualties, indeed.
    The subsequent behavior of the Bush administration, emulated by the Obama regime and now that of D. Trump, strongly suggests that the US government’s long term plans for the Middle East include the goal of attacking Iran, deposing its current leadership by force, and gaining control of Iranian petroleum resources. If I am correct, this spells to me a “future mass casualty event,” do you not agree?
    Your own logic would sanction the use of torture, or “any means possible”, to uncover information that MIGHT help prevent the predicted event. May I infer then that you would support the incarceration of high officials of the Bush, Obama, and Trump presidencies and the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” in order to prevent the outrage of an American invasion of Iran?
    By the way, Sam, you could work a bit harder to disguise your racism, however outdated. I thought the term “camel jockey” went out of use decades ago, but obviously I’m not current on the subject of ethnic slurs.

  89. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for your comments, Julius.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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