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Torture of Mentally Ill Prisoner Led Administration To Pursue False Leads

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"Torture of Mentally Ill Prisoner Led Administration To Pursue False Leads"

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In his new book “The One Percent Doctrine,” Ron Suskind details the story of Abu Zubaydah – a man President Bush once described as “one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States.” Suskind writes that Bush made this claim despite CIA and FBI analysis that showed Zubaydah was “mentally ill and nothing like the pivotal figure they supposed him to be.” (“This guy is insane, [a] certifiable, split personality,” the FBI’s top al-Qaeda analyst said.)

Nevertheless, “under White House and Justice Department direction, the CIA would make him its first test subject for harsh interrogation techniques.” Ultimately, his story became an example of how torture doesn’t work.

From the Washington Post’s review of the book:

Bush “was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth,” Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, “Do some of these harsh methods really work?”

Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep.

Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety — against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, “thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each…target.” And so, Suskind writes, “the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered.”

The answer to your question, President Bush, is “no.”

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