Detainee says he gave false story after harsh interrogation
Suspected Sept. 11 organizer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told U.S. military officials he gave false information to the CIA even after undergoing...
Tribune Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — Suspected Sept. 11 organizer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told U.S. military officials he gave false information to the CIA even after undergoing punishing bouts of interrogation, according to documents made public Monday, a claim likely to intensify the debate over the Bush administration's use of harsh techniques to gain information from terrorism suspects.
Mohammed made the assertion during hearings held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where the militant leader was transferred in 2006 after being held at secret CIA sites since his capture in 2003.
"I make up stories," Mohammed said, describing in broken English an interrogation likely administered by the CIA concerning the location of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.
"Where is he? I don't know. Then, he torture me," Mohammed said. "Then I said, 'Yes, he is in this area.' "
The admission could amplify calls for the Obama administration to make public more information about the abuse of detainees or to allow a broader inquiry into the Bush administration's interrogation policies. Monday's disclosure, representing the first allegation by a detainee that he lied while being subjected to harsh practices, also could raise more questions about the effectiveness of the techniques.
The transcripts were released as part of a lawsuit in which the American Civil Liberties Union is seeking documents and details of the government's terrorism-detainee programs.
Previous accounts of the military tribunal hearings had been made public, but the Obama administration reviewed the still-secret sections and determined that more could be released.
Most of the new material centers on the detainees' claims of abuse during interrogations while being held overseas in CIA custody.
One detainee, Abu Zubaydah, told the tribunal that after months "of suffering and torture, physically and mentally, they did not care about my injuries."
Zubaydah was the first detainee subjected to Bush administration-approved harsh interrogation techniques, which included a simulated form of drowning known as waterboarding, slamming the suspect into walls and prolonged periods of nudity.
Zubaydah claimed in the hearing that he "nearly died four times."
Europeans to take detainees: European Union and U.S. representatives reached an agreement Monday in which individual European nations can receive inmates cleared for release from the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Separately, President Obama said Italy would accept three detainees. He made the announcement after meeting with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi at the White House.
Afghan elections: Afghan President Hamid Karzai and 40 other candidates begin their official campaigns for Afghanistan's presidency today, in an election that will decide who will lead the country through a spike in violence and a surge in U.S. troops to combat it. Karzai has led Afghanistan since soon after U.S.-backed troops invaded in 2001 to oust the hard-line Islamist Taliban regime that was sheltering Osama bin Laden. The campaign will close Aug. 18, two days before the vote.
New U.S. commander: Gen. Stanley McChrystal formally assumed command Monday of American and NATO troops in Afghanistan. In addition to confronting an increasingly powerful Taliban insurgency and presiding over the largest American troop buildup of the war, the four-star general faces rising Afghan anger over deaths and injuries to civilians in the course of the fighting.
Journalists held: Al-Jazeera television called for the immediate release of two of its Afghan producers Monday after they were arrested by Afghan intelligence agents. Qais Azimy and Hamedullah Shah, who work for the station's English and Arabic services, have been held by Afghan authorities since Sunday, the station said in a statement.
Additional information from The Associated Press
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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