2008 the question text
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Q: Mr. Secretary, the reward money you mentioned: How are you getting the word out about the reward money? Is that a leaflet operation or –
Rumsfeld: Among other things.
Q: Commando Solo?
Rumsfeld: We have leaflets that are dropping like snowflakes — (laughter) — in December in Chicago.
Q: Mr. Secretary, not a question but a simple statement: We don’t see you tomorrow. May we wish you, all things considered, a happy Thanksgiving.
Rumsfeld: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
Q: How much is that reward? Just in case I happen upon something. (Laughter.)
Rumsfeld: If you have nothing to do over Thanksgiving weekend, it’s $25 million for a select few.
Q: Only one at a time? Is that, I mean, 25 million for — do you have to turn in three? (Laughter.) Is it for each one?
Rumsfeld: When I see you in your camouflage suit, I will give the details. (Laughter.)
The answer is that that would be for a single person, of relatively few individuals.
Q: Is it for information, or you have to bring them in, or what? Do they have to bring them in or just have information that results in their capture?
Q: (Off mike.) (Laughter.)
Rumsfeld: I am not going to make legal pronouncements about this. That is really not my field.
We have to work the dark side, if you will. We’re going to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies.
They took us on some sort of truck across to the plane. I could feel the open air for the first time in months, but I was also stifling in the mask. They manhandled us up the ramp, and as the goggles were not completely tight against my eyes, if I leaned my head back a little and forced my eyes down I could just make out rows of seats, along the length of the aeroplane. The prisoners sat in the middle, back to back, and the guards were seated in front of us.
Soon I could not think about anything except how miserably uncomfortable I was. The earmuffs pressed really hard against my ears, I found it very difficult to breathe through the facemask, and of course I couldn’t see. With the din of the engines, the pressure of the shackles around the waist, and the handcuffs, I felt I could not last long.
I was getting desperate to be drugged so I would be out of all the misery, so I kept doing something to get the guards’ attention. Despite the pain of the chains rubbing on my skin, I pushed my wrists or my arms against the goggles or the facemask or the earmuffs to get them off. Each time I did it, a guard got up and put them back again.
I had heard from a guard that several detainees had been forcibly drugged on previous flights to Cuba. I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting in this position for nearly two consecutive days. I shouted over the roar of the engines to whoever could hear me, ‘Can I have a sedative, or something, to drug me, please? This is unbearable.’ Someone who I assumed was a medical officer came, and gave me some drugs to swallow.
When the U.S. Army sent its prisoners to Guantanamo, they were trussed up with ropes and thrown into the cold and deafening holds of cargo planes. The CIA, however, was favoring something different. When the CIA transferred its prisoners, they were often placed in large executive jets, which have champagne coolers and in-flight movies. What was so important about these prisoners? Or could CIA agents not manage without an ice bucket? The story became increasingly fantastic, more surreal.
“One person told me not to tell this story, because it’s so unreal, no one would listen,”
The ClA’s “high-value detainee” program was extraordinarily compartmentalized in order to maximize secrecy. Internal communications dealing with the program were segregated into a separate cable channel with its own encryption codes. Typical of this high level of secrecy, the Agency went to extraordinary lengths to cover its tracks in the transport of Z. Rather than flying him directly from Pakistan to the intended “black site,” a well-informed source said the Agency flew him around the world for three days. The CIA rotated the pilots so that none would know the whole itinerary. Before the final destination was reached, landings were made on several continents,
A border police officer working the late shift at the Bromma Airport found the whole episode “a little extraordinary”. All non-European aircraft were supposed to contact the police before landing. Somehow, this American jet had evaded all of the usual red tape. He thought it odd that on the jet, along with the masked men, had been a handful of U.S. and Egyptian officials and a doctor, all of whom seemed to be carrying out some sort of forcible secret operation on Swedish territory without obeying Swedish laws.
As the police investigation showed, after completing the renditions of both Binyam Mohamed and Khaled el-Masri, Captain Fairing and his crew returned to Majorca on January 26, 2004, for two nights of rest and recreation at the Melia Victoria. Snow and ice had sealed off Dulles airport to incoming flights.
As they prepared to return home their Boeing 737 was loaded up with an unusual amount of ice—66 pounds of ice cubes and dry ice. And dipping into Mallorcair’s drinks cabinet, they selected for themselves three bottles of fine Spanish wine—two of Pesquera and an Alion, along with five crystal glasses. All were charged to the CIA plane’s bill.
By January 28, the weather at Dulles had cleared. At 10:09 A.M. Captain Fairing opened the throttle on his 737 and took off for Washington, D.C.
Question: “Mr. President, under the law, how would you justify the practice of renditioning, where U.S. agents who brought terror suspects abroad, taking them to a third country for interrogation? And would you stand for it if foreign agents did that to an American here? “
The transcript recorded his chuckles.
“That’s a hypothetical,” he said. “We operate within the law, and we send people to countries where they say they’re not going to torture the people.
“But let me say something. The United States government has an obligation to protect the American people. It’s in our country’s interest to find those who would do harm to us and get them out of harm’s way. And we will do so within the law, and we’ll do so in honoring our commitment not to torture people. And we expect the countries where we send somebody to not to torture as well.“
“Why is it so hard for people to understand that there is a category of behavior not covered by the legal system? What were pirates? What were slave traders? They weren’t fighting on behalf of any nation. Historically, there were people so bad that they were not given protection of the laws. There were no specific provisions for their trial or imprisonment. If you were an illegal combatant, you didn’t deserve the protection of the laws of war.”
Carlson told me that he didn’t realize quite what a mess he was in until they put him into Camp Echo and he started talking to me. He told me about things he’d done in other parts of the camp, without telling me which detainee was involved ‘Some of the things I did with him, I can’t believe that I did that.’ He didn’t go into detail, but he mentioned that he slapped him around a few times, and that they did things to this person that he was ashamed of, that he wished he’d never done in his life. ‘I don’t know what happened to me, how I could stoop so low to do such a thing?’
“When you cross over that line of darkness, it’s hard to come back. You lose your soul. You can do your best to justify it, but it’s well outside the norm. You can’t go to that dark a place without it changing you
There is no such thing as a little bit of torture. The whole myth of scientific surgical torture, that torture advocates, academic advocates in this country came up with, that’s impossible. Once it starts, it becomes this Dantesque hell, this kind of play palace of the darkest recesses of human consciousness. That cannot operate. It will inevitably spread.
When I reached the subsection titled “Interrogation Techniques,” there was a black blot of ink two pages long. Whatever information had been there was gone, eradicated, tossed down the public memory hole that has eaten so much of the detail that I, along with many others, have been trying to find for two years now.
Still, I plowed doggedly on, ever deeper into both of the reports, as the redacted sections only increased, leaving me with two “reports” that lacked at least 50 percent of their contents.
Blackened page followed blackened page, introductory sentences led nowhere, subsection titles introduced nothing, and elaborating details were rendered invisible along with most of each report’s conclusions. If one were to treat these pages like a flip book, visually the story line would be a solid mass of black.
“When the plane landed, I was placed in a car, still blindfolded, and driven up and down mountains for hours. Eventually, I was removed from the car and my blindfold removed. My captors gave me my passport and belongings, sliced off my handcuffs, and told me to walk down a dark, deserted road and not to look back.”
At the end of the path, three waiting men handed him a picnic lunch and drove him to the Tirana Airport, from which he flew home. He had lost so much weight, and looked so haunted and aged, the airport authorities accused him of using someone else’s passport. When he arrived at his apartment, it was deserted and ransacked. His wife and sons, he learned later, had assumed themselves abandoned and moved in with his in-laws in Lebanon.
Cheney argued that as soon as the administration released a single CIA prisoner, the whole clandestine program would be revealed. “People will ask where they’ve been and ‘What have you been doing with them?’“
As he saw it, the prisoners were not people with rights so much as exploitable intelligence resources. If they were moved out of the dark, he warned, “They’ll all get lawyers.” The government would no longer be able to continue to interrogate them freely.
I hadn’t seen a child in three years, let alone my own. What I most wanted was for them to recognize me, to relate to me, and to feel like a father again. Nusaybah, my younger daughter, gave a little smile, not looking me directly in the face.
I asked ‘Do you know who I am?’
‘Yes, you’re Baba.’
Then I turned to my eldest son. ‘Do you remember me, Abdur-Rahman?’
‘Yes,’ he answered, half asleep, ‘you’re Baba.’
‘And what do you remember about me?’
‘I remember when you used to read us bedtime stories and take us swimming. And that time in Afghanistan when we hid in your car, and you didn’t even know we were there for a long time. And you used to call me “a little monkey”, because I liked to jump around and climb a lot,’ he said, getting a little more animated.
‘He still does,’ said Nusaybah, still refusing to look at me.