Friday, June 08, 2007

Child Abductions for Freedom

I just saw this on Glenn Greenwald's blog:

I see that Hilzoy this morning is discussing an amazing new report (.pdf) issued jointly by six human rights groups concerning 39 individuals whose whereabouts are unknown and at least some of whom, it seems quite likely, the U.S. has simply "disappeared," secretly holding in detention. Among the disappeared, Hilzoy highlights, are likely children as young as 7-9 years old. I have a lot to say about this issue -- as I hope everyone would -- but am unable to write anything now, but Hilzoy's post is superb and ought to be read widely.

We will undoubtedly hear at the next GOP debate from Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and company as they explain -- in the face of wild cheers from the "base" -- that they not only favor the disappearance of the children of Terrorists, but think the minimum age of detention ought to be halved from 8 to 4, and the number of secretly detained children doubled at least.

So, naturally, I went over to Hilzoy's post on Obsidian Wings and found more...

This report has gotten a fair amount of play, but in all the coverage I've read, only the Philadelphia Inquirer has mentioned what is, to me, the most awful allegation: that we disappeared young children. The report (pp. 24-26) lists five groups of family members; those who are discussed at greatest length are the sons of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

"In September 2002, Yusuf al-Khalid (then nine years old) and Abed al-Khalid (then seven years old) were reportedly apprehended by Pakistani security forces during an attempted capture of their father, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was successfully apprehended several months later, and the U.S. government has acknowledged that he was in the U.S. Secret Detention Program. He is presently held at Guantánamo Bay.


After Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s arrest in March 2003, Yusuf and Abed Al Khalid were reportedly transferred out of Pakistan in U.S. custody. The children were allegedly being sent for questioning about their father’s activities and to be used by the United States as leverage to force their father to co-operate with the United States. A press report on March 10, 2003 confirmed that CIA interrogators had detained the children and that one official explained that:

“We are handling them with kid gloves. After all, they are only little children...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.”

In the transcript of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s Combatant Status Review Tribunal, he indicates knowledge that his children were apprehended and abused:

“They arrested my kids intentionally. They are kids. They been arrested for four months they had been abused.”"

Now, thinking back to that widely-reported confession by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed a few months ago -- you know, the one where he confessed his responsibility for everything but the kidnapping of the Lindberg baby -- is there any chance that maybe, just maybe, some of that was coerced? I'm just speculating that, perhaps, 4 years of torture in Guantanamo Bay, combined the with the knowledge that his torturers had his children holed up in some similar undisclosed hell-hole, might have had the effect of coloring his testimony a bit. I'm just saying, I know KSM is a confirmed bad-guy and all, but this has to call his already-fantastical testimony into even more doubt.

Who needs evidence when we can threaten your kids?

I saw an episode of The Shield where the Russian mob acted the same way. But that was the Russian mob in a fictional TV show. This is the US government in real life.

See also:

  • The full report reference above (Adobe PDF file)
  • Treaties banning the "disappearing" of civilians
  • KSM: Read the long list of acts claimed by KSM in his secret military tribunal.

Wow, he makes Carlos the Jackal look like a Quaker.

This all further confirms for me what many have already suspected for a while. This whole torture program is designed, not to uncover intelligence on existing terror plots, but instead to create intelligence from whole cloth regardless of the existence of any plot. This manufactured intel is then used to incite fear and promote policies that have already been decided upon. The Iraq invasion, for example.