Incredulous Brits Discredit Bush Claims That Torture Saved UK Lives

In George W. Bush's new memoir, he claims that that waterboarding suspects at Guantanamo produced information that prevented attacks on Heathrow Airport, among other places. But British officials have discounted that claim, saying there's no evidence that the CIA's torture tactics in questioning alleged 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed saved any lives on British soil whatsoever. It's another pinprick in the US government's ever-deflating justifications for waterboarding, which both the British and the UN classify as torture. The Guardian:

British counter-terrorism officials distanced themselves from Bush's claims. They said Mohammed provided "extremely valuable" information which was passed on to security and intelligence agencies, but that it mainly related to al-Qaida's structure and was not known to have been extracted through torture. Eliza Manningham-Buller,head of MI5 at the time, said earlier this year that the government protested to the US over the torture of terror suspects, but that the Americans concealed Mohammed's waterboarding from Britain. Officials said today the US still had not officially told the British government about the conditions in which Mohammed was held.

Kim Howells, former chairman of the Commons intelligence and security committee and Labour foreign minister, told the BBC that, while he did not doubt the existence of plots, he doubted whether waterboarding provided information instrumental in preventing them coming to fruition.

David Davis, the Conservative former shadow home secretary, said: "For [Bush] to demonstrate the use of torture saved British lives he has to demonstrate you can't get information any other way." He added: "We know from Iraq that whenever brains rather than brutality was involved, you get better results." Davis pointed to claims made by one detainee, Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, after he was tortured that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida and that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, both of which have proved not to be true.

But Bush isn't just making fraudulent claims about the Brits. The book also discusses Abu Zubdayah, whose waterboarding allegedly produced the information that al Qaeda was linked to Saddam Hussein––a premise on which the Iraq War was based––and that Washington would be attacked by a dirty bomb. The CIA itself has discredited both statements, officially recognizing them as false.

Read more at The Guardian.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at November 10, 2010, 6:04am

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