Khalid Sheikh Mohammed/Archive1 - Capture and Interrogation

Capture and Interrogation

See also: Enhanced interrogation techniques and Black site

On September 11, 2002, members of Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) claimed to have killed or captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed during a raid in Karachi that resulted in bin al-Shibh's capture. Some people have reported that Mohammed escaped, but that his family was captured.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, (about 20 km southwest of Islamabad), on March 1, 2003, by the Pakistani ISI, possibly in a joint action with the CIA's Special Activities Division paramilitary operatives and officers of the American Diplomatic Security Service. He has been in U.S. custody since that time. In September 2006, the U.S. government announced it had moved Mohammed from a secret CIA prison (or black site) to the military custody at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The Red Cross, Human Rights Watch and Mohammed have claimed that the harsh interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, which Mohammed received from U.S. authorities amount to torture.

Following the report of the capture, some Pakistani officials say Mohammed was immediately transferred to U.S. custody without extradition proceedings, while others said he remained in Pakistani custody. The raid took place at the home of Ahmed Abdul Qudoos, who was also reportedly arrested as an al-Qaeda agent. Qudoos' family told media that Mohammed was not in the house, that Qudoos was disabled and had never been associated with al-Qaeda, and that the police conducting the raids did not ask for Mohammed. Other newspaper accounts said that former Taliban officials in Pakistan said that Mohammed was not captured and was still at large.

Mohammed initially told American interrogators he would not answer any questions until he was provided with a lawyer, which was refused. He claims to have been kept naked for more than a month during his isolation and interrogations, during which he was "questioned by an unusual number of female handlers".

Under questioning, Mohammed named the neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui as an al-Qaeda operative. He later stated that to "please his captors" he gave names of innocent people, and Siddiqui’s lawyers believe her name was given under torture.

A CIA document reveals that Jane Harman (D-CA) and Porter Goss (R-FL) of the House Intelligence Committee were briefed on July 13, 2004, by the CIA Deputy Director for Operations James Pavitt, General Counsel Scott Muller, and CIA Inspector General John L. Helgerson on the status of the interrogation process of Mohammed. By this date, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had been subjected to 183 applications of waterboarding.

The document states:

...the CIA was seeking renewed policy approval from the NSC Principals to continue using the enhanced interrogation techniques.

On October 12, 2004, Human Rights Watch reported that 11 suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, had "disappeared" to a semi-secret prison in Jordan, and might have been tortured there under the direction of the CIA. Jordanian and American officials denied those allegations.

The CIA Director Michael Hayden told a Senate committee on February 5, 2008, that the agency had used waterboarding on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. A 2005 U.S. Justice Department memo released in April 2009 stated that Mohammed had undergone waterboarding 183 times in March 2003.

In October 2006 Mohammed described his mistreatment and torture in detention, including the waterboarding, to a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Mohammed said that he had provided a lot of false information, which he had supposed the interrogators wanted to hear, in order to stop the mistreatment.

In the 2006 interview with the Red Cross, Mohammed claimed to have been waterboarded in five different sessions during the first month of interrogation in his third place of detention. While the Justice Department memos did not explain exactly what the numbers represented, a U.S. official with knowledge of the interrogation programs explained the 183 figure represented the number of times water was applied to the detainee's face during the waterboarding sessions, rather than separate sessions.

In March 2007, after four years in captivity, including six months of detention and alleged torture at Guantanamo Bay, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — as it was claimed by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal Hearing in Guantanamo Bay — confessed to masterminding the September 11 attacks, the Richard Reid shoe bombing attempt to blow up an airliner over the Atlantic Ocean, the Bali nightclub bombing in Indonesia, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and various foiled attacks. "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z," Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said in a statement read Saturday during a Combatant Status Review Tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. His confession was read by a member of the U.S. military who is serving as his personal representative.

Given that Mohammed was known to have been tortured in US custody, Andrew Brown of The Guardian commented that in addition to confessing to the 9/11 attacks,

" has now added to this a list of 30 other crimes and atrocities that he planned or put into action. It was published by the American government last week. There is nothing quite like this list outside the Moscow show trials that Stalin mounted; and if we accept Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's confession, we owe Stalin's ghost a handsome apology."

According to the "unclassified summary of evidence" presented during the CSRT hearing, a computer hard drive seized during the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed contained the following:

  • information about the four airplanes hijacked on 11 September 2001 including code names, airline company, flight number, target, pilot name and background information, and names of the hijackers;
  • photographs of 19 individuals identified as the 11 September 2001 hijackers;
  • a document that listed the pilot license fees for Mohammad Atta and biographies for some of the 11 September 2001 hijackers;
  • images of passports and an image of Mohammad Atta;
  • transcripts of chat sessions belonging to at least one of the 11 September 2001 hijackers;
  • three letters from Osama bin Laden;
  • spreadsheets that describe financial assistance to families of known al Qaeda members
  • a letter to the United Arab Emirates threatening attack if their government continued to help the United States;
  • a document that summarized operational procedures and training requirements of an al Qaeda cell; and
  • a list of killed and wounded al Qaeda militants.

At the hearing, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said the computer belonged not to him, but to Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, arrested together with him.

In June 2008, a New York Times article, citing unnamed CIA officers, claimed that Mohammed had been held in a black site or secret facility in Poland near Szymany Airport, about 100 miles north of Warsaw, where he was interrogated under waterboarding before he began to "cooperate."

In 2009 Mohammed further described his actions and motivations in a composition publicly released and known as The Islamic Response to the Government’s Nine Accusations.

In April 2011, the British newspaper, The Telegraph said it received leaked documents regarding the Guantanamo Bay interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The documents cited Mohammed as saying that, if Osama Bin Laden is captured or killed by the Coalition of the Willing, an Al-Qaeda sleeper cell would detonate a "weapon of mass destruction" in a "secret location" in Europe, and promised it would be "a nuclear hellstorm".

Read more about this topic:  Khalid Sheikh Mohammed/Archive1

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