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"A Ponzi Scheme of Torture"

Larry Siems,
The Torture Report
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February 3, 2010

Today we post the first of two parts of Chapter 4, “A Ponzi Scheme of Torture.”

This chapter connects the interrogations of Abu Zubaydah, Jose Padilla, and Binyam Mohamed, three people who were allegedly involved in a “dirty bomb” plot that grew more fantastical the more the men were tortured. It traces how torture begat torture, first because bad information extracted through abusive interrogations led to more torture and more bad information, and finally because interrogations were being conducted not only, as the Bush administration has insisted, to produce new intelligence to thwart impending attacks but also to force confessions and extract information that it would use to justify its detention and torture of others.

At the center of this Chapter’s “Ponzi scheme of torture” is Binyam Mohamed, a U.K.-based Ethiopian émigré who was arrested in Pakistan in April 2002, abused, flown to Morocco and tortured for 18 months, then flown to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan , where he was again tortured, and finally delivered, in September 2004, to Guantánamo. Once called Jose Padilla’s accomplice in several diabolical terror plots and identified, with Abu Zubaydah, as the source of information about those planned attacks, Mohamed was released last year and is now living as a free man in London.

Part 1 of this chapter, which we are posting today, is called “The Scheme;” Part 2, which will be posted next week, is entitled, “The Story Unravels.”

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