RealNews

If a Terror Suspect Won't Talk, Should He Be Made To?

The Philippine police knew they had an unusual case when they arrested Abdul Hakim Murad on Jan. 6, 1995. After Mr. Murad accidentally set a small fire in his Manila apartment, the police reportedly found gallons of sulfuric acid and nitric acid, as well as beakers, filters, funnels and fuses. A week before Pope John Paul II was to visit Manila, they had uncovered a bomb-making factory. In many countries, terrorism suspects like Mr. Murad rarely receive the local equivalent of the Miranda rights; instead, they are tortured. Perhaps the authorities are trying to get sensitive information, perhaps they are trying to dispense extra-legal punishment. The methods vary, from gentler tactics, occasionally referred to as “torture lite,” like sleep deprivation, to hard torture, like the administration of electric shocks. If a prisoner happens to die, this can be explained away as a suicide or “a sharp drop in blood pressure,” as the Egyptian authorities have described the demise of prisoners who were brutalized to death. Mr. Murad, a Pakistani, was not a talker. Although a computer in his apartment contained information about his plans, he resisted requests to give details of what he was doing. His interrogators reportedly beat him so badly that most of his ribs were broken; they extinguished cigarettes on his genitals; they made him sit on ice cubes; they forced water down his throat so that he nearly drowned. This went on for several weeks. In the end, he provided names, dates and places behind a Qaeda plan to blow up 11 commercial airliners and fly another one into the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency. He also confessed to a plot to assassinate the pope. Full Story

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