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TimesUK: FBI considers torture as suspects stay silent
By Damian Whitworth
22/10/2001 11:13 am Mon
[Ada lapuran lain menyebut FBI telahpun mendera beberapa tahanan yang
berugama Islam berikutan kes ini. Tragedi 9-11 WTC nampaknya telah menjadikan
FBI satu institusi ganas....- Editor]
MONDAY OCTOBER 22 2001
FBI considers torture as suspects stay silent
FROM DAMIAN WHITWORTH IN WASHINGTON
AMERICAN investigators are considering resorting to harsher interrogation
techniques, including torture, after facing a wall of silence from jailed
suspected members of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network,
according to a report yesterday.
More than 150 people who were picked up after September 11
remain in custody, with four men the focus of particularly intense
scrutiny. But investigators have found the usual methods have failed
to persuade any of them to talk.
Options being weighed include 'truth' drugs, pressure tactics and
extraditing the suspects to countries whose security services are
more used to employing a heavy-handed approach during interrogations.
'We're into this thing for 35 days and nobody is talking. Frustration
has begun to appear,' a senior FBI official told The Washington Post.
Under US law, evidence extracted using physical pressure or torture
is inadmissible in court and interrogators could also face criminal
charges for employing such methods. However, investigators
suggested that the time might soon come when a truth serum, such as
sodium pentothal, would be deemed an acceptable tool for
The public pressure for results in the war on terrorism might also
persuade the FBI to encourage the countries of suspects to seek
their extradition, in the knowledge that they could be given a much
rougher reception in jails back home.
One of the four key suspects is Zacarias Moussaoui, a French
Moroccan, suspected of being a twentieth hijacker who failed to
make it on board the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. Moussaoui
was detained after he acted suspiciously at a Minnesota flying
school, requesting lessons in how to steer a plane but not how to
take off or land. Both Morocco and France are regarded as having
harsher interrogation methods than the United States.
The investigators have been disappointed that the usual incentives to
break suspects, such as promises of shorter sentences, money, jobs
and new lives in the witness protection programme, have failed to
break the silence.
'We are known for humanitarian treatment, so basically we are stuck.
Usually there is some incentive, some angle to play, what you can
do for them. But it could get to that spot where we could go to
pressure . . . where we don't have a choice, and we are probably
getting there,' an FBI agent involved in the investigation told the
The other key suspects being held in New York are Mohammed
Jaweed Azmath and Ayub Ali Khan, Indians who were caught the
day after the attacks travelling with false passports, craft knives such
as those used in the hijackings and hair dye. Nabil Almarabh, a
Boston taxi driver alleged to have links to al-Qaeda, is also being
held. Some legal experts believe that the US Supreme Court, which
has a conservative tilt, might be prepared to support curtailing the
civil liberties of prisoners in terrorism cases.
However, a warning that torture should be avoided came from Robert
Blitzer, a former head of the FBI's counter-terrorism section. He said
that the practice 'goes against every grain in my body. Chances are
you are going to get the wrong person and risk damage or killing
In all, about 800 people have been rounded up since the attacks,
most of whom are expected to be found to be innocent. Investigators
believe there could be hundreds of people linked to al-Qaeda living
in the US, and the Bush Administration has issued a warning that
more attacks are probably being planned.
Newsweek magazine reports today that Mohammed Atta, the
suspected ringleader who died in the first plane to hit the World
Trade Centre, had been looking into hitting an aircraft carrier.
Investigators retracing his movements found that he visited the huge
US Navy base at Norfolk, Virginia, in February and April this year.