Patterico's Pontifications

5/8/2008

Al Qaeda in Iraq Leader Captured in Mosul (Updated)

Filed under: Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 3:19 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Iraqi sources report that al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri has been captured in Mosul. If this report is correct, al-Masri almost made it to his 2-year anniversary as commander. He took over al Qaeda in Iraq after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed June 7, 2006 in a U.S. airstrike northeast of Baghdad.

As discussed in this post, al-Masri’s top two aides were killed in October 2007, including one who was in charge of foreign suicide bombers.

Apparently al-Masri is in Iraqi custody. Imagine the information al-Masri could share regarding plans for suicide attacks and the identities of possible suicide bombers. If he is turned over to the Americans, what interrogation techniques should be allowed to get information from al-Masri about planned attacks and personnel?

UPDATE: Once again, it looks like reports of al-Masri’s death or capture are untrue or, at least, premature.

— DRJ

52 Responses to “Al Qaeda in Iraq Leader Captured in Mosul (Updated)”

  1. Why would we want him?
    His fight is against the Iraqi Government, let them deal with this piece of camel-dung.
    I wonder if they (the Iraqi’s) saved that rope they used for Saddam?

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  2. Aloha Snackbar!

    daleyrocks (906622)

  3. My guess would be that alMasri probably doesn’t know much in the way of details as to useful specific targets and bombers. (Of course, if AQI has dwindled enough, he might know.) And, unless AQI is completely populated by idiots, what specific details he did know became outdated as soon as AQI learned of his capture. So I don’t think this a “ticking time bomb” situation.

    Information he does have is who and where his underlings are, and how money/supplies are fed into AQI (and by whom),and possible some information on the current locations of bin Laden and other higher ups in the overall AQ organization.

    I would, in fact, vastly prefer that he be in American hands, since whatever information he does yield may be released through filters dictated by internal Iraqi politics.

    kishnevi (d50358)

  4. Remember the 48 hour rule. Iraqi press has reported a couple of captures recently that turned out not to be as claimed.

    htom (412a17)

  5. To paraphrase a line from a movie, ‘He’s not good to us dead’…

    So using that as a guide line, do what needs to be done.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  6. Obama says there is no al Queda in Iraq, so who the hell is this guy? This is obviously another attempt by the Bush Administration to fool the media and the people into believing that things are going well in that quagmire!!!!!1!eleventy!!

    Halliburton

    daleyrocks (906622)

  7. The Iraqis don’t need to turn him over to us. The smart thing to do is to provide as much guidance as needed with as much distance as possible. The Iraqis can do it. And yes, that means interrogate him as hard as needed.

    And then let the Iraqis hang him.

    Scott (7b485d)

  8. Scott, you’re my kind of guy!

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  9. I blame Bush.

    N. O'Brain (9056e2)

  10. President Obama has already made their lunch date plans for the Baghdad PF Chang’s. “I think we need to talk…”

    Jack Klompus (b796b4)

  11. The families of his victims also deserve their own chance to question him in private.

    ras (fc54bb)

  12. “If he is turned over to the Americans, what interrogation techniques should be allowed to get information from al-Masri about planned attacks and personnel?”

    – DRJ

    Simple. Turn him over to Andrew Sullivan.

    BT (78b929)

  13. my first impulse was to say, put a grenade in his mouth and throw him into a room filled gallons of fuel. But, this is a democracy. He has some rights. So, a very good lawyer should be assigned to him. Let him make the case that you know, he had such a rough childhood. His daddy abused him sexually and physically, so also did his mama, and brothers and sisters and yes, and …..a priest too. So as a result he grew with alot of hatred and anger and vengence. So he got involved in terrorism. And by the way, his parents? he chopped off his daddy’s head, burnt his mum alive, with his sibblings. Let him make a case that he is the victim in all this. That society has not been fair on him. That all he needs is love and care. Then let him feature on oprah and talk about his childhood abuse. Let him write a best seller and become an instant celeb.
    If you dont like that scenario, how about this, tie him on a board, vertically with his head down facing up and pour gallons of water over his face till he spills the whole beans and then…..hand him over to the Iraqis.

    love2008 (d2a57f)

  14. Actually, American Indians of the Southwest had some interesting interrogation techniques. Let a few true Apaches do the interrogation. Then, put what is left of this jerk on TV, with a grenade in his mouth, the pin pulled in a pool of gasoline with his ACLU Lawyer.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  15. #14
    Classic, very classic. Couldnt have been more cruel. Let him have a taste of his own medicine. In his own mouth! What classic irony of life. You reap what you sow. He that lives by the bomb should perish by the bomb.

    love2008 (d2a57f)

  16. What do you think this is, some kind of game? As Scott Jacobs (#5) said, you do what you have to do; just leave him alive so that he doesn’t become a martyr.

    Missed It By THAT Much (830204)

  17. I love these threads.

    stef (56628b)

  18. At last report, al-Masri’s group controlled 80% of the suicide bombers in Iraq so it’s very likely al-Masri has information that would help the Iraqis stop future attacks on Iraqi citizens. Thus, if it’s true he’s been captured, he might be safer with the Americans.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  19. For differing values of “safe”…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  20. DRJ, if he is going to be safer with the americans then how do you suggest he is interrogated knowing the limitations that exist in methods?

    love2008 (d2a57f)

  21. Al-Masri is a known terrorist who is likely to have information that could prevent imminent harm. Thus, if is he is not cooperative and interrogators believe he has worthwhile information, I would authorize waterboarding. To me, this is the classic example of when it would be an appropriate technique. Then I’d send him to GTMO and if it were up to me, he’d stay there for the rest of his life.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  22. “TAl-Masri is a known terrorist who is likely to have information that could prevent imminent harm.”

    When does the imminence end?

    stef (d5dafa)

  23. Why don’t you go first this time, stef?

    DRJ (a431ca)

  24. Dont you get it Stef, it never ends. Its a classic case of “War without End.”
    And to DRJ, I am for waterboarding and whatever it takes to save lives.

    love2008 (d2a57f)

  25. Give him a job lecturing at Duke?

    SteveG (71dc6f)

  26. “Why don’t you go first this time, stef?”

    I’d say if he knows something is about to occur, but then doesn’t, the imminence is over. Further, I’d say he likely has information that can prevent harm, but not necessarily imminent harm. We’d have to have more info to be able to tell whether he knows about something “imminent.” How bout you?

    stef (c89818)

  27. stef, whilke it isn’t tasteful to revel in the idea of torture, it is pretty natural, after all the Americans this man has killed. We’re at war with savages, like it or not. It’s stupid to fuel the fire that will escalate the situation, and I certainly hope this man is handled as decently as possible (but we must get his information, so not comfortably).

    But you have to admit, it’s good that this man was captured, if he was, and he is evil, so it’s good if he pays a heavy price that leads to the capture of more like him. And like many natural things, it’s ugly, but pretty normal that those of us who know someone killed in Iraq are actually happy he’s going to suffer.

    Jem (4cdfb7)

  28. Anything he knows could potentially involve imminent harm. Why not err on the side of “imminent”?

    Missed It By THAT Much (81e410)

  29. A little digression here. Can anyone tell me what the heck is wrong with this burmese dictatorship? Can anyone be so bone headed, foolish , proud and stupid in his life? Are human beings capable of such stupidity? Why is he refusing help at such a time as this? With over 100,000 dead an milliions displaced, hungry and tired, in need of relief. Yet he has the luxury to pick and choose whose help to accept and whose to reject. Is he crazy? Why cant there be a revolution, an insurrection, a rebellion, anything to end this madness. People are dying right under his nose and he still wants to play politics. What am I missing here? Is he normal? I am sorry, just had to let it out.

    love2008 (d2a57f)

  30. To allow people in would be admitting to the people in the country that the government needs help.

    Considering the level at which the people there live, if they never let other countries in, the people will never know…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  31. stef,

    I’d say if he knows something is about to occur, but then doesn’t, the imminence is over.

    That assumes he’s given you some information in the first place. He could give you nothing or purposely provide disinformation.

    Based on everything I’ve read, waterboarding works when it’s been used. If the terrorist is considered uncooperative, I’d try waterboarding on the first day or two. I don’t view it as a long-term solution, and obviously it’s important to know whether the interrogators view it as a viable interrogation tool with that particular terrorist.

    I’d say he likely has information that can prevent harm, but not necessarily imminent harm. We’d have to have more info to be able to tell whether he knows about something “imminent.”

    I think his position as a terrorist leader known to have engineered terrorist attacks makes it likely he possesses information about attacks. The attacks could occur tomorrow or next year but I would classify them as imminent if the planning and/or assignment of personnel is happening now.

    Thus, my definition of imminent is broad. The restrictive part of my test is that harsh techniques are reserved for known terrorists likely to have information concerning attacks.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  32. It… is a committee.
    So the junta needs a consensus before… well, doing anything.
    Nice to see that visas could not be issued rght away to aid workers because there was a holiday (May Day anyone?) and the embassy worker were afraid to work?

    SteveG (71dc6f)

  33. It’s not like AQI has standard-issue flash drives containing day planners and al-Masri’s turns up password locked — thus, waterboarding to yield the code and the key targeting profile of imminent bombings is allowed. But waterboarding to get a fix on other operatives and known associates is different. What a concept.

    steve (2ab152)

  34. “That assumes he’s given you information in the first place.”

    No it assumes that “imminent” means “about to occur.” And then when it something doesn’t happen imminently, its not imminent anymore.

    “The attacks could occur tomorrow or next year but I would classify them as imminent if the planning and/or assignment of personnel is happening now”

    That is an interesting definition of imminent. Instead of torturing the dictionary, why not just drop the imminent requirement?

    stef (17b293)

  35. Let the Iraqi’s interrogate him, and after they’re through with him, let them hang him for his crimes against the people of Iraq.
    Never let him get to GTMO!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  36. I think the people already know their government’s in a mess. Question is if the government knows that. 100,000 people dead and all you can think of is saving face. Is there not a policy in the united nations that allows for forcefull removal of this kind of regime to save the people. Invade the country, crush the dictatorship and establish an interim government while the crisis lasts. I dont know. Anything to save those poor, dying people. If diplomacy does not work, maybe force is the answer.

    love2008 (d2a57f)

  37. I’d be happy to drop the imminent requirement but I’ve already said I would limit harsh techniques to the first days. If I drop the imminent requirement, there would be no reason to keep that limit.

    The point is not that I have to learn information about an attack that will occur in the next few days. I have to learn information that I can act on in the next few days.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  38. There’s a fair amount of caution creeping into later reporting:

    U.S. military officials were surprised about the report of Abu Ayyub al-Masri’s capture — first reported by Iraqi media and picked up by The Associated Press. And intelligence officials said they were skeptical, even though Iraqi officials said al-Masri was already in U.S. military custody.

    The Iraqi Defense Ministry says al-Masri was handed over to the U.S. military after a joint Iraqi-American operation. Yet U.S. officials were later reported “surprised about the report” of his capture.

    steve (2ab152)

  39. This guy could have information that will stop attacks MONTHS down the road, attacks not even planned. He knows people, he knows where stuff is stored, he knows a LOAD of stuff.

    Work him HARD for two months. By that time, you’ll have gotten every bit you can out of him. You’ll have addresses, names, and numbers.

    After that, hand him back to the Iraqi’s… I’ll enjoy his trial and death by hanging…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  40. For the sake of clarity; Imminent: At hand, close at hand, imminent, impendent, impending. close in time, about to occur.
    Apprehending Al Masri in no way ends the imminence of harm. But information from him can help prevent it. I am sure stef understands that.
    Then again, knowledge of his arrest will force his people to change some of their plans. Making whatever information they can beat out of him, somewhat useless. Consequently making the imminence to have a more complicated meaning.

    love2008 (d2a57f)

  41. steve,

    That’s true. There have been several false reports of al-Masri’s capture or death in the past year, and this one may be another false story. I waited a day to post and I’ll give it another day to see if it’s real or not.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  42. Its often best not to assume what Stef understands, much less what Stef will admit to understanding.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  43. “Apprehending Al Masri in no way ends the imminence of harm.”

    The passage of time is what ends imminence. Not his capture.

    stef (861715)

  44. stef,

    It sounds like imminent harm means a set time frame to you. Is that two days? Four days? At what point does it end for you?

    DRJ (a431ca)

  45. Stef doesn’t seem to care bout the attack 2 months down the road this guy can prevent by telling us where the bomb-materials are kept tomorrow…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  46. Perfect justice would be that this bum that was captured had information on a attack that would kill stef, and that using stef’s idea of just asking him pretty please would not elicit the information and stef would die from her own ignorance.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  47. “It sounds like imminent harm means a set time frame to you. Is that two days? Four days? At what point does it end for you?”

    For me it would depend on what specific facts lead me to believe he knows about imminent attacks. Like I said, I don’t doubt he knows about attacks, or knows information which we can follow and further investigate and stop attacks, what is hard is how we’re imagining that he knows about an imminent attack. I don’t think something 6 months from now is “imminent.”

    Plus I think in many ways non-imminent information may be more valuable. The fact that one bomb will go off in a few days may save specific lives, but knowing more details about his operation, letting us dismantle it and discover even more of the network, may save even many more. But none of that information will be about imminent attacks.

    “Perfect justice would be that this bum that was captured had information on a attack that would kill stef, and that using stef’s idea of just asking him pretty please would not elicit the information and stef would die from her own ignorance.”

    Perfect justice would involve accountability for a lot of what has occurred in Iraq.

    stef (603c39)

  48. 47, yet, stef, you’d run away from holding responsible AlQaeda, alSadr, and Iran responsible for their attacks. But you always side with anyone who attacks Americans.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  49. “47, yet, stef, you’d run away from holding responsible AlQaeda, alSadr, and Iran responsible for their attacks.”

    Of course not. Perfect justice would magically cure all.

    stef (394243)

  50. Surprise, surprise! Turns out it wasn’t him; but, to cap the exercise, a quote from the bard:

    “I could have better spared a better man.”

    — from King Henry IV, Part I, Act V, Scene 4 (followed soon-after, ironically, by “The better part of valour is discretion”)

    Missed It By THAT Much (fbc22c)

  51. Today’s war isn’t just a battlefield war – it’s an information war.

    BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — The U.S. military in Iraq denied widespread reports Friday that trumpeted the capture of a top Iraqi insurgent leader.

    “Neither coalition forces nor Iraqi security forces detained or killed Abu Ayyub al-Masri,” Major Peggy Kageleiry, spokeswoman for Multinational Division North, told The Associated Press.

    Nineveh Gov. Duraid Kashmoula and Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammed al-Askari had earlier insisted that al-Masri was already in U.S. military custody and had “readily confessed.”

    This is the third time the Iraqi security forces claimed al Masri was either killed or captured since early 2007.

    steve (3fa0e4)

  52. Thanks, steve. I’ve updated the post.

    DRJ (8b9d41)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.3124 secs.