The ACLU and the BBC have today posted the first memo, dated 1 August 2002, authorising the use of torture by the CIA against Abu Zubaydah, described as “one of the highest ranking members ofAl Qaeda”. Interestingly one of the enablers for passing into an “increased pressure phase” (you have to love these euphemisms) comes down to traffic analysis, as this passage suggests:

Snippet mentioning suspicious chatter

According to the document “intelligence indicates that there is currently a level of `chatter’ equal to that which preceded the September 11 attacks”. It is not comforting at all to know that such automatic processing, as well as subjective interpretation, can be used to start torturing people, in the absence of any other concrete evidence.

Update: Steven Murdoch points to the Washington Post article clarifying the role of the Abu Zubaida as being nowhere near as important as initially assumed. The article states that “Abu Zubaida was not even an official member of al-Qaeda”. Worth reading in its entirety.

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