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Mastermind of 9/11 Attacks Designs a Secret Vacuum Cleaner 284

Posted by timothy
from the your-snide-response-must-include-the-word-sucks dept.
HonorPoncaCityDotCom writes "AP reports that while confined to the basement of a CIA secret prison in Romania about a decade ago, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, asked his jailers whether he could design a vacuum cleaner. After all KSM earned his bachelor's in mechanical engineering, the agency had no long-term plan for him, but might thought he might someday prove useful and might even stand trial one day and for that, he'd need to be sane. They were concerned that his long imprisonment might do so much psychological damage that he would no longer be useful as source for information. "We didn't want them to go nuts," said a former senior CIA official. So, using schematics from the Internet as his guide, Mohammed began re-engineering one of the most mundane of household appliances. It remains a mystery how far Mohammed got with his designs or whether the plans still exist and even Mohammed's military lawyer, Jason Wright, says he is prohibited from discussing his client's interest in vacuums. 'It sounds ridiculous, but answering this question, or confirming or denying the very existence of a vacuum cleaner design, a Swiffer design, or even a design for a better hand towel would apparently expose the U.S. government and its citizens to exceptionally grave danger,' says Wright. So now, says Doug Mataconis, if you happen to start seeing ads for the CIA's revolutionary new home cleaning device, you'll know where it came from." Sounds perfect for In-Q-Tel.
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Mastermind of 9/11 Attacks Designs a Secret Vacuum Cleaner

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  • admitted? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @10:58PM (#44267351)

    He was tortured in order to obtain the confession, I don't know what good it is.

  • by Grave (8234) <awalbert88@noSpaM.hotmail.com> on Friday July 12, 2013 @11:12PM (#44267421)

    How is he still alive?

    Simple. We threw him in Gitmo instead of treating him like the a criminal, and trying him by jury. He'd already have been executed if we would've done that. But since due process was not afforded, we are now paying the bills for keeping him alive. Funny how that worked out for us..

  • by Blaskowicz (634489) on Friday July 12, 2013 @11:36PM (#44267555)

    You sound like he should be burned at the stake, even. Why not. But death penalty is useless, and insanely expensive in the US (which doesn't even prevent innocent niggers from being executed regularly)

    I don't know why it still exists in a handful of first world countries. Just abolish it : if anything this tends to prevent backwards comment like yours that call to murder in a legal way.
    I'd also rather have war criminals, dictators etc. not face execution when tried. E.g. the likes of Dick Cheney, Tony Blair, Richard Perle et al. should face trial by a international court and imprisonment in my book, but I don't want to kill them. ICC doesn't do it for instance. Killing prime ministers etc. is hairy, this can even give them an exit way like Goering who managed to commit suicide before getting executed.
    Life imprisonment is a good enough sentence and even then the maximum sentence could be life imprisonment with no possibility to be freed before 30 years.

  • Re:admitted? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @11:41PM (#44267565)

    This is why you don't torture people who you think are criminals -- it does nothing but contribute doubt to your case. Society learned long ago that a torture-free imprisonment, followed by a fair and impartial trial, was the most effective way to ensure that an admission of guilt (or conviction) was credible and final.

  • Re:admitted? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Raenex (947668) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @12:05AM (#44267659)

    To play devil's advocate, if you're looking for information, torture with cross-checking will probably gain you some. It will cost you in other ways, though.

  • grave danger (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thereitis (2355426) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @12:15AM (#44267701) Journal

    It sounds ridiculous, but answering this question, or confirming or denying the very existence of a vacuum cleaner design, a Swiffer design, or even a design for a better hand towel would apparently expose the U.S. government and its citizens to exceptionally grave danger

    This kind of hyperbole is what makes people ignore warnings.

  • by rasmusbr (2186518) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @12:21AM (#44267733)

    It's interesting how many successful terrorists are trained as engineers.

    Fixed that for you. It is interesting, but it is also unsurprising if you think about it.

  • by swiftdr (1713300) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @12:23AM (#44267743) Journal

    But death penalty is useless, and insanely expensive in the US (which doesn't even prevent innocent niggers from being executed regularly

    innocent niggers? really? was that necessary?

  • Re:admitted? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erikkemperman (252014) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @03:40AM (#44268309)

    Really? Care to give examples? Because I thought that torture will only get people to tell you what they think you want to hear. Truth doesn't figure into it.

    Unless the aim of torture of one guy is actually to frighten and discourage a bunch of other guys not yet residing in your secret lair dungeons. Maybe that would work. But that would be, you know, terrorism.

  • Re:admitted? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @04:17AM (#44268377)

    followed by a fair and impartial trial, was the most effective way to ensure that an admission of guilt (or conviction) was credible and final.

    And then they went and screwed it up, by letting interrogators lie -- imply that they had enough evidence to put 'em away for life, and coax the prisoner into confessing under a false pretense that they'll get off with less prison time, than they'd be certain to have if they insisted upon exercising their right to a trial.

  • Re:admitted? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Omestes (471991) <{omestes} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday July 13, 2013 @04:43AM (#44268455) Homepage Journal

    Yup, the sad fact is that torture actually works and it can save lives when executed properly.

    I doubt the truthfulness of this statement, on the basis of numerous studies, history, and a basic understanding of human psychology. But even if it was true, it is irrelevant, since it switches the argument against torture into and ethical and humanitarian one, which is also pretty solid. There also is the matter of hypocracy, since we can never actually condemn torture (of the so-called "good-guys"), as long as we advocate it.

    The fact that there is a debate about the merits of torture is absolutely astounding to to me. Astounding and abhorrent.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 13, 2013 @04:44AM (#44268457)

    "but it's another thing to execute a person without trial."

    Osama was executed without trial.

    I watched Zero Dark Thirty last night and it made me so sick.

    Why America did you act like fucking children?

    The state is supposed to be better than that. The state is supposed to represent what's best about a society. If the best that America has to offer is the endorsement of sneaking into a sovereign nation and murdering a bunch of people in the night, then I'll say it again, FUCK YOU AMERICA.

    I do not, for the life of me, understand why, if they knew where OBL was, they couldn't invoke regular measures and have the police go to the house and arrest him. He could then be charged and extradited to the US. He could be represented in court. And then once the due process is followed, he could be executed (as per the laws of your own land) or jailed for life (as per the preferred punishment in the rest of the civilised world).

    The US does not represent freedom in any form. My advice (FWIW) is to get your shit together and start respecting human rights again!

  • Re:admitted? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 13, 2013 @05:21AM (#44268559)

    I think the reason you don't torture people is because it is wrong, and because it is prohibited by the document which outlines the terms under which the government maintains it's legitimacy.

    How did we even get here to the point where we have discussions of the utility of our policy of torturing POWs-by-any-other-name? Torture has always been prohibited my entire life, and I was raised hearing stories about the example we set with out treatment of Japanese POWs during WWII.

    Guantanamo Bay vaporizes any high-ground we had to be outraged when American POWs are mistreated.

    Will leave everyone with one final thought:The NSA "Prism" fiasco just demonstrates how dangerous the concept of posse comitatus-style differentiation between treatment of citizens and non-citizens. If you do not provide non-citizens with the same protections you apply to your own citizens against un-just treatment by your government: all you are doing is allowing the build up of infrastructure for injustice. You are allowing your disregard for some group of undesirables to compromise your judgment. Ultimately, giving the government the rope to hang you with in the future simply by "miscategorizing" you with some "understandable clerical error" or worse: redefinition of the english language in a legal atrocity like the NDAA.

    By the time the term "enemy combatant" has been thrown out by the supreme court as a linguistic fallacy, you'll have languished in a secret CIA prison for a decade. All because some mid-level government employee wanted you out of the picture in order to ensure that they didn't need to compete for the attention and heart of a woman such as Mercedès Iguanada.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 13, 2013 @06:59AM (#44268831)

    10 years in prison without due process.
    Tortured.

    Nice democracy you have there.

  • Re:admitted? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @07:39AM (#44268917)

    You see, right there is your problem. You're arguing it wrong. Don't argue that it leads to better trials, better convictions, yada yada, then they can argue back against you about it. They can disagree. This isn't something that should be a debatable issue.

    Argue: "Torture is evil. If we administer it, WE are evil people. It is all about hate, revenge and there is no excuse, no justification for it, ever. If a man were guarding the knowledge that would cure all mortal illness and the only way to get the cure from him were torture, it would STILL be wrong to commit it. We cannot give up our very souls for security because all we'll truely be secure in is our own shame."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 13, 2013 @08:00AM (#44268961)

    After all, how do you know there IS a bomb? If you are already certain enough to torture someone who could be innocent, you must have enough information to find out without torture.

    We, as the viewer of 24 hours know that there's a bomb. We saw it being planted. We know that the story is going to be one where there is a bomb.

    In Real Life (tm), we don't know that unless we were there like the cameraman was for 24 hours.

  • Re:admitted? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Livius (318358) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @09:13AM (#44269179)

    Unless the aim of torture of one guy is actually to frighten and discourage a bunch of other guys not yet residing in your secret lair dungeons.

    The purpose of torture is to terrorize others. That's why torture is 'secret' (because it's illegal), but that 'secret' always seems to very widely known.

    When a prisoner is tortured, a decision has already been made that it's not about criminal justice or reliable information.

  • Re:admitted? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raenex (947668) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @09:48AM (#44269301)

    No, it just gets you something else to use in a show trial once you've already decided the person is guilty.

    You need actionable information or some way of verifying it. Example: Leon v. Wainwright [openjurist.org]:

    "Leon [one of the kidnappers] and Frank Gachelin [a relative of the kidnapee] met in the shopping center parking lot at 2:00 a.m. During the confrontation Leon drew a gun on Frank. The police officers, who had accompanied Frank to the meeting, immediately arrested Leon and demanded that he tell them where he was holding Gachelin. When he refused to tell them the location, "he was set upon by several of the officers." Leon v. State, 410 So.2d 201, 202 (Fla.3d DCA 1982). "They threatened and physically abused him by twisting his arm behind his back and choking him until he revealed where Louis [Gachelin] was being held." Id. The officers went to the apartment, rescued Gachelin and arrested Armand [the second kidnapper]."

    Sure, you can practice crude torture, get signed "confessions" and boatloads of real and made up information. But to say you can't get any information from torture is just trying to shortcut the argument.

  • Re:admitted? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @10:12AM (#44269405) Homepage Journal

    Because I thought that torture will only get people to tell you what they think you want to hear

    Why? Why do you think that people will _ONLY_ lie? What makes you so sure? If someone had information to hide and were tortured, its certainly ONE OF THE POSSIBILITIES that they would reveal that information.

    Truth doesn't figure into it.

    So every single person who was tortured always lied in each and every instance? lol.. your brain seems particularly receptive to propaganda and seems to exhibit a tendency of non-critical thought. Ah... to think of the things I could sell you...

    well.. you can't know if it was a lie, a hopeful thought or something else. people might confirm your "suspicions", which might be a lie or might not - the guy telling you it might not know it though.

    but more to the point.. why you don't torture people is simply because that it's evil, wrong and against the principles of western morality, idiot.
    that's why it's illegal and against international laws. sure, you might save a life sometime - that's the risks you run by abiding to rule of law for which you're supposed to be fighting for, there's NO FUCKING WAY to execute torture "properly" except with consent for sexual satisfaction.

    if you go the other way around then you could justify killing everyone in middle east because someone of them might sometime kill someone american. thus you would be "saving american lives" by killing everyone, going all judge death - preventing all kinds of crime with a simple "cure". now that sounds fucking stupid doesn't it? yeah, it's not so black and white but actually what's black and white very simply is that you don't torture people on purpose.

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