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CIA heats up torture tactics

Thanks to the New York Times, we now know the dreaded torture methods the sadistic CIA used on captured al-Qaida big shots shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. I warn you: Reading this column any further will subject you to unvarnished brutality.

According to a front-page article in the Times on Sept. 10, Pakistani authorities captured Abu Zubaydah, al-Qaida's personnel director, a few months after the terror attack five years ago. Zubaydah, wounded in the confrontation, was turned over to American authorities and whisked away to Bangkok, Thailand, where FBI interrogators began questioning him.

According to unnamed sources in the Times article, the FBI and CIA clashed over whether to use soft or tough questioning methods on the captured terrorist. Because it had jurisdiction, the CIA took over and the inquisition began. Agency interrogators stripped Zubaydah, put him in a freezing room and subjected him to Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Not the vegetables, the rock group.

Apparently, the CIA sadists cranked up the volume on some Red Hot Chili Pepper recordings and Zubaydah broke. Wouldn't you?

Now, I am not making this up. The dreaded torture machine that is the Bush administration unleashed the Red Hot Chili Peppers on an al-Qaida big shot. How could they?

According to the article, Zubaydah gave up a number of his fellow killers, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11. But come on, the ends do not justify the means. Using the Chili Peppers is beyond the pale.

Somewhere Attila the Hun is weeping with laughter.

But this whole thing is deadly serious. Thanks to the American thugs at Abu Ghraib and the hysterical left-wing press, the entire world thinks the U.S. is a nation of brutes who torture for pleasure.

Human rights groups can't condemn us fast enough for our terrible treatment of people captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. Guantanamo Bay is a gulag, Dick Cheney is Henrich Himmler. And the beat goes on.

But amidst all the hue and cry, there are few specifics. As far as I can determine, waterboarding, that is, submerging a suspect in water, was used a couple of times but is now banned.

Stress positions and sleep deprivation have been used in limited situations. Now we know the Peppers were in play.

Of course in reporting the interrogation story, the Times played up the conflict between the FBI and the CIA big but buried the lead. In the final two paragraphs of the lengthy report, the importance of the Chili Pepper story emerges.

Times reporter David Johnston quotes yet another anonymous "government official" as saying: "the fact of the matter is that Abu Zubaydah was defiant and evasive until the approved procedures were used. He soon began to provide information on key al-Qaida operators to help us find and capture those responsible for the 9/11 attacks."

That sounds like a good thing to me, but I do have some advice for the CIA the next time around: Use Ludacris and you'll get bin Laden.

Veteran TV news anchor and author Bill O'Reilly is a host on Fox News. His column appears Sunday. His "Radio Factor" can be heard weekdays from 1 to 3 p.m. on NewsTalk 1300 WIMO-AM.

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