The manual, apparently written in the 1980s, says the following about torture: “Each brother who is subjected to interrogation and torture, should state all that he agreed upon with the commander and not deviate from it.” … “Security personnel in our countries arrest brothers and obtain the needed information through interrogation and torture.”

In Lesson 18, explicitly cited by the US government officials, we find: “1.At the beginning of the trial, once more the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by State Security [investigators] before the judge. 2.Complain [to the court] of mistreatment while in prison. 3. Make arrangements for the brother’s defense with the attorney, whether he was retained by the brother’s family or court-appointed. 4.The brother has to do his best to know the names of the state security officers, who participated in his torture and mention their names to the judge. [These names may be obtained from brothers who had to deal with those officers in previous cases.]

All words in brackets were bracketed in the original; some may be translator’s comments. Inasmuch as only selected portions of the manual have been made public by the Bush and Blair administrations it can not be determined in what way the deleted sections might put the White House/Pentagon/State mantra into question. For example, in lesson 18, part 1, what does “once more” refer to? Some previous relevant passage which is being withheld from the public? And how does “proving that torture was inflicted on them” square with “the tactic of making false abuse allegations”?

…In any event, the question is largely academic. We have the numerous statements of American prison guards, other military personnel, and Pentagon officials, all admitting to dozens of kinds of “abuse” in US prisons in Guantanamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan; so many ugly stories. We have as well the Abu Ghraib photos. And we have the well-documented phenomenon of CIA “rendition”, flying kidnapped individuals to many countries known for their routine use of torture. None of this comes from al Qaeda training manuals.

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