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February 01, 2005

Al Qaeda Rule 18 on Torture; Noninformative Actions and Bayesian Updating

Via some blogger who I forgot to note, see The Telegraph on Rule 18 of the Al Qaeda handbook -- claim you were tortured. The U.S. government has posted therulebook.

Feroz Abbasi, Martin Mubanga, Moazzam Begg and Richard Belmar finally arrived back in Britain last week after their three-year imprisonment in Guantanamo, to near-universal acclaim and sympathy. Their lawyers insist that they are totally innocent of any involvement in terrorism. The men themselves say that they have been tortured,...

...the al-Qa'eda training manual discovered during a raid in Manchester a couple of years ago. Lesson 18 of that manual, whose authenticity has not been questioned, emphatically states, under the heading "Prison and Detention Centres", that, when arrested, members of al-Qa'eda "must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by state security investigators. [They must] complain to the court of mistreatment while in prison".

This is a good example of a principle I frequently apply: if people will do X in either state A or state B, then we you see them do X, don't change your beliefs as to which is more likely, A or B. You have not gotten any information from observing them do X.

The Al Qaeda book looks like it might have other interesting cloak and dagger stuff too-- how to do surveillance, and so forth.

Posted by erasmuse at February 1, 2005 02:36 PM

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